Raise Your Voice

 In Tori Smith

Billy Graham has died.  I heard it on the car radio. Like most, if not all of you, I had an immediate flood of varying emotions.  My first thought was, “What a great day this is for him!” Then there was the concern for his family; they have lost in ways that we can’t imagine.  Finally, I remembered those touch moments I had with him in my own life.  Growing up as a young kid, I remember my mother watching his crusades on TV.  At the time, I was more concerned that he was taking up my TV time than I was with listening to his wisdom and message from God.  Later, while in seminary, I remember another crusade on TV.  It was a warm February evening and the window was open as I listened. His message was so simple, so comforting, so encouraging – and offered such a peace! A few years later I was privileged to actually attend one of his crusades in Columbus.  Again, the message was so clear and comforting.  At all those points I was saved and I didn’t feel his message calling me to accept Christ. But his clear and comforting message was a breath of fresh air from what I was hearing in the world.  I am confident that God will raise another voice to proclaim the message for this world today.  And I’m also certain that, though the next voice will have its own stories to tell and ways of telling it, the central message will continue to be the same because there is no other message.

In a world where we try to complicate things, the Gospel message has always been, is today and will be forever, a simple message. Jesus Christ took the punishment for our sin when He went to the cross.  It’s a message that is so simple, yet it is so profound that it is a stumbling block for so many.  Our human pride has a need to work off a punishment for our sin.  We want to know that we can make right and atone for our sins by ourselves.  Mind you, we don’t want to personally suffer God’s anger, but we want the glory for being able to do it on our own.  Yet, we know that what we can accomplish on our own is flawed, often with the very sin that caused the problem. Our attempts at solving our sin problem are like the Hebrew sacrificial attempts to solve the problem – they don’t work.  They repeated the same sacrifices year after year – because the sacrifices did not atone for or alleviate the problem.

In Hebrews 10:1-4 “For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” 

The very fact that they had to continue to make the sacrifices proves that it didn’t truly take care of the problem of sin.

However! Christ’s sacrifice was made one time for all people and for all time!

Again, from Hebrews 10 we read, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”

His death on the cross was so complete, so powerful, so perfect, and so sinless – that it only took one time and he was done.  “It is finished,” He said from the cross.  What God required was satisfied.  No other work or sacrifice is required from us. Christ’s short 33 years and those incredible hours on the cross accomplished it all.  In Him we can have abundant life.  That abundant life comes only from faith in the work He did on the cross.  It is such a simple message, but so profound because it has the power to completely change our lives.

I began by saying that Billy Graham has died and that God will raise up another voice to continue proclaiming the message of Christ.  But each of us has the responsibility to be His voice to those in our circles – our families, friends, co-workers and social groups.  Don’t be shy about sharing this simple message that has the power to change lives in such a profound way!

Photo courtesy of  James DeCamp Photography

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