Truth for Today 6.13.2012

Think about what the prophet said in Michah 7:19:

You will cast all of our sins into the depths of the sea. (ESV)

Through the new birth God forgives our sin and He removes the penalty of sin from us and He removes us from the power of sin (see John 3:3-21, Romans 6:14). He declares righteousness where no righteousness has been. This happens because Christ’s righteousness is added to our account when we trust Him by faith (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It is through Christ and His atoning sacrifice that we can experience this forgiveness and have the assurance that our sins have been placed in the “depths of the sea” and have been placed behind God’s back (Isaiah 38:17).

Have YOU trusted Christ to forgive YOU of YOUR sins? He is able to remove the guilt of YOUR past, He will enable YOU to live in victory in the present and give YOU an amazing future. Trust Him today!

Truth for Today: Paid in Full

When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He died the most humiliating and excruciating death anyone could imagine. He was beaten and spit upon. His beard was ripped from His face, and long, sharp thorns were placed upon His head and then hit with a reed driving the thorns to pierce the skin to the skull. He was then beaten with a leather whip that had nine leather straps on each end embedded with chunks of metal, bone or broken pottery so that when they were whipped, it would cut and rip the flesh.

After this cruel treatment he carried a large wooden cross up Calvary’s hill. On this hill, He was laid on the cross, nailed to the cross through His hands and feet, and then hung up to die.

While He was on the cross, He made several statements. One of those statements was, “…It is finished…” (John 19:30). This statement means “paid in full.” The complete and final payment for every sin you have ever committed or would ever commit is now paid. Jesus was YOUR substitute. He came to save humanity from the power and the penalty that the condemnation of sin brings.

After His death He was buried and then three days later he walked out of the grave. He was seen over a period of forty days by hundreds of people. There was infallible proof (Acts 1:3) to prove Christ’s resurrection. This resurrection made the new birth possible. His death, burial and resurrection provides a new spiritual identity for those who trust Him as Lord and Savior by faith. He makes you into a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

A synonym for the “paid in full” concept would be the word “propitiation.” This word simply means “the full payment for.” Notice how it is used in Scripture:

He (speaking of Jesus Christ) is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

Herein is love, not that we love God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

Jesus did not pay for part of your sin and leave the rest for you to pay for. He paid for ALL of it! The payment for YOUR sin has been made!

Recently as I was traveling with a neighbor he shared with me how he was almost killed a few years ago. I asked him where he would be if he did not make it. He said he really didn’t know, but he also said that because he had been a pretty good person and because he had a rough life that he thought he would be rewarded in Heaven.  Then I asked, “So why did Jesus have to die then? If we can get to Heaven by being a pretty good person why would He have to die?”

You see God doesn’t need our help in order to pay for our sin and reconcile us to Himself. We just need to admit we are “helpless” and totally depend upon Christ and what He has already DONE! Will you turn to Him today?

Truth for Today-“God Provided a Substitute!”

As I mentioned in the last blog (http://flagshipchurch.org/2012/04/24/truth-for-today-substitute-needed/) not just anyone can pay for the sins of another. Everyone is obligated to pay the same debt because everyone is a sinner. To have our sin debt paid, sin destroyed, and to be renewed from the inside out and be made righteous in the sight of God, we need a complete spiritual transformation that only Jesus Christ can provide!

In John 3 Jesus referred to this spiritual transformation as being “born again.” He was speaking to a man who had been DOING things all of his life to try to bring himself to God. However, Jesus makes it clear to this man that what he needs is a new birth. Listen to the words of Christ as He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3 ESV).

The problem with DOING is that:

  • It does not take away the things we have previously done. In other words good works never take away or cover past sin.
  • It does not change our spiritual identity. Scripture makes it clear that we must become righteous. This righteousness can never be earned. God provides His righteousness through a “transfer” that happens when one trusts Christ and what He has DONE.
  • It does not please God. Hebrews 11 reminds us that without “faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please [God]” (emphasis mine). As a matter of fact DOING to be right with God is like saying that what God has DONE is not good enough or acceptable to us.

Jesus goes on to tell this very religious man that “…Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5b KJV). Every individual experiences the “water birth” (natural birth), but every individual needs to experience the “spiritual birth.” I had the privilege to see each of my children come into this world through the natural birth process. However, the spiritual birth is not something that can be seen with the physical eyes; it is an inward transformation that takes place within one’s heart. Evidence of this birth will be seen as the individual grows in their love for and knowledge of Christ. Just like one cannot see the wind but can see the evidence of the wind, evidence for true Christianity will be demonstrated as one grows in their walk with God.

There is only one Substitute that can provide all of this for us. We find out who this substitute is in various places throughout Scripture, but notice what Romans 5:6 and 8 says-“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (ESV, emphasis mine). Hebrews reminds us that Christ “tasted death for every man.” Jesus also made it clear that only one Substitute will bring us to God. Notice His words in John 14:6b-“I am the way, the truth, and the life: NO MAN cometh unto the Father, but by ME” (KJV, emphasis mine). Jesus made it as clear as anyone can possibly make it. He leaves no room for misinterpretation! We do not come to God through baptism, church membership, a priest, a religion, or any other way. We come to God through Jesus Christ and what He has DONE!

Not only did Christ die for our sins, but three days later he physically and literally walked out of the grave! No other religious leader can make that claim and back it up. He was seen of over five-hundred eye witnesses after His resurrection. His disciples had returned to their old line of work and were discouraged. After they saw the risen Christ, they once again walked away from their careers, and every one of them followed Christ until they day they gave their life for His cause. If they knew the resurrection was just a hoax, why would they be willing to die horrible deaths for a message they knew to be a lie? Would you die for a lie?

I will conclude with these words from Cary Schmidt as he writes about the resurrected Christ, “He came to Earth for one reason—it was the only way to rescue us from the ruthless enemy of sin. This enemy had so invaded our world that it was holding us hostage to condemnation. God loves us so much that He literally came to Earth to rescue us” (DONE: What Most Religions Don’t Tell You About the Bible, p. 61).

Truth for Today-“Substitute Needed”

In our last blog (http://flagshipchurch.org/2012/04/21/truth-for-today-are-you-good-enough/) we established, through Scriptural evidence, that none of us are good enough to reach God on our own. Today we want to look at the idea of the Substitute that God provided in order for us to be able to have the personal relationship with God that we need.

Unfortunately, many sincere people continue to try to be “good enough” to reach God their “own way.” This is nothing new. We see in the very first book of the Bible (Genesis) a man by the name of Cain trying to appease God his “own way.” Cain brought God an offering in his own way, and God rejected the sacrifice.

Jesus Himself warns us in Matthew 7 that there will be MANY who will very sincerely try to get to God their own way, and God will one day say to them, “I never knew you…Depart from me…” They never came to God, Gods’ way. They will forever be separated from God in a placed prepared for the Devil and his angels called Hell. They were very sincere, but they were sincerely wrong about how to come to God.

God loves you and wants you to have a forever relationship with Him. However, His justice demands that our sin be removed before the holy God of Heaven can bring us into the family of God. For our sin to be removed the debt we owe must be paid in full. God is just, but He is also loving, kind and merciful. The book of 2 Peter tells us that God doesn’t want anyone to perish (be separated from Him forever), but that He wants everyone to repent (to turn to Him for forgiveness and the new life that only He can provide).

If you or I owed a large bill that we were unable to pay, the creditor would be more than happy to accept funds from someone who could pay the debt. This is called “substitution.” The major problem with the debt we owe is that everyone else on the face of the earth owes the same debt! I can’t pay your sin debt because I can’t even pay my own. But what if there was One who was qualified to pay this debt? The Good News is that there is a qualified substitute! He has already paid the debt of my sin and yours! For illustrative purposes we could say that He has “written a check to cover our debt.” The check has been made out to us, but unless we “endorse it” by faith and “cash it in” it does us no good. Today, Christ stands with His nail-scarred hands open wide ready to receive you and wash your sins away. Will you trust Him? Will you accept the payment that He has made for you and commit your life to Him?

If you would like to take this step, please contact us or read more about it at: http://flagshipchurch.org/truth-will-set-you-free/