Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 8, 2017

Everything has Changed

What Happened?

On August 7th we considered the contrast between the Lord’s statement in Matthew 6:14-15 where it is written:

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

And Romans 8:1-4 where it is written:

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”

We determined that everything had changed by the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ; in the first statement our forgiveness was conditional (law), in the second statement our forgiveness is absolute (grace). I would like to examine in more detail just what happened.

There was a Change on April 3, AD 33 Which Affects Everyone!

Easter Sunday is the day Christians observe the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. The preceding week had seen the Lord’s entry into Jerusalem, His death and burial as the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.

At His crucifixion an amazing thing happened at Herod’s Temple, the heavy curtain separating the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place had been torn from top to bottom which was clearly a miracle from God. This symbolized the separation between God and man caused by Adam’s disobedience had been removed by Christ’s death on the cross; sin was no longer a barrier between God and man.

If Sin is no longer a Barrier then why is it still such an Issue?

Do you think it would be safe to say the entire world has a problem with sin? I suspect that each of us could start with ourselves and see a deep problem with sins of all shapes forms and sizes almost everywhere we looked.

My wife refers to the local news as the “local police report” as it seems to feature all of the crime and carnage of the day. The old saying, “if it bleeds it leads” seems to characterize the priorities of the media and with improved communications it can even bleed in Europe or elsewhere and lead in the USA.

All of us would agree, at least to some extent, that sin is harmful; the problem is the popular definitions of what is sin vary all over the place. If you look up a dictionary definition of sin there would likely be some reference to God or theology. Sin, as defined by the individual, is seen as a problem within that person’s perception of reality and can be very subjective.

Transgressions against society are more likely to be labeled as “against the law” or illegal rather than sin or sinful. They are more easily identified because some law had been written by legislators in a specific cultural environment declaring certain acts to be a violation of the law in that environment. It is illegal to drive 75 in a 20 mph school zone during school hours; while that would be a clear violation of the law it would probably not be labeled a sin.

Now Back to the Change

Our Lord was explaining an important point about the ministry of God, the Holy Spirit, to His disciples when He told them in John 16:5-8,

“5 “But now I am going away to the one who sent me, and not one of you is asking where I am going. 6 Instead, you grieve because of what I’ve told you. 7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.”

The Advocate, a reference to God the Holy Spirit, would minister to Jesus’ followers in a new and significantly different way after Pentecost; He would be in the disciples and not just with them as the Lord explains in John 14:17.

“17 He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.”

The later is a reference to Pentecost, May 25, AD 33, when the Holy Spirit indwelt Christians for the first time. The Holy Spirit would also have a general ministry to the world concerning sin, righteousness, judgment and the restraint of sin.

In verse 9 our Lord identifies the world’s sin and tells His disciples; “9 The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” John 16:9

Just think about that for a moment, the Creator of the universe is telling us that the world’s sin is rejection of Jesus Christ. Is there any shortage of evil acts being perpetrated against many; are there no more murders, rapes, or pillaging to be found in the world? I think we all know the answer to that question, there is no shortage whatsoever of evil, hurtful acts taking place all over the world and if anything they seem to be on the increase.

Why then would the Lord tell us the world’s sin is rejection of Christ, is there an answer?

Paid in Full!

In John 19:28-30 it is written:

“28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”

At that point the penalty for all sins past present and future was paid in full, the debt was paid, and the redemption was complete. The work the Lord had come to do at the First Advent was completed and He was finished, our Kinsman/Redeemer had begun the restoration that would be completed at the Second Advent.

Sin, in all of its forms, was no longer the barrier between God and man; the only remaining issue was reception of Christ as Savior. That is why Christ could say the sin of the world was failure to receive Him as Savior.

Just Like Adam

When Adam was in the Garden of Eden there was only one sin he could commit and that was failure to obey the one commandment he had been given regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Today the world shares a similar situation, there is only one sin that was not fully paid for at the cross, only one sin that remains as a barrier between God and man and that is rejection of Christ as Savior. That is why Jesus could say, “The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.”

Does that mean all the atrocities we hear of today are all forgiven? Yes, that’s exactly what that means; there is no sin or misdeed that you have ever heard about from any news source that has not been forgiven by the shed blood of Christ. None of those are an exception to the rule, none of them will be charged against the perpetrator, Christ died for them too!

So Now What?

Since forgiveness of mankind’s sin is total and complete with only one exception, and the Bible assures us it is, then what should be emphasized in the church’s message to the world? May I suggest, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20


Responses

  1. David, If Jesus is unknown to people, is that still a sin? I think so but one in which God will decide. Also, people today do not understand how to determine right or wrong by inference from experience and teachings. We are not taught ethics. We do not openly debate ethical issues. We do study the Bible but not Judeo-Christian Ethics. This is a tremendous societal loss and is responsible for much of our slide. Having taught an ethics class, I learned that; managers and executives would not attend. Interesting! That “situational ethics” was believed but could not be explained by those supporting it. The argument goes “I know right from wrong”. They did not. They knew rules and laws but had no rudder in uncharted waters. Enjoy your posts. Thank you

    John

    >

    Liked by 1 person

    • John,

      The Bible makes no exception for ignorance and goes on to explain that even creation shows the power and presence of God. In Romans 1:18-20 it is written: “18 But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

      Then again in John 16:7-11 we find: “7 But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. 9 The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.”

      This is a universal ministry of God, the Holy Spirit, so again there is no excuse for ignorance. Where mankind seeks the Lord they will surely find him. The Rapture of the church will be a great sign to the world followed by another universal proclamation of the gospel for the seven years of the Tribulation; ignorance is no excuse.

      I associate ethics with behavior and the Bible makes it clear that behavior is not the issue; the only remaining issue is the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Belief on the Lord as Savior results in salvation; there is no other way to be saved.

      Thank you for your comment and your subscription.

      Your brother in Christ,

      David

      Like

  2. Wow! Talk about grace.
    Thank you Lord

    Liked by 1 person

  3. David:

    Glad to hear that you escaped the flood.

    Thought you like to know that the class we started at Second years ago began its second two year class last evening at Stonebriar Community Church. We had 28 in the class.

    Blessings, Don

    Like

    • Don,

      Thank you Don; we have never flooded I’m happy to say. That’s good news on the class, that information will help a lot of people if they give it a chance.

      David

      Like


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