March 2019 Message

 

God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).

 

Dear Christian Friends,

 

Just a couple of months ago we were singing praises to the Newborn King. We rejoiced, while trying to wrap our minds around the fact that God, born of the Virgin Mary, become man, for us and for our salvation. Wow!

As we enter in the season of Lent (Ash Wednesday is March 6th), our focus is now directed to the cross. And so, we go from cradle to cross. We love to gaze into the manger with awe and wonder, but the cross, how did we end up here? We cannot help but feel that something went wrong. That something happens to be deeply personal. It is not easy to face. What went horribly wrong is the fact that we fell into sin. Like the prodigal son, we took what we could from our Father and we set out on our own, thinking that our way would be much better. “I know what’s best for me.” And away from the Father we went.

 

But God our Father never turned His back on us. “He showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The relationship between us and God was hopelessly broken and we could do nothing about it; in fact we didn’t even want to do anything about it. God wasn’t caught off guard. His plan of love was in place before the ages.

 

The Nativity by Lorenzo Lotto (b.1480–d.1556) illustrates the fullness of God’s plan for our salvation. The Son of God came down from heaven and was born of the Virgin Mary taking on our flesh. We see this beautifully illustrated with Joseph and Mary in the foreground pondering the miracle of Immanuel, “God with us.” But God did not come to us simply to hang out or show us how to live a good life. He came to save us. He came to fulfill the Law; to live a perfect life in obedience to the Father. He came to die for our sin, our rebellion, and our wandering. The cross was always in view. It wasn’t an accident, but rather a necessity. Lotto reminds us of this reality in his painting. Notice the crucifix in the upper left-hand corner. Jesus came to die. That’s God’s way; that’s the only way our broken relationship with God could be repaired. God’s love for us is so strong, so pure, so enduring, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

This Lent spend some time pondering the love of God. Spend some time in God’s Word. Spend some time at the foot of the cross contemplating God’s steadfast love for you!

In Christ,

Pastor Matt

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