Summary: Redemption. It feels good to get a second chance. We learn a lot of great stuff that way.
Everyone enjoys a good redemption story. Redemption is the second chance we're all looking for. Think about your favorite movie or book and you will probably not be surprised that there is a redemption theme in the story. This is why the Bible is the best selling book of all time. The Bible is full of redemption stories. Basically the Bible is a redemption narrative and it's all about how you and I are given a second chance because of Jesus.
Paul sums up this narrative in Romans 3, "For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood."
There are a couple of things that are important for us to consider.
First: Even though we all love a good story about someone who gets a second chance, a lot of people ignore the redemption Jesus offers.
My question is this. If everyone loves a redemption story, then why is there so much hatred in the world against Jesus? Jesus said, "if the world hates you remember it hated me first." You would think that everyone would love Jesus because of his kindness and love that He displayed by dying on the Cross. What is it that the world hates so much about Jesus? Why can the world not accept the second chance that Jesus provides to live with God? I think the answer is simple. We don't like to be reminded of why we need the redemption. "Jesus frees us from the penalty of our sins."
What is the penalty for our sins? The Bible teaches us that death is that penalty. I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say something like this, "Nice message today, there were some folks who really needed that one." I always want to say, "I'm sure you did." But I don't have the guts. But now you know what I'm thinking if you ever say something similar to me. We're all sinners. It's easy to pick apart the sinful things that other people do, to talk about them, to judge them. But, it's not so easy for us to examine our own sinfulness. I struggle with the reality that because of my sin, I'm guilty before God. I don't deserve to live with Him. I can't be made right with God because of who I am, or what I do. There's nothing I can do, or say that would make God declare me not guilty. I am guilty. I deserve to die for my sins. This is where Jesus steps in. Because I'm a follower of Jesus, God declares me not guilty. God gives me a second chance because of Jesus, and this is where a lot of people trip up with God. They want the second chance but they don't want the life that goes with belonging to Jesus. They want the redemption but not the righteousness. They want the tolerance of God but they don't want to trust His Word. They want the humanity of God but they don't want anything to do with His holiness.
This is the idea behind redemption that the world rejects. 1 Peter 1:2 says, “God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.”
Most people don't mind the redemption part of this narrative. But the part about being obedient to Jesus, a lot of folks don't like that.
Second: If we make the choice to deny our selfish nature to follow Jesus we discover who God is.
There are a lot of people who write books and opine on Bible stuff. But, just because a person received a doctorate degree from an Ivy League school and wrote a book about who they think God is doesn't make them right. God gives wisdom to those who seek to obey His Son. Seek Jesus first. If you look for the red letter words in the New Testament part of your Bible, you will discover what God wants for your life.
Every person who is a follower of Jesus Christ is made holy by the nature of God. We point our life to him and we make God the center of everything we do. Everyone around us knows who Jesus is because everything about our life is about him. We are His church. When God’s people show up to do God stuff God’s way God shows up in power.