Radio Broadcast Wednesday 08/18/2021

Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Finality of The Cross P6 (08-18-21)

The Only Solution to Death is Life and the Only Life Available to Man is the Resurrected Life in Christ Jesus

When we think of death, and if you have lived long enough, you have probably been to a funeral service or a viewing and have seen your loved one, your father or mother, your uncle or aunt, in a coffin. This physical death is a consequence of the sin that occurred in the garden of Eden. Sin entered the world through one man, Adam, and so death came to all men (Romans 5:12). But this physical death is a picture of a more devastating death, called spiritual death, which every man born in Adam is born with. Adam was born alive spiritually but chose sin and died. All of us born in Adam are born dead spiritually with the option to choose life. All mankind is now born dead to God, and that dead state continues on even while they are alive physically. Unless that problem of spiritual death is solved, all mankind is condemned already (John 3:36, John 3:17-18, Luke 19:10). But while man is alive physically, he has the ability to choose life through what God has provided in Christ Jesus. The only life available to man is the resurrected life in Christ Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).

Romans 6:23
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As you ponder over what the apostle Paul wrote to us, think of what a wage is and what a gift is. Is not a wage something you get by what you do? Is not a gift something you receive by what someone else did for you? Is it possible for someone to refuse a gift because he does not like or appreciate the gift, no matter how good the gift is or valuable it is? To him who refuses the gift, what a person did to work for that gift to be offered in order to give that gift to you is not understood. Why is that? Could it be that he does not understand he is a sinner? Or, the deeper matter of the real depravity of what being a sinner caused, that he earned death by his sin. (Ponder also over the meaning of John 3:17-18).

Oftentimes, if you were to see a corpse in a funeral parlor prepared for a viewing by close family members, the body will be dressed up in a pretty dress, embalmed, and made to look alive as much as possible. For people want to remember her as what they want to remember her by when she was alive. Although there is nothing necessarily wrong with that, as people are mourning and want to be comforted, but this is a picture to us of what religion tries to do. As a believer, we do not mourn like those who have no hope, for we hold onto what Jesus told us in his word, that we have the Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing our eternal inheritance and the promised redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23, Ephesians 1:13-14).

Religion tries to make dead flesh, a corpse, the walking dead, look good by what they do, to get the accolades and praises of men, as if all those good deeds are what makes us acceptable to a perfectly holy and just God. You often hear people at a funeral spend so much time focusing on what a person has done in their lifetime, but where is the focus of Jesus and all He has done? Where is the praise given to Him? So many people fail to understand what the prophet Isaiah said when he said, “All our righteous acts are like filthy rags before Him.”(Isaiah 64:6). It is as if people are saying they are unsaved, rather than saying they are lost, as scripture says. They may identify themselves as sinners, yet are really saying only a little dab of Jesus is needed, for after all look at all that that person has done in his life.

I have heard people speak so much about what a person does, as if somehow their suffering will allow God to take that into consideration as to how much less suffering they will have to endure after they die and meet God. The mind of sinful man is leaning on worldly wisdom, because that is all they have (Proverbs 3:5-6). They are spiritually dead. They do not have the Spirit of God living in them. They cannot help themselves. That is why God, seeing our hopeless state, having pity on us, and seeing how Satan destroyed His creation by deception (John 10:10), came to this earth to redeem mankind, to restore fallen man back to the original design in creation, to open His eyes to truth that will set him free. The truth that sets men free is God Himself, the Spirit of God put back into man. Jesus is the truth, and He wants to speak into the heart of man what man needs to live as God intended His creation to function.

Colossians 1:21-22
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation

So what does the mind of fallen man look like? What does a walking dead person do? The mind of sinful man is hostile to God. A lost person cannot discern spiritual things. He does not seek God and comes up with his own ideas on how to become a good person. He does not understand Jesus’ response to the man who said to Him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?“ Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good for there is no one who is good. If you want to call me good, call me God, for only God is good.“ (Matthew 19:16-17)

Mankind tries to improve his flesh, make it look good, but it cannot stop doing things with a mind hostile to God. It will continue to give into various sins of all kinds, whether anger, lust, anxiety or fear. Yes, fear of punishment, whether from a ten commandment of God or the good law of the land, the consequences laid out by those in authority over you, might curb some manifestations of the flesh, but it does not change the heart. God sees deep inside the heart, at our attitudes, for it is out of the heart that comes all the evil behavior we see (Mark 7:20-23). Without having the Spirit of God to direct your thinking, you rely on your own ideas, and pick and choose which ones you think you can obey and ignore the rest, or hide under religion, playing church.

As a lost person, what do you have available to you to live? Your flesh and an outward law. But law only stirs up sin, deceiving you into thinking you can do it, such as not to covet, but to only find yourself coveting all the more (Romans 7:7-9). And that is what the law does, and if you ponder over that law and look honestly at yourself, what will you find? Hopefully, what the apostle Paul found out about himself, that he does not understand himself, that there is something wrong with him, and concluded what a wretched man he is and so proclaimed praise to the only one who could live this life in and through Him (Romans 7). He praised the living God who sets him free to walk in the new way of the Spirit.

The lost person does not have the Spirit to understand spiritual things and such things sound foolish to him (1 Corinthians 2:14). The wages of sin is death, and death can only be solved by life (Romans 6:23), and there is nothing we can do to solve our condition of death but go to the one who died in our place to take away the cause of our death so that we might receive His life, not by what we have done or suffered for, but by what Christ alone did for us, to be received as a gift by faith. But if a person does not realize he is a sinner, he will not understand and appreciate the meaning of Jesus’ shed blood on a cross for the forgiveness of sins, that he has already been reconciled through His death and that before he was born (Romans 5:10). And if man does not realize that there is consequence to sin called death, seeing his depraved state, that he cannot achieve life, then he will not receive the resurrected life available to him in Christ Jesus. God sent His Spirit into all the world, to draw all men unto Himself, that man might recognize his condition of death in light of God’s perfect righteousness, that he might receive the only life available to him, the eternal life in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9, John 1:12-14).

Isaiah 53:6
6 All of us, like sheep, have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the wrongdoing of us all
To fall on Him.

So how has man gone his own way? What are the characteristics of a sinful man, a man controlled by the flesh, and not by the Spirit, because he does not have the Spirit living in him?

Colossians 1:21-22
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation

You were enemies in your minds. You were alienated from God, in our minds, because of our evil behavior. Were we alienated from God because of our evil behavior? No, that was in our minds. We were alienated from God because we are dead. Because we are dead, that death was spelled out in our evil behavior. That spiritual death is spelled out. It is talked about. It gives examples of what you do when you are dead. It talks about guilt, worry, loneliness, anger, anxiety, emptiness, fear, lack of purpose, and all of those things are characteristics of when you are lifeless. It is not that those things cannot come when you are saved because our minds are capable of those things. But those are characteristics of what a lost person is. That is not a lifestyle of a person who understands his life in Christ. We do not have to live that way anymore. We had no choice as a dead man (Romans 6:16-22).

So the appeal to mankind is to come to Jesus to receive Him, eternal life, and in that life you can experience all that you really want to experience, and that comes from the Spirit of God living in you, as your mind is renewed. What are those characteristics of the Spirit? As you read in Galatians 5:22-23, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. As what Jesus explained in John 15, we cannot produce that in the energy of our flesh. That must be produced by the Spirit, and if the Spirit is in you, with the mind of Christ, you can trust Him to produce that in you and through you. That is the life of the Spirit of God put back into mankind. That life is received by faith in what Jesus alone did for you. The world’s sin is unbelief in Jesus (John 16:9). That is what Jesus came to prove the world wrong about what sin is. That is the same sin in the garden when Adam chose not to believe in what God had said and death came into the world (Genesis 2, Romans 5:11-13). But Jesus gave us eternal life, life Adam never had, because this eternal life can never be lost due to sin, because the sins of the entire world have been paid in full! (John 19:30)

Why then do we need His salvation, His life? This is about natural man being alienated from God. Why is it then that we need His salvation that was promised to us? All have sinned, all have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and it says the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). Once again, if the wages of sin is death, God, if He died once, and the wages of sin is death, then that death took care of the wages of sin. If the wages is death, and He died, then the wages have been paid. The payment, the wages of sin, was death. Not only that, Jesus is risen, and lives forevermore, always alive to intercede for us. If Jesus had not risen then we would still be dead in our sins. Jesus, being God in the flesh, an eternal being, is alive, and living in us who put our faith in Him, and we can never die either. Our physical body will die and be put in a grave some day, but that is not the end of the story (1 Corinthians 15:50). Even though flesh and blood will perish, we shall be changed, and given an immortal body like His that will be indestructible. That is the promise of the Holy Spirit, a deposit guaranteeing the redemption of our bodies as well (Romans 8:23, 2 Corinthians 5:4-6). That is why we do not grieve like those who have no hope.

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