Friday, December 09, 2005

The Debt We Owed, But Could Never Pay

Jesus died and purchased our salvation for us. When he died, he went into the tomb - our sins were buried there with him. When he resurrected, he didn't bring them with him.

Dear believer, how do you live?

In the "tomb" where the sins are or on the other side of the veil? When the curtain to the tabernacle was torn in two from top to bottom, Jesus' sacrifice open the door to approach a Holy God. No longer were animal sacrifices needed to temporarily pay for the people's sins. No longer were priests the only ones allowed to approach God like in the Old Testament.

Jesus bridged the gap between sinful man and Holy God - to allow all who desire to know him in to "dine with him." Sin's hold was broken by Jesus' sacrifice. As believers, we don't need to "drag that sin" around with us. Jesus said, "it is finished" and he meant it! Nothing was left undone. There is nothing we can add to what he has done. Jesus paid it all. We often acknowledge that with our intellect, but not with our hearts.

Think about the magnificence of it all. Jesus paid for past, present and future sins of all of mankind! Why should we think we need to add to this? It actually demeans what he did on the cross to try and do so. Here's an analogy.

Imagine a beautiful work of art. You look at it and think, "I will go and get my crayons to add to this work of art" and you end up defacing and demeaning it. Why would anyone want to do that?

Knowing Christ personally means the difference between security and insecurity. Knowing with certainty that when I die, I will be with Jesus Christ and will see him as he really is! I can't wait to see my Lord!

However, I know he has work for me to do here...not to "add to my salvation" as if such a thing were possible, but because of a grateful heart and the joy of his pleasure when I serve Him!

Have you received him as your Savior?

If so, it's finished for you.

If not, it isn't.

Are your sins on yourself or on Christ?

Feel uncertain or unsure?

You can take care of this most important decision of your life quietly between you and God! Please visit this page Becoming a Christian.

You can have that assurance!!

God in his Word guarantees it!

People often fear death. It is a statistic that is 100% sure...everyone dies. The question is where will you spend eternity when you do?

Let's look at the centurion's reaction to Jesus' death on the cross in Matthew 27:51-56.

We learn that he was first struck with fear. Even though he participated in hundreds of crucifixions before (it was a common way to be put to death by the Romans) he had never seen a man die like this Jesus. Many things were different.

He witnessed:
1. Jesus pardon the repentant thief on the cross next to him.

2. Jesus spoke to and cared for his mother by giving her care over to John.

3. He heard Jesus breathe his last breath and say, "it is finished."

4. There were 3 hours of hideous darkness. It was the kind of darkness that would make your hair stand up on the back of your neck! It was a spiritual darkness.

5. The earthquake was unlike any other they had ever experienced and it was about God's judgment.

Something mysterious and not ordinary had happened.

God has and will send us earthquakes to "wake us up and turn to him." They will play a large part in the final days. There will be cataclysmic exposure to God's wrath (see Revelation).

As the centurion witnessed all that had happened, he speaks and claims Jesus to be a righteous man. He proclaimed Jesus as the Son of God. Even though he may not have understood it all, he knew that something magnificient had happened!

In the Old Testament, the curtain separated the Holy of Holies from the people. The Ark of the Atonement cover was behind it and God symbolically met with the people through the priest who would go behind the curtain to atone for the sins of the people. The veil separated worshippers from God. This curtain was as thick as the palm of a man's hand. It took 300 priests to move it!

When Jesus died, his flesh was torn and the curtain to the tabernacle was torn in two from top to bottom. This thick curtain was miraculously torn by God and when it was ripped, the Holy of Holies was exposed for all to see. This would have been a defilement to the Jews! When Jesus died, there was no longer any need for separation from God or any more sacrifices. God undid the Old Covenant. The temple was no longer needed.

19Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,

20by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,

21and having a High Priest over the house of God,

22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

These verses vividly illustrate what Jesus Christ accomplished for us. The privilege of access to God was opened up to us and graciously given.

Assurance we can enter into the holy presence of God!

Jesus pulled down the barriers!

Through Christ, our sins were cared for and paid for.

As a saved Christian, there is no need to carry around that "old blanket of sin" in our memory nor the guilt or shame.

Christ paid the debt we owed but could never pay ourselves.

We can now come boldly to God - run in anytime into the temple (who now is Christ). No more blood or sacrifice is needed to temporarily cover sin as in the ancient past.

It is finished!

Do you realize the magnitude of God's love and grace towards us?

I pray that you do!

But are you one who is "stuck in the past"?

We can get stuck in our past sins, shameful memories (which now make us cringe!), bad relationships, misery from a messed up marriage, stuck on unforgiveness for parents, alcohol, drugs, illicit sex, abortion etc. Can't believe that God can forgive you for any of that?

He does!

Or, if you haven't committed your life to Christ yet...he WILL FORGIVE YOU!

Don't miss this opportunity to get right with God.

What defines you in your mind?

Be a redeemed child of the King.

Your sins will be buried.

It is finished!

Quit being a victim!

Live in the reality of our Lord and Savior's gift.

Jesus died to free us from bondage to sin.

Don't camp out in your sins. Pray and ask God to take your sin from you.

Hold a funeral. Bury them.

They don't define you anymore.

Move on!

Do you hold on to other people's sin against you?

You need to allow God to break the barrier down.

Do you struggle with sadness and depression?

You may face consequences from past sin here on earth and you may have to still deal with those consequences.

But are you stuck in them still?

Write down this verse on an index card and carry it with you.

Memorize it.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Did you get that?

You are a new creation!

Trust God's word here!

After your conversion, you will become more like Christ.

Through prayer, Bible study, worship at church and serving the living God, you will be transformed!

Old things have passed away! They no longer hold the same meaning for you as they once did.

If you are a new Christian, you may be thinking, "God has forgiven me but I can't forgive myself."

That is a lie!

Christ died to forgive us of our sins - how dare us say we can't forgive ourselves?

His forgiveness is what really matters!

Jesus was the first fruit of the promised resurrection from the dead. His body lay in the tomb but his spirit went to be with God the Father. Just before he died he said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.

Jesus didn't die spiritually. He suffered spiritually while he took on the sins of the world at the cross. God the Father and all the hosts of heaven turned away from him at that moment in all of eternity.

Sin is hideous to a Holy Righteous God.

He cannot look upon it.

We cannot look upon Him either with the stain of sin on our soul.

Christ took that stain of sin away.

If we believe in him and what he did for our salvation, that sin is taken away, nailed to the cross and then buried in the tomb. Jesus arose but he didn't take the sin with him! It's buried forever in the tomb, never to afflict believers again!

Do you believe this?

You must in order to spend eternity in heaven with God!

Just as Jesus' dead body was in the tomb, at the moment of death your spirit goes to be with the Lord. In a twinkling of an eye. Can you imagine how fast that is?

Then, one day, at Christ's second coming our spirits will be re-united with new, perfect bodies.

51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

Believers will be resurrected with a new perfect body - something like Christ's resurrected body. In John 19, Joseph of Arimethea, a member of the Jewish ruling council (who disagreed with the members about Jesus, was a secret disciple of Jesus), boldly went to Pilate after Jesus was dead and asked to take his body from the cross. In Jewish custom, it was not right to handle a dead body on the Sabbath. Joseph and Nicodemus were willing to "defile" themselves and ignore this man-made law to wrap Jesus' body, annoint him with spices and bury him in the rich man's tomb.

They waited a long time to speak up for Christ and openly expose themselves as followers. In the capacity of funeral directors, they finally overcame their fear and stepped up boldly to care for his body. They had lost 3 years of fellowship, however, because of their fear of the Jews.

They placed Jesus' body in the tomb and rolled the heavy stone across the entrance.

The world and Satan waited for what was next.

We now have the privilege to be dead to sin and alive to God.

5For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10For the death that he died, He died to sin once for all: but the life that He lives, he lives to God. 11Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:5-11)

What a promise!

Jesus left sin in the tomb!

It's gone, buried and forgotten.

Isn't it wrong to go back to sins, dig them up and allow them to cripple us?

Yes, sin's memory can hamper us. But Jesus wants us to leave sins in the tomb and draw near to Him. When you feel that you've blown it big and that God will never forgive you, remember that because of God's gift of love through Jesus Christ his Son, those sins are paid for in full, dismissed and forgotten by God. God chooses to remember your sin no more and you need to choose not to remember. Bring them all to the power of Christ.

Sin's hold was the cross and buried forever in the tomb. Don't drag them around with you anymore.

Behold! You are a new creation in Christ Jesus our Lord!

1 comment:

Susan Smith said...

I have one word for this post, Christine: Outstanding!

When I used to get drunk on Saturdays, sometimes I would not go to church on Sunday and my "feeling" was it was because I felt so bad physically from my hangover, but looking back with perfect hindsight now, I realize the Holy Spirit was convicting me of my drunkeness and I did not want to repent.

Most Sundays I would repent, go to church or was that go to church and repent? I am not sure which came first. I always felt better after I had accepted God's forgiveness and He is always faithful and merciful... He forgave me over and over and over. Every single time I confessed my sin, He forgave me.

I recently was told there are two kinds of fear of God. The kind where we run away from Him and the kind when we run to Him for mercy and forgiveness. I am glad I have learned to run to Him quickly even when my pride tries to stop me.

God bless you "little" sister. This post talks about what it's ALL about. His Name is JESUS. Shabbat Shalom, my friend. (ss)