Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Finality of The Cross P19 (09-20-21)
By the Spirit, Study the Word to Know the Truth About Forgiveness and Salvation
There is a lot of misunderstanding of the finality of the cross in the world of Christendom today. When you know the truth from the Word of God, then whatever error is out there can easily be spotted. When Jesus said, “It is finished” when dying on a cross, what did He mean?
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.
What is finished? What was accomplished when Jesus died on a cross? And, was His death all that was necessary for man to be saved? To be saved means to be saved from death by being made alive in Christ. Death is an eternal separation from God. Having been born dead in Adam and in our trespasses and sins (Romans 5:12, Ephesians 2:1-2), if we remain in that state, we remain dead.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
So was Jesus’ death on a cross a necessary preparation for life to be given? Why was it called a day of Preparation? That is, Jesus had to come to take away the cause of our death, which is sin, if we had any hope from being out from under the law that says the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Can forgiveness of sins give you life? Are we saved by the death of Christ, or was that just necessary to take away the cause of our death, which is sin?
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Or, is it necessary for someone like us, who has a life, and not just any life, but eternal life, who alone can give you that kind of life? What was accomplished by the resurrection of Christ Jesus from the dead? How is Jesus different from any other man, so that He can give us life? Jesus is God in the flesh and God is an eternal being (John 1:1-4, 14). Did not the apostle Paul say that without the resurrection, we are still dead in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17)? And, having died on a cross, and then raised from the dead, was His resurrection from the dead what really saves you and me? Does not Romans 5:10 say we are saved by His life? So, the real question in regard to salvation is this. Is the life of Christ alive living in you?
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
2 Corinthians 13:5
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you – unless, of course, you fail the test?
Were these just historical events regarding Jesus of Nazareth, or did what He did have bearing on my life today? What does the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus do for me personally? Would life be possible for you and me if Jesus did not die on a cross? Would it be possible for me to be made alive, not just physically, but spiritually and eternally, if Jesus had not been raised from the dead? These are the kinds of questions that must be answered to get a full and correct understanding of what it means to be saved from what scripture calls the law of sin and death unto a new law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2).
1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death
God sent Jesus to this earth to restore mankind to true humanity, to place the Spirit of God in you, who was lost due to the fall of the entire human race through the sin of Adam (Genesis 2:16, Romans 5:12, Romans 5:19). So, God desires for you to receive what He has offered you, eternal life, His live to be lived in you and through you, the very righteousness of God (1 Corinthians 15:45, 2 Corinthians 5:21).
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
The reason it is finished is not just because of what he did but why he had to do it. At a point in time, 2000 years ago, where God intervened and came to this earth because of our inability to live up to the Old Covenant that He gave us, “This is the law I command you to keep” (Hebrews 9:20). But He found fault, not with the commandment (Romans 7:12), but with the people (Hebrews 8:8). He found fault with people because we could not live up to it. Therefore, He gave man ample time. He gave man all kinds of freedom to develop their own laws and own religious system. The best religious system ever developed on the face of the earth was Judaism and it fell flat on its face. There is no system that can accomplish what the person of Christ Jesus did (Romans 3:19-20).
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20 Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.
The reason Jesus could do what no man could do is because He was not born in the fallen sin nature of Adam. Jesus is God, who came from heaven (John 3:13), who took on human flesh, born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23). So, being God in the flesh (John 1:1-4, 14; Hebrews 1:3), and God is love (1 John 4:8, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8), where love does its neighbor no wrong (Romans 13:10), He lived a perfect life (1 John 1:5, 1 John 3:5). So His love fulfilled the law, that you and I could never keep, for if we fail at just one point we are guilty of breaking all of the law (James 2:10). So He did something for us we could never do.
4 Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.
Jesus came to not only fulfill the law but to uphold the demands of the law, which is death for sin (Romans 6:23). We could not die for our sins and yet live because we are bound to the law, enslaved to sin (Romans 6:6, 17-22). Jesus came to take upon our sins, so that the just demands of the law, which is death, could be fully met in Him (Romans 8:3-5).
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”
And since He rose from the dead, He is alive to offer us a pardon. That way He could secure our pardon for sin, for sin has no hold on Him who is without sin of His own (John 14:30). And with a pardon, we have the choice to accept that pardon or to remain dead. For if we identify with His death for us, so we die with Him (Colossians 3:3), and in His resurrection for us, so we come alive in Him (Ephesians 2:4-6), then we are saved (Romans 6:2-4). In that life is the forgiveness of sins, which He already paid the price the law demanded, which is death (Romans 6:23). But only in His life is when we are no longer dead but are made into a new creation, with the Spirit of God alive in us (2 Corinthians 5:17). You could say that the condition of being pardoned is to receive His life. For it is only in His life that we become alive. Otherwise, we would remain dead. All the work has been done for us by Christ Jesus. Now the choice is ours to receive life, not any life, but the only life available to mankind, the eternal life in Christ Jesus (John 1:12-13).
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins.
4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
So, if this is not fully understood, then you can be bogged down in error, either failing to come to Christ for life, or hindered in your ability to walk in the spirit, afraid to come boldly to the throne of grace for help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). So many churches and pastors teach there are categories of sin, whether mortal versus venial or judicial versus parental, and that Jesus only died for those mortal or judicial sins, but not those others. For those other sins, we have to do something to get those sins taken care of, whether going to a confessional booth or going direct to God so as to be back in fellowship with God. In essence, we have created our own religious system, ignoring the fact that even the Old Testament system of sacrifice of bulls and goats that could never take away sins, but only cover sins until the next time.
25 Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood [of bulls and goats] that is not his own. 26 Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.
Instead of bulls and goats, we have substituted another form of sacrifice requiring us to do something. There is no freedom in that. Now, you are always in the mindset of appeasing an angry God, as if God still remembers your sins, which scripture clearly says in Hebrews He does not. How free are you to come boldly to whom you see as an angry God? What freedom is that?
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[Jeremiah 31:33]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[Jeremiah 31:34]
18 And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.
If you are born again, with the Spirit of God living in you, the Spirit has promised to never leave you because of sin (Hebrews 13:5). And if all sins have not been forgiven, then what would Jesus have to do, according to what is said in Hebrews 9:22, that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness? He would have to die again. But Jesus is not going to do that. Why not? He already did. It is finished just as Jesus said.
1 John 2:2 (NASB)
2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
So listen now, as Bob George, goes to great lengths to describe many of the common errors in regard to forgiveness and salvation being taught still today. Error is what has kept people bound and unable to walk in the new life God has given. He identifies how this error came about, being taught in so many churches, having himself taught error in the earlier days of his Christian life. People tend to pass on what has been taught them. So there is no critical spirit or condescending attitude on those who teach error. But, if error is corrected with truth, then we can walk in the way God wants us to walk, in abundant freedom. Truth is what sets people free and Jesus said He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and the truth will set you free (John 8:32). So we must check out what any man says as to whether it is true or not, by the Word of God available to us (Acts 17:11, Romans 12:2, John 17:17), while relying on the Spirit, who lives in you, to reveal the meaning to you (1 Corinthians 2:9-10).