Friday, August 17, 2012

"Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity"

Tim Challies concludes his blog post, God’s Mercy and God’s Wrath Meet At the Cross, by telling the uncomfortable truth, which, at least from a Christian perspective, amounts to inescapable logic:
"If there is no hell, there is no need for a cross. The cross shows us the depth of our sin and the height of God’s holiness, the purity of God’s wrath and the greatness of God’s mercy. The cross assures us that hell exists. The cross demands that we look to the one hanging there and put all our faith, all our hope, all our trust in him."

It reminds me of the New Yorker-looking cartoon that features two women looking at a crucifix (i.e., a cross that has Jesus hanging on it) up on a wall. Contemplating it, one woman says to the other, "If I'm okay and you're okay, then what's he doing up there?"

The only other alternative is to disbelieve, taking Patti Smith's famous opening words from her song "Gloria": "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine."

We all need the grace that flows from Jesus’ cross, on which He hung for love of us and our lack of love for the Father and our neighbor. Coming to this realization and trying to figure out how it shapes our lives is what observing Friday as a day of penance is all about. To facilitate that here’s a song by Jars of Clay, "Amazing Grace," an original Jars song, not the old Gospel standard, with Ashley Cleveland on backing vocals:

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