Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Finality of The Cross P14 (09-07-21)
Man Needed Reconciliation to God with Sins Forgiven but Also Restoration with God, with Eternal Life, Being Made Complete in Christ Jesus
There are many people who say they got saved when they were young, but later in life had doubts. A simple question to ask, “What was your understanding of the gospel?” When Bob George asked people that question, he says that nine times out of ten a person will respond that the gospel is getting your sins forgiven. That in itself is not the gospel. It is a necessary preparation for the gospel to be given. So what is the gospel, the message of good news in Christ Jesus?
Jesus came to take away the sins of the world, and that is how man’s sins have been forgiven. There was a means in the Old Testament to get your sins forgiven, and it involved the shedding of blood of an animal, but it had to be repeated year after year, and could never take away sins. It could make a person conscious of sin. Under such a system of law, there were these rules and regulations that man was to keep. The law, such as the ten commandments, were holy, just and good, and under such a law the Israelites were told to keep them. But they could not keep them. Today, we can not keep them either. As James said, if we stumble at just one point, we are guilty of breaking all of the law (James 2:10). The letter of the law kills but the Spirit gives life. So the problem is not with the law, but with mankind. Man is weakened in his natural self, having been born in the nature of Adam, fallen due to sin. Sin is what caused our death. As the apostle Paul said, the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). There is a consequence to sin called death. Death is the absence of life, and that is, the Spirit of God is not in man.
When Jesus came, He came to first of all to deal with what cause our death, which is sin. For until sin is dealt with once and for all, man will never be able to approach God. Who can look at God in his fallen state and live? God wanted to do away with sin once and for all, judge it once and put it aside. The blood of animals could not do that. They only covered sins temporarily. Those sacrifices were a part of creation. A sacrifice to be one time had to be an eternal sacrifice, of someone not of this world, yet like man in every way but without sin, which had to be God Himself. That is why God, in His great love for mankind, having pity on our fallen state, sent Jesus, as God in the flesh, on a mission to be that final sacrifice for sins. That is what John the Baptist prophesied concerning the promised Messiah of Israel, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29).
But that was not the ultimate goal for Jesus just to die on a cross. Certainly that was necessary for mankind to have his sins forgiven, in order for there to be reconciliation with God, and for man to be able to come to God, because as long as there was a debt hanging over his head man was not free to approach God in freedom by faith in Jesus. Suppose a person had a large debt he could not pay. His debt is paid in full by his friend. But because he owes a debt and does not know the debt is paid, he does not feel comfortable going to his friend, thinking his friend will ask him to pay what he can. But you know you cannot pay, so you stay away. That sort of describes the built in animosity fallen man has toward God when he does not know God has paid his sins in full when Jesus died on a cross over 2000 years ago. We tend to think that God is ticked off with us. But here is the Good News: the sins of the entire world, back to Adam and forward to eternity was paid in full, never to be seen again by God! God is not counting them against you! That is reconciliation by God toward man. If you are in Christ, knowing the sins of mankind (and you are included in this group) are paid in full, knowing this ministry of reconciliation you have been given in Christ Jesus, you can go up to any person and say, “Your sins are forgiven”.
But if Jesus just came to die on a cross and that was it, then according to the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, we would still be dead in our sins. Man needs complete restoration and life. Man has a more serious problem than sin. He is dead, without the life of God in Him. He has to be made complete and given life. He has to be able to have the mind of Christ in Him to communicate with the living God. Not only does He need to know that God will no longer count his sins against him, but he needs to be able to live in a new way he could never live before. The law set against him, being dead in his weakened flesh, he could not keep. He needed to have the love of God poured in his heart, so that the same love in Jesus that allowed Him to fulfill the law, for love is the fulfillment of the law, for love does its neighbor no wrong. We have to have this life living in us for we cannot do it and never could.
So Jesus had to rise again from the dead, ascend back to His Father, in order that the Spirit of life living in Him could be given to us as a gift, to be received by faith. So when the Spirit of God is received by faith, then God has made us into a new creation, whereby man would never die due to sin because that was already paid in full and man is free to live by faith as God intended man to live. He can trust God and hear from God those things that are true that will set him free to walk in the new way God intended man to function.
That way of living is Christ alive living in you, your only hope of glory, a vital dynamic relationship with the living God, where you can call God not only your Lord but your best friend, calling Him “Abba, Father“. As you read through the gospels and ponder over the relationship Jesus had with His Father, that is the same relationship God wants with us. Now, the Spirit living in us will direct us to do things unique to us, and will certainly not be telling us to die on a cross for the sins of the world or to rise again, a command Jesus received from His Father. Those tasks were specifically assigned to Jesus and what only Jesus could do and did, by depending totally on His Father. But the model of faith, total dependency, Jesus had with His Father is how the righteous shall live. The righteous are those who have Christ’s righteousness imputed to them for none of us had any righteousness of our own. We are made complete in Christ by receiving new life. That is the good news of the gospel, the receiving of new life so you are restored, or made complete in Him, whereby God says He has given us everything we need for life and godliness.
So today, if you have not placed faith in Jesus, God in the flesh, we encourage you to place faith in the finished work Jesus did on the cross for your sins and receive eternal life in His name. He wants to give you Life! Receive His Life in you today!