For the most part, I would say that I am an NIV type person... that is my preferred translation when it comes to reading the bible. King James strikes me as a little stuffy (sorry to all you KJV followers!) and The Message can be just a little too loose, so typically you'll find me using the NIV.
As I have been trying to decide what to write for my final column in The Good News, I began thinking about the journey I've taken over the past three years. So, off to bible gateway I headed and I typed in the word journey, searching through the NIV. This search turned up.... NOTHING! Okay... how can I not find journey... so I changed the translation to The Message. Now I was cooking... and what I read there really struck me... I'm going to give you the NIV for this first... then the Message... and you'll see why I was amazed...
NIV 1 Peter 1:18 - 21
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
Good stuff... Before Christ our lives were empty, as were the lives of our fathers, but through Christ's perfect sacrifice, which was decided upon before the world was created, we now have faith and hope in God! But I want you to see how The message puts this verse... same concept but a little more powerful....
The Message 1 Peter 1: 18-21
Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately - at the end of the ages - become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.
Okay... dead-end, empty headed life... pretty strong words... but actually right on the mark. Without Christ, where would our lives be headed? Nowhere! And empty-headed... I agree! Our thoughts, when not centered on Christ, are just that.... empty!
And God ALWAYS knew that his son would have to die to save his Creation... and he gave us ample opportunity to get it right... and we still botched it. So he knew... Christ knew... even as he was The Word... speaking all things into being... that the ultimate sacrifice would have to be made... and he did so willingly... and God raised him from the dead... bringing Glory to God, so that we could have a future....
So, where are you right now... are you at a dead-end... leading an empty-headed life? Or have you accepted the sacrifice Christ made for YOU? And did you get the part about the "end of the ages"? Time is running short, and it's time to make a decision... an empty way of life or a life filled with faith an hope in God... the choice is yours!