Good morning:

You know the feeling. You drop by the grocery store to pick up milk, juice, bread, and a few other essentials. While you unload the cart on the conveyer belt you’re thinking it shouldn’t be more than a few dollars. It’s a jolt when the clerk says, “That will be $25.” If we don’t stay current on the actual cost of things, we’ll be surprised when everything from groceries to cars ends up costing far more than we anticipated. It’s called sticker shock.

Lent comes with the greatest sticker shock of all. What does it take to be right with God? It shouldn’t take more than my best efforts at being a decent, honest person, some reason. Maybe God can simply write off my sins. After all He is a loving God, others think. But it’s not that easy at all. “No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough” (Ps. 49:8). Nothing we do can undo our guilt and the eternal death we deserve. All the money in the world cannot buy peace with God.

Only the blood of God’s only begotten Son shed on the cross could pay the “unpayable” debt of mankind’s sin. “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 Jn. 2:2).

In tomorrow’s sermon text (Mk. 8:31-38) we will hear Jesus speak about the cost He would pay on the cross, that He “must” be rejected and killed in order to save sinners. He also speaks about the cost for those who follow Him. It’s not just about “wearing” a cross around one’s neck but “bearing” our own cross.

Yours in Christ,


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