The news this past week has been full of reports on scams. Apparently there is a list available to all the fraudsters called the ‘suckers list’. On this list are the details of people who have previously been conned into giving money to a scam. Therefore, those wishing to make a quick buck from scamming others will purchase information of the ‘suckers list’ and target those people first. The advice from the reporter and the experts was ‘If it is too good to be true, then it probably is.’
I am no scam artist, but I have something to offer you that is too good to be true – but it is true! I can offer you life without pain, tears, suffering, death, sadness and end. And I can offer this kind of life to you at no expense to yourself. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?
A dying world
It does not take a scientist to realise that this world is significantly broken! Child abuse is rife, and it seems that only more and more historical cases are going to come to light. War is unending, no wars finish smoothly and each time one nears an end it seems a new one begins or escalates. Famine and drought persist to claim lives, despite all of the effort exerted to defend the vulnerable. Corruption is equally present, if not equally visible, on every continent regardless of their developmental status. Old age takes its toll, all the Botox in the world is not going to keep you alive.
That the world is broken, and ultimately dying, is self-evident. The reason for this is debated. However, the Bible explains that it is a result of the first sin. The Apostle Paul writes ‘sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man’ (Rom. 5:12,17).
The Victorious Answer
What brings the change then? Where is this too good to be true life found? How is a dying world resurrected? Jesus Christ is the answer to these questions.
After explaining that death came into the world through sin, and that sin came into the world through one man (Adam), Paul changes tact, ‘But the free gift is not like the trespass’ (Rom. 5:15). This free gift is not like the trespass because instead of bringing condemnation (and the associated consequences seen above) the free gift brings justification (5:16). This is when is becomes too good to be true:
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. (Rom. 5:18-19)
By the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous and, Paul continues, this grace will ‘reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.’ (v21)
The one act of obedience that Romans 5 is referring to is Jesus’ crucifixion. This one act of obedience was carried out by Jesus because it was the will of his Father (Mt. 26:36-46). Jesus who was not tainted by original sin due to his conception by the Holy Spirit, who did not join in the rebellion of man by sinning, bore the consequence of being tainted by original sin and joining the rebellion of man. On the cross Jesus endured pain, tears, suffering, death, sadness and an end. He did this so we could be offered something too good to be true; so we could be offered grace, righteousness and eternal life; so we could be offered a life without those things he endured.
Jesus final words before his death were ‘It is finished!’ (Jn. 19:30). This is why I can offer you life without pain, tears, suffering, death, sadness and end. And why I can offer this kind of life to you at no expense to yourself. Jesus has won it for you.
As Christians we must constantly remind ourselves that we enjoy something too good to be true. We enjoy the certain hope of life without pain, tears, suffering, death, sadness and end. We know that this kind of life has come to us at no expense to ourselves.
Therefore, as you embark on this new week do so with gratefulness in your heart, knowing that no matter what lies before you Jesus has won something too good to be true on and through the cross. This victory means that whatever this week has in store for you, it is not the final word.