Beaten Down yet Beloved
On November 7, 1917, the Bolshevik Revolution introduced communism to the world stage. Many people were suddenly thrust into a new evil pathway of pain, suffering, war, and death, all in the name of “progress.” Under the leadership of communist dictators over the past 104 years, there have been countless mass killings of political opponents, religious leaders, teachers, and influencers that stood up to the tyranny. To write an exhaustive list of the atrocities performed by communist regimes would take more than a lifetime and you probably still wouldn’t be able to encapsulate the terror they unleashed. Some historians conservatively estimate the total mortality from communism worldwide in the hundreds of millions of deaths.
On February 7, 1990, the leaders of the Communist Party in Soviet Russia endorsed President Mikhail Gorbachev’s recommendation that the communists give up their 70-year long monopoly of political power and allow their opposition a seat at the table. This took place only a mere 90 days after the demolition of the Berlin Wall began. All of this was the beginning of the end of the tyranny and oppression that the Communist Party had placed upon the citizens of Soviet Russia. And on December 26, 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) dissolved and the Communist Party was left in shambles, just 687 days after the communists relinquished their monopoly of power. Humans yearn to be free, and this is a great example of people breaking their bonds of tyranny.
It goes without saying that this world can be a very dark, despairing, ugly, cruel, and evil place. Sin has weaseled its way into every nook and cranny of this world, all the way down to the cells making up our bodies. People love to hold power and control over other people, and this quest for power is one of the ugliest parts of our sinfulness as human beings.
God’s Law exposes our sins. His Law hangs our sins in front of our faces, showing us how unworthy and undeserving we all are in our thoughts, words, and actions. God’s Law shows us that the only thing we deserve is eternal damnation. However, woven throughout His Law is also the promise that He will deliver us. Even at the beginning of sin in the Garden of Eden, He promised Adam and Eve that He would provide a way to salvation; an escape from our impending damnation.
“’Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise, your foundations with lapis lazuli. I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones. All your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace. In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be My doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. See, it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work. And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc; no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,’ declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 54:11–17).
Isaiah understood God’s message of salvation. He wanted the Israelites (and us) to understand it as well. As God’s children, we have a unique inheritance from God: His love! Jesus took all our sin with Him to the cross. His perfect sacrifice forgave everyone’s sins, past, present, and future. Without Jesus Christ, we would remain unrighteous and undeserving of a Savior and we would be delivered into the eternal fires of hell. Thanks be to God that He supplied righteousness to us and for us, through His own sacrifice on the cross and resurrection from the grave. Now, we can shine as brilliant, sin-free, and redeemed children of God in His kingdom of heaven, forever.
Want to know the big “secret” of how to achieve salvation? Repent for your sins and believe that Jesus Christ did what He did for you. You cannot have true repentance without believing that Jesus Christ died for you; these go hand-in-hand. Once you accept His free gift of salvation, you are told to sin no more. It’s impossible to no longer sin here on earth; however, you should strive to sin no more. That means you don’t knowingly and willingly partake in sinful thoughts, words, and actions. You must daily drown your old self in the waters of Holy Baptism and live a new, righteous life, constantly begging Him to forgive you for your transgressions.
That’s it. That’s the secret of everlasting life laid bare. Not much of a secret, is it? It has been written down for thousands of years for us to read, understand, and believe. That’s all you have to do to accept God’s free gift of salvation! Even though this is the most important thing you could ever possibly do in your life, it is one of the simplest. Lift your eyes up away from this world and to Jesus Christ. He is seated at His Father’s right hand on His throne of glory. He will come again to judge us all, so don’t be caught spiritually unprepared.