Saturday, 27 January 2018

Unbreakable (Mark 14:66-72)

Pineapple on pizza. There are just some things you do not do in life. Some rules you do not break like putting pineapple on pizza. (I happen to like pineapple on pizza but rules are rules.) Or like the time my canteen at work was serving spaghetti for lunch except it was spaghetti with chicken. One of my very Italian, very food-passionate colleagues looked at that and said, “There are some things you do not do in life.” “You do not kill people. You do not rob people.” “And,” he said, “you do not put spaghetti with chicken.”

What is the one thing you do not do as a Christian, the one rule you do not break as a Christian? If you are Peter, that one thing is to deny Christ. It’s to disown Christ. “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” Mark Chapter 14, verse 31. Like that Bryan Adams song, “Walk the wire for you, yeah, I’d die for yooooou!” Peter’s one thing was to stand by his Christ at the cost of his life. Peter would never deny Jesus Christ.

Except he does it three times. Three times in one night. And here’s the thing. He doesn’t realise he’s done it until he’s done it. Until the cock crows and he remembers what Jesus said, “You will disown me three times.”

What do we learn from this story? Aside from empathising with Peter or feeling guilty about all the times we’ve let our friends down; the moments we’ve let God down, you know, to make us feel bad. Is that the point of this story? Not quite. It’s to see Jesus. He is the one under trial. He is the one under pressure to deny himself. But we miss it because we think, “He is God.” But Peter reminds us we each have our breaking points. You and I, with the right pressure, with the right temptation will do the one thing we never thought we would ever do. But not Jesus. He is faithful. He is constant to the very end.

Three points from today’s passage. The girl. The girl. And the guys. Three pressure points we see in here  Mark Chapter 14: The girl, the girl (again) and the guys.

1. The girl

So, first, we see the girl. This is verse 66.

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.

“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.

But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entrance.
Mark 14:66-68

The point of the, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” is that it’s a formal legal statement. You say something like this before a judge when you’re giving a statement. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about.” And it emphasizes how Peter is under trial, under questioning just like Jesus. He is being tested.

But it’s by a girl. A servant girl. I don’t mean to be offensive. It could be that this servant girl, as she is described in verse 66, is quite muscular and intimidating and scary and has lots of scary tattoos. It doesn’t say. But you get what I mean: It’s not like Jesus with the priests, elders and guards. “Blasphemy!” goes the high priest and they all condemn him to death and the guards beat him up. No, Peter is worried about a girl who says, “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” but to Peter, this girl was his judge. This servant girl of the high priest was to Peter the high priest. Hence, “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about.” It’s a formal legal denial as if he’s been questioned by the high priest himself - a denial that he knows Jesus or has anything to do with Jesus Christ. And notice, right after he says this, he leaves. He walks out into the entrance. Why? To get as far away as he can from this scary servant girl!

2. The girl

But, verse 69, we meet this girl again. He doesn’t get away!

When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” Again he denied it.
Mark 14:69-70

This time there are witnesses - she talks to the people standing around. This time she exposes him as he is trying to run, to hide, to get away from this servant girl but she follows him to the entrance and she says, “This fellow is one of them.” She didn’t have to say “Jesus” or “disciple”. One of them means not one of us. One of them means it’s obvious. You take one look at this guy and you know this guy is different from us. One of them means this guy is trying to act as if he is one of us but come on! He’s not. He’s hiding. He’s running away (from this servant girl).

“Again he denied it.” We talked about Peter’s fear but here it’s really about his shame. Back in verse 54, we read, “Peter followed him (meaning, Jesus) at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.” It’s Peter, then Jesus, then Peter again, like a sandwich (I really want to find an alternative term for this, “hambaobao”, maybe, where we see Mark splitting up the story about Peter with the main plot about Jesus in the middle of the “hambaobao” with the two slices of the Peter “mantou” story at the beginning and at the end). And we see back in verse 54, Peter trying to blend in. He’s still following Jesus but each time Peter is moving further and further behind, keeping his distance from Jesus. I mean, he’s hanging out with the guards, warming himself by the fire with the guards, of all people.

But the servant girl exposes Peter in front of all these witnesses, “This guy isn’t one of you. He is one of them.” No, I’m just like you, nothing to do with those guys. Nothing to do with Jesus.

That’s sad. When even the world condemns you for being a hypocrite. When even the world condemns you for being worldly. That’s sad because Peter still has no idea what’s going on. To him, he is following Jesus. To him, he is keeping his head low. God understands. No, God is using this servant girl to expose, to bring out what’s going on inside his heart. He is afraid and he is ashamed. Of being with Jesus. Of being one of them. That’s sad.

3. The guys

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”

He began to call down curses on himself, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

Immediately the cock crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him, “Before the cock crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
Mark 14:70-72

Maybe it was his accent. Maybe he was wearing a t-shirt with “Galilee rules,” printed on the front and “Jerusalem sucks,” printed on the back. But soon, the guys standing around Peter go, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” But whatever it was, this was final straw for Peter. It was do or die, and remembering that this was ancient Israel on the night of the Passover, the holiest night of the year, Peter decides to call down curses on himself. That means to use God’s name in vain, to break a commandment and that’s a big deal for a pious Jew, to say stuff like, “May God do this and that to me if I am not telling the truth,” that kind of thing. “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.” To use God’s name essentially to lie.

Just at that moment. “Immediately,” verse 72 says, “the cock crowed the second time.” Like a wake-up call. “Cock-a-doodle-dooooo!!!!!!” Peter realises what he’s done, the one thing he swore he would never, ever do: Deny Christ. And he’s done this three times.

And that’s the thing isn’t it? Jesus knew him better than he knew himself. Peter was Bryan Adams. He was going to die for Jesus, walk the wire for Jesus. No, it was Jesus who was going to have to die for Peter because Peter’s denial was deserving of death. To deny Christ. To be ashamed of Christ. To call down curses on yourself rather than acknowledge Christ. Even though the guards beat Jesus, the high priest condemned Jesus to death, Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss no less and Peter did none of that. And yet, like the high priest, like the guards and in a way, even like Judas, Peter was denying that Jesus really was who he said he was. God’s own Son. God’s own King. God’s chosen Saviour. In front of these guys, these strangers, Peter cursed himself. Meaning, to put it bluntly, he would rather be damned than confess Jesus as the Christ. A slip of the tongue? The pressure of the moment? No, Jesus knew Peter better than he knew himself and Peter remembered the word Jesus had given to him, “Before the cock crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

But that’s encouraging because, you see, the last word from Peter is not his denial. It’s his repentance. He broke down or you could say he reached his breaking point. To reach breaking point is not necessarily to be pressured until you break, until you commit some gross sin. It’s to be humbled to the point that you realise you are a sinner and you need a Saviour. To reach breaking point is to know the Christ knows you better than you know yourself, that he has to die in your place, he has to take your punishment of your behalf on the cross. He has to do this. That everything he went through, he did that because you can’t.

And that’s a good thing. In the end, it wasn’t the fact the Peter sinned that woke him up from his self-delusion (“I’ll die before I deny you”), it was the fulfilment of Jesus’ word (“You will all fall away”, verse 27. “I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered”). It was the fulfilment of Jesus’ mission to be betrayed, to be handed over, to die and to rise again.

I’ve been reading “The Hiding Place” about Corrie ten Boom sent to prison for hiding her Jewish friends during World War II. Every day was breaking point for her - to keep trusting in God, to forgive the men who killed her father, to hide copies of the bible to give away in prison. Who does that? I read that and go, “No way I would last. No way I wouldn’t break.” But you see, the point is not to wait until a war breaks out and you’re thrown in prison or to wait for someone to hold a gun to your head and say, “Do you believe in Christ?” Rather, like Peter, it’s realising that God’s word already tells me today, right now, that I need Christ to be faithful to Christ; I will not last a single moment without Christ - that my heart is blind to my constant denial of Christ, of my own self-delusion because of my self-righteousness unless I confess my sinfulness and my brokenness before Christ.

And really the question left for us is simply this: Have you reached breaking point before Christ? Or are you still in your own eyes unbreakable? As I hear testimonies from new converts, it is common to hear testimonies of how good God is, how awesome his love, how amazing his grace and these are good things to hear. But friends, and I say this to you specially if you are from an Asian background, it is good to confess our brokenness and need for forgiveness from God that comes from the cross of Christ - as unChinese as that might be to do such a thing in front of our friends. That breaking point is true conversion. That breaking point is true repentance. To confess that I am a great sinner but Christ is a great and faithful Saviour.

And so Jesus suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.
Hebrews 13:12-13

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

A very smelly Christmas (Mark 14:1-11)

To some it is the king of fruits. To others it is the world’s smelliest fruit. I am describing, of course, the durian. Smelling like gym socks yet tasting like custard, the durian is a fruit you completely love or absolutely loathe. Mmm, durian.

Imagine durian for Christmas. Instead of a tree, a durian. Instead of roast turkey, a durian. Instead of a present, a durian. Your family will disown you. Your neighbours will call the police on you.

Extreme reactions. That is the theme of today’s passage from Mark Chapter 14 - extreme reactions or responses to Jesus Christ. One of hatred and murder. But the other of love and worship. And the question is: Pushed to the extreme, what is your response to Jesus? What is your extreme reaction to Christ?

Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. “But not during the Feast,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
Mark 14:1-2

The passage begins (and ends) with murder - with the religious leaders scratching their heads thinking of a way to kill Jesus. And it’s tempting to say, “It’s just those extremists.” Or, “Let’s skip this bit,” but we lose something if we do. Mark wants us to compare the religious leaders with this anonymous lady. To compare their reaction with hers.

It’s not as simple as saying one is bad and the other is good. Look at verse 1 and notice how secretive they are. “They were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus.” Verse 2, “Not during the Feast,” they said. Why? Because the people would riot. Because there were too many witnesses. This was a business meeting. They wanted to kill Jesus - to commit murder, yes - but to do it in such a way that they still looked respectable, that they still maintained control.

But then comes this woman who does something so public, so embarrassing yet so full of love.

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
Mark 14:3

She has no words, no name, she probably has no invitation. But Mark tells us that the jar was made of alabaster. The perfume was made of pure nard. That was the centre of attention. This rare, expensive jar of perfume which was broken, which was poured out on Jesus’ head. In John’s gospel, he writes, “The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3). Everyone could smell the extravagance of this act of worship.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages (three hundred denarii) and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
Mark 14:4

A very Asian thing to do when we see a friend with a new phone or a new toy is ask, “Eh, how much?” As Asians, we measure everything in dollar signs. That’s how much something is worth - my clothes, my car. That’s how much I am worth - my salary, my Christmas present that my loved one gave to me. It’s interesting how they knew how much that jar of perfume cost. Three hundred denarii. What a waste - not of perfume - but a waste of money. Three hundred denarii poured down the drain.

Three hundred denarii in today’s money is twenty thousand pounds. “We could have given twenty thousand pounds to the poor.” That’s what they were saying. “We could hire a new pastor.” “We can renovate the church centre.” We can do so many things with twenty thousand pounds. But what you do not do with twenty thousand pounds is buy one gigantic bottle of Chanel Number 5 and pour it out on your pastor’s head. What a waste!

So they scolded her, “Silly girl.” But what does Jesus say? “She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”
Mark 14:6-7

It’s strange. When Jesus says, “The poor you will always have with you… but you will not always have me,” it almost sounds wrong. Is Jesus saying he is more important than the poor?

Well, remembering their objections in verse 5, “This money could have been given to the poor,” Jesus is quoting an Old Testament passage back at them - back at the bullies - about the importance of helping the poor. Hopefully, when I read it, you will see the connection. This is Deuteronomy 15, verse 11.

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be open-handed towards your brothers and towards the poor and needy in your land.
Deuteronomy 15:11

Jesus says there will always be poor among us - there will always be this problem of poverty in this world - but then quotes a verse that says this is why we should be generous. To be open-handed with the poor. Now, that same chapter in Deuteronomy also has this to say about the poor.

However, there should be no poor among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, he will richly bless you.
Deuteronomy 15:4

It sounds like a contradiction: There should be no poor (verse 4) and yet the poor you will always have with you (verse 11). How can that be? The reason for the poor is not lack of money, not lack of blessing, not lack of food - no, after all, God says he will richly bless the land he has given them as his people. Yet even in this special land he has given to his people overflowing with his blessing, God has to give the command to be open-handed. Why? Because we forget. We need to be reminded not to hold onto God’s blessing with closed fists. Be open-handed, God says. Be generous.

Do you see what Jesus is saying? Some of us think, “If only I had twenty thousand pounds, wow, I will donate all that money to the poor.” You know you won’t. You will be thinking, “I need twenty thousand more.” But what has this woman done? She poured out everything she had, emptied everything she owned in one single act of abandonment, one single act of worship. Notice, Jesus says, in verse 8, “She did what she could.” Meaning if she had two bottle of perfume, she would break both bottles on Jesus’ head. Well, not quite. What it means is, in her eyes, this was nothing. She didn’t think she was rich. She didn’t wait until she was rich. We give out of our excess, our spare change, but this woman she poured out everything she had in worship and in love for Jesus Christ.

You don’t need to wait. Till you are older. Till you have more talents, more money, more respect. Coming to Jesus means you don’t have much but you give him everything. That’s worship. He is worth everything.

She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.
Mark 14:8-9

A couple of days ago at a friend’s birthday bible study (that’s right, he had bible study on his birthday), I was reminded this was not the first time Jesus was given perfume. If you remember the magi, the wise men from Matthew Chapter 2, who followed the star and came to Christ when he was a child, you will recall how they gave him gold, incense and myrrh as gifts - gold symbolising kingship, incense which was used for worship - but then there is also myrrh. What’s the point of giving myrrh to a kid? (It’s not chocolate). Myrrh is used at funerals, as a kind of perfume to preserve dead bodies. Jesus says, “She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.” Aside from the fact that Jesus is God and Jesus is King is the fact the Jesus has come to die on the cross for our sins. He has come to save us from God’s judgement by dying in our place for our forgiveness.

And he says wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her. The cross hasn’t happened yet, it’s two days to the Passover, two days to the crucifixion, but Jesus is saying, “This is a picture of what I am going to do for you on the cross.” Think of the shame she endured - “Foolish girl”. Think of the price she paid pouring out everything she had. Think of her love measured in terms of her sacrifice.

Jesus says, “She has done a beautiful thing to me.” What she did was make Jesus’ death look good. That’s the gospel. It’s pointing others to Jesus on the cross and showing them what a beautiful Saviour we have in Jesus Christ.

At that same bible study, someone said, “Loving someone always looks foolish.” Why would God give up his Son to die for you, a sinner? Why would Jesus Christ become a man, become a baby, die on the cross, for you, a sinner? Because of love. Others will say, “What a waste!” If you know this love of God, you will say, “What a Saviour!”

Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.
Mark 14:10-11

And so the story ends with the plans to kill Jesus moving swiftly ahead. Back in verse 2, they were stuck, they put their plans on hold, but here comes Judas handing Jesus to them as a gift.

I am reminded of a story a pastor once told about a bible study in prison (gives new meaning to cell group) when the prisoners were asked, “Who killed Jesus?” One prisoner said, “The Pharisees!” Another prisoner said, “I killed Jesus,” in remorse over his sinfulness. But the bible study leader wisely said, “God killed Jesus.” It was God who gave Jesus into the hands of the chief priests. It was God who made this happen.

And you have to ask: Why did it have to be this way - through betrayal, through deception? The reason is: Jesus is the ultimate poor man. When Jesus says, “The poor you will always have with you but you will not always have me,” Jesus is calling himself the ultimate poor man. You see, the poor are the oppressed, the victimised. Jesus could not save us as a rich man. The bible says, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, for you sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)

Recently, scientists in Singapore discovered the gene which gives the durian its pungent smell and the significance of that discovery opens up the possibility of creating an odourless or milder-tasting durian of the future. But one Singapore wrote back and said this, “A durian without smell is like a human who has lost his soul.” It’s the smell that’s the essence of the soul of the durian. It is the cross that is the essence of Christ, that is the essence of Christmas.

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.
2 Corinthians 2:15-16

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Heart attack (Mark 3:1-6)

Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’

Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent.

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Mark 3:1-6

1. Two routines

What is your Sunday routine? Do you wake up late and have a big breakfast or wake up early to play football?

This passage tells us what Jesus does every Sabbath day. He preaches in the synagogue and heals the sick. Verse 1 begins with “Another time ( or As usual or Again), Jesus went into a synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there.” And Jesus heals the man. That’s his routine.

But did you notice a second routine in verse 2? “Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus.” It says, “they watched him closely”. Not to hear him teach but “to see if he would heal on the Sabbath.” In other words, to catch Jesus in the act. “No work allowed, Jesus, not on the Sabbath!”

So we see two routines. Jesus teaching God’s word and doing God’s work. That’s one routine. But another thing we see is rejection. Turn back to Mark Chapter 2 and there Jesus is called a blasphemer, his friends are called sinners and his disciples are called Sabbath law-breakers - all in Chapter 2 alone. Rejection has become routine. They come every week to church but they’ve come in order to reject Jesus; to find a reason to accuse Jesus.

It’s interesting how this happens again and again in Mark’s gospel. The more they knew Jesus, they more they rejected him.

2. Two responses

But something different happens in Mark Chapter 3 and verse 3.

Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’
Mark 3:3

Remember, they are watching Jesus closely to catch him in the act. But Jesus says, “Stand up in front of everyone”. Meaning, he wants them to see. To see this man with his shrivelled hand. To see his miraculous healing. Even to see his obedience. It’s not Jesus who is hiding something but those who have come with a hidden agenda; those looking for a reason to accuse Jesus.

Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’ But they remained silent.
Mark 3:4

What is a mark of a good bible study leader? Good conversation. Everyone says something. If that is true, Jesus Christ is a lousy bible study leader. No one is saying anything! What is worse, Jesus gets angry with his bible study group for keeping quiet!

He looked around at them in anger and (was) deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts.
Mark 3:5

What’s going on? Jesus sees their stubborn hearts - literally, their hard hearts. If you remember the book of Exodus; you will remember how Pharaoh hardens his heart against God each time he meets Moses. The same thing happens to us when we reject Jesus, again and again. We are harden our hearts, making it harder to hear him. Making it harder to respond to his grace. That’s why they remained silent.

Do you choose good or evil? Do you save or kill someone? It’s not a hard question, is it? You don’t split the group into two and discuss the merits of doing evil versus doing good. Of course it’s better to do good and save life!

But to be fair, verse 4 begins: Which is lawful on the Sabbath? Meaning: He’s not asking, “What do you think?” but, “What does God say?” And this is where they got stuck. They knew what God said not to do: Don’t work on the Sabbath. Hence, healing on the Sabbath was breaking the law. But Jesus asked them what God wanted them to do. He rescued them from slavery from Egypt and gave them the Sabbath so that they could serve him.

And if look back to the end of Chapter 2 to the last verse, Jesus says, “The Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.” Connecting the dots, Jesus is saying: The Sabbath is about me. I have come to do good, to save life, to bring salvation. But all they were thinking was, “I don’t care.” They hardened their hearts against Jesus.

Silence can be a very useful thing in a bible study. It can mean people are thinking. It can also mean that people are hardening their hearts. Either way, silence is a response. You are repenting towards God or rejecting God. You can hear God’s word or harden your heart. Most of you are silent right now. I wonder which response is happening in your heart?

Two routines. Two responses.

3. Two results

Finally, two results - life and death.

(Jesus) said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.
Mark 3:5-6

That’s ironic, isn’t it? They accused Jesus of breaking the Sabbath yet immediately after church, they planned to kill him. The experts condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath but didn’t see anything wrong with killing on the Sabbath.

Jesus says (in Mark 2:17), “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but those who are ill. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Who are the sick? Obviously, it’s that old auntie in hospital. Obviously, it’s my friend who’s struggling with sin. I’d better pray for them.

Friends, if that’s what you think, you’ve missed the point. When Jesus tells the sick man to stand up, everyone could see he needed help. None of them thought, “I need Jesus to help me.” Yet Jesus was filled with anger and grief when he looked at their hearts.

To have a doctor tell you, “You are sick,” is bad news. But for Jesus to show me my sin is good news because Jesus came for sinners. That’s the wonderful news of the gospel. At the cross where he suffered and died, I can see how much God hates my sin and how much God loved me while I was still a sinner. God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.


What does this mean for us? Routine, response and results.

Routine means it’s not just that one big decision to follow Jesus but your day by day, moment by moment living for Jesus. Why not have a daily routine, weekly routine of prayer and reading God’s word. Always start small. The point is to keep going and to keep growing.

Response is always, always talking about the gospel. Jesus Christ died for our sins. He rose for our justification. I must never be too old or too proud to bow my knees before the cross and say, “I am sorry, Jesus. Please forgive me. I am a sinner saved only by your amazing grace.”

Finally, the result is life or death. Eternal salvation in the fullness of God. Or eternal condemnation under the wrath of God. Friends, do you know the difference? More importantly, do you know Jesus?

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!
Romans 5:8-9