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A while ago I hired a young man to work in the garden. Our communication wasn’t good. He could scarcely understand Afrikaans and I knew not a word of his language. One day I put him to work in the garden. I then started to saw off a branch nearby. When I looked up, he stood next to me, pushed me away without saying a word, took the saw from my hand and continued sawing the branch. As if he wanted to say: “Stand aside, I’ll sort it out.”

We may think that we are righteous before God if we abide by religious rules. However, we all are sinners: But the scripture says that the whole world is under the power of sin (Gal. 3:22). Not one does what is right: “(We) are all under the power of sin.  As the Scriptures say: “There is no one who is righteous, no one who is wise or who worships God.  All have turned away from God; they have all gone wrong; no one does what is right, not even one (Rom. 3:9 – 12). We sin very easily: … if we do not do the good we know we should do, we are guilty of sin (Jas. 4:17). James warns: But if you treat people according to their outward appearance, you are guilty of sin, and the Law condemns you as a lawbreaker (Jas. 2:9). How earnestly do we resist sin? For in your struggle against sin you have not yet had to resist to the point of being killed (Heb.12:4). Because not one is without sin, we all would have been lost.    But thank God that He came to the earth 2000 years ago, and, in effect, said to each human being: “You cannot save yourself. Stand aside, I’ll sort it out”. And God showed his love for us by sending his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him (1 John 4:9).

            The greatest miracle happened: In his Son, Jesus Christ, God came to earth as a human being and bore the penalty for our sins. What man couldn’t accomplish, God Himself came to do. On the cross Jesus freed us from the power of Evil, brought us into the family of God. We can now call God our Father. He pushed our efforts aside, He Himself sorted out the separation between Him and mankind.  In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them (2 Cor. 5:19).

We must, however, also remember that, if we are redeemed, it doesn’t mean that we may just keep on sinning. If we are redeemed by faith in what Jesus did  for us on the cross, this faith doesn’t end there. This faith has a purpose. It is not about us, but about the glorification of God. Paul writes: Through the Spirit by faith we confidently await the fulfillment of our righteous hope. … What matters is faith expressed through love (Gal. 5:5 – 6).

It may happen that someone has harmed us. We know that Jesus said that we must forgive one another. But then, at first, we want to take revenge, to let the person suffer. In effect we then say: “Jesus, stand aside.  I’ll sort it out.”

God did notfirst take revenge on us: But God has shown us how much he loves us – it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! (Rom 5:8). To each one of us He says: “You can’t redeem yourself. Stand aside, I’ll sort it out.”

Lord, we thank You that You haven’t left us in our sin, but want to redeem everyone. Amen.