Posts Tagged ‘redemption

28
Mar
13

By His stripes we are healed

Jesus Christ knew the scriptures so He knew what was coming in during the final hours of His life on earth. Jesus not only knew of His impending crucifixion but also His betrayal, mock trials, beatings and humiliation. After Jesus prayed earnestly in the Garden and accepted the will of God, he was immediately apprehended by the Jewish guards and led on the most gruesome journey known to man.

Everything Jesus endured was necessary for our redemption to be complete. As the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus’ sacrifice was far more than just His death; it involved receiving the full measure of retribution for Adam’s sin and the consequences of that sin. The road to our redemption was indeed the most difficult of any in all of history.

It is beyond our mind’s ability to comprehend what Jesus went through on our behalf. Not only did he suffer unbelievable physical torture through beatings, whippings, scourging etc; Jesus also suffered every imaginable form of mental and emotional humiliation known to man. This humiliation went far beyond being mocked and scorned but involved things said and done that emasculated Him and made Him feel less than human.

The body and mind of our Savior were mangled beyond recognition and so maligned that the Son of God was reduced to a bleeding, bruised and broken frame of a man. Jesus had to receive every form of punishment imaginable in order to be our Savior. Jesus had to be treated as the worst criminal in order to redeem us.

The devil knew he could not kill Jesus but he honestly thought he could break him and cause him to quit. All the devious torture Jesus was put through was designed to so wear Him down that He would give up tell the Father “I cannot do this”. With each crack of the whip and with each new form of physical abuse, the devil honestly believed he could break Jesus’ decision to do the Father’s will.

Isaiah 53:5 tells us why Jesus had to go through all of this in order to be our Redeemer and Savior:

“ But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed”

In order to be healed of the curse of Adam’s transgression, Jesus had to receive the full extent of that curse which is why He had to endure the breaking of His body. Just as Jesus’ shed blood was needed for the remission of our sins, so His broken body was necessary for our healing from the consequences of sin.

As we eat the bread of communion, we are remembering all the pain and humiliation Jesus went through on our behalf. Jesus did this so we would not have to. In many respects, the broken body of Jesus represents the healing of our guilt and shame while His shed blood represents the perfect sacrifice for our sins.

Everything Jesus experienced defines agony, pain and humiliation. The perfect Son of God endured this by taking our place. Jesus willingly laid down his life, not only in death but in everything leading up to it. He did all this for us so that through his wounds, bruises, abuse and stripes we can be healed of every internal and external consequence of sin.

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25
Mar
13

Our redemption, justification, righteousness, reconciliation and sanctification in Christ

Simply put, we believe that Jesus Christ was the expression of the love of God as He became the perfect sacrifice for our sins and our eternal redeemer. We believe that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that we might live through Him.

Justice demanded the transgression of Adam be paid for and the penalty for that sin was death. God, being the righteous yet just judge that He is, allowed Jesus (who was perfect in every way) to be the legal substitute for sin and thus pay the price for it. This definition of REDEMPTION is crucial to our understanding and appreciation of what Jesus Christ did and why it is so awesome.

The only way God could legally overturn His judgment of “guilty” and acquit us of all crimes against Him was for Jesus Christ to willingly lay down His perfect life as the payment and eternal sacrifice for sin. Because Jesus took upon Himself the original transgression of Adam as well as every sin (past, present and future) of all people; God was able to legally render His “guilty” verdict null and void and acquit us of all charges against us. This definition of JUSTIFICATION allows us to stand RIGHTEOUS in God’s presence without any sense of guilt or condemnation.

Our redemption, justification and righteousness released us from the penalty of sin which is death. Although we still sin, we have an advocate with the Father who is Jesus Christ. He pleads our case before the righteous judge and allows us to live with no condemnation or judgment. Simply put, God made Jesus (who knew no sin) to become a sin offering for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ for the rest of our lives.

With sin no longer separating us from God, we were able to be reconciled to God and the relationship of peace with Him restored. This restoration of the relationship and fellowship with God that was disrupted, disturbed and destroyed by Adam’s sin allows us to walk in fellowship with God and be set apart by God unto eternal life with Him. This definition of SANCTIFICATION is what gives us and God great joy and comfort in this life.

Put together, our REDEMPTION, JUSTIFICATION, RIGHTEOUSNESS, RECONCILIATION and SANCTIFICATION allow us to live without fear of God’s wrath. We are able to live and stand in the grace and mercy of God. Because all legal requirements for our redemption were fulfilled in Jesus Christ and God eternally rendered His verdict of “NOT GUILTY” through the resurrection, we have no reason to fear eternal punishment.

Jesus Christ truly is our redeemer for He purchased our freedom through His atoning blood. Through the resurrection, we can boldly proclaim that our redeemer truly lives for us, through us and in us. Will we choose to live for Him?

19
Mar
13

Oh to know and love our God more and more

Sometimes we get so caught up in the details of our faith we lose sight of what our faith is all about. Simply put, we were dead in our sins and Jesus Christ paid the price as God’s perfect sacrifice for those sins so that we may live. God raised Jesus from the dead, defeating the sting of death and forever winning the battle for redemption.

God so loved the world that He gave His Son so that we might live through Him. God so loved the world that we now can be called the children of God. God so loved the world that He poured out His mercy and forgiveness on a creation which had rejected Him. God so loved the world that He gave us His Son to live and reign in our lives.

The beauty and simplicity of what God did for us through His Son Jesus Christ defines the word awesome. The greatness and power manifested by God in the resurrection of Christ defines majesty. The grace and mercy poured out on us by God defines love.

There are many things people devote their lives to, but the greatest thing any of us can fully be devoted to is knowing and loving our Savior more and more each day. In man’s unquenchable quest for knowledge, he has lost sight of that which is most important in this life and that is humility and meekness to know and love God more.

The prayer of our hearts should be that God would teach us about who He is and what He has done for us in Christ. The prayer of our hearts should be to walk humbly before our God, clothed in His goodness and bathed in His greatness. The prayer of our hearts should be to know Him more and more each day so that we can proclaim to all how great God is.

May we never become so vain we forget that without God we are nothing. May we never become so busy we forget about the God who saved us. May we never become so bitter that we refuse to taste and see that the Lord is good. May we never become so hard and cold that we live as people who never knew God’s love.

Jesus Christ poured out His life so that we may live. Jesus Christ suffered and died to pay for our sins and separation from God. Jesus Christ laid down His life as a sacrifice for sin once, for all and forever. Jesus Christ gave up everything so that we can have everything in Him. Jesus Christ was, is and will forever be our Redeemer, Deliverer, Savior and Lord.

I pray that each one of us draws closer to our Savior and bows down before Him in humble adoration for all He did and continues to do for us. We have been given so much. I pray we never forget all that He is and all that we are in Him.

18
Mar
13

The simplicity of our Christian Faith

Christians rarely agree on much of anything, but there is one thing we should all have agreement regarding and that is the purpose and accomplishments of Jesus Christ. How can there be any question regarding the legal redemption and justification purchased for us through the death of Jesus? How can there be any question regarding the victory over sin and death found in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ?

Jesus fulfilled every criterion to be our Savior. Jesus lovingly paid the price for our redemption through the shedding of His Holy blood. Through His sacrifice, propitiation has been made for the sins of all mankind and God could (and did) close the books on Adam’s transgression and its consequences.

By the stripes of Jesus we have been healed and made whole. The blood of Jesus purchased our redemption. The burial of Jesus sealed our justification and the resurrection of Christ won the victory over death and made available eternal life to those who believe. Because of all these things, we can trust the promise of God that Christ will return to lead us to our eternal home in glory.

Christians may vehemently disagree with each other on social issues, specific meanings of various scriptures, the role of the Church and a whole variety of other things; but there should be no disagreement regarding who Jesus Christ was, what He accomplished and what is to come. Of course, having just said this, we all know there will continue to be little unity on these matters unfortunately.

For what it is worth, I believe in what is laid out in what is known as the “Apostles Creed”:

“I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.”

I remember reciting this creed in the Presbyterian church I grew up in. I remember hearing this creed recited in various other churches over the years. If there is a creed that most Christians can live with, the Apostles creed is it.

As we go through these days leading up to the celebration of the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we should unite as Christians in what we hold common and take a break from the incessant bickering that plagues our faith. Jesus died for our sins, was raised on the third day and is one day coming back. We have been redeemed and granted the gift of eternal life. How is that for keeping things simple!

05
Mar
13

The battle was won but the war was just beginning

Without question, November 22, 1984 marked the absolute low point of my life. It was on that date as I sat in my car upon a mountain top in western Colorado that I realized once and for all how utterly helpless I was in and of myself. It was on that day that I reached the point of complete brokenness. There is no doubt in my mind that due to my state, the Lord was able to do what I had tried unsuccessfully to do for years and that was to fight my battles.

After innumerable attempts to get me to see the light on this matter, I believe the Lord led me to that mountaintop to help me once and for all understand that HE must fight the enemy and not me, that HE is the protector and defender of my life and not me and that HE called and promised me that HE would never leave or forsake me NO MATTER WHAT.

After slaying all the prophets of Baal, Elijah went to a cave and asked God to take his life. He was tired, utterly worn out and as we would call it today—wasted. I can sort of relate to how that great man of God felt but then again I have no clue how a man feels after physically killing hundreds of the enemy’s top men.

God did not honor Elijah’s request at that time but instead demanded that he first find Elisha and teach him everything he knew so that he could carry on and do even greater things than he had done in his lifetime. After Elijah did what God called him to do, he literally got the ride of his life as God took him away in a chariot of fire.

I am no Elijah, not by a long shot, but I do understand what happened with him and believe that the same sort of thing happened in my life. For entirely different reasons, I reached the point on November 22nd of that year where I was asking God to take me home to Him. I had nothing left to give inside of me. I was drained, worn out, beaten down and harassed day and night by my personal failures and sins.

What happened that morning, I believe, was God letting me know that there were still things left in this life He needed me to do and that it was not time for me to go home yet. It took me years to understand the whys and wherefores of what happened that day, but in due time I did see why the Lord required I stick around for what has now been close to 30 years.

I used to believe that in order to be important to God, I must minister to the multitudes, preach to the thousands and be someone everyone recognized as a great man of God. What God showed me in no uncertain terms that morning in 1984 was the utter fallacy of such thinking. He proved to me that loving, fighting for and standing with one person is the greatest thing any of us can do in this life, for that is what He did for me.

God made me a promise on August 24th of 1969 that as long as the candle burns in the darkness, He would always be with me to help, guide and protect me as long as my heart stayed committed to Him. Even though I thought in 1984 that God hated me because of all I had done, in reality God knew my heart and knew that I still loved Him and was broken because I did not believe I could still serve Him.

All I know about that day is that Jesus Christ personally fought satan for my life. Satan claimed I was his to kill due to my expressed intention to end my life and Jesus claimed I was His due to my lifelong commitment to Him. In due time, Jesus played His trump card and the battle was over. As soon as Jesus confirmed that He had given His life for me 2000 years ago to redeem me and that because I was a child of God satan had no rights over my life; the battle immediately ended for satan knew the legality of my redemption.

Just as He had done when he saved the woman caught in adultery from being stoned, so Jesus saved me from the wrath of satan whose claims of condemnation worthy of death were rebuked by the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Just as in the case of the woman, Jesus told me “go and sin no more”. Jesus did not demand I hang on a cross for my sins because He already did that for me 2000 years ago. Jesus did not demand I get a big “S” on my forehead to signify I was a sinner. All Jesus demanded was that I go and sin no more.

After the battle, I know in my heart that Jesus lifted my broken and wasted body and soul and carried me to a place where He personally ministered to me. I believe He reached deep within me and tenderly put the pieces of my broken heart back together again. Jesus did not transform me into a glowing Moses or some kind of superman. No, He simply breathed back into me the breath of life and let me know that in His due time He would lead me to where He wanted me to be to do what HE wanted me to do.

Holding onto that promise, I had the strength to make it through what turned out to the three most difficult years of my life. Sure enough, in His due time He fulfilled His Word and through incredible miracles, He moved heaven and earth to enable me to spend my life ministering to one person at a time.

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I have decided that the greatest thing I can do for you is to open my heart and share with you the incredible story of how God took me from the state of hopelessness, brokenness and utter despair to His promised land of inner peace, fulfillment and contentment. I pray that as I share things in the coming days and weeks that God works in your heart to see what He has done and will do for you and your situation.

As always; Blessings 2 You