Do I bear the evidence of God's redemption? This thought struck me with full force this morning. I had just been treating a radiation burn with Aquaphor and was thinking about how I would always bear the evidence of the removal of cancer as long as I had this earthly body. It would not matter if I only live to be 48 or if I lived to be 108. If I were to ever undergo a through examination, the examiner would find evidence that I had a cancerous growth removed from my body.
The scar, of course, is the most obvious piece of evidence but someone might argue I may have just injured myself. Closer examination would indicate that it has straight edges so this was probably made deliberately by someone who knew what they were doing. Thank goodness she did!
The scar is not the only evidence. Radiation scars the internal tissue. The skin itself will eventually return to normal although I've heard it can take several years for the pigmentation to become completely normal again. The internal tissue is another story. If you know anything about scar tissue you know it is not like healthy tissue. It's less flexible and often has lumps or bumps. It's also a more fibrous which makes it stronger than normal tissue.
As I thought about the external and life long evidence I will be bearing from cancer treatment, I started to think about how God removed sin from my life. Sin was something which was a part of me. It's been past down to all of us through Adam. It's something we couldn't get rid of on our own. We could have the best intentions to try to get rid of it. We could try the latest fads but the bottom line is we can't do it ourselves. It's just not possible. God has to do it for us.
12 When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam's sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. 13 Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. 14 Still, everyone died-from the time of Adam to the time of Moses-even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did. Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. 15 But there is a great difference between Adam's sin and God's gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16 And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin. For Adam's sin led to condemnation, but God's free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17 For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.
18 Yes, Adam's one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.
19 Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.
20 God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant.
21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:12-21 (NLT)
Is there visible evidence of God's redemption in my life? What would the people in my world say? Do they see this evidence as well? The redeeming power of God in our daily lives should always be evident. It should not only appear at church or when it is convenient for for us to show it. It should always be present so that all the world can see it. How else are they going to know about the redeeming power of God unless they see it manifested in us?
May we always show the evidence that we have been redeemed and are followers of Christ!
I find it amazing how God is able to use the "scars" of our lives for His glory. I am reminded of Paul's "thorn in the flesh." Instead of removing it as Paul prayed for, Christ told him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Paul's response to this was, "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:9,10) I don't know how God plans to use your illness to bless you and others, but He does. Submitting to God amid the difficult circumstances we have in our lives is part of the visible evidence of God's redemptive work. The evidence in every believer of God's redemptive work is the Fruit of the Spirit, which is "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Gal. 5:22,23)