“ For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
My Beloved Family in the Lord Jesus Christ,
In our neighborhood there is a ritual we faithfully engage in each Sunday evening. I might speak of it as ‘the parade of the big green cans.’ Like clockwork, we all drag those oversized (and usually overfilled!) garbage receptacles down to the street where, early on Monday morning, they will be emptied into that equally oversized truck (you know . . . the one with the squeaky breaks!).
Every Monday it happens. The garbage we have created and the junk we have accumulated over the previous seven days is taken away, never to be seen again. I am told that the final resting place of our garbage is a city-owned landfill where it is buried deep in the ground.
After decades of engaging in this weekly routine, there is one simple truth that would appear axiomatic and undeniable: in the act of living we produce lots of garbage!
There is no way around it! And this is true for every human society there is!
Wherever we might go, to any nook or cranny of this massive globe, we will discover people who are making garbage. It’s just what we do on this side of heaven.
There is also a lesson here, and a most encouraging one, that applies directly to our lives a Christians.
It is suggested by Paul in the words quoted above: “ to us who are being saved. . . .”
It’s quite natural for us to think of our salvation as a one-time event. Most of us will remember the glorious day, and perhaps even the precise hour, that we turned from our sins, trusted Christ, and received the gift of eternal life. In that moment we were united to our Savior, justified fully, adopted into the family of God, and made recipients of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
But there is a great sense in which we are also “ being saved,” as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1:18. There is something happening to us right now, and every moment of every day! We are always in the process of “ being saved”! And by this, Paul means that there is an ongoing experience of the “ power of God” and the Gospel for all who have trusted in Christ Jesus.
One blessed aspect of this continual experience of our Father’s awesome saving “ power” and grace is illustrated by the weekly ritual of hauling out our garbage and junk.
As we all know, not only from Scripture but also from experience, we will war against our own temptations and sins until Jesus comes. Not even one of us will be fully sanctified in this life. Our need of the cleansing blood of our dear Savior is constant. We need forgiveness not only from our evil deeds and thoughts, but also from our acts of righteousness, which are stained with sin and are only made acceptable to God by Christ’s continual ministry as our Mediator. As reflected in an ancient Christian prayer, we must even beseech the Lord to “forgive us for our good works.”
The fact is, we make a lot of garbage, even as those who have been once-for-all redeemed!
So, what do we do? How do we avoid being overwhelmed by our perpetual sins and transgressions? What keeps us from being plunged into despair?
It is by remembering and believing that we have not only been saved in the past, but that we are “ being saved” every second in the present by the awesome grace of our Lord!
His once-for-all death upon the cross has fully atoned for our sins. But the impact and effect of His death is experienced over and again as we ‘take out our garbage.’ Many times a day, as the Spirit does His gentle work of shaping us into the image of God’s Son by convicting us of our transgressions, we take our sins to the cross. And there, they are whisked away by the omnipotent love of our Father, and buried for all time and eternity under His infinite mercy! Without fail, every time that we look to our Savior’s cross, our burdens are lifted, our junk is removed, and we are increasingly freed from sins’ guilt and tyrannical dominion.
And there’s more! Our Father never tires of receiving our humble confessions. He bids us to approach His throne of mercy with the boldness and confidence of His beloved children. His word to us is always “ Come to Me”! Our blessed Lord is, after all, the Divine ‘Garbage Remover.’ Taking away our rotting messes is His specialty! And He performs this task freely and with great joy:
“ for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2).
So, on this Monday be sure to take out the trash! Keep your eyes on your Savior who is saving you today!
I love you all so much,