Biblical Womanhood

A Brick Wall Beginning

February 5, 2016

Brick Wall |www.sarahkeller.com

I once lived in a row house where the only thing I saw through my bedroom window was a solid brick wall. It was fitting, because that dead-end view was a portrait of my life at the time. It’s not that I’d suffered a tragedy, a failure, or a misfortune. I was a sophomore in college with every opportunity afforded me and I lacked nothing by worldly standards. But somehow that didn’t account for the dark void in my heart and mind. The void that exposed my utter lack of purpose, direction, or peace. It had always been there, but somehow I’d come to a point in my life where it faced me as forcefully and inescapably as that brick wall that blocked the view from my bedroom window. But sometimes these dead ends aren’t an “end” at all, but a beginning. I now count that dark room and that dark chapter in my life as sweet mercy, because it was the very place where my good and gracious God came for me. Where Christ opened His arms wide for me and where He took me under His wing and gave me a second chance at life! Not because I deserved it, but simply because He is good.

This is the story of my brick wall beginning.

But before I go on, let me give you a little bit of background on me. Even though I didn’t grow up in what you might call a traditional Christian home, I did have the privilege of attending a variety of Protestant churches throughout my childhood. Over the years I got a picture of what the so-called Christian life was supposed to be, and that left me with a nagging and unsettling impression that I could never be good enough to be one of Jesus’ “people”. Then add to that all of the natural questions like- is the Bible really true? Is Jesus really God like He says He is? Why did He have to die on a cross? There were times when I certainly had hope and what you might call a child-life faith, but there were also times where I wavered between doubt and discouragement, in the limbo of wanting to fully believe and understand what seemed like a good thing, yet lacking a solid grip on truth.

MEETING JESUS, JOINING HIS FAMILY, LOVING HIS WORD

Fast forward to now, and one thing is exceedingly clear: sitting in the pews, singing the hymns, and even praying and reading the Bible are empty works if I’m estranged from God Himself. Though my path was- some of the time- paved with good intentions, I had no personal relationship with Him all of those years. And this leads me back to the room with the brick-wall view. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of college during a simple Bible study with my best friend- in that room!- that it changed. The two of us were reading about the life of Christ in the book of Mathew, and the only way I can describe it is that He opened my eyes to a genuine, saving faith, and finally gave me the indescribable gift of seeing Him for who He really is- a friend, brother, counselor, confidant; the one and only righteous and loving Creator and God, full of mercy and truth. He was no longer the distant, mysterious historical figure I’d learned about growing up, but a real, living person. It was as if He walked right up to me with a big smile on His face and open arms! He gave me His light, His joy, and- for the first time ever- confident assurance! He truly made me one of His own that day.

Along with this totally new sense of joy and belonging to His family, I couldn’t wait to read the bible. As Jesus calls His Word “the bread of life” (Mathew 4:4), it truly became like food to me. For the first time in my life it all started making sense and it gave me real, practical guidance for how to pursue a genuine Christian life.

HEAVEN & HELL

Also, I finally began to understand why Jesus came to die for us. Our God did an amazing thing when he created us with the choice to choose good or evil. Tragically, we chose evil in the dawn of our creation when we sided with Satan in the garden of Eden, but God remains Holy and Righteous in every way. Yet He would not be righteous if He allowed our mutiny and sin to go unpunished. So, for us to have the choice between good and evil and for Him to simultaneously maintain His Holiness, He must punish our sin. Every time sin is committed, righteous anger is added to His cup of wrath and that anger must be poured out for justice to be served.

And who deserves the punishment that brings justice? Sinners like you and me, by way of spiritual and then physical death, followed by eternal separation from God in Hell. The concept of Hell is hard to swallow, isn’t it? It’s horrifically severe and terrifying and I wish it wasn’t real, yet it doesn’t matter what I think. His ways are higher than ours, and I know that we’ll all understand these difficult things when we see Him face to face.

What we do know is this; our lives are a series of choices, and we actively and willfully give up our right to eternal life in Heaven when we make decisions that rebel against our Creator. It’s tragic enough that Hell was created in the first place as a prison for Satan (Mathew 25:41). But when much of the human race is so blinded by sin that we resist God’s grace and follow Satan down his path to destruction? It’s beyond tragic.

THE GOSPEL

But this is where the gospel comes in. Since no man who has ever walked the earth has lived a perfect, righteous life, Jesus Christ- God Himself- came to earth to do it for us. Where Adam failed to resist Satan, Christ conquered him. And then, acting as the representative for the entire human race, He willingly received God’s full cup of wrath as it poured out over Him in punishment by His death on the cross. God punished sin in it’s entirety by punishing His very own righteous Son in our place.

But having never sinned, death had no hold on our Lord Jesus, and when he rose three days later and was witnessed alive by over 500 people (1 Cor 15:16), as well as other non-Christians who recorded his resurrection in the records of history. This is proof of His victory over death! Now Christ holds something very costly and precious in His hands- the “paid in full” invoice of God’s wrath against the sin of mankind. And this is His free gift for all- He will exchange our sin for His righteousness. He clears our debt to God as if we, too, had paid in full. And not only that, but He gives us His Spirit so that when our Father looks upon us, He sees the image of His perfect Son rather than our own marred records. God is glorified, and we are redeemed!

IT’S FOR FREEDOM THAT HE SETS US FREE

Let me just stop and say praise God. I don’t know why He came for me and granted me this unbelievable pardon of mercy when I was blind and indifferent towards Him for so much of my younger years. But I can say with full certainty that it was all of His doing and none of mine. A true gift of undeserved, unmerited grace. I have nothing I can give in exchange, all I can do in return is get on my hands and knees with face to the floor and praise Him and honor Him and thank Him for all eternity.

Loving Jesus and obeying the bible is not popular, conventional, or easy, but He is worth the world and I praise Him for this new life He’s given me. I’m no longer a slave to myself and- with His constant help- I’m free to change and grow and move forward. This doesn’t mean I don’t have really hard seasons of struggle and uncertainty. I do. But His love, truth, and power is greater than my struggles, and I have nothing but gratitude for His amazing grace.

Now that He’s brought me this far, I can look back and know with certainty that any time I spent trying to live a good life before meeting Christ was pointless. I didn’t understand that I needed to born again (John 3:3) and to receive His Spirit before there could be even one ounce of true change in me.

And it’s the same for you. If you’re already a born-again believer, I rejoice with you! If not, I hope and pray that He will come for you, just like He came for me me. A life without him is a life lived in vain, eternally separated from the purpose or direction for which you were created. Even if you live a long, happy, healthy life without the common plagues of hardship, loneliness, addiction, shame, struggle, fear, or the like, this “happy” life won’t amount to anything in the end. The truth is that we can’t do a single good, lasting thing without Him, because every act of our own goodness or righteousness is but a filthy rag in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). The idea that the human race is “mostly good” and self sufficient is a deception that’s been blinding us from the moment Satan lead Eve into the fall of humanity.

Humanism and godless philosophy is utterly empty. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

WE’RE EITHER WITH GOD, OR AGAINST HIM

The bottom line is that each person who has ever lived is either:

1) Redeemed by Christ for eternal life with God, or;

2) Dead in sin and sentenced to eternal Hell as the just and lawful punishment his of deeds.

Praise God that ALL OF US can be redeemed! But until you surrender to Christ and receive a new heart (Ezekial 18:31), you stand condemned. Each and every one of us needs a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus, one characterized by love and obedience to His Word. And to have that, you need the Holy Spirit. Jesus says to ask for it, to seek it, to knock on the door for it, to be persistent (Luke 11:9-10). He says that if we, being sinful, can give good gifts to our children, “how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13).

God loves us and waits patiently, giving all of us time to turn back to Him! So don’t put it off any longer, be reconciled to God! Just take a humble step of faith, ask for His help, and He will welcome you with the same open arms that welcomed me.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” {John 3:16}