Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Finality of The Cross P5 (08-17-21)
Recognize your condition of death that you might come alive in Christ Jesus
Many of us have grown up in some sort of religion where we at least heard about God and something about Jesus. And one topic you will almost always hear about is forgiveness of sins. Yet, sadly that is also a topic that can also be a controversial topic! Why is that? God gave His word so we may know the truth on such a foundational issue, the issue of sin that caused our death. And the more serious problem is that we are all born dead spiritually. And the crux of the matter is, because of our condition since birth, there is no one who seeks God. We may know about God. We may know He is the Son of God yet not know what that means. We may even know something about the fact that Jesus died on a cross. In many churches, you will see a statue of Jesus nailed on a cross. But you have no idea of the significance of why Jesus came to this earth to die on a cross. You may even know something about the Trinity, that God is three in one. But one thing you might know is that you are empty inside. You are not sure why, but you sense something is missing.
So how does a person who does not even seek God come to believe in the one whom God had sent into this world? First of all there are a lot of barriers to truth in a fallen world we live in. The biggest barrier is the same fallen nature in us that is in Adam when he sinned. That is, as in the garden of Eden, eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, that I can decide for myself what is right and wrong, good and evil. I think that I do not need God to determine that.
All of the philosophies of the world make up ideas of how man is to function without God. College and universities teach situational ethics and we have philosophies of Relative truth, Marxism, which wants to destroy Christianity, and Critical Race Theory, all taught in our schools, as if this is wisdom. Mankind ultimately comes up with the idea that man is born basically good and we even say that such and such a person is a “good person.”
Even all the religions of the world form ideas of how to be made righteous by what they do. They form their own ideas and pass these on in the form of traditions and teaching by men of how to get their sins forgiven, even though throughout the Old Testament you can read about man’s failures. Man has been given a conscience to innately know murder is wrong, yet mankind cannot keep himself from anger when someone cuts him off the freeway. Mankind knows adultery is wrong yet he finds himself lusting after a woman. Yet he thinks he is okay because he can get his sins erased or go to a priest to get them forgiven. He thinks that through religion he can improve upon what God has done for him. He is basically saying God is a liar and I can do this my own way. Yet God knows the heart of man.
The many denominations out there exist in conflict with one another on some matter or another because they are leaning on their own understanding and not acknowledging God or considering what God has to say. Most don’t even teach the finality of the cross in the first place. You can even be a born again believer, but insist on listening to men who proclaim to know truth, yet twist the truth. What are you doing? You are not relying on the Holy Spirit to teach you. You may not even have thought of testing what any man has to say with the word of God through the Spirit of God living in you to reveal the real truth of the matter.
Yet, in today’s world, we think we can coexist and make a utopia out of this world by global governance by the elites, that can force global peace by their own vain imaginations. And we are okay with that! Or you think you can reclaim this world for God before He returns, as if you can do something instead of relying on what God has said, that until He comes to indwell every heart and returns as the prince of peace, having cast all sin and death into the sea, there will be no permanent peace. In our present bodies, we have sin-indwelling flesh, and so even as a born again believer, we cannot even change ourselves. The righteous shall live by faith, and to live is Christ. So, we are told in scripture to walk by the Spirit so you will not carry out the desires of the flesh. Walking by faith is a moment by moment thing. Living by faith is from first to last.
17For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
If you are in a lost state, without the Spirit of God living in, you you might be able to know what the word of God says, but you do not know what it means. How can you understand the things of God if you do not have the Spirit of God living in you, guiding you into all truth, explaining to you what it means? Man with all kinds of degrees and education can tell you what the bible says, but, if they are lost, they cannot tell you or direct you as to what it means.
So again, the only way a lost person can be saved is if God Himself seeks and saves that which is lost. God seeks after us, every one of us. And what is He first trying to get us to see? Our fallen, depraved, hopeless condition. What is that? Sin is what caused our death, the same sin of unbelief that Adam had in that garden of Eden, that God says if you shall eat of it, you shall surely die. Did he die physically that day? No. He eventually died physically, but on that day he died spiritually. The Spirit of God could no longer reside inside him, and scripture tells us that God could no longer walk with Adam in the garden as He once did and there was a flaming sword that would prevent man to eat of the tree of eternal life until what caused his death is taken away. For God did not want man to be in an eternal state of death. And thus, God has a solution.
God does not want mankind to live forever in a sinful state, forever separated from God. That is what death really is, a separation from the living God because of sin. It is the absence of life, the life of God living in you. God wants to restore the ability for you to communicate with the living God, freely, without guilt and without fear of punishment that you know your sin deserves. And what is deserved by our sin? The wages of sin is death. Every time you sin, you earn death, and there is nothing you can do to remove that sin from you, or get that sin forgiven. But the bigger problem is that separation from God, and for that relationship with God to be restored, sin first has to be taken away forever. Under the Law, we must have never sinned once and never sin at all, because if we do, we die. We are dead to God in our weakened state. God had to take us out from under that impossible system of the law of sin and death and put us under a new law, a law of liberty in Christ Jesus, a law of Life. That is what God did for us through the New Covenant that God ushered in through Christ Jesus.
So what does the bible say about our sinful state, our condition of death? We have the recorded history of the fall of mankind in Genesis. We have the epistles of the apostle Paul, particularly in Romans, that details the fallen nature of mankind, that both the Israelites and the Gentiles are alike under sin. He even tells us his striving to be made righteous by means of he law, and how he now considered that garbage in comparison to knowing Christ. That at one time he thought he could be made righteous by observing the law until he realized that the law said, “Do not covet” and he found himself coveting all the more. He came to the conclusion that he is a wretched man, and asked, “Who can save me from this body of death?”
We either sin apart from the law, such as the Gentile, where our conscience sometimes justifies us and sometimes condemns us, or we sin under the law, as an Israelite under the Law of Moses, who had the very laws of God written on stone, and could not obey the law, neither the outward demands of the law or the intent of the law that comes from a heart of love. But how can you love without the love of God in your heart? God is love, but we do not even know God nor have that Agape love in our heart. And we read the testimony of the apostle John, that we, who are born again in Christ, love because He first loved us and that this is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us first. We read about Jesus in the gospels explaining to us the real intent of the law, that goes deeper into the heart of mankind, the root problem of man He came to solve. We have the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes who tells us of his experience on the meaningless of life without God. He tells us that God has put in the heart of every man the thought of eternal life. We have the Old Testament prophets who tell us about their condition, such as Isaiah saying he is a man of unclean lips among a people of unclean lips. And of Jeremiah that tells us the heart is more deceitful than all else and who can understand it.
So God gave us His word so we may know Him, who is our life, that by coming to realize that we are a sinner, and that sins caused our death, and the only solution to death is life, and the only life available to us is the very life of God living in Christ Jesus. So we come to Him to receive that life, and in that resurrected life in Christ Jesus is the forgiveness of sins. For unless Jesus first came to take away the cause of our death, which is sin, and if it was even possible to have life before the cross, the next time we sinned, we would die again. That is why God left the sins committed beforehand, before the cross, unpunished until Jesus Christ should arrive to die on a cross, and say, “It is finished” (John 19:30).
So Jesus shed His blood on a cross and that was a once and for all, and a final perfect sacrifice, all-sufficient to take away the sins of the world, back to Adam and forward to eternity for anyone yet to be born. His death was necessary for salvation, but in and of itself did not save us. You must be saved by the resurrected life of Christ, His life to be lived in you and through you, to restore mankind to his intended purpose and function in God’s original creation of mankind. We cannot do it. But He can and He did.
Jesus fulfilled all of the just requirements of the law for us, being God, and God is love, and love being the fulfillment of the law and having become sin for us so that in Him we may have the very righteousness of God imputed to us. He paid the price of sin, the punishment of sin, being death, for us. His death on a cross was a necessary preparation for life to be given. And, as the apostle Paul said, if Christ was not raised then we are not raised either, and if that is the case, we would still be dead in our sins. This gospel, of what Jesus alone accomplished for us by His death, burial and resurrection, as we read in 1 Corinthians, is the most incredible message of good news for the world, for you and me personally, and this life must be received by faith in what He provided for us, eternal life. This is eternal life, to know God and His Son Jesus Christ. We do not come to get forgiveness. We come to Him for what He came to give us, eternal life, and in receiving Him, we have the forgiveness of sins.
Last week, the New Covenant God made with the godhead was explained. The death of Christ on a cross is what ushered in a new will, a new covenant, a new testament, for both Israelites and Gentiles. The Israelites were given the law by Moses, and the law was set aside because it could not make anyone perfect. Only God’s perfect righteousness will do. The Gentiles, having never been under the law, simply enters into this New Covenant, and is saved the same way as the Israelites are saved through faith in Jesus. Now, we who are Gentiles, although we never had the law to begin with, yet we make up our own laws, our own ideas through philosophy or our own sacrificial systems through religion. And so we set that aside, realizing those man-made religious systems or philosophies of men could never make us righteous before a just and holy God. So whether Israelite or Gentile, we come to Christ by faith in what Jesus alone did for us by His death, burial and resurrection.
As a review, ponder over again these scriptures that describe this New Covenant we live under today, of which you have now received all the great and precious promises of that covenant when you are born again. To those who receive Him, to those who believe in His name, God has given you the right to become a child of God, and so you have all the rights as a child of God and are a recipient of all that God has recorded for you concerning His New Covenant will. So review these passages of scripture, relying on the Spirit to reveal to you the full meaning of all that you have been given in Christ Jesus: John 1:1, 14, Matthew 26:28, Romans 8:1-4, Hebrews 9:15-16, Romans 10:4 (NASB), Hebrews 9:22, Matthew 26:28, Hebrews 8:10, Hebrews 10:17-18, Hebrews 9:25-28, Hebrews 10:10, and Hebrews 9:17-18. Review also these passages of scriptures, identifying the condition of man, that he might seek a Savior in Christ Jesus: Genesis 2, Galatians 3:22, Romans 7, Romans 3:10-12, 23, Romans 6:23, 1 John 1:8-10, 2 John 1:7, John 8:44, Proverbs 3:5-6, 1 Corinthians 2:9-10, 1 Corinthians 2:14, John 2:23-25, John 8:44, John 11:47-48.