THE POWER OF THE CROSS
REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. (Eph. 1: 7)
I think this is the best place to start, don’t you? Everything that God has done for us flows from His grace but through the cross. I said yesterday that Jesus foretold the fact but did not give the reasons for His death. It was Paul who received the revelation from the Holy Spirit to explain the depth of meaning that the cross has for us.
Before we go any further, let’s sever, once and for all, the connection between Jesus’ death and Easter with all its pagan trappings. No self-respecting believer in Jesus should ever celebrate Easter (or Christmas, for that matter) because everything Easter and Christmas stand for are an intrusion into the truth.
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God and they will be my people.’ (2 Cor. 6: 16)
The death of Jesus is rooted in the Passover feast. God gave His people seven annual feasts to celebrate, in anticipation, the work of Messiah. Each feast foretold, in picture form, an aspect of what Jesus would do for His people. The first of the annual feasts was Passover which told the story of their redemption from Egypt.
Just as the Israelites were slaves to their cruel taskmasters in Egypt, so the human race was enslaved by the devil when Adam chose to believe his lies over the truth of God. God created the first pair to be one with Him. He made them in His image and filled them with His Spirit (breath) so that they would enjoy fellowship with Him and live in perfect harmony with Him as their Father and with the world in which they lived.
God gave man one gift which put both Him and man at great risk – the gift of choice. Without the freedom to choose, people would be robots, programmed and controlled by their Creator. True freedom involves the right and power to make choices without the control of anyone else, including both God and the devil.
Satan lured Adam and Eve into believing that God had short-changed them; that He had withheld from them something that would be to their benefit, independence. God never intended that freedom to choose would involve freedom to make the rules. The moment they capitulated to the devil, they were hooked. They did not understand that the depth of true freedom lay in their oneness with God, doing His will and living in perfect harmony with Him because only He is truly free – from everything imperfect that enslaves the heart.
They were enslaved to a nature that was corrupted and could no longer serve its purpose – to have fellowship with the Father in the perfection of His untainted nature. They had a new nature, corrupted and evil, and a new master – a cruel taskmaster who drove them through shame, guilt and fear to hate God and to run from Him. They no longer recognised or experienced God as their Father, but they hid from Him because they were afraid of His wrath.
Their imperfection became an impenetrable barrier between God and them. They could not reach Him and He could not reach them. They were enslaved, body, soul and spirit to the devil, and no amount of self-effort could remove the barrier. Even if they tried to be perfect, their past disqualified them from access to Him.
God built into His instructions for living – His Torah – a sacrificial system which would teach His people how serious the problem of sin was, and that the death of a perfect lamb was demanded to pay the debt of sin and free the sinner from his enslavement to the devil. Animal blood was only a picture of redemption. It could never pay the debt God required, but it spoke of one who would come – a perfect Lamb who would be qualified to pay the debt and free the human race from the penalty of death.
Every year, the Israelites celebrated their redemption from slavery in Egypt in anticipation of the one God would send to redeem them from even greater slavery – slavery to the devil.
When Jesus came, they refused to recognise Him or to acknowledge that He was God’s Messiah. He lived the life of a perfect Son before them, but they crucified Him. They did not realise that the very suffering they put Him through, in His life and in His death, qualified Him to be the perfect Lamb that would remove the barrier of sin between them and God and rescue them from slavery to the devil so that they could be restored to fellowship with the Father.
It was Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist, who recognised Him to be that perfect Lamb.
The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.’ (John 1: 29)
Through His death, Jesus took sin away and broke its hold over the sinner. Satan can no longer hold us to ransom because the debt has been paid. He no longer has a claim on us. Jesus provides forgiveness for the whole world and for all time. Even the sins that lie in the future are taken care of by His blood.
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2: 2)
This is the power of the cross!
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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