Welcome! This is part six in my eight week children’s devotional series Understanding Who You Are. Feel free to comment your thoughts below and share if you know someone who could use this!
Here are the eight weeks:
- What Are You Made Of?
- How Did God Make You?
- Who Are You?
- Why Did God Make You?
- Why Do We Do Wrong Things?
- Is Sin Part Of God’s Plan?
- How Can You Be Made New?
- What Is Your Purpose?
Last week we learned the reason why this world is not perfect. We learned why people do bad things and why bad things happen to people.
In the beginning, earth was a paradise. Then Adam and Eve made a choice that turned this world into a place of duality – a place that could experience both good and evil. Since then, we have all been making wrong choices.
We learned about sin, and how sin is anything that deviates from our original design of love, wholeness, and purity.
And now, what will God do?
Has God left us in our sinful state, or is he capable of fixing us – of restoring his creation to what it was supposed to be?
Let’s find out.
How God Fixed Our Wrongs
In Isaiah 59, we find a fascinating account! In fact, this passage is one of my favorites in the whole Bible. I cry happy tears every time I read it.
Let’s start in verse 13, where the terrible effects of sin on God’s beautiful creation are being described:
13 We know we have rebelled and have denied the Lord. We have turned our backs on our God. We know how unfair and oppressive we have been, carefully planning our deceitful lies. 14 Our courts oppose the righteous, and justice is nowhere to be found. Truth stumbles in the streets, and honesty has been outlawed. 15 Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.
But thank God, this is not where the story ends! Next, we see something astounding!
The Lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice. 16 He was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So he himself stepped in to save them with his strong arm, and his justice sustained him.
20 “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,” says the Lord. 21 “And this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you.” [NLT, emphasis mine]
There are two important things I want you to notice from this passage.
- God was “amazed” that not a single human being “intervened.” The whole earth, full of his image-bearers, designed out of his glorious light, made to display his love, and not a single one of them was strong enough to resist the “ripples of darkness,” and get pulled into the effects of sin. This surprised God. This should give us a clue about who we truly are, and who God intended for us to be – God expected better of us.
- Since not a single human being was strong enough to save themselves, [to remain a pure image-bearer even in a world overcome by ripples of sin] God stepped in to save us. He came as a Redeemer, to buy us back from our sinful ways. Only a God of amazing, incomprehensible love would do a thing like that. And again, this should give us a clue about who we are. We are made in his image. Look at the love, the dedication, the forgiveness, the power, the strength he displayed. This is what we are supposed to be.
Now, let’s read from 1 Peter 1:18-20 [NLT]! In this passage, we learn another truth, even more amazing, if possible, than the one we just read about in Isaiah.
18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. 20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake. [emphasis mine]
Let’s read the words in bold again. Just in case you missed them.
“God chose him [Jesus] as your ransom long before the world began.”
Did you get that? Do you hear it? Do you hear the unbelievable, mind-blowing love in that statement?
Before the world began – LONG before the world began – God knew we would disappoint him! He knew we would choose wrong, fall into sin, and destroy his earth. And what did he do?
He, himself, decided to come and save us. He knew this would happen before he even created us, and yet he created us anyway!
If you ever doubted you were loved, doubt it no more. You are so loved that the Creator of the universe knew all the wrongs you would ever commit before he made you, and not only did he still make you, he decided he would sacrifice himself to save you. All before you were even born.
But Wait! There’s More!
Isaiah 59:20 talks about the Redeemer.
“The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins,”
Do you know what the word “redeem” means? It means to “buy back.”
When the world fell into sin, it also fell under the power of darkness. The power of sin held us under its power like a spell. Unable to save ourselves, we waited for a hero to come and set us free.
I’m sure you’ve heard the story of Jesus.
Jesus was God in the flesh.
Jesus was the Redeemer.
I’m sure you’ve heard how he was born in a stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and placed in a manger. How angels sang songs of glory and joy to the shepherds on the hillsides, and how magi brought expensive gifts from far lands.
I’m sure you’ve heard how Jesus grew up, performed many miracles, and then suffered and died on the cross, rising again three days later. Jesus did many things on the cross. Here, we will talk about three of them.
- Jesus showed us what God was like, and in so doing, he reminded us of who we, his image-bearers were created to be.
In John 14:9 [NLT], Jesus says, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”
In John 10:30 [NLT], Jesus says, “The Father and I are one.”
- Jesus overcame the powers of darkness that held God’s creation captive.
I John 3:8 [NLT] says, “But the son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.”
- Jesus provided the way for all of creation to be restored back to God.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. [emphasis mine]
We learned last week about the fall into sin, and how every sinful choice we make travels outward like a ripple of darkness, touching everyone in the world, making it more likely that others will also choose sinful choices, and holding all of us captive. There is only one thing that could break the hold of sin on this world and save us from ourselves.
A big, God-sized ripple of light that would overpower all the dark ripples we have created. And that’s exactly what happened when Jesus died on the cross.
Jesus willingly paid the price for all of our sins, all of our wrongs, all of our mistakes. The Bible says he “became sin” in our place, and that he was whipped for our healing.
Not only did he pay the price to free us from our sins, he provided what was necessary to make all things right – to bring every person and all of creation back into the image of God and vessel of love they were created to be.
As he was dying, before he said “It is finished, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” what were Jesus’s last words?
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Do you know what happened when Jesus said those words? God in human form on the cross, in the midst of his suffering for our sins, chose forgiveness. This is love beyond comprehension. And this kind of love was powerful enough to save us.
However, as we will learn next week, the choice is still ours, just as it has been since Adam and Eve chose in the garden. We can choose to remain in our sin, or we can choose to be restored to our original design through the forgiveness that Jesus provided.