No. 12 – The Eternal Realities of Christ’s Sacrifice
When I first began to discover the things that I have been sharing with you, especially the beautiful truth of Christ’s personal union with me, there was a little problem in my mind that I kept running into. I struggled to get past the thought that Christ came to this earth and died 2,000 years ago. We know this is a historical fact. And so as much as everything else was so clear in the Scriptures and made such perfect sense, and I was determined to believe it and experience it, this thought was in the back of my mind for a very long time. And I know that in some people’s minds, it sticks in the front of their mind and they will not believe until this problem has been dealt with.
I cannot say that I have the complete answer to the question. And I don’t expect to, because the Scriptures are clear that this is a mystery and sometimes we just have to believe what God says whether we understand it or not.
But God has shown me some things that have helped me to realize that there is infinitely more to Him and what He does than we can comprehend with our finite little minds. And so I want to share some of those things with you now.
When Moses was leading the flock of Jethro, you will remember that He met God at the burning bush. It is interesting to note how God introduced Himself. Notice this here in Exodus 3:6:
He said, I [am] the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob…
The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Now, we might read right over the top of this, but this is interesting. He is “the God of”. Now, first, where are Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? Well, they died, right? They were lying in the grave! And yet God says “I am their God”. He doesn’t say, “I WAS their God”. Remember, a god is a supreme deity who is worshiped. When we read history books about this or that nation or peoples, we read “their god was the sun” or “they worshiped the sun” – past tense. But here God says, that He IS their God as if to say, they are still worshiping me, even now. This is important, so important in fact that Jesus Himself quoted these words, and then He says something very interesting. Come to Matthew 22:31-32:
31| But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32| I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
“God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” “I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” What is Christ suggesting here? That Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are ALIVE? Really? But didn’t Jesus teach that when someone died they went to sleep? And David wrote in Psalms 134:6 that when someone dies, “in that very day his thoughts perish”, and Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 9:5 that “the dead know not anything”? And many other places in the Bible that show us that when someone dies, they do not go straight to heaven, but wait in the earth until the time of resurrection? Is Jesus contradicting Himself AND the word of God?
There are those who will take this as an evidence of life after death. But no. This is not what He means. There is something much more beautiful here and if we can catch even just a glimpse of what He is saying, we will find the key to the great problem we are addressing in this study.
Come to Romans 4:17. Apostle Paul is here speaking about the experience of Abraham, and then he says this about God:
…God… quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.
God “calls those things which are not as though they are”. But God is not a liar. How can He say that something is, when it is not? Simple. Because to Him, it is.
There is an astounding quote here in the book, The Desire of Ages, on page 606, and here Ellen White is commenting on the verse we just read where Jesus said God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. See what she says:
Desire of Ages 606
God counts the things that are not as though they were. He sees the end from the beginning, and beholds the result of His work as though it were now accomplished. The precious dead, from Adam down to the last saint who dies, will hear the voice of the Son of God, and will come forth from the grave to immortal life. God will be their God, and they shall be His people. There will be a close and tender relationship between God and the risen saints. This condition, which is anticipated in His purpose, He beholds as if it were already existing. The dead live unto Him.
Did you see that there? “God sees the end from the beginning and beholds the result of His work as though it were NOW accomplished.” As far as God Himself sees things, those who will be raised from the grave to live an immortal life with Him in heaven ARE ALREADY doing so. “This condition, which is anticipated in His purpose, He beholds as if it were already existing.” Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, all the saints, including you and me if we receive this wonderful gift of salvation – right now, are sitting and feasting with Him in heaven. God actually sees this as real right now.
What an awesome thought! It’s all over. It’s all finished! But how can God see things like this? It’s VERY different to what we see.
The answer is actually quite simple. Come back to the mountain and Moses talking with God at the burning bush. Exodus 3:13-15:
13| And Moses said unto God, Behold, [when] I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, what [is] His name? what shall I say unto them? 14| And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. 15| And God said moreover unto Moses, thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this [is] my name for ever, and this [is] my memorial unto all generations.
Ah, there it is. The name of God. I AM. I Am that I Am. Past, present, future, all in one. In the original it says, I am that which I am. In other words, I am who I am, I am what I am, I never change. Past present, future is all the same to me. What I do today, I did yesterday. What I did yesterday, I did tomorrow. Time is nothing to me. God exists in a present reality and His reality never changes. Our reality is always His present reality.
Our reality changes, because we exist within TIME. God exists OUTSIDE of time. And so all time is the present time to Him. A thousand years in the past is as present to Him today as a thousand years in the future. We define our existence by time but there is no time in God’s definition.
And so whatever God does is as present a reality today as it is yesterday. It is APPLICABLE to ALL time.
This name of God is His memorial unto all generations. As in, this is HOW we should know Him. We should KNOW this about Him. Apostle Paul did and we know from 1 Corinthians 2:2 that he preached nothing but Christ and Him crucified. But see how he represented the crucifixion of Christ to the Galatians:
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
Crucified where? Among the Galatians. More than twenty years after Calvary! Paul is saying that he set forth Christ as evidently crucified among THEM!
Hang on here, that’s not right. Jesus was crucified in 31 AD, right? Well, there were some people who listened to Paul preaching and they thought they would check him out and see if he was telling the truth or not. Do you remember who they were?
10| And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming [thither] went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11| These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
Yes. It was the Bereans. And they would search the Scriptures daily to see if Paul was telling the truth. And what was Paul teaching? A PRESENTLY crucified Saviour – Christ crucified among them.
But what Scriptures did they use to see if these things were true or not? The same Scriptures that Paul preached Jesus from. The only scriptures they had. The old testament. It was from the old testament that Paul preached Christ crucified among the Galatians as well as Christ crucified among the Bereans, and the Thessalonians, and the Corinthians, and the Romans.
And so let’s see if we can find a presently crucified Christ in the old testament.
In fact, such a Saviour is all through the old testament, but let’s look at just one powerful demonstration.
Speaking of the Israelites in the wilderness after coming out of Egypt, here in Hebrews 4:1-2.
1| Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left [us] of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. 2| For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard [it].
Here it says that THE Gospel, remember, there is only one REAL Gospel, and this is what we have been studying, THIS same Gospel that has been preached to us was preached to the Israelites as well! In the wilderness! But they did not profit from it because they did not believe it.
HOW was it preached to them? Here is a clue as to one of the way it was preached to them and which way we are going to meditate upon.
The Adventist Home 144
Let the children learn to see in nature an expression of the love and the wisdom of God; let the thought of Him be linked with bird and flower and tree; let all things seen become to them the interpreters of the unseen, and all the events of life be a means of divine teaching.
How was the gospel preached to the Israelites? By their experience. What was their experience in the wilderness? What were the divine teachings?
Let’s first start with Mark 1:14-15:
14| Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15| And saying, the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Interesting place to start, I know. But notice this. The Gospel was preached to the Israelites. And the Gospel always goes hand in hand with what? Repentance. Of course, because before we can receive the new life in Christ, the old man, the old life must die. And what is done to symbolize this death of the old life?
John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
The baptism of repentance for the remission of sins – the washing away of the old sinful life. And so before the Israelites could receive the new life in Christ, something had to take place first. Now, remember, we are looking at the lessons that they should have learned from their experiences. Come to Romans 2:4
Or despisest thou the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Who was it that was leading the Israelites through the wilderness? It was God. God, in His goodness had led them out of the Egyptian captivity, and was leading them into a new life in Canaan. But first, they came to the Red Sea. Did God lead them there? Yes? In what way? In His goodness. And His goodness leads us where? To Repentance. See this. Exodus 15:1-5 after God has parted the Red Sea and drowned the Egyptian armies:
1| Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 2| The LORD [is] my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he [is] my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him. 3| The LORD [is] a man of war: the LORD [is] his name. 4| Pharaoh’s chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea: his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea. 5| The depths have covered them: they sank into the bottom as a stone.
The depths have covered them… read Micah 7:19:
He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
He will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. And this is what Baptism represents. God, in His goodness had lead the Israelites to the Red Sea so that they might be baptised and have the old life washed away – cast into the depths of the sea. The Israelites had been kept in captivity by the Egyptians – and just as the Egyptians had held them in bondage to serve themselves, our sins hold us in captivity to serve themselves. And so Here God commenced His work of giving to the Israelites a new life in Jesus Christ by first, washing away the old life and that which had held them in bondage.
But it was not mixed with faith. The Israelites did not see and understand what God was trying to accomplish. Or if they did see it, they didn’t believe it. Within 3 days the “old man” was back again grumbling and complaining that they had no water to drink. God solved the problem of the bitter waters at Marah and they continued on their journey until they ran out of food to eat. Then again the “old man” bubbled up and started making some noise. But God was merciful and bore long with them. Exodus 16:3-4:
3| And the children of Israel said unto them, would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, [and] when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. 4| Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.
When God rained bread from heaven, He was preaching to them the Gospel.
Come to John 6:47-51:
47| Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.48| I am that bread of life. 49| Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. 50| This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. 51| I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
We know who is talking here. It is Jesus. And He says that He is the bread that came down from heaven. The Israelites only ever ate of the manna. They did not realise what God was really wanting to give them. Christ! The life of Christ! If they had faith, they would have seen this. The Gospel was preached to them. What is the Gospel? Exactly what we have been studying in this series.
Let’s read verses 53-58:
53|Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. 54| Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 55| For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56| He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 57| As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 58| This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
Jesus was the bread that came down from heaven. And He says that if you eat His flesh and drink His blood, you will do what? Dwell in Him and He in you. Do you remember our last two studies? The vine and the branches, abide in me and I in you. Knock, knock, I want to come into you and sup with you and you with me. What is Jesus saying here? If you will eat my flesh and drink my blood you will come into union with me. And see there in verse 57? As the living Father have sent me and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. Where did Christ receive His life? From the Father. “I live by or because of the Father” – He supplies my righteous life. And now if you will dwell in me and I in you, you will live by me. The life of the Father will flow through me and into your life also.
What does it mean to eat of His flesh and drink His blood? Well, first, when you eat something what happens to it? What happens to the cells of that food? It is assimilated into your own body. It becomes part of you. He says if you will do this with me, if you will eat me – assimilate me into your life, you will have everlasting life because I am the way, the truth and THE LIFE. In verse 47 He said that whoever believes on Him will have everlasting life. And so what is it that brings us this life? His literal flesh and blood? No. It is believing in this wonderful gift of God in sending His Son to become one with us – flesh of our flesh bone of our bone, that we may be bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh.
When He spoke these words, the Jews were disgusted. They took Him literally! But in verse 63 He says,
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
It was the “spirit”, the divinity of God dwelling within Christ that will quicken us – give us life. When we eat of Him, when we take His words, His promises and we say, Yes, Jesus means me, I believe that He was given to ME, and we open the door of the heart and we receive Him into ourselves to have this beautiful interchange of experience, He brings that quickening divine spirit of God’s divinity right into our very own lives.
THIS Gospel was preached to the Israelites. If they had faith, that bread they ate, the manna, would have been so much more to them than just manna. If they had faith, they would have seen God offering them the very life of His own Son – the bread from heaven! No, there was no life in the bread itself. The bread did not mysteriously somehow become the body of Christ. But it was an object lesson, and if they had learned it, when they were eating of that bread, they would have been receiving Christ and His perfect life into their own lives to become one with them through faith. What an amazing opportunity they missed!
And it makes me wonder how many opportunities we miss today to learn and experience the same things because our own faith is so feeble. How many experiences in life do we fail to comprehend as we should?!
Let’s continue the story.
1| And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and [there was] no water for the people to drink. 2| Wherefore the people did chide with Moses, and said, give us water that we may drink. And Moses said unto them, why chide ye with me? wherefore do ye tempt the LORD? 3| And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses, and said, wherefore [is] this [that] thou hast brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? 4| And Moses cried unto the LORD, saying, what shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me. 5| And the LORD said unto Moses, go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go. 6| Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. 7| And he called the name of the place Massah, and Meribah, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they tempted the LORD, saying, Is the LORD among us, or not?
Note verse 6:
Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.
The people had no water to drink and the “old man”, the sinful selves of the people was well and truly still alive and kicking and they were getting very feisty. And so Moses went to God asking for a solution to the problem. God told him to go to the rock at Horeb and to hit that rock with his staff. Notice there that God told Moses that He Himself would stand upon that rock that would be smitten. What can we learn from this? A certain description for God is used quite frequently in the Scriptures. Come to Psalm 18:2 for example:
The LORD is my rock…
And again in Psalm 94:22:
…my God is the rock of my refuge.
Just a couple of examples but I think we know it well. God is described as “the rock” “my rock”, etc. And so the rock at Horeb, which God told Moses to smite with His rod was a symbol of God. And ultimately, who is that Rock that was smitten? It was Christ – the Rock of Ages. And when Christ was smitten at Calvary, what flowed out?
33| But when they came to Jesus, and saw that He was dead already, they brake not His legs: 34| But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
Water and blood. Here, in the wilderness was the Rock, and that rock was smitten for the life of the people. And what flowed out from that Rock?
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
Life! Life from God. The life that is with Him, even in Him. It was through the rock being smitten that the Israelites had life. And if they had faith? What would kind of a life would they have been drinking in?
He is my rock, and [there is] no unrighteousness in Him.
If there is no unrighteousness in that Rock, then what kind of a life flowed out in that water? A righteous life! The righteous life of God! Life from the Rock that was smitten for them!
The Israelites had asked, Is the Lord among us or not? Indeed, He was, but what kind of a Lord? Christ crucified AMONG them! Christ, the Rock, smitten, that they might have life, but not just any life, His own righteous life. Like with the bread, if they had faith, when drinking in that water they would have been drinking in the righteous life of Jesus Christ, given for the life of the world.
But they didn’t receive it! Why not? Because they didn’t have faith! And why was there no faith? What have we been learning is one of the most important factors in the reception of the Gospel?
Blessed [are] they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
The Israelites were not hungering or thirsting for righteousness. They thought that they were just fine! Rich, increased with goods and had need of nothing. And so when they came to Sinai a short while later and God made His promise to them that He would make them holy, they said, We will do! We will make ourselves holy! There was no sense of need, and this is why they failed to receive the new life in Christ.
This same gospel that we have been studying was preached to the Israelites. A new life was offered to each and every one of them, but very few received it. Because it was not mixed with faith, they didn’t believe it, and so they didn’t receive it.
And today, each one of us can hear the gospel, but also fail to benefit from it. Simply because we don’t believe it either. But as we commenced with, one of the reasons we may choose to reject is because we don’t see how Christ’s life can be relevant to my life today. We can only see Him through the eyes of History, but not through the eyes of the “I AM”. We lock Him and all that He has done for us into a certain time period. This is a huge mistake.
Let’s finish our consideration of the experience of the Israelites. What was it that they were doing in the wilderness? 1 Corinthians 10:1-4:
1 Corinthians 10:1-4
1| Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2| And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3| And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4| And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
What were they doing? What do we call this? Yes. They were partaking of the communion service, or you might call it the Lord’s Supper! This is what they were doing in the wilderness! They were baptized in the Red Sea and the old man was washed away and then they ate of the spiritual meat, that bread that came down from heaven, the flesh of Christ that was given for the world, and they drank of that Rock, of the life that flowed from the smitten side of Jesus Christ.
Come to the next chapter in Corinthians. Chapter 11:23-26:
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
23| For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which He was betrayed took bread: 24| And when He had given thanks, He brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25| After the same manner also [He took] the cup, when He had supped, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me. 26| For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.
For what purpose is the Lord’s supper? To remember Christ and to His death until He comes. Or, in other versions, to “announce” the Lord’s death until He comes. This is what the Israelite’s experience was – in remembrance of Christ, and to announce His death.
Remembrance of Christ? Announcing His death? But He died in 31 AD, right? More than 1,400 years later!
Let’s read something very interesting. Come to the words of Jesus here on the night before the crucifixion as He is gathered around the table with His disciples. Luke 22:14-20:
14| And when the hour was come, He sat down, and the twelve apostles with Him. 15| And He said unto them, with desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: 16| For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17| And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, take this, and divide [it] among yourselves: 18| For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19| And He took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, this is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20| Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, this cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
Now. A question. Is this before or after His crucifixion? It is before. Notice what He said when He broke the bread – “This is my body which IS given for you.” Present tense – given for you NOW. Not tomorrow. But now. And then He takes the cup and says, “This is the new testament in my blood which IS shed for you.” Present tense. IS shed for you. Even NOW is shed for you.
In the Young’s Literal Translation, it gives us a reading closer to the words that Christ actually spoke on that night.
It says, “This is my body that for you is BEING given.” “This cup is the new covenant in my blood which is BEING poured forth.”
Present tense. A present reality – even before the crucifixion. The body of Christ constantly being given for us; the blood of Christ constantly being poured forth. Apostle Paul preached a presently crucified Christ – Christ crucified among the Galatians, 20 years after the fact. And the Israelites partook of the Lord’s supper in REMEMBRANCE of His death!
But Jesus died only once in the year 31 AD! We know this. This is a historical fact. So how can all these other things be possible?
Do you remember what God told Moses His name was?
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.
Jesus is one of the three persons of the Godhead. He is the I AM.
Time is nothing to Him. All time is His present reality. AND He never changes. I AM THAT WHICH I AM. I AM WHO I AM. I AM WHAT I AM. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. In fact, read this verse here:
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.
When Jesus came to be baptised by John the Baptist, what did John say when he saw Him coming? “Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.” The Lamb of God… Come to Revelation 13:8
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship Him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
The Lamb slain from when? The foundation of the world! Jesus is the I AM. The same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And John says He is the Lamb that takes away the sins of the world. The sacrifice for our sins. And He is who He is today, yesterday and tomorrow. Therefore, He is the Lamb slain, not just at Calvary, but from the foundation of the world!
What He did at Calvary, is as present a reality today as it was 2,000 years ago. He died once, but it has an eternal application wherever it is necessary.
When God created Adam and Eve, He put them in a garden. And then He commanded them not to eat of a certain tree. Genesis 2:16-17:
16| And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17| But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
They did eat of it, but they didn’t die! They should have died that very day! Why not? Because Jesus stepped in.
The Desire of Ages 210
He was the Redeemer before as after His incarnation. As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour.
Jesus Christ – the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world – the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. The sacrifice of Christ at Calvary happened thousands of years later, but it was just as applicable to Adam in that day as it is to us today.
And Adam needed more than someone to pay the price for his sin. He needed the same thing that we need – a new existence that can stand in the place of our failed existence! For him also to have a chance at eternal life, he needed a life that would meet the claims of the law – another life from the very day of his creation that never sinned! And so when Adam fell, not only did Christ take his death upon Him, but He gave him a new life. Just as we saw Him offering to the Israelites in the wilderness.
There is something that many of us forget when we talk about the sacrifice of Christ. When we think of Calvary, and the shedding of His blood for our sins, we think only of His death. But we forget all about His life!
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
The death of Christ reconciles us to God, but MUCH MORE, it is His life that saves us! By taking our sinful life upon Himself and bearing it to the grave with Him, we can have peace with God and stand before Him as though we never sinned. But something must now become part of our reality – and THAT is the life of Christ. Both aspects of His sacrifice are important – but only one SAVES us. And that is His LIFE.
One thing we must bear in mind is that God does not deal in death. What comes from His throne is the fountain of LIFE, not death. Death comes from sin and from us. Not from God. And so the gift of God for our salvation is so much more than Christ dying for our sins.
What, really, does blood represent? Leviticus 17:11:
For the life of the flesh [is] in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it [is] the blood [that] maketh an atonement for the soul.
Blood represents life, not death. When we talk about the blood of Christ we are always thinking of His death. Saved by the blood. There is power in the blood… Yes, there is power in the LIFE of Christ! And when we think of Jesus’ ministration as the High priest and He is applying His blood on the record of our sins, He is not just blotting out our sins saying, Here, I died for this sin – I paid the price, but He is applying His life to our sins – saying “Here, my perfect life is in the place of their sinful life – this person has accepted My life”.
Have a look at this. What does the Spirit represent?
The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.
And so the Spirit represents life. Now what about water?
For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
Water represents life. And so come to 1 John 5:8:
1 John 5:8
And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.
The Spirit represents LIFE, water represents LIFE, and the blood represents LIFE as well. Not death.
And so when Christ was pouring forth His blood for us, it was so much more than Jesus dying for us. When He gave His life for us, He was GIVING His life TO us. Remember, God doesn’t deal in death. All that comes from Him is life. And He so loved the world that He GAVE His only begotten Son NOT only to DIE for us because all that did was RECONCILE us to Him. But He GAVE Him TO us – Him and His life – His perfect, ETERNAL life.
He is the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. He is Jesus – which name means that He will save His people from their sins. We read before that as soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. As soon as Adam sinned, a number of things needed to take place so that Christ could take away his sins.
Number one, Christ needed to die for Him right then and there because God had said that in the very day he ate of the tree he would die, but Christ had to be more than a legal substitute, He had to become one with Adam so that He could satisfy the demands of a law that demanded the death of the very soul that sinned.
Number two, so that Adam could be forgiven and granted a second chance, there had to be a perfectly obedient life that could stand in the place of Adam’s failure, and therefore,
Number three, Christ must have been able to present to Adam an entirely new life – a “new man” created in Jesus Christ unto good works, because He was not only the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, but His name is Jesus, because He will save us FROM our sins.
Wherever there is sin, there is a Saviour. WHENEVER there is sin, the LIFE of Christ is applied to that sin. The death AND life of the I AM is applicable WHEREVER it is needed or perhaps I should say, accepted. Calvary is an ever-present reality. He died once, but when we ask God to forgive us for our sins, the price is paid then and there. When we sin, Christ comes to us and says, “Here, take MY life, and I will take yours and die the death that you should die”. And if He LITERALLY took our life upon Himself that He died, then should we not take His life LITERALLY upon ourselves that we will live His righteous life? But instead of saying thanks, we let Him have ours, but we don’t want to accept His because there’s still a few things we want to enjoy before He comes the second time…
When we think of the history of this world, we often draw a line starting with creation and ending when heaven comes down and God lives with us here forever. In the year 31 AD we put the crucifixion of Christ. But this way of depicting things doesn’t help us because it causes us to think of the cross in reference to specific time. Try thinking of this earth’s history in another way. Think of it as a circle, with the beginning and the end in Eden, because when heaven comes down to this earth, man will be restored to his original condition and again Adam will dwell in his Eden home. And then put the cross of Christ in the CENTER of that circle. This way, we can immediately see that the crucifixion of Christ is a present reality at any time of this world’s history.
We have been going through this study to help us understand that who God is and what He does, and HAS done for our salvation, is far greater than our human minds can comprehend. Who are we to limit God in time, or in action? With man, these things are impossible, but with God, ALL things are possible.
Just a few final thoughts.
The reality is that faith doesn’t even need to see the crucifixion of Christ. It takes God at His word! Consider the faith of Abraham:
17| By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up His only begotten [son]. 18| Of whom it was said, that in Isaac shall thy seed be called;19| Accounting that God [was] able to raise [him] up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
If God had not prevented him, Abraham WOULD HAVE sacrificed Isaac – because he believed that God would raise Him from the dead, then and there. But resurrection can only take place through the death and resurrection of Christ! Who was Abraham’s God? The I AM – past present and future all the same. And Abraham’s FAITH brought GOD’S reality into His own reality. He knew that the sacrifice of Christ was a present reality in His day.
In Jude 1:9 it tells us that God raised Moses from the dead – that was ALSO many years before the death and resurrection of Christ.
Come to John 20:26-29 and listen to the words of Jesus:
26| And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: [then] came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace [be] unto you. 27| Then saith he to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. 28| And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. 29| Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.
Blessed are those that believe, WITHOUT seeing. So many of us today believe in the death and resurrection of Christ because it is proved by history. But blessed are those who can take God at His word, whether they see it or not. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and many others believed in the death and resurrection of Christ – and they didn’t have any historical proof for it. But they believed it because God said so. And so when Jesus tells us that He has experienced our struggled endured our temptations, personally and individually, whether we can see it or understand it, it doesn’t matter. If we believe it, God will prove it.
One more thought. What is forgiveness?
The word, FORGIVE means TO GIVE-FOR. It is just the word reversed.
When we ask God to forgive us our sins, what is it that we are really asking Him to do? To give us FOR our sins.
When God forgives our sins, He takes away our sinful life and gives us the perfect life of Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the I AM.
I AM the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
I AM crucified among you.
I AM with you always.
Believe it. Receive it. And enjoy it.