This is a mildly edited (new links) repost fro Feb of 2008. Enjoy!
The issue really comes down to what do you do with Jesus, as a God and a man who bore the sins of the world. The questions that often are pressed are:
- Why would Jesus have to die?
- What purpose did this serve?
- What does it mean to me?
- What am I to do with it?
Jesus had to die to fulfill the commandment that was left to Moses in the order of sacrifice for the covering of sins. Jesus, as a perfect lamb and as a perfect priest was the only one who could not only perform this sacrifice but is the only sacrifice who was truly perfect. He was born of a woman and which made him a man but was born of the Spirit and which defined Him as God. Any sacrifice prior was tainted by the fall of creation and not capable of being perfect enough to fulfill the needs of the law.
Jesus was also the perfect priest. He didn’t have to perform any sacrifices before His own sacrifice for cleansing and, as He had never sinned, He never had to become purified – He was pure from the start (Hebrews 4:14-5:10). The purpose of the temple sacrifices was to COVER sins, and was never meant to forgive them. In the Garden, God killed the first animal as a sign of what was necessary to cover their shame and make clothing for them. This continued through the Mosaic covenant until the time of Jesus when Jesus’ sacrifice rendered it useless. There was no more need for the sacrifices to continue as the ultimate price had been paid.
When Christ breathed His last, the 6″ thick veil in the temple that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple (Matthew 27:50-51; Mark 15:37-38; John 19:23). There was no more need to have a separation from the people to God and they had access to the inner rooms of God through prayer but that prayer had to come through Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ resurrection we are promised that our sins ARE forgiven and that we too will rise again to serve God in the Kingdom to come.
The biggest issue is that people don’t think they are sinners. If you ask anyone on the street you’ll find that they all believe that they are genuinely good people and will often compare themselves to other people to prove how good they are. How good are they compared to God? God was kind enough to give us a perfect example of what His requirements are for us to walk into Heaven in the 10 Commandments. When you compare yourself against that are you able to say that you are worthy of Heaven? Have you ever lied? Have you ever stolen anything? It says “do not commit adultery” but Jesus said “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. Has God always been first in your life? Have you ever used the name of the God who created you and gave you life as a curse word or to express disgust? Breaking even one of these commandments will condemn you to hell for all eternity (James 2:10).
He HAS provided us with a way out of this but we have to be willing to abandon all that we are in order to turn directly to Him in repentance and in faith (a href=”http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/search/?q=Mk+1%3A14-15″ target=_blank>Mark 1:14-15). First we need to admit to God that we are unable to do this on our own and that we are slaves to our sinfulness. Once we do that and ask God to forgive us for breaking his perfect laws, we ask God to take over our lives, to give us new hearts and new desires and have the old man that we were pass away and have God crush the men that we were so that He can create a new creation within us to serve Him alone. That is the process of salvation. There are no promises of new cars or of great wealth, only that God will provide what you need to do what it is that He’s presented you with and that He will never abandon you. After I see what God has done with the wretched waste of breath I had been into the man that I am today I can only thank God that His Word is true and for the sacrifice of His Son on the cross because without that I am nothing and I am lost.