Pulpit Reflections

Pulpit Reflections by Devon Devoux Perhaps, like me, you have occasionally found yourself watching American Idol. I have been pondering some of its religious overtones (there are some to consider). These singers sing their heart out only to be judged in the end. The viewers will typically wait in anticipation for the bluntness of Simon on their performance.

This makes me think of God and his ultimate judgment on our life. Most likely all of us wrestle with what is after this life. How is God going to judge me? Do I have what it takes? Maybe you wrestle with God's criteria for judging you, when figuratively speaking "the music is over."

Most have heard the Ten Commandments � you shall have no other gods before me, shall not take the Lord's name in vain, honor your father and mother, do not steal, do not murder, do not commit adultery, and the list goes on.

Jesus defined some of these more precisely as recorded in Matthew's Gospel (chapter 5) where Jesus said "if you have lusted after another person it is like committing adultery in the heart," or "if you have had anger towards a brother it is like committing murder in your heart."

All of us could look down the list and say we've broken many of God's criteria repeatedly. Ponder this a moment because God is a good judge. A good judge would never let a liar, thief, or murderer go free. People would demand a new judge, one that will judge and punish these lawbreakers. And because God is a good judge he will punish sin, even the sins of the heart. How will you measure up?

Fortunately we have seen the good news this Lenten season in the movie The Passion of Christ. Love it or hate it, it was a pretty accurate account of the final hours of Jesus. Honestly, the historical crucifixion was probably even more gruesome and graphic than shown in the movie. Why so harsh? Why so gruesome a death?

In the cross Jesus was taking on himself God's wrath on our sin. The prophet Isaiah prophesying hundreds of years before Christ writes, "he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, upon him was the punishment that made us whole" (Isaiah 53:5).

God had spoken under the Old Covenant that without the shedding of blood there was no remission of sin. All the blood being poured out was for our forgiveness. The apostle Paul writes that we have now been justified (made right) by his blood, (and) will be saved through him (Christ) from the wrath of God (Romans 5:9).

The question is have you been made right? How will you fare on that fateful "Day of Judgment"? Praise God for the cross � not only can we be forgiven but also made whole � having peace with God.

Do you have peace with God? Why not receive his grace today and respond with faith in Jesus Christ. Surrender to him, allowing him to be your Lord and Savior.

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