And my selfish pursuit of survival.
Here’s what I needed: To be rescued from among the fallen, reconciled with God, restored to a condition worthy of eternity in Heaven, and redeemed from unavoidable death.
So I turned to Christ to rescue, reconcile, restore, and redeem me. I needed it. I wanted to possess it. And in my quest for self-preservation, I obtained it. I’m a selfish being.
Here’s what Christ needs: Nothing from me or anyone else.
But he offered to rescue me. He became my reconciliation with God. He gave me His righteousness, and therefore passage to eternity in Heaven. He redeemed me from the death I couldn’t escape.
Here’s what it cost me: Nothing.
Here’s what it cost Him: A trade of glory for flesh and gravity. The cross. The strong grip of death apart from the loving presence of the Father.
Here’s what I gained: Knowledge of God. Fellowship with others like me and inclusion in Christ’s church. Awareness of life as it’s meant to be. The ability to follow God. The experience of His glory. Overwhelming identification with His grace.
Here’ what Christ gained: The approval of His Father. The church. The right to redeem the entire earth over which He will soon rule unchallenged. The crown of the One True King. Glorification.
Did he do what he did to accomplish this goal? No. It was all His before He spoke the world into being. He is—His Gospel is—completely selfless. Here are a few other things He gained: Hatred. Mocking. Widespread, blatant disrespect. Apathetic, half-hearted consideration. Adamant refusal.
Even my own selfish need for His selfless gift wasn’t really selfish at all. If He hadn’t pointed out my need, I never would have known. In a way, my selfishness is rooted in His selflessness. If He didn’t show up, I wouldn’t have looked for Him. As it is, I gave up clinging to what I thought I knew about life to obtain…life. And life is in Christ.
Another one of those paradoxical truths? God’s glory gained by selflessness. My redemption realized out of a selfish need to live and not die. The rhythm of salvation. The poetry of grace. God came down to live a simple human life in an ancient land and then he died on a cross. And then He conquered death. And then I accepted His astonishing remedy to cure what I didn’t know was wrong with me until He told me. For His glory, for my life, I’ll take it. What else can I do? There is no other way.
And this is the testimony, that God gives us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I John 5:11-12