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The Sun Stopped Shining

Luke 23 44-45Today, North America will experience a full solar eclipse. The moon will pass between the sun and the Earth, blocking out all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, with the moon completely blocking the sun for about two minutes and forty seconds (nasa.gov). The last time the U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979. Some schools have decided to close, some offices are allowing employees time to see the eclipse, and communities are having viewing parties. If you plan to see it, be sure to have the correct, ISO approved glasses to avoid serious damage to your eyes that could cause blindness in the future!

The Bible tells us about another day where it was about noon and darkness covered the land until three in the afternoon because the sun stopped shining. (Luke 23:44-45a) On that day, Jesus Christ hung on a cross, bearing the sins of every person throughout all time. As he bore our sin, God could not look upon his own son as he suffered for you and for me. In that moment, God turned his back on his son. As a mother with a 21 year old son, there is no way I could ever turn my back on my child and certainly not in his biggest moment of pain and suffering. Yet, God did because he loves you and me enough that no matter what sin we may have committed or currently are involved in, He wanted to have a relationship with us. Our sin, however, keeps us separated from Him because He is Holy. Jesus willingly endured the torture of the cross and willingly gave His life to pay the penalty for our sin.

Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Our sin has consequences and there is a price to be paid for it. Just as you are paid a wage for the work you do each week, God has a paycheck to give you for the sins you commit and that paycheck is…death. But don’t panic yet!

There is good news! Jesus took payment we earned on himself in our place. Jesus’s death on the cross covered that debt and because he died in our place, he is able to offer us the gift of eternal life. If I hold in my hand a beautifully wrapped present and extend my hand to you, how does the gift become yours? Because it is a gift, you can’t earn it. You did nothing to earn the gift and if you pay me for it, it ceases to become a gift. There is only one way the gift can become yours. You must reach out and accept it.

How do you accept the free gift of eternal life? You must receive it by faith. Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are you saved through faith; and it’s not of yourselves: It is the gift of God: not of works, so nobody can boast.” You begin by acknowledging that you have a sin problem. Romans 3:23 say, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That little word all means you. It means me. It means every single person that has ever lived with the exception of Christ. It is because he lived a sinless life that made him able to offer his life in place of ours.  Ephesians 2:1-3 says, “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.” Deserving of God’s wrath. Our problem is sin.

Like any other problem, there is an answer. Ephesians 2:4-10 gives the answer. “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The answer is God’s grace extended to us through the death, burial and resurrection of his only son, Jesus Christ. John 3:16 tells why God allowed Jesus to die for us. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God loves all of us. It doesn’t matter what color skin we have, what our past looks like or what our present life looks like. It doesn’t matter how “big” your sin is because we are the only ones that puts value on sin. To God, a little small sin as just as big as the worst sin you can think of. Sin is sin and only one will keep you from eternal life. But because of his love and grace, he allowed his Son to take the punishment we deserve. The Bible says, “Christ died for our sins…and rose (from the dead) on the third day” (1 Corinthian 15:3,4). “But God showed His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) It also tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:21 that God made Christ, who knew no sin, to be sin for us so that we can be made righteous in the sight of God and this is what makes eternal life possible.

Just as the only way you could possess a wrapped present from me is to reach out and take it, there also has to be a response from you towards the gift that God offers you. You reach out and accept His gift of eternal life by acknowledging your sin, asking him to forgive you of your sin and placing your faith and trust in Christ alone. Act 16:31 tells us, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” In John 6:47, Jesus said, “Truthfully I say unto you, He that believes on Me has everlasting life.

For Christians, I hope that the eclipse we experience today will be a reminder to you of what it cost Christ for your gift of eternal life. For non-Christians, I hope that as you experience the eclipse, you will think of this other moment in time when the sun did not shine as Jesus hung on a cross in payment for your sin.

If you wish to accept the free gift of eternal life right now, you can simply pray the prayer below with a sincere heart and God will hear you.

“Dear Lord, I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. Right now, in this moment, I trust you as my Savior. I believe that you died for me and rose from the dead as payment for my sins. I accept your free gift of eternal life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you prayed that prayer, let us know in the comment sections or send us a note through the contact us page. Also, find a local evangelical church in your area and talk with the pastor and let him know of the decision you have made. He can then help you as you follow in obedience to God and grow as a Christian.

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