“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
I love my husband. Not just in the normal way people think about love, but I love my husband. We’ve been married for almost 17 years now and we have a great marriage. It would make sense to think I would know most things about him by now. But I’m always learning things about him – either the same information I already knew but at a deeper layer or things from his past that we thought we had shared but haven’t or new things as he grows and changes and develops new interests.
I also love God. More than I love anyone else. When I say that, I don’t just mean that I love Him in the sense that He’s my Father and I want to obey Him. I mean that I love Him because He is always teaching me something new, even about things I thought I already knew.
Around Easter time, our pastor preached a series describing the difference about the blood that saves us (Jesus’ death on the cross), the water which frees us from our sinful past (adult baptism), and the oil which symbolizes asking the Helper (Holy Spirit) into our lives to help us daily fight life’s battles. He made sure we understood that only the blood on the cross is what saves us. That is when we accept Jesus into our heart and acknowledge we are sinners, asking Him to be Lord of our life. Then, we are saved and have the guarantee we will go to Heaven when we die. While God wants us to be baptized to publically show others about the relationship we now have with Jesus and to free us from our past lifestyle as well as wants us to experience the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, neither of those are prerequisites to spending eternity in Heaven. Accepting Jesus into my heart is the only way I will spend eternity in Heaven. The other areas are what will help me live an abundant and joy-filled life here on Earth.
This summer, my pastor did a series about Communion. He took concepts he had preached on previously as well as truths I had learned as a child and presented them in a way that made all the pieces fit. At the same time, God had been speaking to me in my quiet time and through a variety of circumstances as well as conversations with friends. That weekend, it all came together in a way that showed me how personal God is and how much He wants the best for each of His children, especially when we specifically ask Him for wisdom or knowledge in specific areas.
Our pastor started out talking again about how the only way to go to Heaven is to be saved by Jesus’ blood on the cross. With that foundation established, he again reminded us that being baptized after asking Jesus into our heart frees us from our past and allows us to have a clean slate, or fresh start. Then he further explained that the bread we use to take communion symbolizes Christ’s body and reminded us of the above verse in Isaiah which talks about how Christ’s wounds, when He was beaten and whipped by the guards before hanging on the cross, are what heals us.
Saved by His death on the cross. Freed from my old sinful life when rising up out of the water through baptism. Healed by the wounds He suffered before going to the cross. If that isn’t enough, to think that He loves me so much He still would have gone through all that if I was the only person alive.
Come back next time to hear about what God had been doing personally in my life during this series.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015