There are not enough pages in the world to document what God accomplished in The Cross of Jesus Christ.
Nevertheless, I will in this article focus on four critical tasks performed by God in Christ’s Cross.
Task One: In The Cross of Jesus Christ God legally removes the primary obstacle between you and Himself.
Task Two: In The Cross of Jesus Christ God divides the human race into two camps: those that hate Him and those that love Him–no middle ground.
Task Three: In The Cross of Jesus Christ God unites two camps (Israeli believers and Gentile believers) into One New Nation of Israel.
Task Four: In The Cross of Jesus Christ God uses Death to remove the Root and Branch of Sin from His People forever.
(NOTE: This blog entry is unusually long, but I felt it to be essential that my thoughts be communicated in their completeness.)
Task One: The Open Door
Many people that do entertain the prospect of God’s Existence suspect that all He does is sit on His Throne and watch generation after generation of people on this planet destroy themselves by one means or another. This idea is mainly our fault: because the fact is WE’D RATHER LIVE OUR LIVES ON OUR OWN TERMS (freedom to sin) RATHER THAN GOD’S (The Path of Holiness).
We have no desire for God’s Intervention unless we’re “up against the wall” (which happens more frequently than we would care to admit). And once God has stepped in and brought us back from the brink of self-extinction (i.e., the 20th Century Flu Pandemic, both World Wars, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Islamic extremism, North Korea’s nuclear threat, etc.), we politely ask Him to go back to His Throne and leave the rest to us.
God is only going to put up with that kind of foolishness for so long.
Therefore, when the fullness of time had come (Galatians 4:4, 5), God acts unilaterally and TAKES UPON HIMSELF THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR WICKEDNESS by PUNISHING HIMSELF FOR OUR SINS on The Cross of Jesus Christ.
Yeah…God did that…without being asked (not that any human would have the imagination to even conceive of such a plan).
Any real barrier between you and God has been removed…completely.
“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up His Spirit. And behold, the Curtain of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” – Matthew 27:50, 51
This great Curtain, standing 30 feet from ceiling to floor and nearly 4 inches thick, separated the Temple”s Holy Place from its Most Holy Place. Its miraculous tearing signified that access to God was now open to anyone regardless of their ethnicity or station in life.
The question is: Will you come to Jesus?
Task Two: Two Species
Christianity is the most hated and persecuted faith in the world today. One of the factors is Christianity’s claim that not only is there just One God, but that the Only Way to God is through His Only-Begotten Son Jesus Christ. The “Only-Begotten” moniker signifies that the historical Jesus of Nazareth was not only a great prophet and teacher, but that JESUS IS DEITY IN HUMAN FORM and therefore Creator of the Cosmos, demanding the worship and obedience of every living thing in Heaven, on Earth and even “under the Earth” (Revelation 5:13, 14).
More than this, the Bible declares that just as Adam is the Progenitor of the Fallen Human Species, Jesus Christ is the “Last Adam” and Progenitor of a new, Unfallen Human Species (1st Corinthians 15:45).
With this in mind, “Salvation” or “Redemption” can be best defined as that Process by which a member of the first species of humanity becomes a member of the NEW species of humanity, thus receiving God’s Own Immortal Life.
You would think that any sane person would leap at the chance to not only be absolved of all their crimes (sins of the spirit, the soul and the body) both of commission and omission, but to rule an entire, newly-created cosmos at the Side of the Only Omnipotent God…
…alas, it is not so.
“Enter through The Narrow Gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For The Gate is small and The Way is narrow that leads to [Eternal] Life, and there are few who find it.” – Jesus Christ, Matthew 7:13, 14
From this quote we see that (1) Not everyone is looking for immortality or even realizes that immortality is a possibility (thank you, evolution!); (2) Among those who are looking for immortality, only a few actually find what they’re looking for. In both cases Jesus Christ has been “ruled out” as a possibility, primarily because of one reason: Holiness.
In Part One of my Perfection Howto I defined Holiness as God’s inability to err; that is to say that the freedom to choose between good and evil that you “enjoy” is something God Himself does not have. And a major task in the salvation of your soul IS THE REMOVAL OF YOUR FREEDOM TO CHOOSE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL…
…this is a price that most humans are not willing to pay.
Task Three: One Eternal Israel
“YOU ONLY have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” – God, Amos 3:2
We are reminded that Christianity, which has no less than 700 million professing devotees around the world, started with a small core group of 120 disciples (Acts 1:12-15)…nearly all related by blood and virtually all Israeli/Jewish by ethnicity (according to some sources six of Christ’s apostles were related to Him). Around this core stood 500 more believers (1st Corinthians 15:3-8), also primarily of Israeli/Jewish descent. Then fifty days after Christ’s Resurrection during the Feast of Weeks that 620 became more than 3,620…again, mostly of Jewish descent.
I said earlier that Christianity is the most hated religion in the world. I say now that the Israelis/Jews are the most hated ethnic group in the world, and for nearly the same reason: their relation to God as His Chosen People.
Why did God choose Israel? The two reasons are: (1) because of the faithfulness of their ancestors (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) to Him; and (2) to build a family and nation in which the Messiah (Christ) would be born both to offer Salvation to the entire world and to separate for himself a family of which He Himself would be the Father and His Son the King through the Holy Spirit
According to Romans Chapters 9-11, it was God’s Plan all along to “graph” gentile believers into His People Israel, creating a new species…a New Nation of Israel; all the members of which would be sinless, holy children of God through Faith in Jesus the Christ. This is confirmed by the fact that the twelve gates to the City of God, New Jerusalem, are all named for the twelve tribes of the Nation of Israel (Revelation 21:12).
Your only hope of escaping extinction is to become a member of God’s Family by receiving Yeshua Ha Mashiach as your God, Lord and Savior.
Task Four: Your Last Breath
As I said earlier, Holiness is the world’s big problem with God; the people of the world want to be able to CHOOSE EVIL if and when they deem it necessary. For the world, the freedom to choose evil IS WHAT MAKES THEM GODS (Genesis 3:4, 5). So deeply embedded and insidious is this perspective, it has found a comfortable home in the Christian Church in the form of Arminianism which, though declared as heretical, is still accepted as sound doctrine to this day.
God created Adam (male and female, Genesis 5:1, 2) in His own Image and Likeness with the intent that they would share in His Holiness and Light; this is not possible so long as sin is a choice for Mankind, juxtaposed to God’s Incapacity and Hatred for sin.
This perspective is quite clear in the Writings of the New Testament…and no one today seems disturbed by the discrepancy that exists between the Church of the 1st Century and the Church that exist today in the Western countries of the Americas and Europe (as well as elsewhere).
The root of this schism is clearly stated in the first seven verses of Romans Chapter Six:
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that Grace may abound? “By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? “We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the Glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. “For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. “We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. “For one who has died has been set free from sin.” – The Apostle Paul, Romans 6:1-7
Why does the modern Church seem at times to be so attracted to and tolerant of sin?
It could be a matter of perspective. The Book of Acts covers a period of no less than 30 years (more or less). That’s 30 years in 28 chapters…certainly a lot of more trivial events are “skipped over” and left out of Luke’s narrative.
Yet, when you review all the writings that come after the Four Gospels and Acts of the Apostles: letters by Paul, the Writer of Hebrews, James, Peter, John and Jude…there is a dedication and passion for Holiness (as opposed to humanistic legalism) that is missing from today’s media-centered megachurches.
What’s the problem? I believe I’ve found the answer…
…today’s religious media places an emphasis (and rightly so) and the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ died for us.
There is NOT so great a focus on the requirement that WE MUST DIE WITH JESUS.
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” Jesus Christ, Luke 9:23
This sentiment is echoed in nearly the exact same words in Matthew 16:24. What is Jesus saying???
Point of Fact: “Denying self” is more than simple asceticism.
Ascetics say “I choose not to do evil” and “I will not indulge my fleshly appetites” but they do NOT say “I refuse to boast in or take credit for the good that I do or the evil I refuse to do because I am dead and it is the Life of God (the Holy Spirit) Who receives credit and glory for all that is accomplished in me.”
A CROSS IS AN INSTRUMENT OF EXECUTION AND DEATH where all life is drained from your body…not a means of self-denial or obtaining merit to be used to purchase Divine favors. With the exception of the Inca, dead bodies are not kept around the house or invited to parties and weddings or motivated to run for political office or placed in charge of megachurches.
DEAD BODIES ARE BURIED AND PLACED OUT OF THE SIGHT OF THE LIVING.
It is not until you are TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY USELESS to yourself and the world (DEAD) that you can receive any attention from God.
And it is then–and only then–that a resurrection can take place your heart.
(LISTEN to this blog-post on any of TEN podcast platforms!)