There was perfection everywhere.
It was all good;
Even the Holy creator could not help but to agree.
Unfortunately, the tempter slithered his way in;
Disturbed the peace and serenity;
Caused perfection to flutter away like a bird into the horizon.
The good…was corrupted.
At the beginning of time, at a time when man is still getting familiar with nature, the first man and woman unfortunately succumb to the wiles of a fallen angel who takes the form of a serpent. Man blames woman. Woman blames the serpent. The serpent blames…oops, there is no one to blame. However, man and woman forget they are responsible for their very own decision, a decision to go against God’s command and God who is an impartial judge, in due process, allows justice to run its cause – a curse which still holds today and a death penalty; man and woman can no longer have an intimate relationship with God and sadly all subsequent generations of mankind will also suffer the same fate. This is a sad story, a story so sad it can cause anyone to wipe a tear from the eye. Fortunately, God is not about to let his masterpiece go so easily.
Let us consider this analogy. A shepherd acquires his first two sheep, a ram and an ewe and as weird as it sounds, develops an intimate relationship with them. They have the option to graze anywhere on the lush field behind the shepherd’s house. However, they cannot go beyond the seemingly gentle steam which acts as a boundary for the little village and the land beyond. If they do, they will die.
One day, as the sheep graze, the ewe looks beyond the stream and thought of how the flourishing, green grass on the land beyond will taste great. Regardless of her desires, a law is a law so she cannot go. They do not think like us, you know, so there is nothing like “a law is meant to be broken.” She bows her head to continue grazing and then suddenly, she jumps with a start. She looks again. It is a serpent in the grass, which looks intently at her.
“Where did it come from?” she asks herself. In the ensuing discussion that follows, the serpent questions the law in such a way that the sheep’s mouth begin to water for the grass on the land beyond. Imagine a timid sheep talking with a crafty serpent. What a sight that would be?
The female sheep sneaks onto the makeshift bridge across the stream and makes her way to the other side of the stream with so much expectations. It turns out not to be a disappointing experience. Wow! She calls the startled ram who joins her with some hesitation. After grazing a while, they decide it is time to go home but to their horror, the stream overflows its banks or is it a river now? They cannot tell. The log of a bridge is also nowhere to be found. There is no other option but to swim and oh, sheep hate to walk in water much less to swim. They wish it is a fairy tale, however the sound of rushing waters reminds them it is a reality. They hear the shepherd’s voice as he comes in search for them.
“Where are you?” He calls out. The sheep hide in the tall grass but the shepherd still spots them. The current of the river increases in speed by the minute as it swallows up more land and causes a larger separation between sheep and shepherd.
The sheep have no option but to live in their new home, give birth and propagate and form their own ways without the guidance of a shepherd. As time goes on, they begin to call themselves the wild sheep in order to have an identity in the land beyond. They begin to think they can take care of themselves and hence, no need for the guidance of the long forgotten shepherd. Their number increases and it is not long before the wild predators of the land beyond begin to terrorize them. They move uphill to be safe and to find more satisfying pasture and eventually they move deeper and deeper into the land beyond. Generations come and go. The ones who have a sense of the shepherd will attempt to cross the river but either the strong current carries them away to their death or they give up and return to land. Others were simply ignorant and outrightly dismiss the existence of the shepherd as a figment of imagination among other theories. These generations will never know what it means to have a shepherd.
Talking of the shepherd, where is he? Was the land beyond actually beyond his reach? Seriously, why doesn’t he swim over and get them or just…do something if they are really important to him?
You see we, mankind, are the descendants of the sheep born into the land beyond, a world outside the guidance of the shepherd and so God, the shepherd, in his quest to save mankind speaks through the prophet Isaiah using a similar imagery, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6 NKJV). Apostle Paul puts it this way, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23, ESV).
However, all hope is not lost. Do you remember the question the shepherd asked? “Where are you?”
Yes, God asks the same question in the Garden of Eden. He, an all knowing God, does not ask of their actions but for them as he demonstrates his love and desire to have a relationship with them, an open one too. Impressive! A holy God who wants an open relationship with sinful man. He wants them as a loving father does his children and never gives up on them. He really loves us but sin is a hindrance. He loves us but “…the wages of sin is death…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23, ESV) Wait, what? Yes, this is God’s trump card. Although, we are bound to be eternally separated from the source of life himself, God which means death, “…God demonstrates his own love for us in this; while we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8). He. Makes. A. way. It is in this context Prophet Isaiah prophesies and predicts God’s salvation plan. Who can conceive such an idea? God’s redemption is to come but not devoid of his judgement. No fears though, for this reason, the Lord lays on him the iniquity of us all to satisfy the righteous requirements of justice (the law). We can live and be hopeful in a world which reeks of hopelessness because of Jesus Christ; we can be at peace in a world where there is no insurance which fully and completely satisfies and eventually bring security because of Jesus Christ. I can go on and on and on but simply put: although, we once live apart from God, in the land beyond, he has “come that they (which is us) may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)
I am a sheep who is back in the shepherd’s flock calling out to you, “Be reconciled with God.” because he wants you to! How? “…if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you will be saved for it is with your heart that you believe and are justified and it is with your mouth that you confessed and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10, NIV)
Please, do not say you are okay or already a good person if you do not accept and believe in the name of God, for “…all our righteousness are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6, KJV) before God; the river’s strong current will carry you away. There is a much stronger bridge across the river now as a result of the shepherd’s love and initiative. Do not say you do not deserve it “for if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:10, ESV).
You can be saved now!
You can be born again now!
You can do that right now!
Just pray meaningfully…
“Father in heaven, I am sorry for all the wrong I have done against myself, man and you. I thank you for the love that you demonstrated toward me by dying on the cross for my sins. Thank you for forgiving me. I confess that Jesus Christ, you are Lord and Saviour of my life and I believe you rose again so I can live a new life. Thank you Lord for my new life. Amen!! (Or any other prayer similar to this from the depths of your heart.
Welcome to your new life in Christ! Jesus is now king of your life. Now what?
- Get water baptised.
- Pray to God unceasingly and about anything and everything and read your bible everyday not to earn God’s favour but because you love him and it is one of the available ways to communicate with him.
- Obey God (God’s word according to the leading of the Holy Spirit).
- Find a genuine church, so you can grow with other believers and be spurred on. The church is your new family.
- Share your new life for we now see only two groups of people, the reconciled and the ‘unreconciled’! Share, just share with everyone. You can start with your personal testimony.
I pray the Lord opens your eyes to see the resources he has made available for you to grow and to preserve you to his glory and keep the evil one from corrupting this good, new life. Amen.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Colossians 2:6, NIV)
You can also check this site out: http://www.gotquestions.org/now-what2.html
Till we meet someday…