The Wall

The Wall: Reconciliation, Doctrine of Position in Christ (Part 8 of 8)

DOCTRINE OF POSITION IN CHRIST

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by an impassable barrier. This barrier, which we have termed “The Wall” constitutes MAN’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the sixth brick of the “The Wall” and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross. As I said before, the first three bricks were removed, on the cross by Jesus Christ. The final three can only be removed by you. It is your choice and yours alone.

 

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM

The first man, Adam, was the representative head of the human race. If you have been following this series, you have heard the story of Adam’s willful disobedience, sin, and resultant spiritual death. Since all of mankind are Adam’s offspring, his spiritual death was passed on to the entire human race (Romans 5:12). It is for this reason that “in Adam all die” (1 Corinthians 15:21). As a result, all of us came into this life “alienated from the life of God” (Ephesians 4:18). In order to enter into fellowship with God and live with Him forever, every member of the human race must possess His perfect righteousness and His eternal life. We, as the progeny of Adam, possess neither. Because we are born “in Adam,” we are incapable of entering into fellowship with God. The limitations we possess in our brief lives present a barrier to fellowship with eternal God. As a result, we have a problem.

POSITION IN CHRIST, GOD’S SOLUTION

Even though in “Adam all die,” God has promised us that, “in Christ, all shall be made alive.” Our old position in Adam necessitated condemnation and death, but our new position in Christ guarantees justification and eternal life. We were born, physically, into Adam’s world and limited to a meaningless life of vanity. Through faith in Christ, we were born again, spiritually, into a personal relationship with God the Father. As His child, we have been given eternal life and unlimited potential to fulfil an eternal destiny with blessings beyond our wildest imaginations. But wait, it gets better. In addition, we, the Church, are the bride of Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 19:6-8). How can this be? Because my friend, as Bob Dylan once said, “The times, they are a changin.”

 Welcome home!

Jesus Christ is called the” Last Adam” in 1 Corinthians 15:45, the head of a new spiritual species. This process is explained in 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Old things do not simply refer to bad habits. A new believer retains all the bad habits he acquired before he was born again. What is more, he also keeps his old sin nature with all its trends and lusts. Bad habits may be overcome as the believer matures and chooses to leave them behind, but the old things, which have passed away, are all the liabilities that put us behind the barrier. You know them now. We have talked about this. They are sin, the penalty for sin, character of God, relative righteousness, spiritual death, and now, our current discussion, position in Adam.

 

A new dawn is the door to a world of new things, and we all love new things.

The new things to which Paul was referring are all the marvelous assets we have by virtue of our position in Christ. The instant we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit placed us in union with Him through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13). From that moment on we were one with Him. Our physical birth, our position in Adam, ceased to be a problem. Through regeneration, the life of Christ became our life. Position in Christ means that, through regeneration and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have the same spiritual assets that Jesus possessed during his earthly ministry. At this point, it is essential to understand that Christianity is not a religion. Anyone can be religious, but it takes a miracle to place a person in position with Christ. What I mean is, one cannot grow closer to God through a system of rituals, good deeds, or a specialized priesthood. Rather, Christianity is a personal relationship with God the Father. Through spiritual birth, each of us are members of His family, “And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, literally, Daddy! Father!” (Galatians 4:6).

 

Position in Christ guarantees us an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ that sets us apart from believers of any other dispensation. Not only does every believer of the Church Age share His eternal life (1 John 5:11-12), His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21), His election (Ephesians 1:3-4), we also share His Son-ship (Galatians 3:26), His priesthood (Hebrews 10:10; cf. 1 Peter 2:9), His royalty (2 Timothy 2:11-12) and therefore, His kingdom (2 Peter 1:11) and His destiny (Ephesians 1:5). That’s a lot of stuff! You might want to go back and read that again and look up the passages. It will make you head spin. I guarantee it.

 

Since the beginning, that day in the Garden of Eden, every believer in Christ has been born again into the family of God: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children, τέκνα, of God.” The Greek word, τέκνα, plural for teknon, means a child who is a member of the family by virtue of his birth. ”And if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:16-17). If we are children of the same Father, then it follows that we share in the same inheritance. However, this epistle was written to the Romans, and according to Roman law, this was not necessarily the case. A Roman was not a legal heir until he was declared worthy by his father and awarded the privilege of adoption.

 

In our culture, adoption means taking a child, who was not born into the family and making him a legal member of the family. Adoption in ancient Rome, however, had to do with making someone who was born into the family a league heir. In Rome adoption did not take place until the son in question reached the age of 14 years. For the first 14 years of his life, a Roman son was placed under the authority of a household slave. This slave was often his teacher. It was this custom that Paul referred to in Galatians 4:1-2: “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time (of his adoption) appointed by the father” (Galatians 4:1-2).

 

On his 14th birthday the whole family would gather together for the all important ceremony of adoption. The boy was brought in wearing the toga of youth for the last time. Then his father stepped forward and took the toga of youth by the shoulders and lifting with his left hand, dropped it to the floor. A slave would then hand the father another toga called the toga virilis (robe of manhood). The father would then place it around his shoulders. He then kissed his son for the last time. Then he stepped back and said, “My son, you have now been adopted into the family.” At this point, the son was no longer called teknon, child, but υἱοs, huios, which is an adult son. As an adult member of the family, he became a legal heir to his father’s estate. He was no longer under the authority of a slave, but a ruler over them. Having been “born again” into the family as an adult member, he was given, not only the privileges of an adult, but also the responsibilities of one. Therefore, the Christian, by virtue of his position in Christ, is called huios, an adult son, and a fellow heir of Christ.

Position in Christ places every Church Age believer into the royal family of Christ as an adult son. During the Church Age, Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God the Father in heaven. Seated as glorified royalty in heaven, God the Father is currently forming a royal family for Jesus Christ on earth. That royal family is the Church of Christ.

Jesus Christ retains three titles of royalty, each with a royal family. As God, our Lord is divine royalty.

His divine royal family is God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. As man, Jesus is Jewish royalty. His Jewish title is the Son of David and His royal family is the line of King David. As the God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ won the strategic victory over Satan at the Cross and earned a third royal title, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Royal Titles

The Wall: Regeneration (Part 7 of 8)

FROM DEATH TO LIFE! REGENERATION

new life

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by an impassable barrier. This barrier, which we have termed “The Wall” constitutes MAN’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the fifth brick of the “The Wall” and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross. As I said before, the first three bricks were removed by Jesus Christ. The final three can only be removed by you. It is your choice and yours alone.

 

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The fifth brick of the barrier is spiritual death. The birth of a child is certainly one of God’s most precious gifts. But because of sin, there is a tragic injustice that occurs with the creation of human life. Through no fault of our own, we come into this life spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 2:13), alienated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:18-19), destitute of God the Holy Spirit and therefore, separated from God the Father (Romans 8:9). And it only gets worse. In addition, we are condemned to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10-15).

Who’s to blame? The fact that we were all born spiritually dead is not our fault. It’s Adam’s. When Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he wilfully disobeyed God. As a result, he suffered the penalty of spiritual death (Genesis 2:17). Now, because we are all his descendants, we are all under the same curse of spiritual death, “In Adam all die” (1Corinthians 15:22).

It’s not fair! That’s right; it’s not fair, but only from a human viewpoint perspective. However, if we look prayerfully at the situation from the divine viewpoint of God’s Word, the grace perspective comes into view, and the mystery of God’s wonderful plan unravels.

When a baby comes into this life, through no fault of his own, he is spiritually dead, “By one man’s disobedience many, literally translated, the many, a reference to all to of humanity, were made, sinners” (Romans 5:19). The Greek text says that we were appointed or caused to be sinners.

Do all children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven? 

Yes, because babies are spiritually dead from the womb (Psalms 51:5; 58:3; Job 14:4), we have the assurance that all children who die before the age of accountability go to heaven (2 Samuel 12:23). Why? Because our sins have been paid for by Jesus Christ on the cross, they will not form the final basis for condemnation at the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:12). The final basis by which man will be judged will not be his personal sins. The final basis for judgment will be his rejection of Jesus Christ as his personal Savior (John 3:18, 36). Because the unbeliever rejects the solution to his sin problem, he is condemned to die in his sins (John 8:21, 24). Until a person reaches God consciousness, he cannot reject God. Since one can’t reject something he’s never seen, all persons who die before they reach the age of accountability, or the point of God consciousness, go to heaven (2 Samuel 12:22-23 cf. Psalm 23:6).

We are not sinners because we sin. Rather, we sin because we are sinners. We come into this life sinners because we were “caused to be sinners” (Romans 5:19). We don’t choose to be sinners any more than we can choose the color of our eyes. When Adam made the decision to disobey God, his nature was changed. By an act of personal volition his nature was changed from God-centered to self-centered. He exchanged his sinless nature for a sinful nature. But what is worse, he passed that sinful nature on to us.

In Romans 5:12, God explains the process by which all men were made sinful and, as a result, commit personal sins:

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

A more literal translation would be: Through one man (Adam) sin, ἡ ἁμαρτία (the *Old Sin Nature cf. Romans 6:6-7, 12), entered the world, and (spiritual) death, through sin, and thus, οὕτως,literally, in this manner, death, spread, to all men, because, ἐφ’ ᾧ, literally, on the basis of which (spiritual) death, all sinned.

*The first human sin was committed by Eve, but their eyes were not opened and the fall of humanity did not occur until Adam sinned. *At that point, the Old Sin Nature became part of human nature. From that point on, the sin nature has been passed down through the man exclusively because the man was responsible for the fall, not the woman. This explains why Jesus Christ was born without an old sin nature. Mary was fully human, but Jesus’ father was God the Holy Spirit. No human father; no Adamic sin nature.

A literal paraphrase of the Greek text would be as follows: “Through one man, Adam, the sin nature entered the world, and through that sin nature, spiritual death came into the world. So through the passing on of the sin nature spiritual death spread throughout all mankind. Therefore, because of spiritual death and the imputation of the sin nature, we all come into this world a sinful creature.” In other words, we were born sinners, because we were born with a sinful nature. As a result, we all will eventually commit personal sins” (Romans 5:12).

This is why I said earlier, we are not sinners because we commit person sins. To the contrary, we commit personal sins because we were born sinners. i. e. we were born with a sinful nature which we inherited through no fault of our own.

In summary, when Adam sinned, he died spiritually (Genesis 2:7). As his offspring, we are born with his sinful nature (Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9). As a result of our sin nature, we commit personal sins.

Because we possess a sinful nature, we come into this life separated from God, which is to say, spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-5, 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 2:13). As a result, man has a problem.

REGENERATION, GOD’S SOLUTION:

The solution to the problem of spiritual death is regeneration. In order for man to regain his spiritual relationship with God, he needs a new nature. God is spirit “and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Therefore, “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17). At the point of faith in Christ, a miracle occurs that Jesus called “being born again” (John 3:3, 7).

 

Nic at Night John 3:1-21

 

Nicodemus was a Pharisee and a leader of the Jewish people. He was also a member of the Sanhedrin the high court in Israel. One night he came to Jesus and they had an interesting conversation.

Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?”

5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit (the gospel through God’s Word and the baptism of the Holy Spirit; see Acts 11:15-17) , he cannot enter the kingdom of GodI8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

9 Nicodemus answered and said to Him, “How can these things be?”

10 Jesus answered and said to him, “Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not know these things?

Nicodemus was an acclaimed Bible teacher, yet he was completely baffled by Jesus’ words. Why? Because he had not yet been born again. Paul explains this mystery in 1 Corinthians 2:13-14: “ These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Nicodemus had no capacity to understand Jesus teaching because he had not yet been born again. He had not yet experienced the miracle of regeneration. However, he did not remain in that condition for long after this conversation. At some point before Jesus’ crucifixion, he accepted Christ as his personal Savior.

We know this because he stood up for Jesus when the Pharisees were conspiring against him(John 7:50-51).

After the crucifixion, he helped Joseph of Arimathea take Jesus’ body down from the cross and lay it in a tomb, at great risk to his safety and reputation.

Regeneration is the process of being born again. Through regeneration, the believer receives a new nature.

Something old and something new:

When we believed in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, His righteousness was imputed to us (Romans 4:3). As a result, God the Holy Spirit was justified (on the basis of imputed righteousness) to enter into each of our bodies (1 Corinthians 3:16) and give us spiritual life, “Even when we were dead in our sins, (God the Holy Spirit) hath made us alive, συνεζωοποίησεν, literally, to bring to life or cause to come to life, together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5; see also: Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:18). This is a new birth. God the Holy Spirit gives birth to our formerly dead human spirit. This new birth is called being born again or regeneration. At this point, our true nature is changed from sinful to sinless, fleshly to spiritual, and self-centered to God-centered.

Through regeneration we become the children of The Living God “The (Holy) Spirit Himself bears witness with our (regenerated human) spirit that we are the children, τέκνα lit. children by birth, of God” (Romans 8:16-17, 21).

After Adam had fallen, he hid from God out of fear (Genesis 3:10). Were they naked? No! They had sewn garments out of fig leaves (3:7). They were not ashamed because their bodies were exposed, but because their deeds were exposed, “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:19-20).

Not so for His children, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” (Romans 8:14-15).

Conclusion: This world is under divine judgment and will receive its just rewards. As God’s children, we can rest assured that the one thing we do deserve, the lake of fire, we will never experience. Why? Because Jesus Christ died a substitutionary death on our behalf. For this reason, we are delivered from the just consequence of sin. The issue for the unbeliever is not personal sin, but rather, Jesus Christ. My prayer is that this study has helped the readers to focus on the real issue, Jesus Christ.

The Wall: Imputation (Part 6 of 8)

IMPUTATION & JUSTIFICATION

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by an impassable barrier. This barrier, which we have termed “The Wall” constitutes MAN’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the fourth brick in the “The Wall” and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross. But there is a turn in the road here. As I said before, the first three bricks were removed by Jesus Christ. You weren’t there. No one that is hearing this was there. He was alone, hanging on a cross, abandoned. God the Father wept as He watched what they did to Him. The holy angels screamed, “Please, Father, let us go down there and stop this! They are desecrating our Lord! Please, God, Father, give us permission to stop this!”

But He, God Almighty, our Father in heaven said, “No! It is written. It is necessary. He is my legacy, and through him I will have a family; I will have children.”

Children; have you ever thought about how they come to us? They come through extreme pain. Guys, we all know that making babies is fun. But for women, it’s a different story. Any guy who has been there, in the delivery room knows this; having babies hurts, a lot!

But as any mother will tell you, “It was worth it!”

I know that this may seem like bunny trail, but, as long as I am on the subject of babies, please let me give you some assurance of something I know to be true.

Babies who die before the age of accountability go to heaven; period; no discussion! That’s what the Bible says, “He (David) answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ 23 But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel 12:22). David, he was a pretty complicated guy, but after all that, he was inspired by God the Holy Spirit to tell the world something in the twenty-third Psalm. This is what he wrote: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LordForever.” So, where is David today? And where is his illegitimate son? This ain’t rocket science here folks. If you don’t get it, then you are on the wrong site. See ya! But if you do, then hang in there, because we are moving to higher ground.

 

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The fourth brick of the barrier is man’s relative righteousness. This brick is, to some, the most confusing aspect of the barrier. Why? Because in this lesson we are not going to focus on man’s sin. No, we are going to focus on his goodness. Many people are very good. They live a righteous lifestyle. They are honest, polite, responsible, relaxed, individuals who are delightful to be around.

On the other hand, some people are scheming, slandering, lying, irresponsible, uptight, and in general, people we tend to avoid. From this perspective, many unbelievers are good people. All of us can testify to that fact. To complicate the issue, many of these “good people” may even live a more upright lifestyle than some Christians.

Here, then, is the issue of relative righteousness. Obviously, some people are very good. They are respectable, honorable and above reproach. Let’s face it, many of those with whom we associate are just better than others, and that is the real problem. We often establish the fact that a person is good or righteous because he or she appears, on the outside, to be better than other people. This is what we mean by relative righteousness.

Now let’s compare these systems of morality with God’s standards. A person may have honorable characteristics and we enjoy his or her company; but with all their noble qualities, they are still only relatively righteous. What I’m saying is that they do not even come close to the righteousness of God, “There is no one holy like the LORD” (1 Samuel 2:2; Psalms 22:3, 47:8, 111:9). In addition, God is immutable, “I am the LORD, I change not” (Malachi 3:6). If He, God, were to enter into fellowship with relative righteousness, He would have to compromise His holiness (Romans 8:8; cf. 1 John 1:5-6). It is impossible for God to lower His standards (Hebrews 1:12).

In light of what God says about His own righteousness, let’s see how man measures up: “For all have sinned and, come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “For there is not a just man upon the earth, that does good, and sins not” (Ecclesiastes 7:20). “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10 cf. Psalms 14:1-3). Isaiah was inspired, by God the Holy Spirit, to describe human good in this way: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness’s are as filthy rags. Literally translated, filthy rags, in the Hebrew means, “garments soiled by menstrual flow” (Isaiah 64:6).

Paul described human good like this: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:8). The Greek word for rubbish is skubala. The word means dung, feces or excrement. I know that these words are going to hurt some of your delicate little egos, but that is what the Bible says in the original language. Some fear to not translate the Bible it literally, so as not to offend people. I, on the other hand, fear to translate Scripture any other way, but literally, so as not to offend God.

Relative righteousness (human goodness), therefore, forms a tremendous barrier between man and God because it often leads to religious or sanctimonious illusions. Even though God is love, He will not compromise His divine integrity in order to enter into a personal relationship with anything that is less than holy, as He is holy. As a result, man has a problem.

 

GOD’S SOLUTION:

The solution to man’s problem of relative righteousness is imputation and justification. The word imputation comes from the Greek verb, logizomai. It means to take money from one account and place it into another. It only takes the click of a mouse to move money from one account into another, but it took infinitely more for God to transfer or impute His absolute righteousness to our bankrupt soul.

For He (God the Father) hath made Him (Jesus Christ), who knew no sin (literally: the one having never known sin), to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (Christ)” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

On the cross, our sins were charged to Christ. He paid our debt to God in full. Because of what Jesus Christ accomplished on the cross, God the Father has a gift to give to each member of the human race. That gift is the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

What makes a gift a gift? Before a gift can fulfill its purpose it must be received. This demands three things on the part of the receiver: faith, humility, and desire. What this means is that: First, the receiver must believe the gift is real. Second, he must accept it as something given and not earned. Third, he must desire to receive the thing being offered.

Salvation is a gift. It was bought and paid for with the blood of Christ and offered to man as a gift. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that, touto, (literally: this thing i.e. salvation) is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8) Note: touto, because of its neuter gender, can only refer to salvation. It cannot refer to either “grace” or “faith” because they are feminine nouns.

Because it is a gift, salvation must be:

1. accepted by faith.

First, we believed in the giver: “Abraham believed God, and it was imputed to Him for righteousness” (Romans 4:3 cf. Genesis 15:1-6).

Second, we believed in the gift: “the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). In order to received the gift of salvation it must be accepted by faith, “Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

2. received in humility.

We cannot earn salvation since it is “not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9) It was purchased by Jesus’ spiritual death on the cross, “you were not redeemed with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1: 18-19). The only way salvation can be attained is to humbly receive it as a gift that was purchased by someone else. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us” (Titus 3:5).

3. as something to be desired.

At the point of God consciousness we begin to make a series of decisions. The decisions, in view here, center around the desire to know the God of Heaven and Earth that is revealed to all. “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead (qeioths, literally: divine nature) so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).

Those who desire to know Him, He will draw to Himself (John 6:44; James 4:8). Those who do not, are blinded to the truth by Satan (Romans 1:21 cf. 2 Corinthians 4:4). In his blindness man tries to earn salvation by works, “But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? (Literally: Why not?) Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law” (Romans 9:31-32). It is man’s responsibility to respond to God’s offer of salvation as a gift to be desired and received by faith.

When the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Their response was simple. They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30-31).

Why faith? Faith is an expression of the will that gives all honor and merit to the object rather than the subject. As a result, an expression of faith gives glory to the object (God) rather than the believer (man). Therefore, in God’s plan of salvation faith is not considered works, but obedience to His declared will, “Therefore, we conclude that man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28; also: 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Titus 3:5).

Conclusion: Whenever a person chooses to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation, God is free to impute the righteousness of Christ to that believer (Romans 3:22; 4:3; 5:17; 9:30). On the basis of imputed righteousness, God declares this new believer to be justified.

This part is always so fresh to me. Please be patient, but I feel a story coming. Yes, I’m going to tell you a story, but I promise, it will be short. You are standing, weary, at the end of a very long day. You are broken, staring at your feet. Then Someone speaks to you. It’s a man’s voice, so masculine, so engaging. You look up, but there is no one there. Just then a gentle breeze strokes you gently across your cheek and you look down. There on the dirty pavement is a soiled piece of paper. You don’t know why, but you bend down and pick it up. It’s a flier, and as you soon as you look at it, you grimace. This was was left here by some Jesus freak. But you have nothing else to do, so you read it, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16). You crush the paper in your hand, but your emotions deny your actions. A tear runs down your face. And you, know, nothing will ever be the same.

And then God steps forward to embrace you, as family. By one simple act of faith, you have been born again, and now possesses the righteousness of God.

What is the significance of justification? Until man receives the imputed rightness of Jesus Christ by faith, God is not even justified to have fellowship with him, let alone to enter into him (indwell him) and call him family. But once the righteousness of Christ is imputed to the new believer on the basis of his faith, God is, as a result of this imputation, is justified, not only to enter into a holy bond with this person, but, through regeneration , make him his child for eternity.

 

Simply put, it is the through the imputation of God’s righteousness, received by faith in Christ, apart from works, that God is justified to indwell the believer and bring him into the Royal family of God forever. Therefore, only through the imputation of Christ’s righteousness is God justified to enter into a personal relationship with a person without compromising His holiness which is an intrigal part of His divine essence or integrity (see Doctrine of Divine Essence).

Reconciliation: A Transition (Part 5 of 8)

RECONCILIATION means to restore to favor or fellowship. Biblically, reconciliation is all that God has done to remove the Barrier between God and man (Eph. 2:13-18).

The entire process of reconciliation occurs the instant a person believes in the person and work Jesus Christ. The process involves six acts of grace on God’s part and one act of volition on your part.

So far we have disused three of the six bricks that make up the wall that separates us from God.

There is, however, a distinction between the first three bricks and the second three that we need to discuss. You see, the first three bricks were obliterated at the cross. You had nothing to do with the process. Jesus did it all that day, that horrible, infamous, iniquitous day. That day our Lord, Jesus, hung on that ugly, disgusting, dirty cross condemned to pass into eternity with common criminals. One of whom He graciously took home with Him. It doesn’t matter what you do or think, the first three bricks are no longer an issue. That day, Jesus took care of business for the entire human race.

Let’s take moment to see where we have been.

First, remember, you were a slave. Jesus saw you there, in the slave market of sin. You were naked and in chains, in bondage to sin. And through His tears, He took pity on you and bought your freedom. But it cost Him His life. He laid it down for you. Do you know what value that act imputed to your soul? Christian, never take yourself lightly. You were bought with a price. In order to redeem you, God the Father did the unthinkable. He sacrificed His only Son. I’m sorry, but if it were my decision to choose between you and my son, Michael, I would let your hand slip from mine and say, “Goodbye.” I just don’t love you that much. Get it?

Second, you were dead, condemned, sitting on death row, awaiting execution. And then someone came to see you. The jailer announced Him, “Sir, you have visitor. His name is Jesus. He wants to talk with you.” He entered your cell and sat down next to you on your soiled cot. Then He said, “The cell door is open. You should go now.” Without even a “thank you” you bolt. But the next day you can’t stay away, so you go back to that dingy, filthy, awful place that held you captive for so many years. There was something going on there. They were going to pull the plug on someone today. Who? As you stood there, you saw a familiar face. Jesus! You scream, “No! He’s innocent! You have the wrong guy! It was me; not Him. Please, don’t hurt Him; it was me!” But nobody heard, and all you could do was watch. And so, it ended there. There was nothing you could do. And you know what? There still isn’t.

Thirdly, and maybe this will be the most difficult concept to grasp, you are a thief, a miscreant, a felon. Before you get your panties in a knot and hang up, just listen. I’m going to tell you a story. There was once a man. He was a good and honest man, well respected and held in high esteem by his fellow citizens. One day he bought a lamb. He brought it home and it climbed into his lap. As she gazed into his eyes, he thought, “What a beautiful creature this is, so innocent, so childlike.” And so, he nurtured her and loved her. She ate from his plate and slept at the foot of his bed. And every morning she would greet him and nuzzle her face into the palm of his hand. One day a traveler came to town and needed a place to stay. He had money to pay for his berth, so the town’s people referred him to our friend. That night the visitor  slipped out and proceeded to rob our friend’s neighbors. The next day the thief was caught and convicted of his crimes. Our friend, not wanting his good name to be soiled, inquired, “What can I do to cleanse this man of his guilt and clear my good name?” Well, he only had one thing of value and that was his lamb. So he offered her in exchange for the thief’s freedom. She was eventually slain and the thief went on his way. She was beautiful and perfect, and he was ugly and flawed. But she was an acceptable offering who paid the ultimate price in order to free a man who didn’t even say, “thank you.”

Well, there it is. The first three bricks have been removed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The next three are a different story. These will require personal responsibility on your part.

Responsibility, hmmm … not a popular word today.

It’s OK. I’m a retired Marine Infantry Officer and a school teacher/administrator of thirty-one years. I’ve held a lot of little hands and said, “Follow me!” to a lot of men, and they did. Stay with me here. I have you, but you have to do the work. It’s just a choice, but it will mean the difference between life and death for so many if you choose to accept the responsibility of the Great Commission.

The next three bricks in the wall can only be removed by you.

If you are not a Christian, I pray that you will make the right choice concerning the information I have provided you. Christians! Pay attention. You need to understand your salvation. These doctrines are fundamental to your faith and essential for the accomplishment of your mission.

That is all,

D. E. Coulter

 

The Wall: Propitiation (Part 4 of 8)

Propitiation

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by “The Wall,” an impassable barrier. The Wall constitutes MANKIND’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the third brick in The Wall and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross.

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The third brick in the wall is the character of God. You may be wondering why the character of God would constitute a problem for mankind?” God is love, right? Here is why: another aspect of God’s character is holiness, which means He is righteous (absolute goodness) and just (totally fair). Therefore, He, in no manner or way may compromises His integrity by having fellowship with any form of sin or even a sinful creature ( 1 John 1:5). So when the Bible speaks of God’s holiness, it is referring to the divine characteristics of righteousness and justice. These qualities are absolutes that cannot be compromised. Therefore, sin is an affront to God’s holiness. Please don’t get me wrong. God is not self-righteous or a prude. Those qualities are reserved for religious humans who prefer legalism over spirituality. Sin is simply incompatible with His divine nature. If you are human and proclaim to be without sin, the Bible says you are a liar (1 John 1:8).The Bible says, “Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and (spiritual) death through sin, and thus, οὕτως, literally, in this manner,(spiritual) death spread to all men, because, ἐφ’ ᾧ, literally, on the basis of which (spiritual death), all have sinned” (Romans 5:12). What this often mistranslated verse is saying is that we are not sinners because we sin. To the contrary, we sin because we came into this world spiritually dead, and for that reason, we commit sin (Romans 3:23). As a result, we are incapable of entering into the presence of God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 8:8 cf. Exodus 33:20). Divine righteousness demands that every sinner be judged for his sins. In view of God’s justice, there is no one who is worthy to escape condemnation. As a result, man has a problem.

THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION:

God’s solution to the problem of the character of God is propitiation. Propitiation refers to the fact that God was satisfied, even pleased with the absolute righteousness of Jesus Christ and was therefore justified in accepting His sinless life as the ransom price for our eternal souls.

In Romans 3:25, the Greek word, hilastarion, is translated “propitiation” in the King James Version (KJV) and “a sacrifice of atonement” in the New International Version (NIV). No matter how one translates it, the Greek word means that which appeases, makes atonement, or satisfies someone who has been offended. But in Hebrews 9:5, the same word is translated “mercy seat” (KJV) and “atonement cover” (NIV). Why two applications of the same Greek word?

Man! That is a lot of stuff to process. Therefore, please allow me to connect you with the ways of the ancients, specifically, the Romans, They were not like you and me. They did not grow up in a Western, Judaea -Christian society. What we are about to discuss is a matter of perspective.

 

The Pantheon

The Pantheon was originally a temple dedicated to all the gods of Ancient Rome. The way we see it today was generally how it was rebuilt by Emperor Hadrian in 125 AD.

The text in view here, in Romans, was written to believers living in a pagan culture. From a Gentile perspective, a propitiation, was a sacrifice to appease the gods. The purpose of the sacrifice would be to gain the favour of the gods or get them to overlook some sin or shortcoming. In the Bible, propitiation refers to the sacrificial death of Christ which satisfied the holiness of God on our behalf. Paul simply used the word to communicate a truth of the gospel in a way that believers from a pagan culture could relate to.

Now let’s look at the word, propitiation, from another perspective, specifically, the ancient Jewish perspective.

 

Herod’s Temple

Propitiation in the Old Testament: The Biblical concept of propitiation relates back to the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament.  The Hebrew word for propitiation is kapphoreth. From the Jewish perspective, it meant “mercy seat“. When the Old Testament was translated into Greek by the Hebrew scholars of the third century B. C., the Hebrew word, kapphoreth, was translated with the Greek word, hilastarion (Exodus 25:17).

 

 

The Day of Atonement: Prior to the Cross, God ordained specific rituals as expressions of worship and as training aids for communicating Biblical truths to people who were largely illiterate. Among these observances, certain animal sacrifices were used to teach God’s people about their Messiah, their Savior, and the plan of salvation. The Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16; 23:26-32) was the most solemn of all the rituals that involved animal sacrifices because it signified the sacrificial death of the Lamb of God.

Yom Kippur literally means “the day of covering” (Leviticus 23:27). This was the only day that anyone was ever permitted to enter the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle, or in the temple after it had been constructed. On this day only the high priest was able to enter, but only after he had brought an offering on behalf of his own sins (Leviticus 16:11-13).

Two sacrifices were required on this holy day: a young bull (Leviticus 16:6) and one of two goats (Leviticus 16:7-10, 15-16). The high priest sacrificed the bull on the brass altar as a sin offering for himself. The blood, representing Christ’s spiritual death on the cross, was collected in a basin and carried past the huge curtain into the Holy of Holies. There he sprinkled it on the “mercy seat.”

From the Hebrew perspective, the Greek word, hilastarion, as well as the Hebrew word, kapporeth, both meant “mercy seat.” They refer to the lid of the Ark of the Covenant. The Ark of the Covenant was a wooden box overlaid with gold. The acacia wood spoke of the humanity of Christ; and the gold, of His deity. Together these materials represented the uniqueness of the God-Man, Jesus Christ.

The ark contained three items: a pot of manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments were written. Each of these items depicted sin. The tables of the Law were a reminder of Israel’s violations of the Mosaic Law, and therefore showed transgression against God’s authority. Aaron’s rod exhibited rejection of God’s plan regarding the authority of the Levitical priesthood, and the pot of manna called to mind man’s rejection of divine provision.

The “mercy seat”, itself was the lid that fit over the top of the ark. On each end of the “mercy seat,” a golden figure of a cherub or angel knelt, looking down. One cherub represented the righteousness of God; the other, His justice. In between the two was the Shekinah Glory, a supernatural manifestation of God’s presence (you can Google it). Together they represented the holiness of God which was looking down into the arc at the sins of Israel in judgment. But once a year, on the Day of Atonement, a wonderful event took place. The blood of a bull was sprinkled on top of the “mercy seat”, so that when righteousness and justice looked down, they saw the representation of the blood of Christ covering the sins of the high priest. God’s holiness was satisfied on his, the high priest’s, behalf.

The high priest then went out and sacrificed one of the goats as an offering for the people. Bringing the goat’s blood in a bowl, he entered the Holy of Holies a second time, and again he sprinkled blood over the “mercy seat.” This time the spiritual death of Christ was dramatized as covering the sins of all the people.

Without the symbolic blood of animals, not even the High Priest of Israel could enter the Holy of Holies. Jesus Christ, having completed His work on the cross, breathed His last words, “It is finished,” and His soul and spirit departed His broken body.  (John 19:30). At that point, the great curtain that blocked entry to the Holy of Holies was miraculously, ripped from top to bottom by the mighty power of God (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). This event told the world that Christ had removed the third brick in The Wall between God and man.

Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He (Christ) entered the Most Holy Place once for all having obtained eternal redemption (for all mankind), ” (Hebrews 9:12).

Jesus Christ never entered the Holy of Holies in the Temple which was a mere shadow. But when He ascended, He entered the real Holy of Holies, the literal presence of God in heaven (Hebrews 9:24). In contrast to the Levitical high priest who had to enter the Holy of Holies twice, the Lord, Jesus Christ, our high priest, required no special offering on His own behalf. Instead, the perfect Lamb of God offered Himself as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of all mankind.

Therefore, “He (Christ) is the atoning sacrifice, hilasmos, lit. propitiation, for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2).

 

When God looks at the believer, He never looks beyond the blood of Jesus Christ that covers our sins. As a result, His holiness is eternally satisfied, and we are free to enter into His loving embrace.

The Wall: Expiation (Part 3 of 8)

EXPIATION

Expiation

To illustrate the doctrine of reconciliation, we see man and God hopelessly separated by “The Wall,” an impassable barrier. The barrier constitutes MANKIND’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the second brick in the wall and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross.

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The second brick is the penalty for sin. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). When Adam chose to disobey God in the Garden of Eden, he brought the penalty of spiritual death crashing down upon the entire human race (Romans 5:12). As a result we come into this world spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 5; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Colossians 2:13). By our very nature we are born enemies of God (Romans 5:10) and children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3). As a result, man has a problem.

Here is the part where I get to tell you a story.

God created Adam, and he was perfect (ladies, don’t even try to envision this man, he doesn’t exist anymore than does the Garden of Eden). Then God told him to go out into the world and give everything a name (Geneses 2). However, during the process, Adam noticed a discrepancy in Eden between God’s creation and himself. All the creatures he had been observing, naming and categorizing came in pairs. All but he, and he alone, had a mate. And so, he discovered a feeling he had never experienced before. He became lonely. It was not a very nice feeling. It hurt, way down deep inside, in a place that he had not ever even known existed. It was then, I believe, that the first tear fell and trickled down the face of humankind.

Since the only real friend Adam had ever known was his Father, God, he raised his eyes to heaven and wondered, “What would it be like, to touch the face of another of my kind? What would it be like to be with someone and share life? And so, he wandered, and he felt something that he had never felt before. He felt desire. What must that have been like? To want to love a woman, having never met one, and to want to be a father, having never experienced anything outside of what went on in the animal kingdom to which he was confined.

Then God looked down at His only man child, and He felt compassion. Yahweh was the first to speak, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him” (Genesis 2:18). And that’s how it happened; how the world of humanity came into existence. It all began in a garden.

In the beginning they were happy, Adam and his beautiful bride, Eve. At sunset, Yahweh would come to the garden and they would walk together. Then they would sit and talk, in the cool of the day. They stood together, shoulder to shoulder and marveled at the sunset, as the world around them closed their heavy eyelids and drifted off peacefully to a place that has long been forbidden to us.

But there was evil crouching in that pristine forest behind them. It was lurking behind the bushes, waiting for just the right moment, patient until the time was right. And, in stride with all else, alliances were being formed. And strategies, woven by a serpent, slithering along the damp forest floor. Evil plans were being formulated by a wicked monster. A creature, a dark thing, bent on destruction of all that God had created, blessed, and brought into existence.

And all the while, this force, this thing, this creature with only one obsession, laughing, snickering really, an evil sound unbridled by conscience, or anything holy was merely masterminding his own destruction. But that is a story I shall reserve for another day.

THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION:

“What was their crime?”

This is a picture of real people being escorted to their unjust execution. Why would I show you this? Because I want you to think about something. Life and death is not about justice. It’s a choice. If you want to understand the purpose of life, than you need to understand the creator and sustainer of life. He is not without a plan. Everything He has ever done has a purpose, and it includes you. Please listen carefully to what I am about to say.

**Picture temporarily omitted

I reiterate, “What was their crime?”

“Being born.”

“And for that they must die?”

“Yes.”

“Doesn’t seem fair.”

“It’s not. So God stepped in”

God’s solution to the problem of the penalty for sin is expiation. The word expiation means to pay the penalty for a crime committed and thereby atone for a wrong that was done. When Adam and Eve were placed in The Garden they were given a command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17a). The penalty for disobedience was instant death (Genesis 2:17b). Since Adam continued to live to be over nine hundred years old (Genesis 5:5), the death that he died on the day that he ate the fruit must have been a category of death other than physical. The day Adam and Eve ate the fruit they died spiritually.

What is spiritual death? Spiritual death is separation from God. It occurs when one falls short of God’s glory or divine integrity. If God were to disregard any aspect of His divine essence in order to enter into fellowship with a fallen creature, He would, in the process, compromise His divine integrity and, as a result of that compromise, cease to be God. Since God is immutable (unchanging) and incapable of compromising any of His divine attributes, He must turn away and separate Himself from anything that is less than perfect. When Adam fell into temptation, he willfully disobeyed God. In doing so, he changed his nature from God centered to self centered. By an independent act of his own will Adam became, by nature, a child of wrath and separated from God. At this point the Adamic or sinful nature came into existence (Rom. 6:6; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) and the nature of man was corrupted (Jeremiah 17:9; Eccl. 9:3) throughout all generations to come (Romans 5:12, 19; 1 Corinthians 15:22).

Repercussions of spiritual death: Since man is spiritually dead there is nothing that he can do to appease God in order to escape judgment (Romans 8:8). As we noted earlier to expiate means to make amends for committing a crime. A criminal makes amends by serving a prescribed sentence. After taking his punishment, the accused has paid his debt to society, and legally, the guilt is erased. But mankind can never repay its debt to God. Spiritually, the natural man is totally bankrupt. He owes God perfect righteousness, but is without the means to come up with it. There is none righteous, no, not one”(Romans 3:10).

Without the work of Christ on the cross, mankind would be doomed to eternal judgment; yet, God never leaves man in a hopeless situation. The substitutionairy death of Christ cancelled the staggering debt of the penalty of sin against us (Colossians 2:14). Only God’s grace can supply complete and perfect payment.

Since it is impossible for us to approach Him, God chose to come to us.

What did it cost? Acting as our substitute, Jesus Christ took upon himself the punishment for our sins. “The LORD has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). God the Father judged those sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). The penalty for our sins is spiritual death (Genesis 2:17).

At one point while our sins were being poured out on Jesus Christ and judged, He screamed, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34 cf. Psalms 22:1). What made Him scream? Our Lord screamed because “He (God the Father) made the one having never known sin (Christ) to be sin on our behalf, in order that we might become righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The payment for our sins was the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the cross. Jesus Christ, in His humanity, suffered spiritual death on the cross so that we could have spiritual life. Because God can have no fellowship with darkness (1 John 1:5), God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had to turn their backs on the humanity of Jesus Christ while He was being made sin for us (1 Timothy 6:16).

Jesus Christ, as the only perfect man, was qualified to pay this debt. Our Lord was the “lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Only the perfect humanity of Christ, “a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1: 19), could accomplish salvation.

When Jesus at last said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30), His atoning work was finished and the problem of the penalty of sin was removed.

How valuable are we! David declared the creation of the universe the mere finger work of God (Psalms 8:3). Yet Isaiah says that God made bare His holy arm in the accomplishment of our salvation (Isaiah 52:10). If God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16), then how valuable are we and how precious must we be in His sight!

The Wall: Redemption (Part 2 of 8)

REDEMPTION

By Dennis Coulter

For the sake of illustration, consider the “The Wall” between God and fallen mankind as a barrier composed of six bricks. The barrier constitutes MANKIND’S PROBLEM. In this section of our study we will examine the first brick of the Barrier and learn how GOD’S SOLUTION removed it at the cross.

THE BARRIER, MAN’S PROBLEM:

The first brick of the Barrier is sin. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one … For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23). Sin is anything that falls short of the holiness of God or violates His expressed will. Since God can have no fellowship with sin (1 John 1:5-6) mankind has a problem.

THE CROSS, GOD’S SOLUTION:

God’s solution to the problem of sin is redemption. Redemption? Sounds like something out of a Shakespearean play or even worse. I will admit, it’s a pretty old fashioned word from an old translation of the Bible. But it’s a good word, a nice word really. It means freedom. But a special kind of freedom. The only kind that a lord could give.

Walk back with me, if you will please; back to a time in American history that not many of us would really care to retrace. But there was a shameful period in our nation’s past when we had the raw audacity to market flesh and blood. We sold people, like cattle, in the open market place, in front of our children. We broke up families and auctioned them, piecemeal as a section of property or unwanted furniture. We did that, and the title of a slave owner was “lord.” It has always been so. Lord! A title of absolute authority. But with absolute authority also comes the power to do good.

Imagine yourself as a slave tied to a whipping post. Your only crime was that you tried to escape. But you were caught and  dragged back to the slave market to be sold, but only, after your punishment had been administered. Suddenly, a cry is heard from the crowd. “Stop! Let him go! I wish to purchase him!” The man with the whip hesitates, he seems confused. This man, the man in the the crowd, is a “lord”, a man of means, well dressed. And people step aside as he moves through the throng of unwashed humanity.

Just then, the slave master comes forward and issues a command, “Stop! Right there! This slave belongs to me, and he owes me forty lashes for his crimes.” The lord responds, “I wish to redeem him. What is your price?” As the slave master, looks the young lord over, a malignant gleam emanates from the pupil of his eye. The words that follow are firm and precise, “Forty lashes, plus the price of a slave.”

Upon hearing these words, the young lord bows, takes off is shirt and walks to the whipping post to which the slave is bound. Then, turning to the slave master, he says, quite deliberately, “I understand the terms of of your offer. Let him go. I will pay his debt in full and pay the purchases price.”

And so he did. After the following events transpired, the slave approached his new master and knelt, placing his forehead upon the ground before him. But before he could utter a word, new his lord spoke these words: “I purchased you in order to set you free. You are redeemed. Please accept my gift and go in peace my friend.”

The thing in view here, from God’s perspective, is grace. It’s from the Greek word, χάριs, which means “gift.”

Redemption is a gift. But it is a very special kind of gift that can only be granted by someone with absolute authority, a “lord,” if you will.  You see, redemption is the process through which, one who has the authority and the means, uses his assets to purchase a slave, but not for the the purpose of indentured service. No! He, does it for the sole purpose, of  setting him free.

Because “there is none righteous” we have all come into this life as slaves. As the children of Adam, we were all born sinners, and upon our arrival to this fallen world, we were cast into the slave market of sin called Planet Earth. And there we will remain until the day we accept our redemption. As slaves we will serve our master, sin, as slaves forever, unless we accept God’s solution. That solution is redemption.

Now that you know what redemption is, let’s take a look at it from a Biblical perspective. In the Bible, redemption means to purchase a sinner from bondage to sin and set him free to serve God in the joy of the Lord. The price paid to redeem sinners from the slave market of sin was the death of Jesus Christ on the cross (1 Peter 1:18-19).

What is bondage to sin? With regard to sin, we all came into this world with three strikes against us:

Strike one!  First, we inherited Adam’s sin. “For just as through the disobedience of one man (Adam) the many were made sinners” (Romans  5:19a ).  As progeny, or offspring, of Adam, we were born physically alive but spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 5). As a result, we came into this world spiritually blind and separated from the life of God (Ephesians 4:17-18).

 

Strike two! Second, we were born with a sinful nature (Romans 6:6; Ephesians. 4: 22; Colossians 3:9). The sinful nature is totally depraved (Ecclesiastics 9:3; Jeremiah 17:9). The seat of man’s selfish, egocentric nature, anything it motivates either the carnal believer or the unbeliever to do is unacceptable to God (Romans 8:8).

 

Strike three! Eventually, we all commit personal sins. Let’s be honest. At one time or another we all fall short and miss the mark; that is to say, we all sin. But,  just so you know; you are not a sinner because you sin. You sin because you were born a sinner. It’s not even your fault, but you do have to deal with it.

You’re out! As far as God’s is righteousness is concerned we all came into this life a loser. We aren’t even qualified to try out for the team.  Perfect righteousness can have nothing to do with any of us. Paul quotes David “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10 cf. Psalms 14:1-3). However, thanks be to God that His love motivated Him to act in our behalf. “For God so, in this way, loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

 How did God love us?  Let us count the ways:

1. Strike one was cancelled at the cross. “So also through the obedience of one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19b).

2. Strike two was cancelled at the cross. In contrast to Adam, by means of the virgin birth, Jesus Christ came into this world without the imputed sin of Adam and without a sinful nature. Though Jesus did have a human mother His father was God the Holy Spirit. In this way Jesus was born fully human, but without the Adamic nature. In addition, Christ lived a life free from personal sin. Because Jesus was free from all three categories of sin, He was qualified to go to the cross and redeem sinful man.

 

As a result, the believer, being freed from bondage to sin, is justified to be filled with the Holy Spirit and produce fruit acceptable to God “…against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

3. Strike three was cancelled at the cross. The personal sins of the entire world were poured out on Christ and judged (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because his personal sins have been paid for by Christ, the believer need only confess his sins and turn back to God in order for fellowship to be restored (1 John 1:9; Psalms 51:1-3).

Who has been redeemed? When Jesus Christ died on the cross He paid for the sins of the entire human race, past , present, and future    (2 Corinthians 5:14; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Hebrews 2:9; 2 Peter 2:1; 3:9; 1 John 2:3). Because Christ has redeemed the entire human race from bondage to sin, all anyone must do to depart the slave market of sin is walk through the door.

Where is the door? Jesus is the door to eternal life “I am the door, ἐάν τις, literally, the Greek says, if any man enter in (third class conditional clause: maybe he will, maybe he won’t) he shall be saved” (John 10:9). Once a person chooses to walk through the door by faith in Christ, he enters into eternal life with God forever (John 10:27-28).

The bottom line: The Wall, the sin barrier, between God and man has been demolished by Jesus Christ at the cross. The price of our redemption has been paid in full. We are free to walk through the door, from darkness to light. If a person chooses to remain in the slave market of sin, he does so by his own choice. The issue is no longer sin, but faith in Christ (John 3:16-21).

 

 

 

The Wall (Part 1 of 8)

The Life saving station

by Theordore Wedel

On a dangerous sea coast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a crude little life-saving station. The building was just a hut, and there was only one boat, but the few devoted members kept a constant vigil over the sea, and, with no thought for themselves went out day and night tirelessly searching for the lost. Some of those who were saved, and various others in the surrounding area, wanted to become associated with the station and give of their time and money and effort for the support of its work. New boats were bought and new crews trained. The little life-saving station grew.

Some members of the life-saving station were unhappy that the building was so crude and poorly equipped. They felt that a more comfortable place should be provided as the first refuge of those saved from the sea. Eventually, they replaced the emergency cots with beds and put better furniture in the enlarged building. In time, the life-saving station became a popular gathering place for its members. So, they decorated it beautifully and furnished it exquisitely and, through their efforts, it became sort of club.

As time continued to pass, fewer members were now interested in going to sea on life-saving missions, so they elected an administrative board, to hire life-boat crews to do this work. The life-saving motif still prevailed in the club’s decoration, and there was a liturgical life-boat in the room where the club initiations were held. Then a terrible tragedy occurred. A large ship was wrecked just off the coast. The hired life-boat crews rowed out to sea and diligently searched for the lost. In earnest, they brought in boat loads of cold, wet, and half-drowned people. They were dirty and sick and some of them had black skin and some had yellow skin. The beautiful new club was in chaos. So the property committee immediately had a shower built outside the club where victims of shipwreck could be cleaned up before coming inside.

At the next meeting, there was a split in the club membership. Most of the members wanted to stop the club’s life-saving activities as being unpleasant and a hindrance to the normal social life of the club. Some members insisted upon life-saving as their primary purpose and pointed out that they were still called a life-saving station. But they were finally voted down and told that if they wanted to save lives of all the various kinds of people who were shipwrecked on those waters, they could begin their own life-saving station down the coast. And so, they did.

As the years went by, the new station experienced the same changes that had occurred in the old. It evolved into a club, and yet, another life-saving station was founded. History continued to repeat itself, and if you visit that sea coast today, you will find a number of exclusive clubs along that shore. Shipwrecks are frequent in those waters, but most of the people drown.

 

RECONCILIATION

by Dennis Coulter

Objective: In this series of discussions, we are going to take a close look at all that God has done to reconcile fallen man to himself through the person and work of Jesus Christ. Our goal is to better equip the members of our church family to more effectively fulfill our personal roles in the accomplishment of the great commission. If you’re not sure what that is, just hang in there. This is only part one of eight. The sea of humanity is froth with souls, drowning in sin. And we, the church, have been given a mission, given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).

And guess what Christians; this is it! We are the life-boat crews. Not the missionaries, not the evangelists, not the pastors. They have their specific missions. And, as far as I can tell, most of them are pulling their weight. They are professionals, it’s their job. And you darn well better be throwing nickels into the coffer to cover their expenses. But I’m not talking to them; I’m talking to you! What are you doing? Are you out there; rowing through the dark water looking for drowning souls, or sitting in a soft cushy chair in the lodge sipping lemonade? I’m drawing a line in the sand here. Step across or get out of the fight.

 

Well, if you’re still with me, let’s get started. First thing you’re going to need is a weapon (our enemy, Satan, is armed and dangerous). We Christians use a sword. The Roman, Biblical, term is, μάχαιρα, machaira. It was only eighteen inches long, but in the hands of trained professionals, it was the weapon that conquered the world. Our sword is, ὁ λόγος τοῦ θεοῦ, the Word of God.

Pick it up. Open it, and follow along. I’m an old vet. I’ve been training warriors for over thirty years. It’s really not that hard. Just pay attention. And have fun!

Definition: Reconciliation is the restoration of friendship and fellowship after estrangement. Biblically, it refers to all that God has done to remove the BARRIER between fallen man and Himself. The doctrine of Reconciliation explains the process through which God has enabled the lost to pass from darkness into light. Therefore, it was labelled, το εὐαγγελίοv, “The Gospel” by our Lord which literally means Good News (Mark 1:1; 15).

What is our responsibility? It is the responsibility of every believer to carry out the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) through personal evangelism (Ephesians 6: 14-15; 1 Peter 3:15). In order to do this effectively, every believer must be willing and able to declare the Good News lucidly and with confidence. Discuss the feelings generated by this responsibility with a friend and then get back to me. I would be interested to know the the outcome. I really would.

The good news about The Good News: God has not commissioned us to represent Him and fulfill His purpose in our own power (1 Thessalonians 1:5). No matter what the circumstances in which we may find ourselves, we are never on our own in personal evangelism (Acts 1:8). Rather, God the Father, in accordance with His plan, has commissioned God the Holy Spirit to support every believer who desires to proclaim the Gospel with a three fold ministry. This ministry is called Common Grace: “And when He (Holy Spirit) comes He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement” (John 16:8-11).

1. “He will convict the world of sin.”  The Greek word for convict, ἐλέγξει, elegxei, means to convict or convince on the basis of evidence.

The Greek word for sin, ἁμαρτία, hamartia, means to miss the mark or fall short of a given standard. Man’s personal righteousness is not sufficient to qualify him to enter into fellowship with Holy God (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 8:8). It is the personal ministry of God The Holy Spirit to convict each person who hears the gospel of his inability to stand before God on the basis of his own personal righteousness.

“because they believe not in me.” God’s standard of righteousness is the righteousness that comes exclusively by faith in Christ (Romans 3:28). Therefore, the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin because they do not possess the righteousness of God by faith in Christ (John 16:9 cf. Romans 3:22).

2. “Of righteousness.” The Greek word for righteousness ,δικαιοσύνη , dikaiosunahe, means absolute conformity to God’s standard, purpose, and will. God the Holy Spirit convicts the world of the fact that they crucified an innocent man. Jesus Christ was exactly who He said He was. The Son of God, and  God the Son incarnate.

“because I go to My Father.” God the Father would not have resurrected an impostor. When God glorified Christ through resurrection and ascension, He publicly gave His seal of approval to the personal testimony of Jesus Christ.

3. “Of judgement.”  God, who is righteous and just, will execute judgement upon all ungodliness and unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

because the prince of this world is judged.” Satan, the declared enemy of God, the author of sin, and “the prince of this world” was defeated at the cross. As a result, it is only a matter of time until God executes judgement upon all His enemies. If He has conquered His greatest foe, Satan, then He will certainly subdue all others in due time. Through the clear communication of the gospel and the convincing ministry of the Holy Spirit this is deeply felt by the convicted sinner. While I’m on the subject of Satan. Let’s say there was an election a few years back; an election to elect the ruler of the world and you voted for Satan. How’s that worken’ out for ya’ ? How’s that world peace thing coming along? ”

Would you like to see a vision of world peace that you can take to the bank?

“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21).

The better news about the Good News: “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:17).  Fearing that God will justly condemn him, the convicted unbeliever trembles at the apprehension of approaching condemnation. From this state of alarm there is no refuge but to run to Him who defeated the great enemy of man, and who is able to deliver him from the vengeance due to his sins.

The best news about the Good News: For those who seek refuge in Jesus Christ there is no condemnation (John 3:18). They have passed from darkness into light (John 3:21; 8:12). The barrier between God and man has been permanently removed (Ephesians 2:14-18 cf. Romans 8:38-39).

Clarifying the issue: The issue for the unbeliever is faith in Christ. The ministry of God the Holy Spirit in Reconciliation is to convince the world of their need for Christ on the basis of “sin, righteousness, and Judgement.”

The issue for the believer, then, is to make an issue of the issue and to make the issue clear in light of (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Conclusion:

Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship with God the Father through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The church is not a social club; it is a family of believers who are born again through faith in Christ and the regenerative power of God the Holy Spirit.

Our mission is not to beautify the beach; it is to go out into the sea of humanity and save the lost from drowning.