We at The Journey believe there is something wrong with this world. Just by feeling and observing all of the pain, struggle, suffering and hurt that runs rampant throughout the earth we are compelled to look for relief. Believers and nonbelievers alike know that something must be done to fix the brokenness we see. From a child’s scratched up knee in need of a band-aid to an impoverished community in need of a massive humanitarian effort, we’re drawn to show mercy. We somehow know that mercy is right and good. When we see those in misery we can’t help but desire relief and justice for them.
It is out of this desire that mankind has made vigorous attempts at lasting relief. While the examples are endless and at times even impressive the results are always the same, temporary. No matter how much mercy mankind manages to conjure up it isn’t enough to end all of the suffering and pain. Our band-aids comfort and conceal for a time but nothing we do can end the need for more relief, there never seems to be enough mercy.
All of our merciful efforts, though righteous and good, treat only the symptoms of our broken reality, not the root cause itself. These symptoms are the consequence of a much larger issue, sin. While “To err is human” is something we all agree with the Bible teaches that to sin is human. It is our sinfulness, our errors, that contribute to the world’s never-ending need of relief. The ultimate act of mercy would be to relieve the world of sin. Ridding the world of sin would eliminate these symptoms that we continuously struggle to treat. A healing such as this would redeem life as we know it.
Simply put, the Bible teaches us what God does about this sin problem. It reveals that mankind’s sin is a rebellion against God. This rebellion has corrupted creation rendering it helpless and in great need of mercy. Man’s attempt at relief has never been and will never be enough to undo the effects of this miserable condition. The good news (what we refer to as the Gospel) is that God himself in His foreknowledge and power put a relief effort in place that accomplishes what mankind cannot.
In the ultimate act of mercy God himself entered creation to redeem it. Jesus, who is God in the flesh, was able to do what no man was able to get done. Jesus lived without sin, He never rebelled once. Being sinless Jesus didn’t contribute to what’s wrong with the world, He was the solution to making it right. Jesus’ sinless life provides what believers cannot provide for themselves, a right standing before God (righteousness). As Christians put their faith in the sinlessness of Jesus He gives them His righteousness, redeeming their sinful condition.
Equally important to the righteousness of Jesus is the atonement that was provided through His death. God is perfectly just and therefore punishes any and all sin. The death of Jesus on the cross atones (takes the punishment) for the sins of His people. In short, our salvation is that by grace through faith Jesus takes the penalty for our sins (past, present and future) and gives us His righteousness.
We at The Journey believe that lasting relief has finally come and His name is Jesus. God mercifully sent His son to redeem His people and restore our hope. One day we believe He will come back in a final act of mercy in which He will rid the earth of all that is wrong and make all things new, none of His people will ever need relief again.
Related Core Value sermon: Core Values (Part 2) God's Plan - (John Downs)