I recently read a post by Michael Deputy that talked about his Blog Direction. He brought a good point up: Focus on what’s important. Well today I am doing just that. I am a Christian as I say plainly in many locations and in my about us page. I am thinking I may periodically post something from the Bible, perhaps lessons from the Bible that work in our jobs, perhaps just my thoughts. The focus here is technology and will remain technology but I feel led to share a bit. If you don’t want to read these posts, I understand and I’ll tag them “Bible”. I wrestled with posting or not but I really can’t find any great reasons not to.
Today is the day that we remember what Jesus Christ did for us over 2,000 years ago. After living for 30 to 33 years, fulfilling over 300 specific Old Testament prophecies He paid the ultimate price for someone else. He gave His life in the cruelest form of death known to man (The Crucifixion, an “art” mastered by the Romans is where we get our word excruciating). He was tortured by “expert” torturers who flogged him, tearing flesh from his body and bringing him very near to death. He was nailed to a cross and had His fellowship with His Heavenly Father broken for a moment.
As 2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, Christ became sin for us: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The perfect, sinless Christ took on my sins, He took on your sins and received our punishment. The pain He must have felt when for the first time His dad wasn’t there when He looked for him. The pain he felt when he cried out “Eli, Eli lama sabachthani!?” or “My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me?”
Christ wasn’t a victim here though. He willingly came to pay this sin debt. He was the Creator God, robed in human flesh coming to redeem His people. He changed the lives He encountered, He gave hope and when He went to the cross He became our redeemer. He died so we don’t ever have to if we choose not to.
Before He died, He cried out “Tetelestai!” This is often translated as “It is finished” and that translation is an accurate translation… But did you know how Tetelestai was also used in New Testament times? It was used as an accounting term. It was written on a bill, on an account and it meant “Paid in Full”, it meant that account was now closed, the debtee no longer owed anything. The Bible is clear that Christ’s death on the cross was the full payment of a sin debt that we all owe. As one of the great hymns declares, “Jesus paid it all” and He paid it in full.
This sin debt? According to the Bible in Romans 6:23 that sin debt is death, eternal separation from God, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Who owes that debt? The Bible declares that we all do. It declares that there is none good, no not one. How much sin makes us guilty and worthy of that debt? Just one sin, God’s standard is perfect holiness and we fall short often if we are honest with ourselves. That has us in deserve of death, but what’s this gift mentioned in Romans 6:23?
We learn in various verses but Romans 5:8 shows it to us clearly, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” God shows his love toward us through Christ’s death on the cross. God is a righteous God with a Holy standard. He is also a God of Love and he balances that perfectly with his Righteousness. Our sin demands payment, if God is to be fair and maintain perfect balance, He MUST demand this payment. He Loves us though. That’s where the cruel cross of Calvary comes in. Jesus was cursed for us, He became our sin and when He died His death had the potential to pay for our total sin debt.
Only a potential payment? How do we actualize it? By believing, by putting aside our own feeble attempts (Paul called his own attempts at holiness before meeting Christ on the Damascus road, “Dung!”) to somehow deserve Heaven – we don’t and we can’t, if we are honest with ourselves we see our faults, we see our sin and just one sin is enough to fall short of God’s holy standard. We need to put aside our own feeble attempts at saving ourselves and trust in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. Romans 10:9 tells us, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
If we trust in Christ’s completed work on the cross we shall be saved. Free from the wrath that we rightfully deserve. Free from the bonds of sin and freer than you could imagine. I used to scoff at the notion. I thought it was about my own works, losing joy and being a slave to a church and I hated the thought of organized religion. About 9 years ago, I asked Christ into my heart, I trusted in His finished work on the cross to pay for my sins. I have never been freer or happier.
This is my favorite weekend of the year. Friday is filled with both joy and sorrow. Joy because I know the resurrection happened, because I know Jesus proved victorious over the cross, over the grave and over death. Sorrowful because I know it was for my sins that He died, because I know that I still sin and know that so many I love and care about don’t believe.
Christmas is great, Christ was born but without Good Friday and the Resurrection that birth would matter little. His crucifixion was powerful but without that triumph over the grave it would be the end. Jesus would have faded from memory, His followers would have died out, His story would have died down in just a few decades or perhaps centuries. With His resurrection, His empty tomb, Christianity has stood, grown and thrived. He has proven that believers will never die. His word tells us that when He died, a believer’s old nature was with Him, our sins are dead, they were buried. When he arose victorious we arose with Him, a new creation, a new creature as 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us.
Death lost it’s sting. Satan was bruised as predicted in Genesis 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The seed of the women (Who could only be the virgin born Christ, the man has the seed…), Jesus’ victory over the tomb and death was a head blow to Satan. Jesus was wounded in the process but it was a heel wound. He suffered on the cross and before the cross, He was buried but He didn’t stay buried!
The resurrection has also stood to many tests. Folks know that if you can destroy the resurrection, you can destroy Christianity. You make Jesus a liar, you make the Bible a fairy tale with lies. Many have sought to destroy the account only to be overwhelmed by it’s proof. Just one example:
Simon Greenleaf – Legendary jurist and law professor, co-founder of Harvard University Law School. His 3 volume series, Treatise on the Law of Evidence was a text book used long after his death and still referenced. He was an ardent non-believer. His students asked him to apply his treatise on evidence to the resurrection account. He agreed and set out on a mission to destroy the account only to conclude that the evidence was overwhelming and he wrote a book detailing his findings, Testimony of the Evangelists.
This weekend, I will get to go to a “Son Rise” service at my church. We’ll worship our risen Lord, we’ll celebrate His power over the grave. Sing some of my most favorite hymns (Because He Lives, Up From the Grave He Arose, etc) and have a great time of fellowship. Then we’ll get to head to an Easter service with song and word and I’ll have my normal Sunday evening Faith Bible Institute class. I try to remember His death and resurrection each day but this is a special remembrance and I love it.
This is finished
Thanks for letting me share. It is my hope that you have this same joy this weekend. That you can celebrate the risen Lord who died for your sins. If you don’t, you can. It’s a decision you can make on your own and it’s between you and God. Those verses above tell you how and your life will be forever changed if you do. This can be the first Easter you celebrate a real celebration. This can be the first Easter you give up on your own attempts at earning or “deserving” something the Bible clearly tells us we can’t earn on our own.
One little SQL bit to add to this post, check out Phil Factor’s post about calculating Easter.