Sometimes it’s good to pause and consider what our biblical words…

Jesus Died To SaveSometimes it’s good to pause and consider what our biblical words and concepts sound like to those who don’t know Christ. By Charles F. Stanley

Have you ever wondered what someone new to Christianity might think upon entering a church and hearing songs about the blood of Christ or sermons filled with terms that seem strange or archaic? Sometimes it’s good to pause and consider what our biblical words and concepts sound like to those who don’t know Christ. At first glance, it may seem like the answer is to stop using these terms, but is that really the best option?

The truth is that many Christians don’t fully understand what the Bible means regarding words like redemption, justification, or sanctification. Although they’ve become accustomed to reading or hearing them, they’ve never really considered what they mean or why they are important. If no one ever explains these concepts to them, the Bible won’t make much sense, and they may give up reading it. Therefore, the answer is not to abandon these vitally important concepts and words, but to carefully explain them so we will all understand these essential truths of the Christian faith.

The most precious concept in Scripture is that of the blood of Christ. If we don’t understand whose blood was shed, why it was necessary, and what it accomplished, it will seem frightening and cruel. Yet it’s the means by which our salvation is possible. Christ’s blood is the red thread that runs through God’s Word, proclaiming hope to sinful mankind.

When John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the people, he summed up in two sentences who He was, why He came, and how He would accomplish God’s purpose: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me’” (John 1:29-30).

Although Jesus in His incarnation was younger than John, He was (and still is) the pre- existent Son of God (John 1:1) who came to earth as the God-man to take away the sin of the world. The title, Lamb of God, signifies how this would be accomplished. The Jews would have instantly connected this title with the daily sacrifice of lambs that allowed unholy people to approach a holy God (Ex. 29:38-39). Jesus had to die in order to take away the sin that prevents mankind from having a relationship with the Lord.

JESUS HAD TO DIE IN ORDER TO TAKE AWAY THE SIN THAT PREVENTS MANKIND FROM HAVING A RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD.

To understand how essential Christ’s blood is for our salvation, let’s consider what Scripture says it accomplishes. First of all, we are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). To redeem means to buy back. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins with His death so He could purchase us from our captivity to sin and death and return us to God as His eternal possession.

Second, we are justified by His blood and reconciled with God (Romans 5:9-10). Justification means we are declared no longer guilty of our sins because Jesus paid that penalty in full by dying in our place. And even further, we are declared righteous. An amazing transaction occurred on the cross—all our sins were placed on Jesus, and all His righteous deeds were credited to our account (2 Corinthians 5:21). Now we are reconciled to the Father by being brought back into a right relationship with Him.

Third, Jesus sanctifies us through His blood (Hebrews 13:12). Sanctification means we are set apart for the Lord and progressively made more holy or righteous. Our redemption, justification, and reconciliation happen in a moment at our salvation, but sanctification is an event that begins at the same time and continues throughout our lives until it is completed when we are glorified in perfect, sinless bodies fit for heaven (Philippians 3:20-21).

Fourth, the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us from sin (1 John 1:7-9). Although the guilt of our sins has been removed (justification), and the power of sin is being overcome (sanctification), we will never be totally free from the presence of sin while we are in these earthly bodies. Jesus promised that if we’d confess our sins, His blood would keep on cleansing us so our relationship with the Father would not be hindered.

Finally, Christ’s blood has given us access to God (Hebrews 10:19-22). In the Old Testament, only the high priest could enter into the most holy place in the temple once a year with animal blood as an offering. But when Jesus offered the only perfect and complete sacrifice, His own blood, the veil of the temple in Jerusalem that separated God from the people was torn in two from the top down. Because of Christ’s death for our sins, we can now approach our heavenly Father at any time directly and confidently with our prayers, petitions, and praises.

The difficult words and concepts in the Bible were never meant to be ignored or avoided. God placed them in His Word to explain the depths and riches of His salvation and the privileges we have as His redeemed people. Christ’s blood is not a distasteful topic but a precious gift applied to all who believe in Him. When we understand what it accomplished, we’ll have the comfort of knowing that our salvation is eternally secure and that we’ve been made forever acceptable before God.

Prayerfully yours,

Charles F. Stanley

P.S. No matter where you are in your walk with Christ, In Touch Ministries would love to come alongside you to help you grow in your faith. Our publications and broadcasts are designed to proclaim the gospel, teach God’s Word, and strengthen believers. We pray that they will be an encouragement and a blessing to you.

Share

Where are you God?

 He is closer than you think and in every situation, especially when you feel alone.
Share

From the Pastor’s Heart – Charles Stanley

Dr Charles StanleyHave you lost the wonder of Jesus’ resurrection? Each Easter, we read Bible passages describing it, sing songs extolling it, and hear sermons explaining it. After repeatedly hearing this message, the familiarity can cause us to become complacent, seeing it as just another of the many stories about Jesus. But this was the most important event in history. If Jesus were not raised, then we would have to concede that the power of God is no match for death. Where, then, would our hope be? We’d all die in our sins and suffer eternal separation from God (1 Corinthians 15:17).

That’s why I’d like you to really think about the unparalleled impact of Christ’s resurrection. What was it like for His followers? How did it affect the world physically, religiously, and culturally? I believe the biblical account in Matthew 28:1-8 can help us see this marvelous event with fresh eyes. One fact often overlooked is the earthquake that physically shook the world when Jesus came to life (v. 2). What’s interesting is that the earth had been shaken just a few days before, when He died (Matthew 27:50-51).

But the ground wasn’t the only thing upset that day. It was also the beginning of a religious and cultural earthquake that affected the entire ancient world, the aftershocks of which we’re still feeling in our own time. Neither the Jewish leaders nor the Roman rulers could explain what happened to the man they’d crucified who was no longer in the tomb. When the temple veil was torn at the time of Jesus’ death, God signified that no further sacrifices were needed because Jesus was the ultimate Lamb of God who died for sins once for all time (Hebrews 10:12). After Christ ascended to heaven, leaving His disciples to spread the news of His death and resurrection, many of the Jews believed in Him, along with a large number of priests (Acts 6:7). But this radical new religion of Christianity didn’t stay contained within Israel. Before long, the apostles spread the message of Jesus throughout the Roman Empire. At one point, they were even accused of turning the world upside down with their message (Acts 17:6 NKJV).

As amazing as all this is, the resurrection’s impact has reached beyond the cultural and religious realms all the way into countless individual hearts. Now at the moment of salvation, we probably don’t understand the magnitude of all that transpired when Jesus rose from the dead. I remember when I accepted Christ as my Savior at the age of 12; all I knew was that He’d forgiven my sins. Yet that decision changed my destiny forever—both in this life and for eternity.

The resurrection, which happened so long ago, is still shaping our lives today. The first impact comes when we believe the testimony of the Word of God and ask the Lord to forgive our sins. You see, without Jesus’ death and resurrection, we’d have no hope of forgiveness. God can’t simply forgo the just penalty for our sins. But Jesus took upon Himself the punishment we deserved when He suffered and died on the cross. His resurrection was proof that the heavenly Father was satisfied with His payment for the sins of mankind (Romans 4:25). Without Christ’s death and resurrection, there’d be no basis for receiving forgiveness and no hope of heaven.

Second, we are also given new life in Christ Jesus. The apostle Paul says our old self was crucified with Him, and we have been raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4-6). This means we can choose to abstain from the old sinful practices that once held us captive. The key to this new life is found in surrender. When we let Christ rule in our lives, He lives through us, accomplishing His will and displaying His character within us.

Third, we receive the Holy Spirit, who empowers us. There’s no way we can live the Christian life in our own strength. But at the moment of salvation, we are given God’s Spirit to manifest the life of Christ in us. Just imagine, the Spirit who raised Jesus to life is dwelling inside us, enabling us to become who He desires us to be and to achieve whatever God wants us to do (Romans 8:11). As we yield to Him, He produces His fruit within us (Galatians 5:22-23). Furthermore, He’s given us spiritual gifts to help us serve Him and accomplish His will (1 Corinthians 12:7).

Finally, because of Christ’s resurrection, we have become a part of a great missionary movement. Every believer has been called to share the message of the risen Savior with an unbelieving world, whether personally or through a church or mission organization (Acts 1:8). We each have a testimony to share, and God has placed us in our homes, workplaces, and cities to be His witnesses. The gospel we share is the only message with the power to change someone’s eternal destiny.

Never underestimate how the Lord may want to use you. Today is a good time to surrender your life fully to Christ. Let Him fill you afresh with His Spirit, making your witness like a shining light that points others to Christ.

From the desk of Charles F. Stanley

Share

Next Page »