Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Hangover

Some years ago a friend flew me to Israel. After visiting Jericho, we boarded a bus and made our way back through the mountainous passes towards Jerusalem. I was sitting right up the front of a large bus, on the right side, while the rest of the group sat more towards the back.

The road was very narrow, with a deep valley on the right hand side. As we approached a very sharp left turn in the road, the driver slowed down, moved towards the right of the road, then swung the steering wheel around the corner. The result was that my part of the bus went right over the edge of the road as we slowly turned. It was just then that I made the mistake of looking out of the window. My part of the bus was suspended over the edge as we turned, and I looked down in horror at a 3,000 foot drop into the deep valley below. For about two seconds I was sure that I was going to die.

Suddenly it was over, and we were merrily driving along the road. The driver and rest of the passengers were totally oblivious as to what I had just experienced. I sat there in disbelief, and humbly thanked God that I was still alive. In a matter of two seconds, I had gained a new appreciation for my precious life.

Even at this moment, I still benefit profoundly from that terrifying experience. I am forever thankful for the gift of life, and my gratitude is directed at God alone.

The moral Law hangs us over eternity. For those of us who experience true conviction of sin, it is an overwhelming horror. The reality of our depravity demands that we be damned forever. We look around at the rest of humanity and see that they are oblivious to what is happening. Life is a joyride, and death and damnation are far from their thoughts. But for us, the Law calls for our execution. It stirs a conscience that points its finger at our guilt. We are going to be damned, and there’s no hope. None. The experience takes our breath away in horror.

But then we hear of the cross--the glorious good news of the cross! Jesus Christ suffered and died for us, while we were yet sinners. We hear that God has turned a corner for humanity through the gospel. We can live--forever. Oh the relief of God’s mercy! Oh the unspeakable gratitude that suddenly comes from nowhere and explodes towards God for His kindness.

Without the terrors of the Law, the professed Christian drives along the path of life with no appreciation for what we have been given in the gospel. That’s why so many within the Church can sit passively in the pew. They have never experienced the terrors of the Law, and so they don’t have gratitude enough to even consider doing the will of the God they profess to love.