Why Me?

Jesus garden
God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8

British pastor Joseph Parker was asked, “Why did Jesus choose Judas to be one of His disciples?” He thought deeply about the question for a while but could not come up with an answer. He said that he kept running into an even more baffling question: “Why did He choose me?”

That’s a question that has been asked throughout the centuries. When people become painfully aware of their sin and are overcome with guilt, they cry out to Jesus for mercy. In joyous wonder they experience the truth that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, and that they are forgiven of all their sins. It’s incomprehensible!

I too have asked, “Why me?” I know that the dark and sinful deeds of my life were motivated by a heart even darker, and yet God loved me! (Rom. 5:8). I was undeserving, wretched, and helpless, yet He opened His arms and His heart to me. I could almost hear Him whisper, “I love you even more than you loved your sin.”

It’s true! I cherished my sin. I protected it. I denied its wrongdoing. Yet God loved me enough to forgive me and set me free.

“Why me?” It’s beyond my understanding. Yet I know He loves me—and He loves you too!

How wonderful is Your grace, Jesus! It’s greater than all my sin. You’ve taken away my burdens and set my spirit free. Thank You.

God loves us not because of who we are, but because of who He is.

By David C. Egner

The Necessity of a Blood Sacrifice

Leviticus 17:11

If you’ve ever attempted to read through the Bible, you probably had the same reaction many Christians do when they reach the book of Leviticus: What are all these animal sacrifices about? This ancient sacrificial system of worship seems so foreign to us. Can you imagine having to bring a lamb for slaughter every time you want to confess your sin?

We tend to look back on all those bloody sacrifices and think, I’m sure glad that doesn’t involve me! But if we pass too quickly over them, we’ll miss seeing what our salvation cost the Savior. You see, He was our blood sacrifice. Redemption wouldn’t have worked if He’d simply died for us in His sleep, because “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).

The Israelites had the continual reminder of the cost of sin. But today, having never experienced the slaughter of thousands of animals, we often take our salvation lightly, not realizing what it required. The flogging and crucifixion of Christ was a bloody, messy scene. The horror of it should move us to tears of sorrow and gratitude for what He did to buy our salvation. Without the shedding of His blood, we’d be bound for hell and eternal separation from God.

Now, instead of dragging a lamb behind us to the altar, we rely upon the Lamb of God, who offered Himself as the sacrifice for our transgressions. His blood washed away our sin so we can one day stand in heaven, singing praise to the Lamb who purchased us with His blood (Rev. 5:9-10). How wonderful is our redemption, and how good is our God!

Power from Grace

“And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.” (Acts 4:33)

The apostle Peter observed that believers are to be ministering our “gift” to one another as “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). The words for “gift” and “grace” are very closely related. “Grace” is the most frequent translation for the Greek word charis, and charisma is most often rendered “gift.”

“The working of his mighty power” (Ephesians 1:19) appears to be “the manifestation of the Spirit” (1 Corinthians 12:7) displayed among God’s people by means of the gifts that the Holy Spirit has graced us with. Paul’s ability to minister was “according to the gift of the grace of God given unto [him, Paul] by the effectual working of his power” (Ephesians 3:7).

Thus, when we preach the gospel, we are using “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16). When our lives radically change in response to the “new man” created in us by God, we do so by “the grace of our Lord” which is “exceeding abundant with faith and love” (1 Timothy 1:14). When we access the strength to rise above our infirmities or difficult circumstances, we experience that the Lord’s “grace is sufficient for thee…. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

“And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11). HMM III

Please Pray for Me

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. —2 Timothy 4:7-8

Will you pray for me as a minister of the gospel? I am not asking you to pray for the things people commonly pray for. Pray for me in light of the pressures of our times. Pray that I will not just come to a wearied end—an exhausted, tired, old
preacher, interested only in hunting a place to roost. Pray that I will be willing to let my Christian experience and Christian standards cost me something right down to the last gasp!

Lord, I pray for all of my fellow pastors and Christian leaders. Help us, like Paul, and like Tozer, to finish strong. Amen.

Salvation: A Right Relation Between God and Man

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:13

The cause of all our human miseries is a radical moral dislocation, an upset in our relation to God and to each other.

For whatever else the Fall of man may have been, it was most certainly a sharp change in man’s relation to his Creator. He adopted toward God an altered attitude, and by so doing destroyed the proper Creator-creature relation in which, unknown to him, his true happiness lay.

Essentially salvation is the restoration of a right relation between man and his Creator, a bringing back to normal of the Creator-creature relation.

A satisfactory spiritual life will begin with a complete change in relation between God and the sinner; not a judicial change merely, but a conscious and experienced change affecting the sinner’s whole nature.

The atonement in Jesus’ blood makes such a change judicially possible and the working of the Holy Spirit makes it emotionally satisfying. The story of the prodigal son perfectly illustrates this later phase. He had brought a world of trouble upon himself by forsaking the position which he had properly held as son of his father. At bottom his restoration was nothing more than a reestablishing of the father-son relation which had existed from his birth and had been altered temporarily by his act of sinful rebellion. This story overlooks the legal aspects of redemption, but it makes beautifully clear the experiential aspects of salvation.

Power of the Cross

The cross… by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. GALATIANS 6:14

Only a person with a perfect knowledge of mankind could have dared to set forth the terms of discipleship that our Lord Jesus Christ expects of His followers.

Only the Lord of men could have risked the effect of such rigorous demands: “Let him deny himself” (Matthew 16:24).

Can the Lord lay down such severe rules at the door of His kingdom? He can— and He does!

If He is to save the man, He must save him from himself. It is the “himself” which has enslaved and corrupted the man. Deliverance comes only by denial of that self.

No man in his own strength can shed the chains with which self has bound him, but in the next breath the Lord reveals the source of the power which is to set the soul free: “Let him take up his cross.”

The cross was an instrument of death—slaying a man was its only function. “Let him take his cross,” said Jesus, and thus he will know deliverance from himself!

Dear Lord, I have much to learn about denying myself and bearing my cross daily—especially in the midst of so many mundane activities. Have Your way with me, Lord.