Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Paradise Found

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried
it was our sorrows that weighed him down...
He was pierced for our transgressions,
crushed for our sins
He was beaten so we might be whole
He was whipped so we might be healed.

I think the chief idea here is redemption.

Of course, the Cross means that our sins are forgiven. We get away with being such awful sinners, and hence we should be properly relieved.

But I think that there is more to redemption than this. I had been puzzled for a long time by these verses. What has sin got to do with sorrows? If the Cross is intended to help us deal with our sins, why does Christ have to bear the sorrows too?

I think redemption means that we receive healing from all the scars caused by our own sins. It is as if we never committed the sins in the first place.

When there is sin, it isn't merely an offence against God, because some law is broken. Every sin wrecks its own damage upon our souls, at the very least, guilt and shame, self-rejection because of what we did. And then there could be anger at those whom we think caused us to sin. Dare I propose that sin hurts us more than it hurts others, and far more than we realise? Even if a sin committed goes unrecorded, we still suffer from the pain of having sinned.

And the Cross enables us to receive healing from others' sins. We live in a fallen world, and a lot of suffering comes from the actions done by other people - harsh words, condemnation and even physical hurt. Sometimes I think that we grieve the most deeply when we are hurt by those we love most. And this pain lingers to torment us long after the real act is over.

Yet Christ enables us to receive healing from all these hurts, to be able to look back at what happened without rancour, for the sake of His love, if nothing else. Hence, the Cross erases more than the penalty of sins. It truly removes ALL the consequences of sins, to enable us to live in a state that is a little more like Eden.

Then, why aren't Christians a happier lot of people? Why do I fret and rage at worldly matters, as if I do not know these truths? My friends, this is because of the lies our minds have come to believe in. After years of conditioned behaviour, it seems impossible to react differently in adverse conditions. We consider these reactions natural. When there is disapointment or heartbreak, we despair. But Christ says, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven'. He is telling us that there is a different way to live, and out of the brokenness there is a greater blessing we cannot fathom.

Let me try to remember that, anytime I feel despair, or fear, or anger, I have believed in the old lies again, that I have to despair, to fear, to be angry. But really, I don't. Because if anyone is in Christ, the old is gone and the new has come.

So, this Good Friday is a good time to contemplate what we have been redeemed from.

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