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Duck Hunting, Fire & The Cross

On Sunday evening I finished with an illustration borrowed from a book called ‘One Way Love’ by Tullian Tchividjian (a brilliant read!) I found it really helpful and thought it would be worth posting it on the blog for people to read again…

Imagine this scenario – you’re out duck hunting. Work with me here. Anyway, it’s you and a friend walking through a wide-open dry landscape. But far away on the horizon your friend notices a cloud of smoke. And soon you can hear the sound of crackling. A wind comes up and you realise the scary truth – a bush fire is advancing your way. And it’s moving so fast that there’s no chance of outrunning it. Your friend begins to rifle through his pockets; he empties the contents of his bag – and he soon finds what he’s looking for – a box of matches. And to your amazement he pulls out a match, strikes it and lights a small fire around the two of you. And before long you’re standing in a circle of blackened earth, waiting for the fire to come. And you don’t have to wait long – you pull your t-shirt over your mouth and brace yourself. The fire comes and sweeps through – but your completely unhurt. You’re not even touched. Fire cannot burn where it’s already scorched.

And so here’s the point – all of deserve the fury of God’s judgment. Jesus knows that – He uncovers real life. He sees to the bottom of our rebellious hearts. But when He went to the cross – which is what He means when He says a time is coming (John 4v21, 23) – He took on Himself the guilt and shame of sinners. He absorbed the fire of God’s anger so that anyone who believes in Him can find a place to shelter. How do you know that God loves you? The cross. How do you know you’re forgiven? The cross. It doesn’t matter how far you’ve fallen or how often you’ve failed. It doesn’t matter what secrets lurk in your past or what shame looms over your present. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done. Christianity isn’t about having a second chance – it’s about having a substitute. And so what matters is whether you accept Jesus and His offer of eternal life. If you’re standing with Christ, not a hair on your head can be singed. At the cross we huddle – that’s the place where Jesus unlocks true worship. Our guilt is removed – and all that remains is gratitude.

Jonny Herring

Jonny is serving as Assistant Minister at The Village congregation. He is married to Charlotte and they have a daughter called Amelia. As well as spending time with his family, Jonny enjoys playing squash and dabbling in photography.