Accomplishment 7

Romans 3:25

The concept of salvation can be very complicated and difficult to understand. Scholars and theologians have put forth all manner of theories as to what is really happening in our relationship with the crucified Christ.

Many of the New Testament writers, including Paul and the author of 1 John, had to deal with a variety of beliefs on the crucifixion. Some people believed that Jesus was “the Christ” – that is, God was in him – until the crucifixion. Then the Spirit or presence of God departed and left the human being hanging on the cross (see Matthew 27:46).

But Paul sums up the crucifixion and our salvation fairly easily in his letter to the Roman church. What type of sacrifice was Jesus? How do we gain that forgiveness? Why did God do this?

We cannot fully comprehend the omnipotent and all-knowing God. The completeness and fullness of the crucifixion and our salvation may never be totally understood. But Paul offers a very good explanation as to what is going on.

God loves us very much. His incredible love for us has compelled God to be willing to sacrifice Himself so that we might have a relationship and connection to Him. As evidence of this great love we have Paul’s speculation that God refused to punish anyone who has sinned before the arrival of Jesus so that all might have that opportunity for salvation.

God denied Himself by allowing Jesus, God in human form, to die on the cross. This sacrifice was the blood sacrifice required to make up for our sins and bring us into a restored relationship with God. We must have the faith, the belief, that Jesus died for us. Then we have our sins atoned for. They are erased and we are brought into the loving embrace of God.

This is the accomplishment of our faith – to know in our hearts that Jesus took away our sin and we are filled with the presence of God so that we can share His love in the world.

DAILY CHALLENGE: Can you pray to accept Christ as your Savior?

Accomplishment 6

Acts 1:8

Part of the Emmaus Walk experience is having people who pray for the participants. As one of the participants, or pilgrims, it is a comfort to know that there are those who are supporting you in your spiritual journey, even if they are people you do not know and who do not know you.

It may be an unseen force, but it is a real force. The prayers of others help the pilgrim on the journey.

As Jesus was about to depart from this earth he gave some encouragement to his disciples. How will they receive power? What will this enable them to do?

Many scholars claim that the arrival of the Holy Spirit that Jesus foretold in this passage was the first time the Holy Spirit had come to earth and worked through humanity to accomplish God’s work. After this initial arrival, once the Holy Spirit had been given by Jesus this first time, then the Holy Spirit has been present ever since, working here and there to bless and direct the children of God.

Such a belief can be debated as to its accuracy, but what we must see is the fact that Jesus did not leave the disciples on their own. Although Jesus had to leave in his own person, he sent the Spirit of God to be present with them so they might have the strength, wisdom and power to share the love of God in the world.

The same is true for us. The Holy Spirit is that unseen force that gives us the drive and ability to share love. It may be invisible but it is very real and we must be aware that God is with us in all things when we work to share Him with others.

Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to be with us in the work we do for the kingdom of God. With the presence of the Spirit in our hearts and in our souls we receive God’s own power and authority to share His love on earth.

Like the disciples, when we have the Holy Spirit as part of who we are we will have the ability and authority to witness to the grace and glory of God in all the world.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can you do to be a witness to the ends of the earth?

Accomplishment 5

John 12:26

Coping with the snow this winter has been trying at times. It is a difficult task to shovel our driveway because it is very wide and very long. When we drive our cars over the snow it makes the job harder still.

The other day I asked our son to shovel and he went out to try to scrape away the snow which had been packed down on the concrete. It was difficult to make any progress so I went out and joined him in the work. Neither of us had much luck in getting the thick snow-pack up, but we worked together as best we could.

When we face the work of God’s kingdom we must remember that no matter how hard the work may be we are not alone. What does Jesus say about serving him? Where is Jesus as we work for God? What is the result?

If we will live out our faith and move our faith on toward maturity we will need to be doing the work of God in the world. It is a daunting task. There is a great deal of love and compassion needed in the world and it is up to each of us as believers in God to be part of that positive influence so desperately needed.

But we need not feel overwhelmed by what is expected of us. We are not alone in the good work we do. Jesus has assured us that he will be with us as we offer care and compassion to others.

For Jesus to be with us requires two things. First, we must follow where Jesus has led. The work we do should be the works of love that Jesus has presented in his teachings in the Gospels.

Second, for Jesus to be with us we must invite him to be part of our lives. We must acknowledge that Christ is truly the Son of God and he is our Savior. Then we must make him part of who we are.

With Jesus directing us and living in us it will be easy to share the love of God in our hurting world. We will be strengthened by the Lord and directed by the Holy Spirit.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What can remind you that Jesus is with you?

Accomplishment 4

John 14:15-17

Our children have impressed many a guest at dinner when they get up from the table and begin clearing away the dishes. People have been astounded that these teens are so willing to do this unpleasant task without being berated and goaded into working.

Why do they do it? They do it because they have been taught to do this and they know this is a natural part of being a member of our family. You pitch in and do your part. It is how we keep our family a happy one and how we express love for one another.

In the Gospel of John Jesus offers a simple comment on how to be a faithful believer. How can we show Jesus that we love him? Who will God send to us? How is it we are already familiar with this Counselor?

This is the way we live out the faith we have. We obey the commands of Jesus. We live out the instruction of Jesus. We do that by showing the love of God to the world – by being forgiving and caring in our actions.

This is how we reach the accomplishment and fulfillment of our faith. We love Jesus so much that we will do as he commands with a joyful heart and not a grudging obligation. It is love for Christ that prevents the commands of Jesus from becoming a burden (see 1 John 5:3).

But we are not alone in the living out of our faith. Jesus has promised to send us a Counselor. We know this Counselor, the Spirit of truth, to be the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit living inside us helps us to reach that maturity level in our faith that we can be God’s representatives in the world.

If we can allow the Holy Spirit to compel and direct us we can truly reach that accomplishment of faith that brings our faith in God to complete maturity and wholeness.

DAILY CHALLENGE: What will help you obey what Jesus has commanded?