THE CROSS OUR REFUGE

THE CROSS OUR REFUGE

When you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh. God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins, having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross  (Col. 2: 13-15).

These are three of the most powerful and the most liberating verses in the whole Bible. Let me tell you why.

There are two things which believers struggle with – the penalty of sin and the power of sin. Satan has a weapon which he uses against us constantly – lies. His lies translate to uncertainties in our minds. Am I really forgiven? Why do I still have troubles and problems? Is God punishing me for things I have done wrong? Is the devil attacking me?

Satan would love us to believe that he still has the power over us, but he is a liar, and his lies have been exposed. It was at the cross that his lies were brought to light and his weapons taken from him. The only power he still wields over us is his deception. He can manipulate us when we believe his lies.

Let’s handle our misgivings one at a time.

First the issue of forgiveness. Does God still punish us when we sin? The answer is a resounding ‘NO!’ The Bible makes it clear that Jesus was the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world.

All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast – all those whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world (Rev. 13: 8).

Since God is eternal, not subject to time, He planned that the sacrifice of His Son on the cross, although it happened at a point in history, would be sufficient to provide forgiveness for all people, for all sin, and for all time. Why then the sacrifices of the Old Covenant? The sacrificial system of the Mosaic Covenant was intended to be a visual aid for the people. Their faith was in the promise of God’s forgiveness through His Lamb, not in the animal blood that was shed.

The Jewish leaders were outraged when Jesus forgave people without offering a sacrifice. They did not understand that He could forgive sin on the basis of His sacrifice which was effective from the beginning of creation.

This means that our sin was forgiven before we were even born. Can God, then, still punish us for the sins we commit now? Again a resounding ‘NO!’ Why not? Because He would be acting illegally and against His own nature. In any justice system, it is illegal to punish a person twice for the same crime. How much more, then, according to God’s justice, would it be wrong for Him to punish sinners for sin for which His Son has been punished.

Why, then, do God’s children still suffer? Why do things go wrong in our lives? Why do bad things happen to good people? The answer to this question deals with our second misgiving? Is the devil attacking me? Once again the answer is ‘No!’ This demands the question, ‘Who is in charge?’ Jesus’s message to His people when He came was, ‘Change your mind. God is in charge.’ When Jesus died and rose again, His clear message was, ‘The devil is a liar. God the Father is in charge,’ and He proved is by raising His Son from the dead.

Your troubles and mine are not punishment but discipline. There is a great deal of difference between punishment and discipline. We cannot escape the hardships in this life because they are part of the consequences of Adam’s sin. However, God directs them and works in them for our good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Rom. 8: 28).

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what children are not disciplined by their father? . . . They disciplined us for a while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in His holiness (Heb. 12: 7, 10). 

Through Jesus’s death and resurrection, we have the assurance that God has forever dealt with our sin and with the devil. We can now have complete confidence that we are His children and that He is training us now for our life with Him forever.

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

 

Luella Campbell


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