Saturday, February 25, 2017
The First Trumpet
Hear the blast of the first trumpet and know that there are more to come. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1) A seminary professor who taught a course on methodology in Bible study always said, "When you read a "therefore,' something important is coming." Over and over during these decades I have remembered and affirmed the truth of what he taught us. No condemnation. Blow that trumpet again! It brings to mind that passage from John's gospel which says, "...God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him." (John 3:17) And most assuredly it brings to mind that story regarded as questionable by some which we know as Jesus' encounter with the woman caught in the act of adultery. When those who would condemn her slipped away, Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way, and then from now on, do not sin again." (John 8:11)
What is clear is that the mission of Jesus was not about condemnation. It is not with condemnation that He looks upon us. Certainly, in our moments of honest introspection we would declare condemnation is what we deserve for we are so prone to sin. What one of us has not said, "If anyone is worthy of condemnation, Lord, surely it is I." The name we have worn so long and know so well is the name "sinner." But, Jesus has not come to beat us into the ground, but to lift us up to a place where we can live and live without having to be filled with regret, always conscious of wrong choices, and knowing that we have no hope. He comes to us with a different agenda.
The hymn "And Can it Be" declares, "No condemnation now I dread; Jesus and all in Him is mine; alive in Him, my living Head, and clothed in righteous divine, bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own." I always love to sing that last verse. It is indeed a triumphant ending. Voices sound louder and power rings through the air of the sacred space. Singing those words and celebrating what Christ is about is always a moment for hearing the heavenly trumpets sounding in our midst.