By Femi Aribisala
God cursed the earth for Adam’s sake. Then he blessed the world for Christ’s sake.
I am sure you have heard the expression time and again. You may have used it yourself occasionally to make an emphatic point. In a moment of desperation, we burst out: “Why don’t you just leave me alone ‘for Christ’s sake?’” Or when we want to insist on getting something from someone, we cry out: “Give it to me ‘for Christ’s sake.’”
But even when our antagonist is a Christian, it does not always have the desired effect. Your tormentor refuses to leave you alone. He does not give you back your pen; not even for Christ’s sake.
The problem is that the expression has become so commonplace, it is now starched of meaning. Notwithstanding, its spiritual significance and power remain in the right context. God does nothing for man’s sake. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). But God does everything for Christ’s sake. Jesus is the solitary sinless one to whom God testifies: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17).
By the same token, we don’t get credit from God for anything we do. We only get credit for the things we do for Christ’s sake. Besides, everything we have, we have for Christ’s sake. Alas, God cursed the earth for Adam’s sake. But thanks be to God, he blessed the world for Christ’s sake.
The father went with his wife and four children to watch “The King of Kings” in the cinema. He told them to wait while he went to buy the tickets. When he came back, he distributed them one-by-one to them and found to his surprise one strange boy stretching out his hand to receive a ticket from him.
“I’m sorry,” he said to him, “but I don’t know you.” “Who are you?” he asked in puzzlement. “Father, he is my friend,” said his son. “Please, give him a ticket for my sake.” And so, although the father did not know him, he ended up giving a ticket to a complete stranger simply because of his son.
We do so many things for the sake of our children. We watch lousy films. We read bedtime stories again and again. We work extra hours to get extra pay. All for the sake of little Johnny. So it is with Christ. There is nothing we have that we did not receive; and everything we receive is because of Christ.
Gift of God
A gentleman gave a gold wristwatch to a lady working in the same office as him. However, the lady does not even know the man. Should she accept the gift or not? If she accepts it, what would be the implication? She needs to know why someone she does not know would give her such an expensive gift.
A Good Samaritan rescues a dying traveler from the hands of armed robbers. He rushes him to the hospital and pays all his bills. While there, he comes every day to see him and nurses him back to health. What is the catch? Why would a perfect stranger take so much interest in him?
Why would God give anyone something as precious and expensive as eternal life? He does this for only one reason: for the sake of Christ his son.
Who was the lady given the expensive watch? Was it the young and beautiful girl that works in the Administrative Department? It would have been understandable if it had been her. But No! It was the old and surly woman who cleans the toilets.
“Which woman?” “You mean the one nobody talks to: the one who doesn’t smile?” “Yes. That’s the one.” “Why give someone like that such an expensive wristwatch? What is she going to do with it? What function is she going to wear it to? Is she going to wear it while she is cleaning the toilets? Oh! What a waste.”
Christ makes us deserving. We are deserving for Christ’s sake. God wrote a reference for Abraham. He also wrote a reference for Job. Do you suppose they will get the job they are applying for? If a man takes a loan and God guarantees the loan, do you think he can default? You must be joking!
We can get anything and everything from God not because we deserve it but because Jesus deserves it. Jesus is our guarantor. Therefore, ask in Jesus’ name.
Thus says the Lord to his disciples: “When that time comes, you won’t have to ask me about anything. I tell you for certain that the Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. You have not asked for anything in this way before, but now you must ask in my name. Then it will be given to you, so that you will be completely happy.” (John 16:23-24).
What precisely has God given us for Christ’s sake? He has given us all things. “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; no good thing will he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11). If it is the good Lord who is our shepherd, then we shall not want for any good thing.
Our vantage point
The Minister of Finance comes from a little nondescript village in Bayelsa. One day, they came to tar all the roads in the village. The next day, they connected the village to the national grid, so there is now electricity there. The day after that, they came to build three boreholes in the village.
Why are they doing all that in such a remote village? They are doing it because the Minister of Finance comes from the village.
Do you know why the sun is shining today? Do you know why the wind is blowing? Everything is the way it is because of the grace we have received in Christ. Therefore: “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17).
If God saved you for Christ’s sake, what will you do for Christ’s sake? Will you allow yourself to be cheated? Will you suffer persecution for Christ’s sake?
Jesus says: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12).
Living for Christ means we sometimes choose affliction. For he says: “Whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25-26). He says furthermore: “I will show (you) how many things (you) must suffer for my name’s sake.” (Acts 9:16).
Oh Lord, make haste to help me. Please don’t turn your back on me: “O LORD, you know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In your enduring patience, do not take me away. Know that for your sake I have suffered rebuke.” (Jeremiah 15:15). For I am now called by your name.