Send It to the Cross of Christ!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:14 KJV).

Are you bothered by past failures and sins? Plagued by shame and guilt? Sin destroys. It rips apart friendships and marriages and it causes heartache and bloodshed. Furthermore, it robs us of peace and joy. Oftentimes, those we love most are the people we hurt the most. Those who love us the most usually hurt us the most. How do we deal with these sins? Send them to the cross of Christ!

Our Apostle Paul was once a wicked, hell-bound sinner. Saul of Tarsus tortured, imprisoned, and even killed Christ’s followers (Acts 22:19,20; Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:13). Until his dying day, Paul never forgot his past. He had caused believers to suffer tremendously. How did he survive that guilt and shame during his 30-plus years of ministry? He sent it all to the cross of Christ!

In 1 Timothy 1:13, Paul discusses his persecuting those saints. Today’s Scripture says, “the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” No matter what Paul had done in the past, the Lord forgave him according to His exceeding abundant grace, faith, and love.

Verse 15 says: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Christ came to save sinners. Paul recognized that he was a wretched sinner, but a sinner was the only person the Lord Jesus Christ could save!

Today, by faith, we follow Paul, the first sinner to become a member of the Body of Christ. We too have been saved and forgiven according to God’s exceeding abundant grace, faith, and love. If someone wrongs us, or we wrong someone, send it to the cross of Christ, where God dealt with all sin, for all men, for all time. Christ died to “put away [our] sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Hebrews 9:26).

Beloved, send it to the cross of Christ where it belongs!

Forgiven Now and Forever

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

“And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;” (Colossians 2:13 KJV).

Religion’s “short account system” of confessing sins is a misunderstanding of 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” This verse has nothing to do with us for three reasons.

Primarily, we do not practice 1 John 1:9 because John is Israel’s apostle (Galatians 2:9). Paul is our apostle, not John (Romans 11:13). The doctrine found in 1 John belongs in Israel’s prophetic program, not our mystery program (the Dispensation of Grace). Confession of sins was Israel’s doctrine under the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 16:21; Leviticus 26:40; Numbers 5:6,7; Ezra 10:1; Daniel 9:20; et al.). Furthermore, in Matthew 3:6 and Mark 1:5 John the Baptist water baptized Jews who confessed their sins.

Secondly, 1 John 1:9 is not written to saved people, it is directed to lost Jews. We read in 1 John 2:12, “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.” Apparently, there are two groups of people in 1 John: some saved (forgiven), and some lost (not forgiven). In 1 John 1:9 John urges lost Jews to confess their sins in order to be saved.

Lastly, our salvation and fellowship with God are independent of our performance. We are forgiven, apart from anything we have done. In today’s Scripture, our Apostle Paul tells us that we are “forgiven of all trespasses [in Christ].” Ephesians 4:32 says, “God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” We are forgiven (past tense), not because we confess our sins, but because of Christ’s finished cross work on Calvary. In Christ, we have unbroken fellowship with God forever and ever. How many times can we be forgiven of all unrighteousness?” Only once. In Christ, now and forever, we are forgiven of all sins—past, present, and future!

 

We Have Now Received the Atonement

Friday, June 17, 2011

“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Romans 5:11 KJV).

This is the only time the word “atonement” appears in the King James’ New Testament. The Greek word translated “atonement” here is usually translated “reconciliation, reconciling, reconciled” elsewhere (Romans 5:10; 1 Corinthians 7:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20).

In the Old Testament, once a year, on the Day of Atonement, Israel’s high priest would sprinkle animals’ blood on the mercy seat, the lid of the Ark of the Covenant, to first cover his sins and then the sins of the nation Israel (Exodus 30:10; Leviticus 16:3-34; Hebrews 9:7). But “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4). For that reason, “in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year” (Hebrews 10:3).

The book of Hebrews describes how Jesus Christ shedding His own (sinless) blood has done away with the animal sacrifices. “And every priest standeth daily ministering and oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man [Christ Jesus], after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;” (Hebrews 10:11,12).

That word “atonement”—wrongly translated “reconciliation” in modern Bibles—is needed in Romans 5:11 because it links us with the Old Testament practice of the Day of Atonement. Animals’ blood could never take away sins, the Bible says, but that blood did serve as a temporary forgiveness. When the blood of Jesus Christ was shed, the shedding of animals’ blood became null. What God accomplished for Israel at the cross of Calvary, He also accomplished for us (the Church the Body of Christ).

Notice “we have NOW received the atonement” (Romans 5:11). As Christians we have our sins blotted out today (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 2:13). Israel will not receive her national forgiveness until the Second Coming of Christ (Acts 3:19,20; Romans 11:26,27).

Rejoice, saints, “we have NOW received the atonement!” Praise ye the Lord!