Today my son Eddie would have been 28 years old. This is his fifth birthday in Heaven. I wrote a couple years back on his birthday wondering if they celebrate birthdays in Heaven. We can only speculate and not know for sure until we get there. For some reason I have been dreading today but now that it is here I am able to rejoice. I hope my wife and girls are able to also; I pray the same for Eddieâ€™s mother and the rest of Eddieâ€™s relatives. The rejoicing comes from knowing Eddie is in Heaven, no longer hurting, scared, killing, scarring, tired, thirsty and hungry.
We rejoice in the knowledge of his salvation. And we rejoice in the knowledge of a heavenly reunion because those of us who have given our lives to Jesus Christ will for sure be with Eddie one day. I can imagine when I get there Eddie will greet me with that big toothy grin asking, â€œWhat took you so long Dad?â€
What is this knowledge of his salvation? It rests in the surety that because Eddie trusted in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the Cross that Eddie was justified for his sins. It means Eddie, me, and all others who trusted Christ for salvation received forgiveness of sins. This is known as justification. Whatâ€™s the big deal? My Thompson Chain-Reference Bible defines justification as â€œGodâ€™s declaration that the believing sinner is righteous and acceptable before Him.â€ Thatâ€™s some big deal!
Romans 5 deals with this concept of justification and weâ€™ll go to the end and work our way back; the conclusion will take us to the beginning. The Apostle Paul explains the need for justification in verses 18-19:
â€œTherefore, as through one manâ€™s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Manâ€™s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one manâ€™s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Manâ€™s obedience many will be made righteous.â€ (Romans 5:18-19)
The first man noted is Adam; Adam and Eve brought sin into humanity through their disobedience to Godâ€™s commandments. And of course they were helped along by the wiles of the devil. Nevertheless, this sin, an offense that brought judgment to all men, results in our condemnation. Because of our sinful nature we are condemned to hell.
But glory to God the story does not have to end there. The second man, â€œthrough one Manâ€™s righteous act,â€ brought us the free will gift of salvation which resulted in â€œjustification of life.â€ it means God looks upon us â€œjust as if Iâ€™d never sinnedâ€ (an easy way to remember justified).
So why did God do this for us? He wanted to put on a show! He wanted to demonstrate how much He loves us. This next verse literally rocked my world when I realized its aletheia truth:
â€œBut God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.â€ (Romans 5:8)
God stood up, displayed His love towards all humanity by allowing His one and only beloved Son to die on the Cross. And notice God the Father did not wait for we the sinners to get our act together before He accepted us. He did it all â€œwhile we were still sinners.â€ Jesus didnâ€™t wait; He died for us because we were sinners.
This means we donâ€™t have to wait to get our lives together to come to Christ. The bad news is that will never happen; the good newsâ€”letâ€™s call it the Gospelâ€”is that we donâ€™t have to wait. You can come as you are.
I know this might not make sense to some of you or to those whom you try to witness. That is because we all try to apply human logic to it. Paul addressed that in the preceding verse:
â€œFor scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.â€ (Romans 5:7)
So Paul acknowledges the temptation to use human logic. Oswald Chambers addressed the approach we need to take when considering justification:
The salvation of God does not stand on human logic, it stands on the sacrificial Death of Jesus. We can be born again because of the Atonement of Our Lord. Sinful men and women can be changed into new creatures, not by their repentance or their belief, but by the marvelous work of God in Christ Jesus which is prior to all experience. The impregnable safety of justification and sanctification is God Himself. We have not to work out these things ourselves; they have been worked out by the Atonement. The supernatural becomes natural by the miracle of God; there is the realization of what Jesus Christ has already done â€“ â€œIt is finished.â€
Isnâ€™t that wonderful?! Jesus has already done all the work for us. We need do nothing else except to trust Christ for salvation.
That is why on a day like today, one that in some ways brings sorrow, I can still rejoice. I would so love to wish my only son happy birthday, but because our Heavenly Father gave up His only Son for us, in my sorrow I can rejoice to know that Eddie is celebrating his 5th heavenly birthday.
Do you have that assurance that if you were to die today your next birthday would be spent in heaven? You need to have that assurance and you can have it today if you will turn from yourself, your sinfulness, and turn to Jesus and say yes to the Atonement worked out by Jesus on the Cross at Calvary.
I pray you will do that; what a wonderful gift to give to my family, but more important, what a wonderful gift for you to receive.
May the Lord save you today!
If youâ€™re receiving these devotionals for the first time and would like to receive them on a regular basis, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and use â€œPlease add to Devotional Listâ€ as the subject.
Copyright Â© 2012 David Jeffers