Friday, June 26, 2015

Why Do we Need Christ?


Nothing is more important to the Christian faith than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the ONE upon which the hope of eternal life for sinners is anchored. Moreover, the event of the cross of Christ and its proper interpretation at the heart of the Christian faith - this is why many churches have the sign of the cross visibly displayed in their church premises.  So Paul summarized the message he preached as “the word of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18), and again he said that “we preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23).  The only message he had to preach in Corinth was Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2).  If the cross is not central it is not the true gospel message.

A.     JESUS’ LIFE FULFILLED ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS

The human spiritual problem is two-fold – (1) lack of righteousness and are (2) sinful therefore liable to punishment! All human beings lack righteousness. All have sinned and have fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) because none is righteous no, not one (Romans 3:10). All attempts at working out personal righteousness by human effort, produces an abomination before the Lord that is considered as filthy rags, i.e. tampons! Therefore sinners needed a saviour who will bring them righteousness that is acceptable in the sight of God. Therefore, Christ was born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law (Galatians 4:4). When Jesus went to John the Baptist for baptism, He told him John that He wanted to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15). Christ lived a perfect, sinless life, see the following passages:

ü  1Corinthians 1:30 –           Christ became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption
ü  2 Corinthians 5:21 –  knew no sin
ü  1 Peter 2:22 – He committed no sin
ü  Hebrews 4:15 – He was tempted in every way as we are yet without sin
Before His death, all the leaders took Him through a trial that found Him not guilty of the charges against (Luke 23:14).
This means that when you trust in Him, you give Him the full burden and weight of your sins and in exchange He gives you His righteousness! Faith in Christ means that you stopped trusting in yourself to obey God’s law (because you can’t obey perfectly anyway) and obtain the merit of Christ own obedience. Consider these passages:
ü  Rom. 3:21,22 – the righteousness of God is revealed apart from the law… the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.
ü  Gal. 2:16 - yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ

B.     JESUS’ DEATH PAID THE FULL PENALTY OF OUR SINS

1.      THE CRUCIFIXION

You must make sure you know about the following:
(1)   The prophecies that were fulfilled.  Here are the Old Testament reference that is quoted in
ü  Matthew 27:46 – Psalm 22:1;
ü  Luke 22:37 -  Isaiah 53:12;
ü  Luke 23:46 – Psalm 31:5;
ü  John 19:24 – Psalm 22:18;
ü  John 19:28 – Psalm 69:21;
ü  John 19:36 – Exodus 12:46;
ü  John 19:37 – Zechariah 12:10.
(2)   Crucifixion was a form of death that signified a person was cursed by God (Galatians 3:13).
(3)   The three hours of darkness, at the end of which He shouted, “it is finished!” (John 19:30).  Darkness is a sign of God’s judgment that Jesus fully endured, so He was able to shout that He was victorious, having done all the Father planned for Him to do.
(4)   The curtain of the temple was torn from the top to bottom = by God (Matthew 27:51) to show that through the death of Christ the way into His presence was now open.
2.      THE MEANING OF CHRIST’S DEATH
The Bible uses the following words to explain the death of Christ:
(1) Sacrifice (Hebrews 9:26, 10:12).  He fulfilled the Old Testament sacrifices; for example, He is the true Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7), and Hebrews 9:25-26 compares His sacrifice with the temple priestly sacrifices (in Leviticus 16).  Most of the sacrifices were because of the offerer had sinned and was asking God for forgiveness.  The animal was killed instead of the sinner.  So Christ was a sacrifice “in our place”, “for” us (John 10:11, 15:13, Romans 5:6,8, 2 Corinthians 5:14-15,21, Galatians 1:4, 2:20, Hebrews 10:12, 1 Peter 2:21, 3:18).
(2) Blood (Romans 3:25, 5:9, 1 Corinthians 11:25, Ephesians 1:7, 2:13, Colossians 1:20, Hebrews 9:14, 10:19, 13:12,20, 1 Peter 1:2,19, 1 John 1:7, Revelation 1:5, 5:9, 12:11).  The blood of animal sacrifices was poured out around the alter (Leviticus 1:5, 3:2, 4:7) to show that it was dead. 
The “blood of Christ” means that Christ died as a sacrifice, not that there is something special about the blood in His body.  His blood was just like ours.
(3) Obedience (Romans 5:19, Philippians 2:8).  He came from the Father to do His will, and He perfectly obeyed (Hebrews 5:8-9).  As one without blemish He could die for us (Hebrews 7:26-27), just as the animals were to be without “spot or blemish” (1 Peter 1:19).
(4)Propitiation (Romans 3:25, Hebrews 2:17, 1 John 2:2, 4:10).  God’s wrath is upon sinners, but Christ has suffered the punishment sinners deserve, and so God’s wrath is removed from them.  As an illustration, in traditional religion the elders would seek to turn away the supposed wrath of God in times of drought and disease by offering a certain sacrifice. 
(5)   Ransom (Matthew 20:28, 1 Timothy 2:6, Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 1:18-19).  A ransom is a price paid for release.  We are released from our bondage to redemption because Christ gave His life as a sacrifice for us.
(6)   Redemption (1 Corinthians 6:20, Galatians 3:13, 4:5).  The word ransom emphasizes the price that was paid; redemption emphasizes that the price paid brings release.  When we say that Christ is our Redeemer, we mean that by His death we are set free to serve God!
(7)   Reconciliation (Romans 5:10-11, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20, Ephesians 2:16, Colossians 2:20-22).  God Himself has removed all obstacles to our fellowship with Him through the death of Christ, so that we are now at peace with God.
Note:  Propitiating God, dying for our sins, redeeming us by a ransom price, and reconciling us to God, are all things that Christ accomplished by His death.  Nothing needs to be added.  Do not miss the assurance in Romans 5:1-2,9-11, 8:33-34!  Christ’s death is powerful.

3.      FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE?
This is what our 1689 Confession of Faith states about Christ the Mediator:
“By His perfect obedience to God’s law, and by a once-for-all offering up of Himself to God as a sacrifice …, the Lord Jesus has fully satisfied all the claims of divine justice. He has brought about reconciliation, … for all those given to Him by His Father” (Sect.5).
The Confession states that Christ died for the elect, for those given to Him by the Father (John 6:37-39, 17:24).  Many people think this means that Christ’s death was not able to save everyone.  But the real question is, “What was God’s purpose in giving His Son to die?” 

According to the following verses, for whom did Christ die?
Isaiah 53:11, Matthew 20:28, 26:28        many
John 11:52                                            children of God;
Ephesians 5:25                                     the church;
Hebrews 2:16                                      offspring of Abraham
Hebrews 2:17                                      his brothers
If Christ died for the purpose of saving everyone, then why is not everyone saved?  If His death was a ransom for all, then why is not everyone ransomed?  If Christ died for everyone, and everyone is not saved, it means that Christ’s death is not sufficient to secure the salvation of anyone.  It would then depend on Christ’s death plus something else in man, such as faith. Such a thought is blasphemous as it shows that His death is not sufficient or powerful enough.
There are a few verses that appear to teach Christ died for all (2 Corinthians 5:14-15, 1 Timothy 2:6).  Others verses use the word world and supposedly teach that Christ died for everyone (John 1:29, 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:19, 1 John 2:2).  Note that “all” can mean all types of men without distinction (1 Timothy 2:1), or many people (Matthew 3:5-6).  “World” can mean Gentile as well as Jew (John 1:29, 4:42), sinners as opposed to God’s people (John 17:9).
  PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS
(1)   Let us have full confidence in Christ and His work to save us completely.  Spurgeon likens Christ’s work to a bridge.  One bridge is wide enough for everyone to go on it but it only goes half way across the river.  The other bridge is narrower but it goes all the way across to glory! Which one is more effective?
(2)   The Bible never presents the gospel as “Christ died for you.”  Rather we must present Christ as a Person who, by His finished work, is fully to be trusted to save any sinner who comes to Him in faith and repentance.

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