March 29, 2021
By Gina Padilla
He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.1 Peter 2:24 NIV
From the moment our ancestors Adam and Eve listened to the Father of Lies and defied God, the human race had been separated from our loving Father.
Cast out of paradise and sentenced to live life on a fallen planet now riddled with disease, suffering and death, humans did their best living apart from God. God sent them laws and prophets, but humans being humans failed time and again. But God had a plan to redeem His beautiful creation. Knowing they could not live perfect lives, He sent His Son to pay the price for human sin and become the ultimate sacrifice — forever breaking the barrier between the Creator and His masterpieces.
Growing up in church, I had heard many times that Jesus died for my sins. But I didn’t really understand it. I mean how could Jesus have died for me when I wasn’t even born yet? I had a very linear view of the Bible timeline. I thought God created the world, God created humans, humans messed everything up and then God created Jesus to “fix” things.
When I finally picked up a bible and read it, I was surprised to learn that Jesus was with God from the beginning (John 1:1-2) and because of God’s omniscience He knew His people would rebel before He created them and He knew what would be necessary to reconcile them to Himself — a perfect sacrifice — Jesus Christ.
Although I started to grasp the concept that God and Jesus knew what was going to happen with creation before they even thought about creating anything, I was still struggling with understanding my part in it and how Jesus died for me personally.
It took a long time of prayer, reflection and listening to God to understand how Christ’s death affected me personally. The following is a fictional scenario that illustrates what I felt God put on my heart over time:
A few years ago during Lent, I started thinking about Jesus’ crucifixion and got really irritated with Adam and Eve. As I thought about them eating the forbidden fruit, I became more and more angry and began to rant in my head.
It’s all their fault that the world is a such a mess, right? If Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten the fruit, we’d all be in the Garden of Eden sitting around eating bonbons and just enjoying life. I wasn’t in the Garden of Eden. I didn’t eat the forbidden fruit. It wasn’t my fault that sin entered the world, right? It wasn’t my fault Jesus died, right?
As my head filled with my self-righteous babbling, in my heart I felt a question: “But have you ever sinned?”
“Well, of course I’ve sinned, what a crazy question! Everyone sins. We’re human.”
“So, you’ve sinned, just like Adam and Eve.”
“No, not like Adam and Eve. I wasn’t in the Garden of Eden.”
“What does it matter where you were or when you were. You sinned. You disobeyed. You did what was right in your own eyes.”
“But if I was in the Garden I would have been different.”
“Because I wouldn’t have eaten the fruit.”
“Because You told me not to.”
“I told you to not to lie, but you lied to your boss yesterday. I told you to honor your mother and father, but you were impatient and harsh with your mother last week. I told you to love God with all your heart, but working out is on your schedule every day, not time with me. I told you to treat others as you want to be treated, but this morning you cursed at a man in a yellow Toyota for driving too slow in front of you on your way to work.”
“OK. OK. But that’s different.”
“How is it different?”
“Because I wasn’t in the Garden.”
“Where doesn’t matter. When doesn’t matter. What matters. Obedience matters.”
“Well, the world was already fallen when I got here. So, people are going to sin.”
“I’m not talking about people. I’m talking about you. You made a choice to disobey. Just like Adam and Eve.”
“But if you knew I was going to sin why did you create me?”
“The same reason I died for you. Because I love you.”
As God opened the eyes of my heart, I began to see that I was no better than Adam and Eve or the people in the Old Testament. I have disobeyed. I have chosen my needs and wants over others’ countless times. According to God’s law my sentence was death — eternal separation from Him. But Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice in my place.
The Bible tells us that God knows us before we are born (Jeremiah 1:5). Since God knows everything about me, He knew every sin I was and will ever commit in my life, and He served my sentence for it by shedding his blood on the cross for ME years before I’d be born (Colossians 1:13-14).
Jesus didn’t just die because of Adam and Eve’s sin. He didn’t just die because all those people in the Old Testament couldn’t follow the laws. He knew ME and died for ME. Jesus bore the penalty for MY sin because He loves ME. Jesus isn’t just the world’s savior; He is MY savior! He is YOUR savior.
God knows me. Nothing about who I am or what I do makes me worthy of His gift. My worth comes from Christ and His sacrifice. His blood on the cross redeemed me for His glory and I no longer live under the throne of wrath, but the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16). Hallelujah!
I am redeemed!
I am Chosen!
I am His!
For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him.Ephesians 1:4 CSB
Photo Credit: Thanti Nguyen