When working through the martyrdom of Stephen in Acts with a group of high school guys one Sunday morning many sunrises ago, I got to thinking about the worth of a man’s life. What are we worth?
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. (Mark 12:30)
With every thought or deed in which we fail to love God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength, we break God’s law and sin. What does every sin deserve? The infinite punishment of God.
For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. (James 2:10-11)
With every rebellion against the law of God, we, in essence, point our creaturely finger at our Creator and say, “You’re not good enough here. I know better and prefer this more than You,” or something to that effect. Each one is treason against the infinite Creator committed by a finite creature.
Math is Hard
But, let’s think about this in terms of quantity rather than quality. How many rebellious thoughts or deeds would you say you commit in a day? One, five? Five-hundred? Let’s just be really conservative and say 100 for the sake of simplicity.
A year has 365 days. So, that’s 36,500 infinities of judgment for one year. Most of the young adults I currently teach are about 19-30, so let’s just average it to 25 years – 912,500 infinities of judgment – burning in Hell judgment – for the lives they have lived already. For me it would be a little under twice that – a mere 1,533,000 infinities of judgment. Now, take all of those in my class – let’s say an average of twenty on Sunday morning – that’s 18,250,000 infinities of God’s eternal judgment for each act of rebellion.
Come to think of it, that’s just where we are by limiting it to 100 sins a day up to today. A very conservative number if loving God with “all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” is the standard…which it is.
That doesn’t count the lives we have yet to live, daily sinning against God and storing up infinity upon infinity of wrath and judgment for our sins. But, that’s just us – what about our families, extended families…those in the U.S.
And, that’s just those living here, what about foreign countries, Mexico, Argentina, even Canada and Brazil. What about across the ocean – England, Germany, Russia, all those new little splinter countries that fractured off the USSR, China (wow China), Japan and on and on it goes.
That’s just today in our lifetimes…what about the seven (give or take depending on your view of the beginning) millennia that have preceded us? The billions upon billions of people in the past with their trillions and trillions of infinities of hell-deserving judgment. And, if the Lord tarries, the billions yet to live…
What’s it worth?
I usually think of the Cross in terms of God’s mercy to me and the love Jesus has for me that He would die such a horrible death in my place. And, that is very true. But, is there another way to look at it?
We measure the worth of gold or a diamond based upon what it can be traded for in cash or goods. The dollar is valued against the yen based upon each currency’s purchasing power.
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, (Revelation 5:9)
My new thought – it’s not really new, I just think I started to get it – is this: what incredible worth of Christ is displayed in the Cross.
God, in His infinite wisdom used something as lowly as two beams of wood and three nails to put on display the infinite upon infinite worth of His only Son in that only He could purchase – or ransom really, He didn’t get much value in return – those redeemed out of fallen humanity.
He makes the worthless, worthwhile
And, as I was studying for this lesson on Stephen, this passage whispered in the background…
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)
All of which leads me to this conclusion: Don’t be afraid to speak up at school. Don’t be afraid to be bold with a rabid atheist family member. Don’t be afraid to pour out your lives proclaiming the infinite upon infinite worth of Christ.
He is more worthy to be treasured than your plans for the hot wife, the cool house, the 2.01 kids and the dream job. All those dreams and hopes are over, if they are even realized, in 70-80 years, if that. Christ is of far more worth than our uncertain 70-80 years.
If you have not trusted in Him alone to save you from the infinities upon infinities worth of wrath you store up for yourself everyday…if you have not had your eyes opened to the beauty of Christ…if the Holy Spirit is drawing you to examine yourself to see if you are in Christ…what could you possibly be waiting for? Seek Him while He may be found. It just adds up…