The Predicament

So catastrophic a remedy demands a catastrophic predicament.

Stephen Westerholm

sermon here (starting at minute 38:53)

The cross is difficult to understand. Why was it necessary? Wasn’t there some other way to accomplish forgiveness? It is not until we see, as Westerholm says, the “catastrophic predicament” that we find ourselves in does the reality of the remedy of the cross come into view.

A holy God and an unholy humanity.

That is the predicament.

Why all the fuss? Why can’t God simply wave a hand and be done with it? Because our situation is dire due to Sin and sins. Sin is the evil power which actively sabotages God’s work. Sin also creates an environment in which personal misdeeds (small s – sins) reign. Oh, please don’t hear me say that we aren’t responsible for our actions. We cannot say, “The devil made me do it.” It is more accurate to say that “Evil was my partner.”

And because of this, as strange as it may sound, forgiveness is difficult for a holy God. For God to be true to his character, forgiveness must be part of transforming the unholy into holy. It is simply not enough for God to say you are forgiven and go about your business. God’s nature demands a pardon from our sins and freedom from the Sin that binds us in this broken world. That is why Jesus often said “go and sin no more” along with “you are forgiven.”

That is why this catastrophic predicament needed an equally catastrophic remedy.

Published by Todd Nelson

I'm one of the pastors at First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where I've served for the past thirteen years. The sub-title of this blog is "Grace is no accident" which happens to be the defining reality of my life. God's grace (gift) is the reason we have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts.

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