Sunday, March 18, 2018

Victim of Circumstance

We are coming up on a very busy time of year in America. School is back in session. Many families are scrambling to arrange one final vacation for Labor Day. Students are soon to be hit with sporting events and band practices. Businesses are gearing up for the final quarter of the year. We are right around the corner from two of the biggest and busiest holidays of the year. And to top it all off, this year we are surrounded by earthquakes, hurricanes, a busted economy, the soon coming 10 year anniversary of 9/11, and politicians beginning a major drive for the November 2012 election.

For many Americans, right now things are as hectic and exhausting as they are frightening and seemingly out of control. If we are honest about our own lives, it is way too easy for most of us to get lost in all of these things going on in our world and forget about the spiritual reality in which we live.

That spiritual reality, however, tells us this: no matter what economic, political or natural disaster may come our way, there is one disaster greater than any other in the history of the world that needs our attention, now more than ever. That disaster is the day that you and I murdered God.

Most of the time, if you are like me, we tend to play the victim of our circumstances. We aren’t busy because we choose to be. It is the boss’ fault, or the teacher’s fault. We aren’t in an economic mess because we can’t handle our own finances with any level of responsibility. It is the Democrats’ and/or the Republicans’ fault. We act as if we are the ones being tossed about by our circumstances rather than the ones in control.

Now, it is very true that we are over-stressed, over-stretched, overly ready to scream, and in our minds at least, it is always someone else’s fault. Never our own. But the reality is that more often than not, we are not the victim of circumstance, but rather, instigators of the actions that got us where we are. After Genesis 3, we are no longer the perfect people we were created to be. We now live life on a path of our own making that leads us to our own destruction (see Proverbs 14:12).

There is, however, one man who, even after the fall of Adam and Eve, was perfect. He was perfect because He was the Son of God and the second person of the Trinity. In Him we have the greatest picture of someone who really was a victim of circumstance. It was, however, our circumstances that He was victim to. And He was a victim willingly.

In the murder of Jesus Christ – God in the flesh – we have the most beautiful disaster in history, and the greatest story of hope we can ever know. And it is summed up in this: “For our sake (God) made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

By nature and by action we are all sinners and separated from God, living as His enemies. But God, in His greatest act of love and mercy, took our sin and placed it on His own Son, and then poured out the wrath due us on Him on the cross. In return, He took the righteousness of that Son and placed it on all who believe so that we can be reconciled to Him. This act has been called many things: “substitutionary atonement,” “double imputation,” or in the words of Martin Luther, “the great exchange.” But no matter what you call it, the fact remains that it was our sin caused the death of Christ. We murdered God.

The greatest news is that in the death of Christ, we justified with God, and no matter what else happens in the world around us, we are secure in that standing. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

So today, although it is easy in the business and the turmoil of the world to take on that victim mindset, resist! Instead, “fix your eyes on Jesus” because He is the true victim of your circumstance, yet He offers forgiveness, He changes the course of your destiny, and He will see you through to the end” (Hebrews 12:2).

A. Scott Ingram is the Associate Pastor at Grace Baptist Church in Odessa, TX and a Minister of Evangelism for Heart of God International Ministries. Scott lead the Men’s Conference in Uganda for Heart of God East Africa July 2011. You can follow Scott’s blog here:

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