Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Finality of The Cross P11 (08-31-21)
God’s Marvelous Plan of Giving His Life to You
The world is often resistant to hearing truth. Why is that? Do they not think that you really care about them personally, so they do not care what you have to say? Is it the way the truth is presented? Do they think you are self-righteous in what you are saying? Do they feel like they are talked down to? Is their mind already made up as to what they think truth is, so they are not open to hearing? Those that do hear the gospel, do not recognize it as the message of good news. Yet, even with all those barriers, those that do hear, often hear half a gospel. At least there is some information to prepare the ground for later truth to be revealed. Sadly, many a person thinks the gospel is getting your sins forgiven. They stop at the cross but fail to go on to the empty tomb, where resurrected life is.
Jesus came to solve a very practical problem of mankind. Man is dead already in his trespasses and sins, due to the fall of mankind in the garden of Eden, and what a dead man needs is life. Death is the absence of life, God’s life living in him. The first man Adam was created with the Spirit of God living in him, according to God’s design in creation. In the garden, God had given Adam a command with a warning, that if you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall surely die. Adam did what God warned him not to do and so he died, not physically that day, but spiritually. When Adam sinned, the Spirit of God left him due to sin, so Adam was separated from the life of God. And that is what death is, the absence of life. Eventually Adam did die physically, as all men born in Adam do. We inherited the fallen nature of Adam, and are born dead spiritually, without the life of God in us, and will one day die physically. God sent Jesus to restore His original design for creation, to put the Spirit of God back into mankind, and ultimately restore to him a new and different body that shall never die.
With death having entered this world through the fall of Adam, the forgiveness of sins was a necessary preparation for life to be given, for until the cause of our death, which is sin, is taken away, life cannot be given. So, in essence, man died in disobedience to a law of sin. A law is meaningless unless there is a punishment to a law. What good would be there to have a law against speeding if there is no fine associated to those who are caught speeding? The law that man was bound to was a law that says, “the wages of sin is death.” [Romans 6:23] The penalty of the law must be paid for God to be a just God. But mankind cannot pay that price and live. If man should sin, assuming he had the life of God in him without sin first being paid for, then the next time he sinned, he would die again. God being perfect love desired to solve this problem for mankind that mankind cannot solve.
So Jesus first came to take away the sins of the entire world. [1 John 2:2] He shed his own blood on a cross, dying a death just like ours, to meet the demand of the law, death for sin. Because He is an eternal and perfect being, God in the flesh, His sacrifice was once and for all, unlike the sacrifices of the blood of bulls and goats, which were required under an Old Covenant system they were under, which could never take away sin. They could cover sin, but never take sin away.
But by this one sacrifice, the sins of the entire world, back to Adam and forward to eternity, sins were forever taken away from the eyes of God never to be seen again. This solved the problem of sin. Reconciliation took place. God in Christ reconciled the world unto Himself not counting men’s sins against Him. Sins of mankind were forgiven forever. The full payment for sin, death, was paid in full by Jesus shed blood on a cross. No more sacrifice for sins remains, no more sacrificing bulls and goats, no more going to a priest in a confessional booth to get sins forgiven, no more quoting and misunderstanding of 1 John 1:9 to get sins forgiven. They have been forgiven once and for all.
But the problem of death can only be solved by life. Jesus rose from the dead for you and me. For as the apostle Paul said that without the resurrection we are still dead in our sins. He gave His life for us in order to give His life to us so that He can live His life in us and through us. What was lost in Adam, the Holy Spirit of God that departed Adam due to sin, God offered to us a promised Holy Spirit to be placed back in us, to live in us forever, never to be lost again due to sin. So God’s ultimate desire was to restore God’s original design in creation back to mankind. But with one notable difference. This new creation of being born again can never be taken away again due to sin. God always lives to intercede for us.
This offer of new life in Christ Jesus is to whosoever puts their trust in Christ alone. To those who receive Him, believe in His name, He has given the right to become children of God. His provision of forgiveness by means of the cross and life available to us by His resurrection and ascension back to His Father is ours. It is in Him you have redemption, the forgiveness of sins, and you are saved, not by his death, although it was a necessary preparation, but you are saved by His life. Having completed the work His Father gave Him to do, He is sitting down at the right hand of God. Jesus did it all and we trust Him to have done it all and receive by faith alone in His provision of grace to have His life, the Holy Spirit placed in us, and so to have eternal life.
In the heart of every man is the need for forgiveness. But the good news is not just to have your sins forgiven, but to receive what Jesus really came to give you, a new life, His Life to live. Many a man might know Jesus died on a cross, and may even be grateful that Jesus died for their sins, but they have no power to pull off obeying the commands of God. Even Paul realized that when the law said “Do not covet”, he coveted all the more. The law revealed to him what a wretched man he is. The things he ought to do he did not do and the things he hates to do he still did. Bob George also testified that what bothered him is that he could not love his wife or children as he knew he ought to. That was a motivator to him to find new life in Christ Jesus, for Jesus to be the source of living a new life he could never live.
Many a person also has this misconception of the Christian life, that if I become a born again person then I can stop sinning. The focus is not on stop sinning but the focus is be on to start living. When you are living, walking by the Spirit, having the Spirit of grace renew your mind with truth because He lives in you, then you are allowing Him to produce in and through you what you can never produce yourself, that which is listed in Galatians 5:22-23, and this new dependent life is explained by Jesus in John 15,and so you will not be carrying out the desires of the flesh because you will be living in love as Jesus did.
True living is a life lived in dependency on the one who gave His life to you. And in that dependency, in a vital love relationship with your creator, is how you learn to overcome the misdeeds of the flesh. You now have a source of life in you you never had, and in that dynamic relationship of understanding and relating to the unconditional love and grace of God, is where you do not carry out the desires of the flesh. People fail to realize sometimes that we still have sin-indwelling flesh. For the person who is in Christ Jesus, we need to understand that I am not better than someone else, but I am just better off. Why? Because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for you have been released from the law of sin and death unto a new life as a child of God, a new creation, unto a law of liberty in Christ Jesus, under the pure grace of God, to grow and learn in all freedom, with the ability to participate in the divine nature you have been given. It is all of God and none of us.
So let us look to Jesus? Certainly we know God is loving toward us, to all that He has created. Did you know that Jesus is God, who came to this earth on a rescue mission, to seek and to save that which is lost. He demonstrated His love to us, that people would be inclined to listen. Jesus did everything God told Him to do and say so that men might recognize their own condition, that not only are they a sinner but because of the wages of sin is death, as if under a system that here are the commands you must keep, and with it are rewards and punishments. Yet the person needs to recognize something of themselves here. There are several responses that a person can have. You can think that you can obey the law, only to find yourself failing at one point or another. You can also be afraid to approach God for fear of punishment. Or you can say I cannot obey these commands so I will just ignore them. So often the focus is on the external commands we can see, but God looks deep inside our hearts where we live, underneath the skin, exposing the inner attitudes of the heart, the real issue of sin, which is unbelief in Him. We may think we never commit adultery until God says that if you look lustfully at a woman you already sinned in your heart. We may think we never sin, or at least not very much, until we realize even worry is sin, because anything that does not come from faith is sin. Or we can make up all kinds of ideas of what God is like because we certainly know we cannot do it. We even make up our own sacrificial systems, in defiance of what Jesus said at the cross, “It is finished”. We make up our own rules of what is right and wrong and some people have even chosen to say there is no God, whom God calls a fool because all creation testifies there is a God. For then you think you do not have to be accountable to what you do or think. So in our mind we are at enmity with God, and if our hearts are not prepared, drawn by the Spirit of God to come to the end of the law for righteousness, the message of the cross sounds like foolishness to us and many a person hearing a message of grace respond in anger upon first hearing it for they only see in the mindset of a law and think you are condemning them, when in reality you are trying to help them see their condition that they might seek a savior in Christ Jesus.
So until Christ came why was the law there, the law of Moses, the ten commandments with all its ceremonial laws. It was, first of all, there to help man have a means to deal with guilt they feel, in regard to their need of forgiveness. It also served as a tutor to lead us to Christ in what this promised Messiah came to do for you personally. The law was there to help you realize how wretched you are. In essence, it is likened to a mirror to help you see where the dirt of sin is, but the law has no power to remove the dirt from your face. So until Christ came there was a temporary system of sacrifice to deal with guilt and cover sin, so man can feel some relief. God in His grace left sins committed beforehand unpunished. For if they were punished, there would be no man left alive. God was wooing us unto Himself, helping us to trust Him for a future provision of life.
Men being in a condition of death, and not realizing their death, are automatically in a fallen state of enmity with God because they come to wrong conclusions concerning who God is and how to deal with the issues of life they face, the feeling of emptiness, lack of purpose and meaning, fear of death, and any number of symptoms expressed by a lost person. They see God as a hard task master, and either reject religion, and so do we and for good reason, but are indifferent to God whom they think cannot meet their need. Or they are all the more rebellious and resist what they think God has enforced on them as a harsh religion, and relegate all association of Jesus to religion. But Jesus did not come to form a religion. He came to solve the problem of man being dead in sin by becoming sin for us so we might seek what He really came to give us, what we really need and want, if we are opened in our understanding, and that is eternal life. This eternal life is a relationship with the living God, who is our best friend and advocate, who accepts us and loves us unconditionally. He saw our hopeless state and provided a solution for us, knowing we could never do it. He fulfilled the just requirements of the law for us, and being perfect love, He demonstrated that love. He takes away the cause of our death, which is sin, in order to bring us to God so that in Him we can have Life. When you have that fear of death hanging over your head, fear of punishment for wrongdoing, then are you inclined to go to the one who has authority to cast you out? Yet He did not come to condemn you but to save you.
So God sent prophets to testify of a promised Messiah. As you read what was said by David in the Psalms or the prophet Isaiah, you will read of a day the Messiah would come, who would take away the sins of the world. Ponder over these scriptures and you will see God’s unfolding plan: Psalm 103:12, Isaiah 1:18, Isaiah 38:17, Acts 10:43 and Hebrews 1:1-3. That plan in the heart of God before the foundation of the world has now been completed to secure our salvation in our generation, with a final fulfillment in a new resurrected immortal body and ultimately a new heaven and a new earth where we will forever be with the Lord. All will be fulfilled as God planned and foretold through the prophets, then the apostles and then through the Holy Spirit who speaks through the hearts of men who have been born again, and made known to us through His word. Those born again are those made alive in Christ into a new creation by the grace of God, by faith in the work of God alone on their behalf through what Christ alone accomplished for him by His death, burial and resurrection. They have been made complete in Christ, having the very life of God received as a gift through faith in Christ alone.