Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Finality of The Cross P3 (08-11-21)
The Cross Settles the Sin Issue; A Necessary Preparation for Eternal Life
Most of the world knows that history is divided into B.C., before Christ, and A.D., Anno Domini, the year of our Lord just from the calendar. A subset of the world knows historically that Jesus died, was buried and rose again. There is much information out there, but the most reliable and trustworthy information is the scriptures available to us today, the Word of God, written down through eyewitnesses of these events. Much of the world has the bible translated into their own language.
As you study the scriptures, you will discover that from God’s vantage point, history is divided into before the cross and after the cross. There was a time period in history before the cross when the Israelites were under an Old Covenant agreement with God. After the cross, that was replaced by a New Covenant agreement (Hebrews 9:16-28). Under a New Covenant, or new will, you will discover that it is an agreement with the godhead, to provide for mankind what mankind could never receive under an Old Covenant (Hebrews 10:1-8).
Under an Old Covenant, God could not give eternal life to mankind because perfection is required (Hebrews 8:6-7), completely obeying every aspect of the law (Hebrews 9:20, James 2:10), not just the ten commandments, but all the Levitical law and all that was written in the Law of Moses, as described in detail in the first five books of the bible, the Pentateuch, also known as the Law. That is impossible for man, being born in the spiritual nature of fallen Adam, born without the Spirit of God, with a human spirit alive to this world but dead to God. That description of fallen man is described as being born dead spiritually.
This eternal life that God wants to give mankind is something different than what Adam had when he was created. Adam through sin had the possibility of dying spiritually. In Genesis 2, we read about the the fall of Adam in the garden. God had warned Adam that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he shall surely die (Genesis 2:15-17). He did eat and he did die, just as God had said. He did not die soulishly or physically that day, but he died spiritually. Due to sin, the Spirit of God left Adam. So he then had a human spirit very much alive to this world but dead to God.
Many people will agree that there was a man named Jesus that died on a cross, but they do not know the significance of that, the real meaning of the cross. Many people will hear about a cross on a holiday that many people participate in called Christmas, but the meaning of the cross is obscured. Many religions of this world will not know what the word of God means, so even if the religion acknowledges Jesus is God, it is like they have their own sacrificial system to take care of a sin issue.
Today, there are all kinds of sacrificial systems, a continual sacrifice of the mass in the Catholic religion, with an elaborate system of seven sacraments they deem necessary for salvation, which includes the practice of going to a priest in a confessional booth to get sins forgiven. In the Protestant churches you have the less elaborate system but you have law mixed with grace, and the serious error promoted by a false understanding of 1 John 1:9, of going direct to God every time you sin to get those sins erased. So in so many religions, in essence, you have substituted the Old Covenant system of sacrifice with your own ideas of how to get your sins forgiven.
Under an Old Covenant, there was a sacrificial system in place before the cross, but scripture tells us that system was only to last until the coming of Christ (Galatians 3:19), to be soon replaced after the cross by a new covenant with better promises with a guarantee of eternal life (Hebrews 7:22, Hebrews 9:22-28, Hebrews 8:6, Romans 4:16, Ephesians 1:13-15, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22). Hebrews 9:22 tells us that without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. So for any system of sacrifice today, the question should be asked, “Where is the blood sacrifice?” or “Where is the forfeiture of life?”
Hebrews tells us that even the Old Covenant system required the shedding the blood of a bull or a goat, and that just to get sins covered, but even that could not take sins away (Hebrews 9:18-22). So for any system of sacrifice today, the question needs to be asked, “What is the value of that sacrifice?” And the problem comes down to this. Why do any sacrifice at all, after the cross, if you really understood what Jesus said in John 19:30, “It is finished“ as the last words he said as he was dying on a cross? Then you have to ask yourself, “What is the value of the sacrifice of Jesus, that he voluntarily laid down his life on a cross?” Who is Jesus? Do you know that Jesus is God in human flesh? So the real question to be asked is “What did Jesus’ death on a cross accomplish for you and me that the blood of bull or a goat, or any other sacrifice, could not accomplish?”
Recall in the gospel of John, that John the Baptist, the last prophet, came to tell us about Jesus Christ so that he might be revealed to Israel as the long-awaited Messiah. This is the testimony of John that we might put our faith in Christ.
31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
John testified as to the purpose of why Jesus came, to die for the sins of the world. In John 1:29, we read John’s testimony that Jesus is the one who came to take away, not cover or atone, but take away the sins of the world.
29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
Now we have weightier testimony than that of John. As you read the gospels, you will read the words spoken by Jesus identifying Himself as God in the flesh and read about the things He said and did that fulfilled the words of the Old Testament prophets. Just in the beginning of the book of John, we read what John, a disciple of Jesus, had to say concerning Jesus (John 1:1-4, 14). So Jesus is God in the flesh. What value does that give to His death on a cross?
What is different about Jesus than the first created being Adam? Jesus as God was never created, for He is the eternal God taking on human flesh. As a man, he was born of a virgin so that he did not inherit the sin nature of fallen man. Jesus is the firstborn among creation. That is, he is the first person born alive spiritually. Adam was created spiritually alive, but then died spiritually due to sin. All the rest of mankind born in Adam were born dead spiritually. Jesus was born spiritually alive, but died due to our sins, for he had no sin of his own.
Jesus Himself testified as to why He came, to give life to the dead (John 10:10, John 11:24-26). Only life could give life to the dead. Jesus is the only person who had a life to lay down, and the only person who can be raised from the dead, since sin has no hold on Him. Jesus being God, perfectly righteous and holy, has no sin of His own.
This is the testimony of Jesus.
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.”
That is why Jesus said at cross, “into your hands I commit my spirit”(Luke 23:46) in fulfillment of what was spoken through the Psalms (Psalm 31:5). He gave up his spirit and experienced a death exactly like ours so we might experience a resurrection exactly like his. On that day that he took upon himself sin, he too died (2 Corinthians 5:21).
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
So as you study the scriptures yourself, do you see the unbelievable importance of this cross? Understand what the totality of the cross is! It is where God dealt with the thing that killed man, sin, once and for all, so that through his resurrection, he could never die again (Romans 6:9-11). That is what comes up when people talk about losing salvation. They ought to forget about losing salvation. The issue is can you lose life? The only thing that can cause life to depart from man is sin, and that was taken away eternally at the cross, never to be seen again by God (Romans 5:10). That is why through the resurrection, having placed your faith in what Christ accomplished for you, you have what is called eternal life (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 1:11-13). Salvation is the imputation of life, life eternal. Eternal life can never be lost due to sin. Sin has been paid in full (John 19:30) and because of the eternal value of Christ Jesus, there is no more sacrifice for sin (NASB: Hebrews 9:27-28, Hebrews 10:10-18, Romans 3:25, Hebrews 9:24-27, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10).