For A Good Man

Click on picture to stream song.

Click on picture to stream song.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:6-8)

These haunting words deserve a haunting song. Today’s song from the album Casual Crimes is just that — a haunting song that captures the profound truth of the gospel: that “when we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.”

This is it. This is the crux of the matter, the whole ball of wax, the whole enchilada, the whole ballgame. When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.

It’s fitting that we reflect on the death of Christ as we begin this Advent season, celebrating the birth of Christ on Christmas. To be sure, this is the last chapter of His life while Christmas is the first, but it is all about why He came. You can’t grasp the significance of the birth of Christ without understanding something about the significance of the death of Christ. It is why He came. Otherwise, we have just a nice story — the shepherds, the wise men, the animals, the angels, Mary and Joseph — but for what? So that Christ could die for us sinners.

The sacrifice of Christ is one of the hardest things to fathom about the gospel. We have to have some prior knowledge of history and theology to even begin to understand it, and even then, we won’t get all of it. Bits and pieces, maybe, as we go along, but we can never grasp the full ramifications of why Jesus came to die.

We may never get it all. It’s part of the mystery. It’s more of a necessary thing between God and Jesus — what they both had to do to save this race from extinction — like a pact made in heaven between God and His Son. God sent Jesus; Jesus came and died. But who cares why, really. Let the theologians try and figure that one out; you and I only need to believe.

Like the children of Israel, bitten by poisonous snakes and dying in the wilderness and called upon by Moses to look at the bronze serpent, wrapped around a pole, in order to be healed … who cares how or why? Are you going to spend a lot of time trying to figure it out, or just look. Look, for God’s sake! Look now; ask questions later!

There is no greater love
Than a man who lays down his life for a friend
No greater love
Than to follow through ’til the bitter end
No greater love
No greater love

For a good man someone might die
For a good man someone might die
For a good man someone might die
Would you die for me?
Would I die for you?

Perhaps, given all the circumstances are right, like a soldier instinctively falling on a grenade to save his buddies, we might die for someone; might being the operant word. Maybe for an especially good man, we might do this, but for a known scoundrel — a criminal, or a liar, thief or murderer — and someone who lied to us, stole from us and murdered our loved ones? For that matter, would you die for me? But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Ah, there it is: the essence of grace. While we were still sinners Christ died for us. This is not a “meet me halfway” proposition. God knew we were helpless. And thus the great tragedy of unbelief — the tragedy of an unclaimed sacrifice.

There is no greater pain
Than to love someone who shuns your name
No greater shame
Than a sacrifice that won’t be claimed
No greater shame
No greater pain

And finally, the last part of the last chapter seals the deal: the resurrection.

There is no greater man
Than one who lays down his life for his friends
No greater man
Than one who can pick it up again
No greater man
No greater man

The one who laid down His life did what no one else could ever do: He picked it up again, and He will pick ours up as well, that we might live with Him forever.

God is not looking for a few good men. He would never find even one. And though someone might die for a good man, God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. From sinner to eternity — that’s the reach of the Gospel of Welcome. Good thing, because on that basis, we all qualify.

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One Response to For A Good Man

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Yet again absolutely loved today’s Catch & thx 4 it too Pastor John I really liked this: “… who cares why, really. Let the theologians try and figure that one out; you and I only need to believe.” And Amen!

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