Do we forget Jesus becomes sin (wickedness) on the tree? All our evil is put in Him by God so that “He suffers what should be our chastising, or our punishment.” An extraordinary event — God becoming sin. Our minds protest. How does the Holy One become unholy? Does He? Or is Jesus only dressed in sin? Is sin only “put on Him” as a garment, or is sin “put in Him?”
Isaiah, the great prophet from the Old Covenant, writes:
“5 Forsooth he was wounded for our wickednesses, he was defouled for our great trespasses; the learning of our peace was on him, and we be made whole by his wanness. (And he was wounded for our wickednesses, he was defiled for our great trespasses; he suffered what should have been our chastising, or our punishment, and we be healed, or made whole, by his scourgings.)
6 All we erred as sheep, each man bowed into his own way, and the Lord putted in him the wickedness of us all. (We have all wandered astray like sheep, each one turned to his own way, but the Lord put on him all of our wickednesses.)”
Jesus is defiled, defouled, punished, wounded, scourged. God the Father treats Jesus as sin. As a result, we — who err and wander astray, each to our own way — are made whole, healed, restored to God’s graces.
“God made Him — [that’s Jesus, His Son who is also fully God] — who had no sin —[a man who is perfect, without blemish, totally pleasing to God] — to be sin– [to become sin itself] — for us —[that’s those who believe the good news]–, so that in him —[in Jesus’ accomplished redemptive work] — we might become the righteousness of God — [holy and blameless in God’s sight.]”
Paul is distressed that the church at Corinth is deceived by “super-apostles” preaching “a Jesus other than the Jesus [I] preach” He is fearful that these Christians are believing “a different gospel from the one [they] accepted” and that they may even be receiving “a different spirit from the one [they] received.” These apostasies disturb Paul. He worries about the minds of the Corinthian Christians, who have a “sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” Here Paul writes:
3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 5 But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles.”
He’s concerned that the church at Corinth is not concerned. Why aren’t they as distressed as he is at their confusion? Why can’t they see that they are “being led astray?” How is it they are deceived?
Two young men come to my door. I invite them to come back at another time. Because they are in suits and wearing name badges with Elder S0-and-so, I realize these young men at Mormons. If you don’t know what the Mormons believe, check out the 13 Articles of Faith. When they come back, the young men explain to me that Joseph Smith sincerely desired to know which church preached the true gospel. He was so distressed, he went out into the woods of New York to pray. As he prayed, a pillar of light appeared above him and two ‘men’ stood there. One said of the other, This is My Beloved Son, listen to Him. I gather Joseph decided to do just that. As a result, the Mormon faith came into existence.
Now I realize some of you reading this may be of the Mormon faith, but I say to you this is “a different gospel” which Paul warns against.
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:8)
The true gospel is simple. Nothing can be added to Christ’s redemptive work on the Cross. There Christ bore our sins in His body, and through His shed blood He made us clean, holy, righteous in the sight of God the Father. He offers this redemption as a free gift. We either accept the gift of salvation or leave it unopened, so to speak. If we open His gift, the Holy Spirit enters and lives in us so that over time we reflect Jesus Christ, who is the Light of the world.
Yes, Jesus died for the ungodly. Paul reminds that rarely will someone die even for a good man, but Jesus died for us while we were His enemies. How much more will He save us!
Ever downplay a mistake or a sin? Ever speak of it as if it wasn’t that bad or even worth mentioning? Ever make excuses for it? Ever deny that you sin?
“If we acknowledge [grant, concede, accept, admit, recognize, confess] our sins, he is faithful and just, that he forgive to us our sins, and cleanse us from all wickedness.”
God expects us to acknowledge that we are sinners saved by His grace. If we accept our sinful state and concede that it displeases God, then “He is faithful and just,” and forgives “us our sins.” As if that isn’t enough, He “cleanses us from all wickedness.”
He does this; we don’t. God is faithful and just. He is forgiving. And He has the power to wash us white as snow though our sins be as scarlet.
Jesus does not promise we are not going to be ambushed by our adversary, who prowls about like a lion actively searching for one to devour. Instead, Jesus offers us “the might of His virtue” and “the armour of God” so we might “stand against the ambushings of the devil.” Paul puts it like this:
“Here afterward, brethren, be ye comforted in the Lord, and in the might of his virtue. Clothe you with the armour of God, that ye be able to stand against the ambushings [the ambushings, or assailings,] of the devil.”
Paul strongly advises:
“13Therefore take ye the armour of God, that ye be able to against-stand in the evil day; and in all things stand perfect.
14 Therefore stand ye, and be girded about your loins in soothfastness [Therefore stand ye, girded about your loins in soothfastness], and clothed with the habergeon of rightwiseness,
15 and your feet shod in making ready of the gospel of peace.
16 In all things take ye the shield of faith, in which ye be able to quench all the fiery darts of him that is most wicked.
17 And take ye the helmet of health, and the sword of the Ghost, that is, the word of God.
18 By all prayer and beseeching pray ye all time in Spirit, and in him waking in all busyness, and beseeching for all holy men, [By all prayer and beseeching praying all time in Spirit, and in him waking in all busyness, and beseeching for all saints,]”
Paul says to “stand perfect” “in all things.” Jesus says, “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” How do you stand perfect? You stand perfect “in the might of His virtue” through faith, truth, righteousness, wisdom, the gospel of peace, the Word of God, prayer, and God’s own Holy Spirit indwelling.
Jesus says He is living water, that anyone who drinks of Him never thirsts. Jeremiah writes:
“7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord (Happy is the person who trusteth in the Lord), and the Lord shall be his trust.
8 And he shall be as a tree, which is planted over waters, which sendeth his roots to moisture; and it shall not dread, when heat shall come; and the leaf thereof shall be green, and it shall not be moved in the time of dryness, neither any time it shall fail to make fruit. (And he shall be like a tree, which is planted by the waters, which sendeth out its roots to moisture; and it shall not have any fear, when the heat shall come; and its leaves shall be green, and it shall not be moved in the time of drought, nor at any time shall it fail to make fruit.)”
Jesus says He is the vine while those who trust in Him are the branches. As long as the branches are attached to the vine, life-giving sap provides nourishment for the production of fruit. Even in a drought, in the heat of the sun, the leaves on the vine remain green and the fruit never fails to appear in season.
Let us remain planted over Living Water; let us remain in the Vine; and may our fruit always be pleasing to the Lord.
” 7 During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8 Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9 and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10 and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.
11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!”
The author of Hebrews expresses exasperation that someone must continue to teach “the elementary truths of God’s Word” to those who “by this time ought to be teachers.” The author writes of Jesus “learning obedience from what He suffered” and of Jesus being “made perfect,” “because of His reverent submission.” The author writes of God the Father “designating” Jesus “to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.” All of this teaching is “solid food,” not “milk.” Jesus “becomes the source of eternal salvation.” Jesus “becoming perfect”, Jesus “learning” are difficult teachings, for wasn’t Jesus God’s Son from before the beginning of time? “The Word was with God, and the Word was God,” writes John. (John 1:1) Paul writes, “For He chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His good pleasure and will.” (Ephesians 1:4-5) Are we to understand Jesus, the man, somehow became God the Son?
Or, is it that Jesus learned what it is like to be fully man by actually being fully man? That, although fully divine, He also learned human submission to God, and human obedience to God in the face of ultimate suffering? Yes, Jesus was a man. By being a perfect man, God designated Him to be a priest in the order of Melchizedek.
“those who live like this – [in drunkenness, orgies and the like] – will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Drunkenness, orgies and the like are obviously fruits of darkness. In God, there is no darkness at all. In our adversary, there is no light. We are called to walk in the Light.
Some of you may remember the film WAIT UNTIL DARK in which a young blind woman is attacked by a ruthless thief in her home. Before he comes – yes, she knows he’s coming – she takes precautions to make her home completely dark. She unscrews the fuses in the fuse box, she breaks the one light source she needs as he arrives. She even remembers the hall lights, and has a little girl break them with a broom when light from them spills under the closed doorway. But she forgets the refrigerator bulb which somehow escapes the fuse box – I know – I didn’t write the script. At any rate, when he comes, the thief cleverly opens the refrigerator and now can see his victim, who must somehow crawl behind the refrigerator and unplug it. Needless to say, she lives.
My points? 1) Total darkness is difficult to achieve. 2) Only a small amount of light is needed to overcome darkness.
3) In God is no darkness. 4) Walk in His Light – the Light who overcomes the dark.
“1 Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of those realities, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year. 2 Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, once purified, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in the sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5 Therefore, as He was coming into the world, He said:
You did not want sacrifice and offering,
but You prepared a body for Me. 6 You did not delight
in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings. 7 Then I said, “See—
it is written about Me
in the volume of the scroll—
I have come to do Your will, God!”
8 After He says above, You did not want or delight in sacrifices and offerings, whole burnt offerings and sin offerings (which are offered according to the law), 9 He then says, See, I have come to do Your will.He takes away the first to establish the second. 10 By this will of God, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all.”
How are we sanctified? By the will of God through Jesus’ offering of His body once and for all. Why Jesus’ offering? Because God does not delight in sacrifices of bulls and goats. The blood of animals does not take away sin or the consciousness of sin. Jesus does not die on the cross to remind us of sin; He dies to cleanse our consciences of sin so we may approach the throne of grace without shame, in the boldness of freedom from guilt.
This is the successful Christian life — a life free of worry, guilt, self-loathing, hatred of others; a life full of mercy, compassion, kindness, self-respect and love of others.