Pastor Tracy Ottenbreit
Slave Lake Alliance Church
In previous articles, it has been established that a large portion of the Big Picture is the fact that humans are all guilty. While many consider themselves to be “good people,” this is often the result of comparing oneself to the worst of humanity rather than the best – Jesus Christ.
I have walked into rooms that were barely lit and have stubbed my toe on things that I didn’t know were there. The thing is, most rooms that are dimly lit can be considered in order and clean, that is until you turn a bright light on and discover a myriad of disarray.
This is how many people view their souls. They consider them to be clean because they have never allowed God to shine a bright light on it, to see it from his perspective. All the little judgments, the lies, the whispers of gossip, the selfish or greedy decisions – they are all there and they all add up.
The Bible speaks of a time of judgment for everyone. It says everything we have ever done or said is recorded. At our trial, these recordings will be consulted and the evidence will be compared to the standard of perfection. However, there is one book – the Book of Life – that records those who have faith in Jesus. They are given a pardon for their sins.
This is where a lot of people misunderstand. Faith is not a belief that as much as it is a belief in. Let me give an example. I may believe that tossing salt on the icy sidewalk will help my traction, but unless I actually take the salt and throw it, it does no good. Many people believe that Jesus died on a cross for them, but they don’t allow God to do anything with that belief.
This is why a lot of people who attend church regularly never change for the better. They have a belief that, not a belief in. They know about Jesus and agree that the events of his life happened, but they have never placed their trust in him.
Faith is not a blind leap. We are given ample evidence for our trust. It is more than an intellectual assent to certain truths. Lots of people have faith. Suicide bombers often have tremendous faith, but faith by itself is not what saves. It is faith or trust in the person of Christ to rescue us from our guilt that makes the difference.
The fourth part of the Big Picture after God, man, and Jesus is the cross. Many people wear crosses as pieces of jewelry, but the cross of Jesus changed the Big Picture. The cross provided a way for God himself to satisfy justice while still maintaining his love for us.
In fact it was love for you and I that drove Jesus to the cross. “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8)
In order to take advantage of this act, in order to move from a belief that to a trust in is something called repentance. It is more than just saying sorry, it is a purposeful decision to turn around and allow God to lead your life.
No more justifications or excuses, God becomes the teller of right, not my feelings or my own reasoning.
The cross was the game-changer in the Big Picture. The cross provides us opportunity to find peace with God and to live a life filled with love and service and fulfillment – the very things it seems our world is thirsting for.