Pastor Ben’s Homework Assignment

Lately, our pastor has been assigning the congregation “homework”. Yesterday’s assignment: tell someone the Gospel in your own words, using Romans 3:21-26 as a reference, if necessary.

Now, I know not too many people read this, but I figure maybe one person does, so it counts.

I started out dead. Sure, physically, I walked, talked, ran, laughed, cried, sat, slept, and ate like a living human. But I was spiritually quite dead.

I wasn’t sick. I wasn’t only broken and in need of repair.

No. I was dead as a doorknob.

I acted the way I wanted. The few times I “obeyed the Law of God” I counted as my own righteousness. Look at me, doing it all on my own. I’m such a good little Christian.

I was dead, but I thought I was alive.

I lived like this for 22 years, thinking my soul was alive while instead it was cold, stone-faced, dead.

I had nothing to recommend me. What on earth can a dead person do to make a holy, perfect, living God think she’s worthy of His grace and mercy? Dead people can’t pretend, can’t advertise themselves, can’t do enough good things, can’t do anything. They’re dead. I was dead.

But God.

In His mercy, He chose me. Out of all the spiritually dead people, He chose me. Why me?? I had no resume of which to boast to Him! But He chose me.

And like Lazarus, at the sound of His voice, calling my name through my sin, piercing my dark, sinful soul with His majestic light, I became alive.

I was set free from the bondage of spiritual death. I was even set free from the fear of physical death.

I was alive — I am alive!

And when I look at my life in wonder, flabbergasted that He would choose me, looking to see what I had done to deserve it, all I see is Christ’s sacrifice. His perfect life on earth, where He laid aside His crown for my soul… my soul!? His perfect death where He took on my sin and death on the cross… my sin and death!? And counted all of His righteousness, all of His goodness, as mine. He gave me His resume, so that all God would see when He looked at me was Christ.

And even as I still struggle and flail and flop in my sin here on earth, Christ reminds me of His exceptional mercy, His unbelievable grace towards me. He reminds me of the dead person I was and causes me to praise Him for the living person I am. He forgives me when I repent, He gives me strength to overcome my battles when I ask.

And when at last I am freed from this physical body, He will present me before God, not as the sinful criminal, the dead soul I was before He called me forth, but as the living soul, fellow heir with Him, and beloved sheep of His fold.

And through eternity, I’ll sing on, “What wondrous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul!”

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