Last time we talked about the consequences of sin and I hope that I didn't tend to reduce it's seriousness. We must realize that our creator is perfect and, if we are to live with Him, we must also be perfect. It is said that the laws of a society reflect the morals of that society. And God's society will be no different, except that it will be a perfectly moral one. In the 01d Testament and the New, the same words that are translated "sin", are also translated "missing the mark". In other words, any time we have come short of, or missed the mark of God's perfection, we have sinned.
Now, as we have promised, God has devised a perfect way to eliminate our sins and to therefore raise us to perfection in His perfect ages to come.
As an introduction to this, let's set up the following hypothetical situation. First of all, let's assume that you commit a murder and are taken to court, convicted and then sentenced to die for your crime. But, in this society in which you live, let's assume that, by law, another man can volunteer to substitute for you in your guilt and, therefore, in your penalty of death. In other words, all of your guilt would be transferred to his shoulders. But, in order for all of this to happen, there are three basic rules that would have to be closely adhered to:
#1 - This man that substitutes for you must not be guilty, in his own right, of any crime that would deserve death. For example, if he also had
committed murder, he would be dying for his own crime and not for yours. If this were the case, your guilt would still be on your shoulders, and you would have to die for it!
#2 - The substitute would have to actually die. And, proof of his death would have to be presented to the court.
Only upon his death would you be free of your guilt.
#:3 - He must be a real man in order to totally identify with you in your guilt. The substitution of something else, such as an animal, would not be sufficient.
Now, how would you feel about this man? If you were any sort of a moral person, you would have to love him. There would naturally be a strong bond of identification between you and him. After all, you would literally owe him your life. He must have loved You very much in order to have died for you. You are still enjoying life, freed from the guilt of your crime forever. In fact, judicially, it would be as though you had never committed the crime.
And this is exactly what God did, in order to remove all of the sins of mankind. He provided a perfect substitute for you in the form of Jesus Christ. When considering this, you must always keep in mind that the wages of sin is death and that every one of us has broken God's laws and is therefore deserving of death.
So, let's look at the accounts given in the Bible in order to determine whether or not Jesus Christ fulfilled these legal requirements. This is totally necessary if He were to have substituted for you in your guilt and in your, sentence of death.
First of all, you must realize that the accounts given in your Bible by the 12 apostles are eyewitness accounts. We find in ACTS 1:21-22 the requirements that were necessary in order to be one of the 12 apostles. We find that they must have been with Christ during all of His earthly ministry and they must have witnessed His death and resurrection. In fact, over the years, legal experts have examined the books written by the 12 and have determined their accounts to be strong legal documents which would stand up in any court of law.
Let us now take these requirements in order:
#1 - The substitute must be sinless. If he were not, he would die for his own sins and not for yours. But, the only person that is sinless is God. Therefore, the substitute, Jesus Christ, must be God. If He is not, you are still in your sins (see JN 8:23-24). In a future talk, we will discuss the many Biblical verses that prove that Jesus Christ was, and is, God. As a starter, look at 1TIM 3:16 - Jesus Christ was "God manifest in the flesh". His being God was proven, by the eyewitness accounts of His sinlessness and His miracles.
#2 - He must also be a man. He must live as a man and go through the temptations and sufferings that all men go through. He was proven to be a man by. going through these things and also by the fact that He was born of a woman. His death also proves that He was a man. He was all God and all man (see 1TIM 2:5).
#3 - This God-man Jesus Christ must have actually died for you. If He did not actually die, the penalty for your sins has not been carried out and, therefore, you must die. The Proof of His death was in the spilling of His blood by the soldiers while He was on the cross (see JN 19:34). We are told that our life is in our blood (see LEV 17:11&14). If we lose our blood, we die. The reason for the scarlet thread of blood throughout the Bible is that it forecasts the shedding of the blood and therefore, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.
#4 - After being buried for three days, Jesus Christ was resurrected, or, brought back to life. Our sins were legally transferred to Him at His death. But, if that was all that there was to it, what eternal benefits do we have? We are mortal men and know that someday we must die. Our only true hope for eternal life is that someday, after we die, we will be resurrected
back into life. We hope that someday we will be born again (see JN 3:3). If God does not have the power to raise His Son back to life, what chance do we have? Our sins were forgiven at His death but our hope of an afterlife was determined by His resurrection from the dead.
It has been determined that these four things are necessary, if we are to be freed from the bondage of our sins and if we hope to live in God's universe when God becomes all in all.
#1 - Our substitute, Jesus Christ, must be God.
#2 - He must be man.
#3 - He must have died for our sins.
#4 - He must have been raised from death unto life.
If any of these four things are not true, we are still in our sins.
So, what must we do in order to have salvation and to therefore participate in eternal life? We simply must believe these things! We are free agents and can believe anything we want, but, if we don't reckon these four things as truth, it's as though they never happened. In God's eyes, the unbeliever is still in his sins and, therefore, his only hope is that of a permanent death. You must totally believe these things in your gut to be saved. It's your choice. You were created with a free will. All of this is summed up in a Bible verse that we have all heard many times, JN 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life". You should also check out 1COR 15:1-4.
We must also note that there is nothing that we can do for our salvation except believe that Jesus Christ did everything for us 2000 years ago. It is finished (see JN 19:30)! We have all sinned and therefore we all deserve death. Giving to the poor and living a good life will never erase these sins. The
only good works that God recognizes are those that are done after we believe. The good things that we did before our salvation is counted as dung (see PHIL 3:8) - for God is no respecter of persons (see ACTS 10:34). Salvation is purely a gift (see EPH 2:8-9). There is nothing that we can do to earn a gift. We can either accept it or refuse it. Once we accept the gift, it can never be taken away from us - our salvation is permanent. Just believe that our God appeared on the earth in the form of a man, our Savior Jesus Christ and accepted the guilt of our sins, died in our place and was raised back unto life. It's very simple - all you have to do is believe.
Next time, we'll see what happens to us the moment we believe and also we'll consider the honor that we owe to Jesus Christ for what He did for us.
SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES FOR THE MECHANISM OF SALVATION -PART 2- SUBSTITUTION
ACTS 1:20-21 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
JOHN 8:23-24 And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins:, for if you believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your
I TIM 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of
godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the
spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed
on in the world, received up into glory.
I TIM 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
JOHN 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
LEV 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.
LEV 17:14 For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof:...
JOHN 3:3 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
I COR 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in
memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
JOHN 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
ACTS 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is
no respecter of persons:,
EPH 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.