18: Christ suffered and died to heal us from moral and physical sickness

This is part 18 of 50 in a series based on the book ‘Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die’. Read the introductory post or view all the posts in the series.

Ref: Isaiah 53:5, Matthew 8:16-17

One day all disease will be banished from God’s redeemed creation. There will be a new earth. We will have new bodies.
Death will be swallowed up by everlasting life (1 Corinthians 15:54; 2 Corinthians 5:4). “The wolf and the lamb shall graze together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 65:25). And all who love Christ will sing songs of thanks to the Lamb who was slain to redeem us from sin and death and disease.

—Page 55

17: Christ suffered and died to obtain for us all things that are good for us

This is part 17 of 50 in a series based on the book ‘Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die’. Read the introductory post or view all the posts in the series.

Ref: Rom 8:32

The two halves of Romans 8:32 have a stupendously important logical connection. We may not see it, since the second half is a question: “How will he not also with him give us all things?” But if we change the question into the statement that it implies, we will see it. “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will therefore surely also with him graciously give us all things.”

But what does “give us all things” mean? Not an easy life of comfort. Not even safety from our enemies. We know this from what the Bible says four verses later: “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered” (Romans 8:36). Many Christians, even today, suffer this kind of persecution. When the Bible asks, “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” separate us from the love of Christ (Romans 8:35), the answer is no. Not because these things don’t happen to Christians, but because “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

[Philippians 4:12-13] says we can do “all things” through Christ. But notice “all things” includes “hungering” and “needing.” God will meet every real need, including the ability to rejoice in suffering when many felt needs do not get met. God will meet every real need, including the need for grace to hunger when the felt need for food is not met. The suffering and death of Christ guarantee that God will give us all things that we need to do his will and to give him glory and to attain everlasting joy.

—Pages 52-53

God is love. Jesus is God. Jesus is love.

One of the passages of today’s reading on my Bible-in-one-year plan is 1 Corinthians 13. Hence this post. Basically during the sermon last Valentine’s Day (based on this same chapter), I substituted “Jesus” for “love”. Try it, and see how it just fits. Afterwards, I tried to find examples in what was recorded for us of Jesus’ life to illustrate the validity of the substitution. Some were more difficult than others: Christ wasn’t boastful or proud, but there isn’t  a single verse; rather the whole NT gives us proof of this. Anyway, here’s what I found: Continue reading

16: Christ suffered and died to give us a clear conscience

This is part 16 of 50 in a series based on the book ‘Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die’. Read the introductory post or view all the posts in the series.

Ref: Heb 9:14

No animal blood could cleanse the conscience. They knew it (see Isaiah 53 and Psalm 51). And we know it. So a new high priest comes—Jesus the Son of God—with a better sacrifice: himself. (Page 50)

According to this chapter’s Bible verse, Hebrews 9:14, our consciences have been cleansed in order that we may serve the living God.  Not that so we may live better with ourselves or with others, or any other such reason.That is something I’d never considered.

15: Christ suffered and died to make us holy, blameless and perfect

This is part 15 of 50 in a series based on the book ‘Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die’. Read the introductory post or view all the posts in the series.

Ref:  Heb 10:14, Colossians 1:22, 1 Corinthians 5:7

One of the greatest sources of joy and endurance for the Christian is knowing that in the imperfection of our progress we have already been perfected—and that this is owing to the suffering and death of Christ. “For by a single offering [namely, himself!] he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). This is amazing! In the same sentence he says we are “being sanctified” and we are already “perfected.”

The suffering of Christ secures our perfection so firmly that it is already now a reality. Therefore, we fight against our sin not simply to become perfect, but because we are. The death of Jesus is the key to battling our imperfections on the firm foundation of our perfection.

—Page 49

I really needed to hear this…

14: Christ suffered and died to bring us to faith and to keep us faithful.

This is part 14 of 50 in a series based on the book ‘Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die’. Read the introductory post or view all the posts in the series.

Ref: Mark 14:24, Jeremiah 32:40

What then are the terms of the covenant that he infallibly secured by his blood? The prophet Jeremiah describes some of them: “I will make a new covenant . . . this is the covenant that I will make . . . I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. . . . For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The suffering and death of Christ guarantees the inner change of his people (the law written on their hearts) and the forgiveness of their sins.

And the miracle is not only the creation of our faith, but the securing of our faithfulness. “I will make with them an everlasting covenant. . . . I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me” (Jeremiah 32:40). When Christ died, he secured for his people not only new hearts but new security. He will not let them turn from him. He will keep them. They will persevere. The blood of the covenant guarantees it.

—Page 47

After reading today’s chapter, I was struck (again) by just how small our contribution to our salvation is. We didn’t initiate it (God had it planned before the ages began). We didn’t implement it (Christ gave his life). We don’t guarantee its outcome (God has that taken care of).

How humbling. How God–exalting.

13: Christ suffered and died to abolish circumcision and all rituals as the basis of salvation

This is part 13 of 50 in a series based on the book ‘Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die’. Read the introductory post or view all the posts in the series.

References: Galatians 5:11, Galatians 6:12

The cross means freedom from the enslavement of ritual. (Page 45)

I’m sure thankful I don’t have to follow the 613 laws in the Old Testament in order to be right with God.  Faith in Christ and His finished work at the cross is sufficient. Unlike other religions that tell their adherents to do certain things, biblical Christianity says “Already done!”

12: Christ suffered and died to take away our condemnation

This is part 12 of 50 in a series based on the book ‘Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die’. Read the introductory post or view all the posts in the series.

Ref: Romans 8:34

The great conclusion to the suffering and death of Christ is this: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). To be “in Christ” means to be in relationship to him by faith. Faith in Christ unites us to Christ so that his death becomes our death and his perfection becomes our perfection. Christ becomes our punishment (which we don’t have to bear) and our perfection (which we cannot perform).

The death of Christ secures our freedom from condemnation. It is as sure that we cannot be condemned as it is sure that Christ died. There is no double jeopardy in God’s court. We will not be condemned twice for the same offenses. Christ has died once for our sins. We will not be condemned for them. Condemnation is gone not because there isn’t any, but because it has already happened.

The world will bring its condemnation. They may even put their sword behind it. But we know that the highest court has already ruled in our favor. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31). No one successfully. If they reject us, he accepts us. If they hate us, he loves us. If they imprison us, he sets our spirits free. If they afflict us, he refines us by the fire. If they kill us, he makes it a passage to paradise. They cannot defeat us. Christ has died. Christ is risen. We are alive in him. And in him there is no condemnation. We are forgiven, and we are righteous.
“And the righteous are bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1).

—Pages 42-23

I hereby enlist help from two dead people:

Here’s a couple of verses from Man of Sorrows (Hallelujah! What a Saviour) by Philip Bliss:

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Saviour!

And here’s a verse from And Can It Be by Charles Wesley

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in him, is mine;
alive in him, my living Head,
and clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
and claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Thank God I’m not omniscient

Today was a bad day. I’ve not cried like I have today since—oh, I can’t remember. Maybe never. In a heated discussion, I learned what someone whom I once considered a friend really thought of me. All these years, we’ve been having easy conversations about my cat(s) and such other frivolous matters, yet beneath it all…

I’m glad I didn’t know their true  feelings before. But then again, had I known, I may have invested less in the relationship and spared myself today’s pain and that of the past few months. And who knows what I’d have done in retaliation? Thank God for keeping from us certain knowledge! Fact remains I didn’t know, and three months ago, I would have thought anyone insane who said as much. Funny. I was described as being insane today.

I am by no means totally blameless in the whole matter. God has been working on me recently—suddenly I couldn’t escape messages on forgiveness, self-righteousness and pride—and after today, I have even more to work on and to repent of. If it was hard 24 hours ago, I don’t know about now. I’m thankful I have a Father who specialises in transforming lives. The last thing I want is to become bitter and to bring division between our mutual friends.

I hope that one day, I’ll be able to look back on this and see what good it brought about in my life. And by God’s  grace, good will come of this. I don’t know when and I certainly don’t see how, but I cling to two truths: God is good, and He loves me.