Archives For sin

Jesus died for our sins.

Yes. Absolutely yes.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3

This is the Sunday morning message, the message every sinner needs to hear. That the penalty of their sin was paid for by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That he who knew no sin became sin on our behalf. This truth has set me free from the penalty and p0wer of sin and reconciled me to my God.

But is this the only reason?

Jesus prayed in John 16, “I glorified you (the Father) on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”

Everything Jesus does, is in accordance with the will of the Father. The Son is the Word, that spoke all things into being. He is also Emmanuel, God with us. God Himself condescended to this planet, was born in the flesh, and lived among his creation. This was the Father’s plan all along. From Abraham, to Moses, to David, and the prophets, God was orchestrating events to lead up to the first advent of his Son.

Why? Because man was sinful, separated from him, and the only way reconciliation was possible was if God himself took matters into his own hands, and won the victory for them.

And yet, while Jesus hung lifeless on the cross, another victory was accomplished.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:23-26

The first part of this passage declares what I’ve already explained. All people are sinners because they are descended from the first man, Adam, and his sin is transferred to every person born. Jesus died to justify (declare sinners righteous), and this salvation is a gift that is received by faith. Jesus removed God’s wrath from us and gave us grace.

But this passage also describes Jesus as being put forward (displayed publicly) for all to see. His death was to be public because one other declaration had to be made known. That God is just and holy.

In God’s divine forbearance (patience), he allowed mankind to live despite their sin. The wages of sin is death, so any life after sin is a gift of grace from God. He had set up a sacrificial system called the Law of Moses which covered sin, but as we know, never was able to forgive them.

If Jesus had never died on the cross for our sins, we would still be in them, and God would be unjust and unholy. His justice demands punishment for sin, unrighteousness, and godlessness. But throughout the Old Testament, God simply passed over sin, never punishing it as it deserved.

The Jews in Ezra’s time realized this as they mourned over their disobedience to God’s Word.

And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved-”
 Ezra 9:13

The wrath of God continued to increase throughout the generations of men who lived in sin and rebellion. But on the cross, the entire cup of wrath was poured out on the Father’s beloved Son. His justice was served in it’s entirety upon the one righteous man that ever walked the earth.

And for all to see, God was seen as he truly is: holy, just, and righteous. We can worship him for God is never changing. And although for years, he looked unfaithful to his promises and justice, his plan was sure. That justice would be served, but not in the way anybody would have expected.

Now we can be declared righteous simply by placing our faith in the person and work of Jesus with full assurance that our God is righteous and faithful.

So, may we be careful in singing lyrics such as, “He took the fall, and thought of me, above all.”

I will argue that Jesus died for his Father’s glory and honor above all.

“You may surely eat of every tree of the garden but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

One of the first commands given by the Lord. Adam as we know did eat of the tree and died. But what is death? For many, it’s a simple ceasing to exist, an annihilation. If this were so, Adam would have lived forever if not for the consumption of forbidden fruit. Yet because he did, he is not here with us today.

But that isn’t all.

Physical aging and death were minimal compared to the treacherous state the first man found himself in. God had breathed into him the breath of life. John 4:4 says about Jesus, God Himself,

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

Jesus told his disciples and all in earshot that he was the way, the truth, and the LIFE. So to clarify first, the reason there is life in us and the world around us is simply because God is life. Adam, in his blameless state, was alive as God is alive. But then he opened the door to death.

Death is the opposite of life. The man who walked and talked with God now hid in the brush from the very presence of the Almighty. Something happened that was deeper than physical deterioration.

Death can easily be defined as separation. Physical death is the mere separation of the soul from the body. But the consequences of sin run deeper.

Spiritual death is the ravaging enemy of every person born on this planet. The awful state of being separated from God. Being born spiritually dead, nobody has the ability or desire to have a relationship with the Lord. This condition will keep us out of Heaven and from ever experiencing true love, joy, peace, and hope. And even worse, if we physically die still spiritually dead, we face eternal death. Being separated from God forever.

And as spiritually dead beings, we embrace the death. We don’t seek God, want to know God, nor have anything to do with God. Everything good that had been planned for us from the beginning is now void in our lifeless plight. And God became our enemy.

But praise to the Lord that he never stopped seeking us. He still loved us so much that he came as a man and died our death for us. On a cruel cross, Jesus breathed his last so we would have the chance to live for the first time.

“For while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.” (Rom. 5:8)

Three days later, Jesus rose from the grave defeating death once and for all. By his victory, death lost its power and hold over all of mankind. For those who believe in Jesus’ name for the forgiveness of sins gains the one beautiful death.

“We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:9-11)

It tell us in Scripture that our sins are forgiven if we trust in Christ’s death and resurrection. To forgive means to send away. God removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west.

eastwestIf you’ve believed in Christ, you are now dead. Dead to sin. The funeral that brings joy and life. You are alive in God. Brought near to him by the precious blood of his Son. Blessed be that beautiful death. Amen and amen.

Why would a good and loving God send people to hell?

I think this a great question and worthy to be answered. For many, this is a major hang-up. In fact, many evangelical Christians have turned away from the idea of eternal torment because it doesn’t jive with their idea of who God is.  But the fact is, Jesus spoke on hell much more than he did on Heaven. So somehow there has to be reason.

The apostle John clearly states, “God is love.” The same man penned in the book of Revelation, “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

So either the Bible contradicts itself and cannot be considered truth OR there is a reasonable explanation. I vote for the latter. And here are my reasons why:

1) God does not SEND people to hell.

From the very beginning of the Bible in the book of Genesis, God has given mankind the ability to choose. And among those choices, whether to love or reject God. God is a relational being and desires us to love him in return. Not because we have to, but because we choose to.

But also from the beginning, mankind has chosen to follow its own wisdom and reasoning instead of the Lord’s directions. This created sin which always results in death. Death is separation from God. It’s our fault. Eternal death is hell. Sin has stained every life born into existence. Death has cast its ugly shadow over every soul.

BUT

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

God wishes for none to die. (2 Peter 3:9) He desires a relationship with us. But that is impossible in our sinful condition. His absolute holiness and purity can’t dwell among sinners. (Psalm 5:4) So God became a man to die the death that we deserved. Jesus took upon himself our punishment so that we may gain his life. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.”

Jesus created a way back to Heaven. To continue to reject that means we remain in the death that we earned. So when one passes away and goes to eternal punishment, it’s not because God sent him, it’s because that person chose it. God is merely giving him what he wanted.

2) God is love AND just

Justice is as much of his character as love is. Unlike human judges who are swayed in numerous ways, God always judges fairly and accurately. “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering—Since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” (2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 ESV)

If God simply overlooked sin and allowed all to enter his kingdom, he would no longer be holy. His perfection rests upon his justice. He is loving enough to create an avenue for us to again have a relationship with him and spend eternity in his wondrous presence, but if that option is rejected, he is just and must see our punishment through.

3) Eternal hell is a result from God’s mercy

Yeah, you read that right. A person who has continually rejected God’s salvation would not want to be in Heaven forever. Exodus 33:20 reads, “But he (God) said, ‘You cannot see my face; for no man shall see me, and live.'” As a sinful human being, the most miserable place imaginable would be in the presence of the most holy and glorious God. His glory and utmost perfection would cause unimaginable anguish and suffering to one who was still dead in their sins. So much anguish that the torment he would face in hell apart from God would be a relief.

Even to those who have continually ignored the message preached from the heavens, the Word of God, the mouths of preachers, and actions of saints, God still shows mercy. Don’t be confused. Hell is a place of torment forever and ever, but the alternative would be far worse.

For the person who believes in Christ, he is made a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come. God’s perfection placed upon him. Now he can stand face to face with Jesus Christ because he is now a righteous being. True Christians are sinless in God’s eyes and will “become like him because we will see him as he is.”

So believe in Jesus Christ, friend. You will be granted life, peace, joy, and love. Hell is real and is your choice if you don’t heed the message. Don’t wait. Tomorrow may be too late.