January 25, 2018
On February 1, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke apart upon reentry, killing all seven crew members aboard. It was determined that upon launch a piece of foam detached from the external fuel tank and damaged the protective tiles on the left wing. When the Columbia reentered the earth’s atmosphere, hot gases penetrated and damaged the wing, causing the shuttle to become unstable and break apart.
Throughout the 16-day mission, neither the crew on the shuttle nor at mission control were aware of the damage or of the imminent tragedy that awaited. The crew were condemned to death, though they didn’t know it. This tragic event may help us understand the dire situation in which we find ourselves as sinners. Because of our sinful nature and our sinful actions, we are condemned to death, under God’s righteous anger and judgement. Like the Columbia crew, we may go about our lives unaware or unconcerned about our fate. Yet the day will come when each of us will stand before a Holy God, and because of our sin face a fiery judgment.
Yet the first great promise we find in Romans chapter 8 is this, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. If the Columbia tragedy had a Hollywood ending, there would have been a gallant rescue mission to save the crew. For them, there was no rescue mission. But for us, Jesus came so that He might live, suffer, die, and rise again to rescue us from our sin!
This is the theme of this week's Bible study at the West Virginia state capitol. During this regular session we are studying the wonderful truths and promises of the gospel found in Romans chapter 8. There are no more assuring words that we can ever hear than "No Condemnation"!
- Pray that those who do not know Christ might recognize their dire plight and turn to Him for salvation.
- Pray that believers might find the joy and assurance of this great truth as they serve during the challenging days of the regular session.
The Rest of the Columbia Story
Space Shuttle Columbia Commander Rick Husband was a faithful and outspoken follower of Jesus Christ. He shared his faith openly and was very active in his home church. He loved music and sang in his church choir. Each day of the mission began with a wake-up message from mission control and usually included a song dedicated to one of the members of the crew. On day 6 the team was awakened by Steve Green, a close friend of Commander Husbands, singing “God of Wonders”. Commander Husband’s response as they orbited above the Earth, “Looking out the window you really can tell He is a God of wonders”.
Commander Husband did not know that his earthly mission was going to end 10 days later. Yet he had the assurance that no matter what happened he faced no condemnation because he was in Christ. He gave clear testimony that he knew that neither life, not death, nor any other thing could separate him from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:39)
Let us seek to know and understand this same joy and assurance as we see these wonderful promises in Romans chapter 8.
Capitol Commission West Virginia