Published by Barnabas International • PO Box 11211 • Rockford, IL 61126 • Volume XVIII • No. 1 • January 2004
LEE HOTCHKISS, Executive Director <> LAREAU LINDQUIST, Founder
This month is the fifth anniversary of my horrendous automobile accident, back on January 22, 1999. That event was a near-death experience which kept me hospitalized for eleven weeks. Just four days ago, one of my doctors said to me, Your recovery is truly amazing.
When I was recovering, Evie gave me a gold neck chain. It was a welcome-back gift which I still cherish and wear. I received another gift, a cross that I wear on the chain. I had been talking to some friends that own a gold shop in the Bahamas. I had been thinking for some time about buying a cross to wear. I ordered a cross, asking that it not be beautiful but rather sturdy and rough. They exceeded my expectation in creating a one-of-a-kind cross. It was a gold cross with four silver nails imbedded in the four corners of the cross. I have never polished the cross. Consequently the silver nails have now tarnished and appear as four black, rusty nails. I wear it all the time. When I first put the chain and the cross around my neck, I noticed that the cross covered the scars left by the tracheotomy on my neck. In the place of the scars, I now saw only the cross. I remember saying to Evie, Look, the cross covers my scars. It was true physically that the cross covered the scars. But it was and is more so true spiritually that THE CROSS COVERS THE SCARS. THAT IS, HIS CROSS COVERS MY SCARS.
Daily these two gifts remind me of my accident. They also remind me of the ongoing reality and necessity of the cross of Christ. John, in his first epistle, says that the blood of Christ purifies us of all sin. Indeed His blood keeps on cleansing and purifying us. As the hymnist writes, His blood will never lose its power.
I often find myself humming and singing the hymn, CALVARY COVERS IT ALL. Listen to its refrain . . . Calvary covers it all . . . My past with its sin and shame. My guilt and despair, Jesus took on Him there, and Calvary covers it all.
The Scriptures are frequent, familiar, and generous in teaching this truth . . .
As far as the east is from the west, so far He has separated our sins from us.
God casts our sins behind His back, and He sees them no more.
David writes, If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness of sin. (Psalm 130:3-4)
Praise God, Calvary covers it all. That's right . . . Calvary covers it all. At this point perhaps we begin to wonder if all really means all. Perhaps you think of some really ugly sin in your past. You think of that habitual sin. You wonder about your besetting sin. You ponder the public sins that others maybe know about you. You wonder about your secret sins that nobody knows about. God's forgiveness covers it all. Doesn't it sometimes seem too good to be true? John Stott writes, There are two things about sin that we need to take more seriously . . . Firstly, the confession of sin. Secondly, the forgiveness of sin. When God says, You are forgiven, we indeed are truly forgiven.
Satan, our accuser, will continue to accuse us. But God, our Forgiver, cleanses and forgives us. Paul wrote in Galatians 6:14, May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Friend, it's not about you or what you have done. It's all about Him and what He has done. We cannot boast or strut. Not now and certainly not in heaven.
Augustus Toplady in his hymn, ROCK OF AGES, says Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the Cross I cling.
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