Day 39: Good News
By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for,
and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil.
My toddler once decided it would be fun to leap into the pool without daddy there to catch him. My wife (who cannot swim herself) saw this happen in slow motion and jumped fully-clothed into the pool to save him. So also, dads, be ready to rescue your foolish children with the gospel, for without Christ they cannot swim. Learn how to swim yourself by daily meditating on Christ’s finished work. Then keep proclaiming the gospel as a drowning man to drowning children.
I love the account in C. S. Lewis’s, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe of Edmund’s redemption.
Edmund betrays his three siblings to the White Witch who plans to murder them all. He is later rescued by the forces of good, but the Witch declares that he still belongs to her: “Every traitor belongs to me as my lawful prey and . . . for every treachery I have a right to a kill.” So the witch is about to take his life, until Aslan—the Jesus figure in the story, offers his own life in Edmund’s place. That night, surrounded by the forces of evil, Aslan willingly succumbs to death while the Witch rejoices. Only when Aslan rises from the dead does he explain to his loyal followers . . .
that though the Witch knew the Deep Magic, there is a magic deeper still which she did not know. Her knowledge goes back only to the dawn of time. But if she could have looked a little further back, into the stillness and the darkness before Time dawned, she would have read there a different incantation. She would have known that when a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the Table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards."
After reading this story with my boys, I jokingly asked them, “Which of you would sell out his brothers for another piece of Turkish delight?” The sad truth, however, is that we are all like Edmund. We are all traitors, liars, thieves, and murderers deserving God’s judgment and condemned by his law. Yet Scripture tells the deeper magic of a spotless Savior who sacrificed his own life for ours and rose from the dead to conquer sin and death. Because of Jesus, we are forgiven of sin and empowered to flee temptation. We discover greater joy in Christ than in the worthless idols of this world, so let us run to Jesus and find his comfort at the cross.
The gospel begins with God—his attributes and his marvelous works. He is Creator of all (Prov. 3:19; 22:2), omniscient and omnipresent (15:3), sovereign (16:9, 33), just (17:15), gracious (28:13), and worthy of worship (Rev. 4:11).
By contrast, man is sinful (Prov. 20:9; Rom. 3:10-12) and foolish from birth (Prov. 22:15). He is blinded to sin (12:15a) and does not respond to the good news proclaimed: “Fools despise wisdom and instruction” (1:7b; 14:9). He cannot save himself by good works (21:3, 27; Eph. 2:8-9) and therefore deserves God’s judgment (Prov. 6:33; 19:29; see Heb. 9:27).
Yet thankfully, Jesus took the penalty for sin upon himself (2 Cor. 5:21) and forgave our folly (Isa. 53:5): “By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil” (Prov. 16:6). Only those who turn to Christ can be forgiven and only those who admit their sin can be made righteous (28:13), for God sacrificed his beloved Son that we might have eternal life (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8). This is great love that a man “lay down his life for his friends” (Prov. 15:13). In Christ, we learn that righteousness is better than riches because it leads us to eternal life (11:4). Christ’s death made reconciliation between us and God and brought us once more into relationship with the Father (1 Pet. 3:18).
But that’s not all! For Jesus rose from the dead after three days in the tomb, declaring victory over sin and death. We therefore base our hope on the resurrection victory of Christ (1:3). How can we do anything else but praise his name! So flee to safety at the cross of Christ. Rejoice in his forgiveness and delight in his redemption. Thank him for his life-preserving, sin-mortifying strength. The power of the cross is the power of the gospel (Rom. 1:16; 6:23).
Dads, if you have unbelieving children, urge them to follow Christ as Lord (10:9): “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil” (Prov. 3:7). And if you have believing children, exhort them to continue in the faith: “Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” (4:23). Centering their worship on the fear of the Lord (1:7a) will result in everlasting life (14:27).
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I am a sinful man, unable to be a good father by any merit of my own. I fail in a thousand ways and deserve a thousand punishments, yet you are gracious, O Lord. Out of love, you sent your Son to take my place. He died for me and forgave my sin. Thank you for your saving grace and for the grace to continue growing as a father. Teach me always to run to you both in times of need and times of celebration. In your Son’s name, Amen.
LifeWork: Write down one way you will apply today’s Proverb.
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