Thursday, March 20, 2014

The promise is for you

I was impressed recently while reading Peter's sermon at Pentecost in Acts 2 by the following extreme contrast:

Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God . . . you crucified and killed by the hands of those outside the law (vv. 22-3).

Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him (vv. 38-9).

It impressed me that God promises the Holy Spirit to the very persons who killed Jesus whom he sent; Jesus Christ gives the Holy Spirit to the same persons who put him on the cross to be killed by gentiles!

In all of this God shows his wonderful grace towards us, in that he even makes use of our wickedness and sin in order that it may be undermined and done away with. For by means of the evil of the people who rejected Jesus Christ, both Jew and Gentile alike, God lifted the curse of the Law and of death from over their heads and took it upon himself, so that he might give those who rejected him life, peace, shalom, and -- ultimately -- his very self!

This is a God who truly, as T. F. Torrance put it, "loves us more than he loves himself" (A Passion for Christ: The Vision that Ignites Ministry, p. 14).