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.
"Why did Jesus have to die?" "Why did He have to rise again?" These two questions were asked the other day by a young pastor who I knew understood the answers. The query was to find scriptural support for a sermon to be delivered yesterday. Yet, it is a question that many do not understand. Even in the early church there was much misunderstanding and human speculation about the answers to these very questions. So why did Jesus have to die?
God is so awesome and holy that He is unapproachable by human means. Anyone who has sinned cannot get near to Him without incurring His holy wrath. Even those who walked close to God in the Bible were overwhelmed by His utter holiness and glory when in His presence. Isaiah cried, "Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts (Isaiah 6:5)." John, who had followed Jesus for 3 years while Jesus was here on earth, could not stand in His presence when the full revelation of His power and majesty was seen at Patmos. The man called the disciple Jesus loved could not bear the utter grandeur of the glorified Savior. He fell at Christ's feet as if he were dead--Revelation 1:17. If His friends and followers struggled that much to stand in His presence, where will those without forgiveness for sin stand? No wonder another friend of Christ uttered an often misunderstood question, "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (1Peter 4:18)"
Sin is a crime to the holiness and glory of God. At its very core it is merely selfishness. Men prefer self interests over obedience to God and service to others. The teaching of Jesus was in direct opposition to this and is embodied in the two greatest commandments. We are to love God foremost and love others as ourselves. Since sin is also an eternal crime, against an eternal God, there is no way for any man to be forgiven without a substitutionary sacrifice. God's holiness and justice demands that the penalty for sin be met. God is not an earthly judge that slaps the wrist only to allow greater injustice.
In the Old Testament we are introduced to the shedding of blood as just such a sacrificial payment for wrongdoing. The problem still was that these sacrifices were only temporary at best. Remember, eternal sins can't be cleansed by that which is temporary. Jesus, however, was not merely a man--He was God. He was God and man at once. He was and is fully God yet fully man. He is the perfect High Priest. He can be touched by our infirmities, and He can touch the heart of the Father at once. His blood, shed for our sin, was the suitable eternal sacrifice of love needed to wash our sin away. Without that blood, there is no forgiveness. Let me reiterate that with scripture, "...and without shedding of blood is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22b)"
The Savior had to also be greater than the worst effect of sin--death. Adam's purposeful disobedience brought this curse upon all humanity. Not only was there to be physical death, but also spiritual death--separation from God--as well. Jesus was just that--a Savior greater than sin and all of its consequences such as hell and the grave. The second question above was the very heart of Paul's defense of the resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15. It seems strange, but there were people in the church that did not believe in a resurrection. More than likely they were subverted by some remnants of the teaching of the Sadducee's. Without the blood and the resurrection of Christ, you have mere religion and social works programs; most sadly, you are without forgiveness. It took Christ's death and resurrection for us to have forgiveness and newness of life.
Because of these great blessings procured by Jesus Christ we can assuredly wait with anticipation for another great an prophetic event--the rapture of the church and the hope of eternal reward. There is only one way--by the blood. What world religion other than Christianity has the blood that forgives sin available today for the forgiveness of all sin which is absolutely required by God?
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept..... Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Godlessness in the Last Days
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Israel and the Middle East
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