All posts tagged atonement

Why Blood

Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to die? Me, too.

Here is my contribution to CBN.com today:

http://www1.cbn.com/devotions/why-blood

 

The Baby in the Manger is Our Great High Priest

My father was an officer in The Salvation Army—a sort of pastor. So, I’ve had plenty of exposure to clergy, but I have never met a priest on this earth.

But I am personally aquainted with one in heaven—Jesus.

Not only did God become man Who was born in a manger, but that same baby we celebrate at Christmas is also Our Great High Priest.

Follow me on this. In the Old Testament, priests served as “go betweens” with God. They offered sacrifices to God in order to cover the sins of the people. In fact, once a year, the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement to offer sacrifices for the sins of the people. Besides his ornate, custom-designed outfit, he also wore a rope attached around his ankle equipped with a bell in case God struck him dead because, he too was a sinner who had to sacrifice a bull for a sin offering for himself and his family. The rest is kind of complicated, but let’s just say God made a specific way that had to be followed in order to atone for sin. (Leviticus 16)

It’s the same today. God is Holy. We are not. Sin stands between us and God. First, a payment, or sacrifice had to be made. That’s where Easter comes in. Secondly, we continue to need a High Priest to make intercession for us.

Hebrews 7:23-28 states:

“The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, but Jesus on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Therefore He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.”

Here is my point…Jesus is much more than a baby in the manger we give sentimental homage as we view our store-bought nativity scenes. Jesus is the perfect, Great High Priest.

Is He yours?

 

Cough Drops and The Gospel

Imagine my surprise when I opened a cough drop and received a pep talk on the wrapper.

“Nothing you can’t handle,” “Bet on yourself,” “Power through,”Turn can do into can did,” “Impress yourself today,” and “It’s yours for the taking.”

I’ve been reading Dove Dark Chocolate quotes for years, but I must confess, the cough drop philosophy took me by surprise.

It shouldn’t have.

Our culture is saturated with messages laced with sicky-sweet, self-serving, self-esteem jargon.

Kind of like, “Your best life now.”

Schools teach the inherent good of man. A kind of Star-Trek Utopian.

Funny. You don’t have to teach children to lie. You don’t have to encourage spouses to cheat on each other or a man to be angry enough with another man to kill him.

It comes naturally. It’s human nature.

There’s a word for it–depraved.

The Bible states we are all sinners deserving of hell. So if you attend a church that doesn’t teach about hell, you’re not hearing what God has to say about it.

Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Scripture teaches we are all part of Adam’s race because when he sinned we sinned. We live on this earth a few short years and then we die.

Then what?

Eternity, that’s what.

With no hope.

Unless you know the gospel. Unless you believe the gospel.

What is it?

I’m glad you asked.

First, the gospel is an historical event, not how it’s changed my life. That is the fruit of the gospel.

I Corinthians 1:3-4 states, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

There are a lot of things that seem important in my Christian life. Church attendance, good works, living a pure life. Often times I forget the most important thing–the gospel or good news of Jesus Christ.

Maybe the American church has forgotten that, too. Namely, that we are sinners and need forgiveness. That God became Man in the form of a baby. That Jesus lived a sinless life, and died an atoning death for our sins.

It’s not “your best life now.” It’s your forgiven life now, and your best life in eternity.

I know several Christians who are battling cancer. I have other friends who are returning to a country to share the gospel with some who will persecute and may kill them. It’s not their best life now.

But one day, it will be.

Because a part of the gospel that I’d forgotten about was that when Christ was raised from the dead, he guaranteed my resurrection.

Romans 6:3-5 says, “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection.”

My life here is good. But it’s not my best life now. And I’m not succumbing the cough-drop-philosophy, advising me to “bet on myself.”

I’m betting on Jesus.

My best life is to come.

And that’s no cough drop, pep talk philosophy.

It’s reality.