Calvary Does Cover It All

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The early chapters of Acts describe a church on fire, where thousands of people came to faith and new believers were added daily to that number. This new movement must have distressed the establishment to no end. They thought they had stamped out any possibility of these Christ-followers gaining momentum when they crucified their leader.

Equally amazing to those who watched was the community that grew up around these professions of faith. Acts 5 tells us: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all.”

We like the multiplication the believers but tend to race over the division of goods. But that’s a subject for another time, though I can hear the pundits clamoring to tell me that that was a different time, a different place, a different culture and we couldn’t expect to repeat that today. But what strikes me is that this community spirit in the early church would not have been possible unless there had been a transparency, an honesty, a spirit of forgiveness and lack of conflict among the believers. On top of all that, of course, was a commitment to Christ and the evidence of the powerful flow of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Nothing else mattered.

The picture of this early church reminded me of the series of studies on forgiveness that our Wednesday night small group are working on. Often the subject of forgetting comes into the conversation. How can we forget the offenses committed against us, some more terrible than we can freely and accurately describe. No doubt the believers in the early church had some challenges in that area as well. After all the newly converted slaves now rubbed shoulders with the masters who had once treated them as nothing more than chattels. There were Romans alongside of Jews, tax collectors eating with the “Robin Hoods” of the day. Now, in Christ, there were no slaves and free, no poor and rich, no disadvantaged and privileged. They were “one” just as Jesus had prayed they would be just before He went to the cross.

Was forgiveness easy? I’ll ask when I get to heaven.

But here’s a quote from Amy Carmichael that covers that early church experience and should cover ours today: “If I say, ‘Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget,’ as though the God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”*

We used to sing an old gospel song titled, Calvary Covers It All.

And that’s as it should be. As we look beyond our personal crosses to Calvary, and the cross where every offense was borne away by the sinless Lamb of God, nothing else should matter but the significance of what He did there.

*If, Amy Carmichael, Dohnavur Fellowship, 1938


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