Jeremy had a secret. He had a secret about himself he felt was a deviation from the tradition held by his friends and family. Jeremy wanted badly to share his secret with those who were close to him, but felt ashamed to do so; afraid of the judgment, the rejection, the laughter. Jeremy felt more comfortable sharing his secret with a complete stranger than with his own friends and family, and would frequently do so. He considered it a selfless decision to consider others and save the controversy.
Jeremy, you see, was aware of others in the past who held this same secret, and resulted in anger, rejection, and sometimes even violence when disclosed to loved ones. As well, Jeremy thought it might be awkward to disclose this secret at this point, after hiding this secret around his friends and family so long.
Occasionally, he’d wake up with a renewed sense of vigor and assertiveness in his voice. “I’m proud of who I am!” he would say to himself. Yet without fail, just when he thought he had mustered up enough courage to say something, he sheepishly retreated. “They’ll figure it out.” he’d say, justifying himself. “They’ll watch me and I won’t even have to say a word. Maybe they’ll even ask me about it one day, and it will be easier to explain then.” Jeremy again chose to protect his relationships, as to reveal his secret would jeopardize them.
Little by little, day by day, Jeremy’s desire to share his secret slowly faded into the background, content with his decision to let his friends and family “figure it out.” He lived his life, never having revealed his secret to anyone, save a few random strangers, whom he knew he’d never see again.
Jeremy died and stood before the throne of Almighty God. “God won’t judge me for this” he thought, “He loves everyone and died on the cross to prove it!” When the Lord opened the Lamb’s Book of Life, and located his name, there was a visible sigh of relief, and a smile dressed his face. “You see” he thought to himself, “I knew God wouldn’t judge me.” Yet as he stood and gave an account for everything done and undone in his life (I Cor 3), he was broken. For on earth, he knew to do good, and refused to do it (James 4) simply to save his relationships.
One by one, as Jeremy’s friends and family died, they became abruptly aware of his secret. In immense pain and anguish, they cursed him from beyond the grave, in eternal torment, and separation from God (Luke 16). “Why?” they will cry, “You held the knowledge, and yet didn’t care enough to share!”
What was Jeremy’s secret? Most who read this parable will be quick to say that Jeremy’s secret was that Jeremy was a Christian. This, however, is incorrect. Jeremy was always quick to say he was a Christian. Jeremy’s secret was much deeper than this, it was intimate knowledge of God and His Word. Jeremy knew that long ago, his (and your) father Adam sinned against God (Gen 3), and created a separation between God and mankind. From this point onward, a blood sacrifice was required to satisfy God’s wrath against the sinner, and to atone for the transgression.
God is good (Luke 18). God is righteous (Rom 3). God is Holy (Rev 4). God is just (Deut 32). God is merciful (Joel 2). God is gracious (Ps 116). God is longsuffering (I Pet 3). God, in his infinite knowledge, knew that man would fail, creating this separation, and even before the creation (I Pet 1), He had a plan to reconcile the two. Jesus (God the Son) was commissioned to be the final sacrifice to satisfy the wrath of a holy God. God’s wrath was poured out upon His Son, so that we might be reconciled with our creator. But, Jesus didn’t die on the cross so you could go to Heaven. Jesus didn’t die on the cross so that you could an abundant life. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to forgive the sins of mankind.
No, Jesus died on the cross for one reason, and one reason alone:To satisfy the wrath of God. The other items mentioned aforehand are the benefits of the act of atonement on the cross, not the reason. Sin yields death—and this death is an eternal death (Rom 6). Doubtless, this is “good news” to those who transgress God’s law, but does not simply mean that because Jesus was sacrificed, all who simply “believe” are eligible for redemption. Remember, the demons also believe. Nor does it mean that those who are “sorry” for their sins will be recipients of this grace.
If you stood before a judge, having transgressed the law, and you told the judge you were sorry for committing the crimes, and if this judge was truly just, he would not let you go unpunished. Ajustjudge would see to it that proper penalty was issued for the crime.
To continue the analogy, the problem in today’s “Christian” subculture—and I speak solely of the bible-believing, fundamental, evangelical classification, not including the “fringe” Christian groups—is that even basic evangelism has been reduced to compelling people to come to Jesus to fill a void in their life, to complete them, or to have someone upon whom they can turn to in times of trouble. Even professing Christians are law-breakers, and a just judge (God) must see to it that there is punishment for the crimes committed. Telling God you’re sorry will get you no farther than telling the just judge you’re sorry for committing a terrible crime. Being sorry doesn’t satisfy the wrath of God.
What then, was Jeremy’s secret? Jeremy’s secret is that he knew that it was the knowledge of God’s laws that brought about true repentance (Rom 3). Confessing Jesus as Lord and deciding to live for Him are natural steps that follow true repentance. There is no magical prayer which will bring about regeneration of the soul. Not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord” will be called justified (Matt 7). Too many of Jeremy’s friends called themselves “Christian” but failed to live a life representative of this following. Jeremy, well aware of the truth that separates them, chose not to even broach the subject. At the heart of the matter, Jeremy felt like people closest to him knew his faults best, and would see him as a hypocrite for declaring this truth.
We live in an informed world—many people know the story of Jesus. They can tell the story of the cross and how Christ died for our sins. Those who will be justified will first see themselves as law-breakers, and with brokenness and repentance will call out to God for forgiveness, and put their faith and trust in him.
Your silence is passive resistance to the truth. Your spirit knows this is truth. Be sensitive to the spirit, and share the truth of the atoning sacrifice of Christ.
Don’t go to your grave holding onto this “secret” like Jeremy did. Share the truth now with those in your circle of influence.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” –Isaiah 1:18
Psalm 19:7 – The law converts the soul
I Cor 1 – To those who are perishing, the cross is foolishness
Matt 5 – Jesus taught of the law, and helped to reveal the sinner the wrong he’s done, and that nobody can keep the law
Rom 3:19-20 – the law shuts the mouth of the sinner, and shows the guilt, and with the law comes the knowledge of sin
I John 3:4 – Sin is transgression of the law
Rom 7, Gal 3:24 – Law reveals sin, is our schoolmaster
II Pet 3:9 – God is not willing that any should perish, but that we might come to repentance