We Do vs. He’s Done

Peter’s bold Pentecost sermon to the men of Israel in Acts 2 explains the giving of God’s prophesied Holy Spirit, and it brought reaction. This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.  God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.  Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”  It is this last phrase that “cut them to the heart.” Their response, befitting anyone under conviction, was, “What shall we do?”

It is here that the beauty of the Christian gospel enters and transforms human bent and impulse. The ‘act’ required is to relinquish, to receive, not to work and perform. And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized [identify with Jesus] every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.’” Our natural inclination is to want to do something to save ourselves, to contribute, to earn and achieve. If we continue on this path, we are constantly unsettled, riddled with guilt and uncertainty, weary with effort that will always fall short, never be enough. We have no assurance. 

Crucifixion, Dutch Delft, 18th century

But the beauty of the gospel is that Jesus proclaimed, “It is finished”; He has finished the work of redemption, and it is complete. He has done it perfectly and forever. What we could not do Jesus has done once for all. (John 19:30; Romans 6:10; Hebrews 7:27; 9:12)

Lord Jesus, You are in me my hope of glory. Thank You for finishing Your work so I can be free to follow and serve You. (Colossians 1:27)

“Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free;
  I rose, went forth and followed Thee.”                                                                                              – Charles Wesley (1738)

 

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