“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you,
but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
When God begins moving in our lives, working through us and calling us to things greater than our own strength and abilities, we can find our focus shifting to those things. Without realizing it, pride can begin building that God is using us to accomplish His purposes. And so, as with the disciples in Luke 10, Jesus brings us back to the true foundation of our joy. That basic, initial element, the wonder of which we should never lose: salvation.
It is a reminder of what we were without Him. A reminder of what He saves us from.
Jesus brings us back to where this whole journey began. He brings us back to the cross.
Because the cross is not a simplistic element that we move beyond when we grow in spiritual maturity. It is not something that we exchange for “deeper” theology as our understanding grows. No, the cross is everything. And our tendency to lose sight of this emphasizes the importance of communion in our worship. Jesus instructed us, “Do this…in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:24, 25). So we drink of the cup representing His blood shed for us. And we eat the bread representing His body broken for us. In doing so, we recall and proclaim His sacrifice, the basic element that is anything but simplistic for those who know Him – it is the foundation of our every hope and our every joy.
And as we grow in our walk with Christ and our understanding of Him, our amazement that He would save us continually grows. Our rejoicing that our names are written in the book of Life, never to be erased, sealed with the very Spirit of God and covenanted through the blood of Jesus shed on the cross – this only increases. Because as His Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ, we see more clearly our own wickedness and His magnificent grace. We realize more fully that we could not save ourselves; there was only one hope for a Savior, and He indeed came to save us.
Oh, let us never lose our wonder here. Because while there is a certain wonder at how God uses us, fulfilling His purposes in and through our lives, that we are vessels of clay through which His glory shines – this cannot eclipse the wonder that Christ has saved us. That we were looked upon by a Holy God who went to such lengths to ransom sinners and restore us to Himself.
O Lord, draw us back to the cross today. As we contemplate these verses, stir our hearts anew with wonder and rejoicing that You have saved us. You made us alive forever. May these words never become commonplace. With each hearing, root them more deeply in our heart to connect us always to Yours.
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame,
by triumphing over them in him.”
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”