For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:23, 24.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Four teams of hijackers commandeered four separate airplanes and used them as instruments of death. An American Airlines jet streaked across the New York skyline and slammed into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Minutes later another hijacked jet, a United Airlines flight, hurtled into the second tower. Another plane dove into the Pentagon, while a fourth crashed in a remote area near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
One image indelibly impressed upon my mind is a group of weary firefighters emerging from the smoke of the World Trade Center, covered with soot. They are carrying a frail old man away from the wreckage. The headline in huge red letters reads "Saving Grace.” The caption: "Facing mortal danger, they risked their lives to save others.”
That picture speaks to my heart. Those who were frail and weak could never have gotten out of the burning building alone. They needed a deliverer. They needed someone willing to risk life and limb. They needed a Savior. Without someone who cared, someone willing to plunge into the flames, someone willing to die if necessary, the trapped had no hope.
We too are condemned to the flames. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
We cannot save ourselves. The incredibly "good news” of the gospel is simply this—Jesus leaped into the flames. He took on hell itself. On the cross He took upon Himself all of the condemnation of sin. My sin. Your sin. Jesus experienced all of the anguish that sinners will ultimately experience. "He tasted death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9). What a Savior! What a Deliverer! What a Redeemer!
In my imagination I see eternity’s newspaper on our first day in Heaven. Emblazoned across the front page is a huge picture of Jesus with blood-stained hands and a bruised brow, carrying me in His arms. When you see the picture He is carrying you. The crimson headline reads "Saving Grace,” and the entire host of the redeemed fall on their knees in praise. "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12).
Forever and ever and ever. Amen.