Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at The Finality of The Cross P18 (09-15-21)
God so Loved that He Sent Jesus Who Willingly Died for Us so We May Live. What Love is This?
Can we comprehend God’s love for us? Here we are as stupid and arrogant as ever, and yet God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, comes to dwell with us. We tend to be so self focused, going our own way, but here is Jesus, asking us questions, reaching out to us, who are as dead to Him as the next guy. So what does He say to us that we should want to be with Him? What does He do that reveals to us what is lacking in ourselves, yet He loves and accepts us? What is that encounter we have when we realize how wretched we are, yet He says I already took care of your sin, and then He says, “I did this for you so you can have the life you really wanted to live but you never could.” How you ask? He says, “I will put my Spirit in you, and that Spirit will produce the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control that you can experience today. I will always be with you no matter what, and when you fail to realize all that you have been given, and fall short, I will still be with you, and I will remind you of the truth I told you. I will guide you and finish the work I began in you. What kind of love is this?
4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
Jesus came to this earth on a rescue mission. He came to finish the work the Father gave Him to do, which was to die on a cross to take away the sins of the entire world in order that, raised from the dead, He can give to mankind what the Father always wanted, which is a new creation with eternal life, the Holy Spirit of God living in us. Jesus completed that work. The work He completed was that He fulfilled the law through His life, and therefore, took the punishment for us, who could not fulfill the law, through His death. His life fulfilled the law and His death paid for those who could not fulfill the law.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross!
He came to redeem man so He can have eternal life. This was an eternal redemption. That is why Christ came to this earth, to live in order to die. Without His death, you and I could never walk on the face of this earth with the total awareness that my sins have been taken away from the face of God. And without that awareness, you cannot walk in freedom, in the new way of the Spirit. For if you still think your sins have to be forgiven, how can you approach God with confidence. You would be afraid of His punishment, and would feel ashamed to come to Him.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
If you do not understand your sins are forgiven, all your focus would be on some sort of sacrifice so that God is appeased or somehow now is pleased enough with you that you can come into His presence. How can your life be changed or how can you walk in new freedom with sin always hanging over your head? Your attention would all be focused on getting right with God and so there would be no attention on the person you hurt or wronged. We are to forgive one another just as Christ forgive you. How did Christ forgive you? He remembers your sins no more. His death bought for you eternal redemption. You are bought back to God with the price of God Himself, an eternal being that has the value of an eternal sacrifice. Such a sacrifice, being eternal, requires no more sacrifice. Propitiation has taken place. God is completely, eternally, satisfied, once and for all, with the shed blood of His Son on a cross. That is why Jesus, when dying on the cross, heard His Father’s voice say, “It is finished” and Jesus, walking in perfect submission to His Father, doing exactly what His Father told Him to say and do exactly what His Father told Him to do, because the Father loves the Son and the Son loves the Father, died on a cross and said, “It is finished”.
9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
So do you know that Jesus loves you and me just as much as Jesus loved the Father. That is hard to understand. But it is true. His kind of love is not conditional. It does not depend on our performance. It is the nature of God to love, for God is love. It is His lovingkindness that leads us to repentance, our change of mind about who we are so we might receive who He is, and enter into the relationship God has for us, the same relationship Jesus has with His Father, as He walked this earth to show us how to live. Jesus, being God, emptied Himself of His divine attributes, never ceasing to be God, but lived like a man, so that we, who are not God, may know how to live, in the same manner of faith, of complete trust in the Father through the Holy Spirit living in Him.
As you ponder over the passages in Hebrews, Hebrews 9:22, Hebrews 7:27, Hebrews 7:22-24, Hebrews 9:12 and Hebrews 9:25, what conclusions can you come to concerning the sacrifice of Jesus for you? How many sins did Jesus die for? All of them. How many times did Jesus sacrifice Himself for you, to take away your sins? One time. Will He ever shed His blood again? No. Why not? It is an eternal sacrifice, providing eternal redemption, for the sins of the entire world, including you and me. How much more valuable is the blood of Jesus than the blood of bulls and goats, that could never take away sin, and such sacrifices had to be repeated year after year just to cover sins of the past year? It is a once and for all sacrifice of God Himself, of eternal value to God. Jesus willingly laid down His life for us, knowing that He was to take upon Himself the sins of the entire world, knowing that the penalty of sin is death, death for our sins, and willingly took that punishment for all of us.
13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
So listen now as Bob George addresses the many questions people have concerning forgiveness, and sorts out the confusion over what this totality of the cross, of what this once and for all sacrifice means. There is no such thing as positional and experiential forgiveness, or a distinction between venial and mortal sins, that somehow Jesus died for only some of our sins, those positional ones or those venial ones, as if we have to do something to deal with those other types of sins. As far as God is concerned, as far as the East is from the West is how far He has removed our sins from Him.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
2 Corinthians 5:19
19 God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
He is not counting sins today, as so many are taught to count those sins we do, so we can bring them to God’s attention, so God can have them erased or forgiven. In Christ Jesus, we have been eternally redeemed because we have received what Jesus has already provided at the cross, the forgiveness of sins. Propitiation, the complete satisfaction of the death of Christ Jesus on a cross to totally take away the sins of the entire world from the eyes of God, never to see them again, had taken place. In Him, we have become a new creation, and in Him is where, what was provided then at a cross, is received. We have the life of God in us, eternal life, the Holy Spirit alive living in us, who will never leave us because of sin, for sins have already been taken care of. We are free now to live in Him and have Him live His life in us and through us, to the glory of God, because death is taken care of also by His resurrected life.