Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Fruit of Surrender

The Bible says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We each are under God's wrath and we each have merited deathor eternal separation from God.

Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. He was tempted in every way and yet He was without sin. He was, therefore, the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all men.

Luke 22:41-42 describes Jesus praying to the Father before His crucifixion: "He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.' An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:41-42).

Jesus knew He was to be crucified. He knew He was to carry the weight of the world's sin. He knew He was to experience the wrath of God and experience Hell on behalf of sinners. In great anguish He pleads for His cup to be taken from Him, but it cannot be removed. He is the only hope for sinners, and knowing this to be true, Christ chooses to submit His will to the will of the Father. This is anything but an easy surrender.

10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
-Isaiah 53:10-12

Ultimately, because of Christ's submission to the will of the Father, Jesus justifies many. His obedience was not in vain! Christ's obedience, moreover, provides an example for His followers. As Christians we are called to radical obedience to Jesus. We are called to submit our wills wholly and completely to His.

"Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." -Luke 9:23

Such a call is not an easy call. It is a call to death and suffering. Like Jesus, however, we can come before the throne of God and express our distress. We can tell Him we do not want to deny ourselves and carry our cross, and we can petition the Spirit of Christ to carry out what we cannot.

Christ's obedience was not in vain, and neither is ours! In dying to ourselves and allowing Christ to live through us our lives bear fruit to the glory of God. This world is not our home. Our lives are but a mist that appear for a little while and then vanish. Our purpose on this earth is to know Christ and make His name known.

In submitting His will to the will of the Father, Christ justified many. In the same way, in submitting our will to the will of Christ, our lives can be used to justify many! What a beautiful and sweet moment it will be to see the fruit of our obedience in Heaven! What a beautiful and sweet moment it will be to cast our crowns at the feet of our Savior!

Let us look to Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Let us follow His example in the power of His Spirit. Let us die to ourselves in this life and submit our will to Christ's that others might also be justified by faith.

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