Summary: “And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me’”. (Matthew 25:40)
Theme: You did it for me
Thank you for inviting us to join you as you celebrate Christian services week. I must confess that it feels good to come home. Let me also congratulate you for adding a new impressive landmark to the Ridge area of Accra. The theme for the celebration today is a very challenging one and we cannot hear these words of Jesus without reflecting on how we have been serving Him. These words serve as a warning to keep us from being deceived and ending up being separated from Jesus Christ forever. Christ refers to this separation in the parable about the sheep and the goats. Sheep and goats behave differently because they have different natures and a time will come when the shepherd will be forced to separate them. Jesus uses this imagery to symbolise two different types of people who have different natures. There is the believer who is spiritually alive and there is the sinner who is spiritually dead. The believer has a godly nature that naturally leads him to do what pleases God whereas the sinner has a wicked nature that naturally leads him to do what pleases the devil. Their different actions are a reflection of their different natures. The godly are rewarded with a place of honour in God’s presence while the wicked are denied His presence.
Man was created in the image and likeness of God and had His nature. When Adam yielded to sin he died and lost God’s image, likeness and nature. All of us inherited Adams sinful nature for in Adam “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). Christ paid the price to save us and restore our godly nature with His life. Our salvation does not depend on anything we have done but on what Christ has done on our behalf for “By grace are we saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God”. (Eph. 2:8) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16)
Christ died to give us eternal life “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. (Rom 6:23) “God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. For whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God”. (John 3:17-18)
The sacrifice of Christ gives life for “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive”. (1Co 15:22) Salvation is only a free gift because Jesus Christ paid the full price for sin. It does not cost us anything but it cost God all He had, His only begotten Son. Jesus Christ took our life and bore the full judgement of God on sin so that He could give us His life. He became our sin offering. Under the Old Covenant the sacrifice for the sin offering had to be repeated over and over again because the judgement of God on sin was far greater than the sacrifice. It pointed to the need for a better sacrifice, a perfect sacrifice that would not have to be repeated. It pointed to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. There Jesus Christ after He had exhausted all the judgement of God on sin cried out “It is finished”. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ was far greater than the judgement therefore there was no longer any need for a sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is more than sufficient to pay the price for our past, present and future sin. Let us value His sacrifice by doing His will His prescribed way.
Christ took our place and paid the penalty for sin to give us a new status as God’s beloved children. Simply put the Son of God became the Son of man that sons of men may become sons of God. When Christ died on the cross one of His last words were a quotation from Psalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) He was forsaken and rejected and could no longer call God Father so that we might be accepted and allowed to call God our Father. When Christ took our place and became sin He gave us His place and we became righteous. We received a new, holy, and perfect spirit and became a new creation. The presence of the Holy Spirit in the believer confirms that the spirit of the believer is holy and perfect since the Holy Spirit will not live in any other place. Christ has given us a new status that gives us access to God’s grace. The grace of God is not only God’s undeserved favour but also God’s empowerment to lead a new abundant life.