Today’s Scrip-Bit 19 April 2020 Romans 5:8.

Romans 5:8.    ​ But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
 
Oh friends, they might close down the physical buildings we call the church, but they can’t stop the real church; the people, the faithful followers of Christ Jesus! That’s why we continue having church by whatever means possible, for with Jesus as our Lord and Leader anything is possible. So on this the Lord’s Day, in the time of the Coronavirus, let’s get together and have church nuh; sing praises, pray, give thanks, listen to the Word and be energized and encouraged, as our motto for this rough season, Bruh Paul’s marvellous words to Timothy remind us: ‘For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power (His Holy Spirit), and of LOVE, and of a sound mind (self-control, discipline).’ (2 Tim. 1:7) 

Oh my people, now is the time that the church, those who truly believe in Jesus, has to stand up strong and LOVE and pray the world back to safety, bring it out of it’s current dark spell into the miraculous light of Jesus. So, as always, we’ll begin with song, giving praise and worship to the Most High God Jehovah with a beautiful hymn from way back when, one of the many composed by the great Irish hymn writer, Mrs. Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895). It was possibly my most favourite Easter time hymn when I was growing up in Tobago, some sixty years ago. It’s titled ‘There is a Green Hill Far Away.’ 

They claim that Mrs. Alexander wrote the hymn when she was only 20 years old. That’s why it could be described as ‘a work of exquisite purity and tenderness of youth.’ And that’s possibly why it appealed to me at a tender age. (smile) The inspiration for the hymn is said to have been drawn from a couple of places. First from the Apostles Creed, especially the line: ‘Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried.’ And secondly from ‘a large grass-covered mound outside of her home town of Londonderry which put her in mind of the hill in the Holy Land, beyond Jerusalem’s gates ‘where our dear Lord was crucified.’ Who knows which one is right, though both could be? 

But with all of that info, let’s get down to some sweet, soulful and sincere singing that will make Jesus blush. (smile) Let’s heap the praise on Him! ‘There is a green hill far away, outside a city wall, where our dear Lord was crucified who died to save us all. We may not know, we cannot tell, what pains he had to bear, but we believe it was for us he hung and suffered there. He died that we might be forgiven, he died to make us good, that we might go at last to heaven, saved by his precious blood. There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, he only could unlock the gate of heaven and let us in. O dearly, dearly has he LOVED! And we must LOVE him too, and trust in his redeeming blood, and try his works to do.’ 

Oh, was that ever harmonious and praise worthy! And did Jesus ever blush! But every word we sang was true! And I like what one web site said about the hymn. ‘The writer gives substance and answer to those who inquire why Jesus died. She talks about God’s forgiveness. She speaks of how man can reclaim his original close relationship with God and suggests the only possible response is the total giving of LOVING self. The event was for us.’ And was it ever for us friends! Jesus’ sacrificial death on that old rugged cross at Calvary was ALL about and ONLY for us! As the hymn so rightly says: ‘He died to save us all!’ 

There’s no doubt about why He underwent such horrific suffering…that we might be forgiven, to make us good, so that we could receive salvation and eventually go to heaven and enjoy eternal life with Him. That’s it in a nutshell my brethren! It so happens that He was the ONLY one who could pay the high price the Father needed to forgive our sins; an unblemished, sinless sacrifice. And yes it required blood, because sins can only be atoned for with the shedding of blood, since the wages of sin is non other than death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (Rom. 6:23) And that’s exactly what Christ’s death on the cross accomplished. 

That brings us to this amazing scripture, Bruh Paul’s words to the church at Rome. ‘For as by one man’s disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many be made righteous.’ (Rom. 5:19) Wow friends! When I think of all that Christ’s death and resurrection did, I’m totally amazed! It paid our sin death in full, for all time, giving us an option to obtain individual forgiveness, where before we were staring eternal damnation with Satan straight in the face. For as Hebrews says: ‘And almost all things are by the law purged (cleansed) with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission (forgiveness). (Heb. 9:22) That states it loud and clear! 

It also reconciled us to the Father, with whom we were estranged from since Adam and Eve sinned. It justified us, making us righteous in God’s eyes. It sanctified us, causing us to be set apart for God’s good purpose and work. And the life blood that flowed from His bruised and beaten body cleanses us. Mama Mia! And He did all that simply because of His obedience to the Father, who LOVED us so much that He was willing to pay the high price He Himself set in His righteousness and justice! And there are no better words of scripture to end with this morning than these momentous words of Bruh Paul again to the church at Rome: 

‘For when we were yet without strength, in due time (at the right time) Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure (perhaps) for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth (demonstrated) his LOVE toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now (having been) justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being (having been) reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement (reconciliation).’ (Rom. 5:6-11) 

Ah mih people, Christ’s death was vicarious, meaning He died in our place, and His shed blood brought us salvation, but His resurrection, His life, sustains that salvation. And it all happened because of the Father’s great LOVE, and Christ’s exemplary obedience and selflessness. That’s why ‘we must LOVE him too, and trust in his redeeming blood, and try his works to do!’ Much LOVE!

…without Christ’s death and resurrection…there’d be no heaven…nothing but hell…

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