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Atonement:   L - I - F - E

 

 

Lamb of God

 

"The   next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said,  'Look,  the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).   Addressing a crowd in Jerusalem,  the  Apostle  Paul    taught  that   the Lord  Jesus Christ  came  into  this world  to  save  mankind from their sins.  Let's look at what he said.   "This man [Jesus] was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put Him to death by nailing Him to the cross.  But God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on Him" (Acts 2:23-24).  "He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for you sake.  Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the  dead  and  glorified Him, and so your faith and  hope  are in God" (1 Peter 1:20-21).

The Old Testament law required the sacrifice of a spotless lamb to atone for man's sins.  This sacrifice foreshadowed the coming of the Messiah, the perfect Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.  "For Christ, our  Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed"(1 Corinthians 5:7). "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree'" (Galatians 3:13).

According to God's purposes, Jesus voluntarily gave His life to  pay the price for  the sins  of  mankind.
  "He gave himself as a ransom  for  all  men" (1 Timothy 2:6).  "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him [Jesus] the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6).


By sacrificing His life on a cross, Jesus provided us with both an example and an expression of His love.  "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).  "Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God" (Ephesians 5:2).



Impact of Sin

"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"(Romans 3:23).  Sin is a rebellion against God and His perfect plan for our lives.  Adam and Eve's disobedience introduced sin into the world.  And, each of  us has expanded sin's impact through our own acts of rebellion "Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men,   so   also  the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men" (Romans 5:18).  "For as in Adam all die, so in  Christ all   will   be   made   alive" (1 Corinthians 15:22).

"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.  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" (1 Colossians 1:21-22).

 

One day all of us will be called upon to give an accounting to God for our actions on Earth.  Yet, not one of us will be declared righteous through our own works.   "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account" (Hebrews 4:13). 


"Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God" (Romans 3:1).  Because of the effect that sin has had on our actions, intellect, and motivations, it is impossible for us to find redemption by looking within ourselves.  "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).  "Who can say, 'I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?'" (Proverbs 20:9).  Rather, we can only find  forgiveness  by  looking  to  our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.




Faith 


"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9).  It is our human nature (our sinfulness) and God's divine nature (His holiness) that separates us from His love.  "For if, when 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!" (Romans 5:10).


Faith in Jesus Christ will result is a restored relationship of harmony and unity between God and ourselves.  "This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe" (Romans 3:2).  "Therefore, since we have been justified  through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).  "You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:26).


 

No one who understands the holiness of God, and the extent of our enslavement to sin, can fail to be overwhelmed by the sacrificial love of our Lord Jesus Christ.  "But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe" (Galatians 3:22).  "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus" (Acts 20:21).  "How  much  more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!" (Hebrews 9:14).


"When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, He went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.  A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.  As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.


When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is — that she is a sinner.'"


Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, 'Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet,but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.   You did not give me a kiss,but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.  You did not put oil on my head,but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven — as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.' Then Jesus said to her, 'Your sins are forgiven.'  The other guests began to say among themselves, 'Who is this who even forgives sins?'  Jesus said to the woman, 'Your faith has saved you; go in peace'" (Luke 7:36-39; 44-50).




Eternal Life

 

First, it is necessary to separate the term "life" from the term "existence."  "Life" is our eternal relationship with God, it is not merely the ability of our physical bodies to sustain themselves.  On the other hand, Existence is a consciousness, that continues beyond the dissolution of our physical bodies, in the form of either eternal life or eternal death.   By accepting the sacrifice made for our sins by the Lord Jesus Christ, we are able to have the barrier of sin removed from our relationship with God and enter into "eternal life."  "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son" (1 John 5:11).  "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believed Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life? (John 5:24). 

By rejecting Christ's sacrifice, we are choosing death. "Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not  see life, for God's wrath remains on him" (John 3:36). "Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death" (James 1:15).


Death was not a part of God's original plan for mankind, rather, death entered the world through sin"Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death  came to all men, because all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).  "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Both "life" and "death" become eternal at the moment we die, and enter into a timeless existence of our own choosing -- an existence either with or apart from God.  "The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal  life" (Galatians 6:8).

But through the Lord Jesus, the redemption of all creation will be fulfilled, when not only will sin be abolished, but so will death itself. "'I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!  And I hold the keys of death and Hades'" (Revelation 1:18).  "The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:26).

 

 

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