A Conflict Of Interest
Now and then I glanced at him and I sensed a faint longing to know him. Wasn't I created to know him? Shouldn't I at least try? I slowly, hesitantly moved towards him, only to find that I could not get to him. My rebellion had literally separated me from him, and I had lost both the right and the ability to approach him. As I turned away in shame, a voice was calling out to me. Yes, Jesus was calling my name, beckoning me to come! A glimmer of hope stirred within me and I tried again to approach him, but still I could not reach him. I knew the depth of my sin. I deserved to be separated from God and I must endure this, even through eternity, so I turned away in despair.
But as Jesus watched me walk off into eternity, he did the most amazing thing. With mercy beyond my comprehension, he volunteered to take my punishment for me. He willingly stepped into the realm of time, took on the frailty of human flesh, suffered the pain of death and separation from God, and endured the wrath of his beloved father which I so justly deserved.
As I behold such undeserved kindness, I am overcome with gratefulness and love, and in my love for him I would exclaim "Don't do it Jesus! Let me die as I deserve but please, don't you do it. You are too precious!" Yet in the next instant - or maybe the same - at the thought of being eternally separated from one I love so dearly, I cry out in desperation "Please save me Jesus, that I might somehow be reconciled to you!"
My heart is torn. How can I ever choose between two emotions so passionate yet so opposite? But the decision is snatched from my hands. It is taken completely out of my jurisdiction and decided for me. I am no longer faced with a decision, but a result. Jesus himself, in his infinite love for mankind, has made the choice which I could not and chosen to die in my place. He has borne my punishment on the cross, and suffered the agony of separation from God the Father. And that's not all. He has risen! Indeed, he has conquered death itself that I might have eternal fellowship with him IF I BELIEVE.
The conflict within me is not now dissolved, it is changed: I yearn to embrace Jesus' gift of salvation and walk in fellowship with him, but how can I possibly accept such an extraordinary gift, such extreme love, such costly redemption?
No, that is the wrong question. How can I refuse such a gift? It has already been purchased and is now freely offered to me. I must accept. I do. "Yes Jesus, I believe you loved me enough to pay the penalty for my sins, and I accept your gift of salvation." The conflict is over, the choice is made. Praise God, it is finished!