Do You Really Believe That Jesus Died For Your Sins
First, the good news: Jesus died for your sins.
Entire books, sermons, and bible studies built around this common refrain, but do we really understand what it means to live out its implications in our daily life. How many of us who claim to believe it let it shape our life. We say it, yet we still judge others and ourselves for our past sins and don’t forgive. We would treat each other better if we really got it. Yet, if we look around, we see our world is full of rude, uncaring, demanding people. We act in ways that deny Jesus rather than in ways that reflect the unconditional and limitless love and grace of God found in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
Do you really believe Jesus died for your sins?
I mean really, really believe it.
I am not sure that I do, at least not all the time. Sometimes, I live in ways that don’t reflect God’s love and grace. I ignore others and want things they way I want them and don’t want to concern myself with others. Over the last year, I have started to live in more loving and healthy ways, but I am not there yet and doubt I ever will be perfect at it. That doesn’t give me an out to stretch and push myself to live and love in healthier ways.
Today people deny the need of a savior, they claim that the resurrection didn’t happen—if they affirm the resurrection say that it was some spiritual event not connected to reality. What does that mean! They say that Jesus dying on the cross is an absurdity that violates our modern sensibilities. If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I affirm the need of a savior. This belief is subversive to our individualistic, materialistic culture. That doesn’t make it any less true. None of us will ever be able to save ourselves, so why try. In 1 Corinthians Paul writes, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Jesus saves. That’s our only hope. Jesus’ yoke is light. He doesn’t burden us with a load we cannot carry. Jesus doesn’t demand we jump through impossible hoops or tell us to clean ourselves up first. He accepts us as we are, loves us enough to welcome us no matter what we’ve done or haven’t done, but loves us way too much to keep us that way. He wants us to live life to its fullest, pay it forward, share the gospel, and make disciples. Jesus is our dangerous, subversive, and untamed savior; the message we spread is not about a group, church, religion or book, but is about the person of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior.
I’ve written about the resurrection in Denying The Resurrection. In that blog, I talked about taking the resurrection seriously and applying it to our daily living. It’s not enough just to believe in it, we have to let it transform us into the people of the kingdom, to live in and towards a resurrected life. Many other better writers and thinkers have written deeply about the reality of the resurrection. NT Wright’s Surprised By Hope is one of my favorites. Spurgeon said resurrection is “the mystery that brings more glory to God than all creation.” Chuck Palahniuk in his novel Fight Club wrote, “Only after disaster can we be resurrected.” Andrew Murray said, “A dead Christ I must do everything for; a living Christ does everything for me.”
Resurrection is a real event in history. It happened two thousand years ago to Jesus and happens each day to his followers when they choose the Jesus way over the ways of the world.
I would like to flesh out the reality that Jesus died for our sins that the complete work on the cross enables us to approach God. I know that I have done things that I regret that I cannot possibly make up for, but Jesus bears that sin and still says, “I love you.” We’ve all done things we are not proud of and want to ignore and pretend didn’t happen. That won’t help anyone. No one leads a blemish-free life.
I need to repent and turn from the old ways of doing things. I regret that I have hurt, taken for granted and ignored people. I am socially awkward, shy and need to break out of my shell. I have used this to prevent me from getting involved in life. My physical fitness is not the best. I need to lose weight and live in a more healthy way. I have type two diabetes. This dreaded disease killed my older brother. I do not want my story to end like that; I want to live a long, humble, Christ-centered, God-glorifying life. For me Jesus dying for my sins means I can live a healthy, loving, transformative life that my past no longer defines who I am or who I will be from now on I am a child of God.
God hates sin, but the cross wipes it away. It is grace; nothing we could ever do to earn it. It comes freely to us; Christ bought it, and paid the price. It’s obvious that God hates sin, when nothing less than the Jesus on the cross would satisfy it.
Romans 3: But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
We’ve all amassed a pathetic chronicle as sinners and proven incapable of living the abundant lives God designed us for and out of God’s all-embracing generosity, he got us out of the mess we’re in, restored us to where he always wanted us to be, and did it through Jesus on the cross. It’s all grace, all of it.
Jesus died for our sins. Our faith in him sets us free. God sets things right and makes it possible for us to live with him. God does not respond to what we do; we respond to what God does. Our lives come into right order by letting God guide our path, not by proudly or anxiously trying to run the show. The more we try to run the show the more of a mess we make. We don’t own our life; we didn’t cause our birth or choose any of the facts of our lives. We didn’t even decide to come to faith in Christ.
God calls, we respond.
Jesus is the breaker of all barriers. Jesus transcends all categories, even the religion created in his name. It’s not about religion or church; it’s all about Jesus. It’s not about religion or religious activities; it’s all about relationship. Jesus calls us; we answer. He makes us right with God. This is not anything we could do on our own. Jesus did it. All we can do is receive it and extend the same to others. Not out of a sense of obligation or because God need’s us to do it, but from a deep sense of gratitude for the grace that has been given to us. God has bestowed to us all we have and we respond in worship by giving back to Him what is his. Romans 11: “For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by his power, and everything is for his glory.”
Trevin Wax in Counterfeit Gospels writes, “The essence of Adam’s sin was that he put himself in God’s place. The essence of Christ’s obedience is that He put himself in our place. Because of his life in our place, and His death in our place, we are freed from our sins.
When the Romans crucified criminals in the first century, it was customary for them to nail an accusation list to the cross. The list informed people why this person was being crucified. When Jesus died, God took the accusations that Satan brings against us — all our failures and mistakes, our willful rebellion, and our constant inability to keep God’s law — and God nailed those accusations to the cross of His Son. So Jesus Christ died there on Calvary, bearing your sin and mine; the accusations that should be hurled against us were hurled against Him instead.
Jesus is the Passover Lamb — the substitute that protects us from the wrath of God. He experienced the curse of God, the punishment for sin, the hellish torments of eternal damnation — all for the glory of God and the salvation of His people.”
Therefore, Jesus died for your sins. All the things that you and I have done wrong—lying to others and ourselves, not helping our needy brothers and sisters, putting food, things, and ourselves before God, willfully hurting others, living in unhealthy and wicked ways—are nailed to the cross and are not remembered anymore. We are free from the guilt of all our wrongdoing, but we still must live with the consequences of our sins. To live with God means living to our fullest and facing the responsibilities that our Christian faith confers on us.
If we continue doing the same sin, how does that show our gratitude for what Jesus did for us?
Even more important, do you realize that if you were the sole person affected by the cross Jesus would still have gone to the cross. The cross is both personal and universal.
Henry Blackaby in Experiencing the Cross writes, “The full meaning of the cross ultimately includes the resurrection of Jesus. In fact, we’re viewing God’s entire plan to redeem a world. We’re looking at the whole redemptive event…as God sees it, not just as we perceive it. The shadow of the cross reaches back into eternity, [and] thrusts forward. There’s absolutely nothing in all of human history that equals this event we call the cross.”
Let it rest on you. Close your eyes. Meditate on the cross. On Jesus on the cross, Jesus dying for your sins.
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