THE POWER OF THE CROSS
WE HAVE BEEN JUSTIFIED BY HIS BLOOD
When Adam and Eve chose to believe the devil’s lies over God’s truth, little did they know just how much damage they would do to themselves and to the human race by their choice. We have already examined a number of aspects of their lives that went wrong, that they passed on to the human race, and that needed the intervention of God to put right. They became slaves to sin; they were estranged from God, they lost their oneness and fellowship with Him; they were guilty and condemned to death and under God’s wrath – and so we can go on.
Without divine intervention, they were doomed to be separated from God forever, in the torment of knowing what could have been had they but heeded the Father’s instruction. Guilt, shame and fear would drive their consciences day and night, living in the terrible regret of “if only”. Even if people refuse to own their guilt or understand the reason for their torment, is that not what puts many a person in a psychiatric hospital?
In the wisdom that the Holy Spirit gave him, Paul had the answer that everyone desperately needs to hear.
Since we now have been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him. (Rom 5: 9)
What does “justified” mean? In the simplest legal terms it means to be declared, “Not guilty”. But how can God do that seeing that we are all guilty of transgressing His laws?
Let’s look at it this way. Say you are accused of a committing a crime. You are arrested and put in prison awaiting trial. All the evidence is gathered and the trial date is set. You have a defence lawyer whose task is to prove that you are not guilty, while the prosecutor’s job is to secure a “guilty” verdict based on the indisputable evidence that you did it. It is his job to see that you get the punishment you deserve if you are found guilty.
Both sides present their evidence and their conclusions, and it is now up to the judge or the jury to decide whether the evidence is conclusive enough for them to reach a verdict. All the forensic and circumstantial evidence points to you. In the end, your guilt is proven beyond reasonable doubt. The judge passes sentence and you are fined an appropriate sum of money or sent to prison as an appropriate punishment. You have been proven guilty and there is nothing you can do about it. The law has spoken. You must serve your sentence without complaint.
But what if the judge is your father? What if you have an older brother who loves you so much that he chooses to take your punishment for you? He steps up to the judge and pays the fine, or he takes your place in the prison cell so that you can go free. What if he chooses to be executed in your place so that you do not have to die?
Are you still guilty of your crime? No, because you have been “justified”. You were guilty – you were sentenced – but the sentence has been carried out by your brother. Your father, the judge, is satisfied that the crime has been paid for. He can declare you “Not guilty” because it is illegal to demand punishment for the same crime twice.
That is exactly what Jesus did to secure our release from guilt. God decreed that the appropriate punishment for transgressing His laws was death. He gave the first pair one command – “Don’t eat the fruit of that one tree.” Why? Was it because the fruit of that tree was poisonous? No (and, by the way, the Bible does not say that it was an apple tree). It was a simple test to determine the reality of Adam’s love for God. Jesus said:
If you love me, keep my commands. (John 14: 15)
Adam was deceived because he believed that God was withholding something good from him. Satan’s trap was very subtle. God created man in His image – he was like God in his nature so that he could have fellowship with Him. Satan suggested that he needed something different to be like God – the right to independence; the right to make his own rules. What he did not tell Adam was that he aspired to be Lord and, if Adam listened to him rather than to God, it would prove that he was, in fact, in charge.
Adam fell for his lie, disregarded God’s instruction and brought the whole superstructure of God’s intention crashing down on his head. Only another man, made in the likeness of the first Adam, without sin, could set it all right by willing to be sentenced in Adam’s place. He did it and we are now free – justified; declared not guilty.
There is a consequence to Jesus’ obedience to the Father. Paul said: How much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him.
We were not only saved from death, but God’s wrath against sin was satisfied. He is no longer angry with the sinner. We are now the objects of His favour. Did you get that? He is no longer angry with anyone – not even those who reject Him and refuse to obey the truth.
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5: 8)
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!
ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.
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