Category Archives: Gospel

The Power Of The Cross – The Forgiveness Of Sins

THE POWER OF THE CROSS

THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS

. . . In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col. 1: 14)

This topic should have been at the beginning of our series, but I have left it to last because it sums up everything we experience through the power of the cross.

Do you know what it is like to be forgiven? Really forgiven? All the weight of your guilt removed; the torment of your conscience because of what you have done gone; the flashbacks and the regret of what you said or did, stilled.

Four men brought their paralysed friend to Jesus but they could not get him near Him. The house was jam-packed with people, and not one of them was willing to make way for him. They were too eager to hear Jesus to give him a place. What were they to do? There was only one answer. If they could not get him into the house through the door, they’d let him down through the roof! Then the people would have to make a place for him if they didn’t want him on their heads!

Fortunately they had access to the roof via the outside staircase. They lugged their heavy burden up the stairs, dug a hole in the roof big enough to get him through and slowly lowered him down on his sleeping mat until he lay at Jesus’ feet. What would Jesus do?

The man obviously needed healing. Would He heal him and send him on his way? Perhaps Jesus gazed at him for a moment, saw the pain in his eyes, perhaps the pain of memories he could not escape. Why was he in that condition in the first place? Did he believe that it was punishment for sin? Was there something he had done years before that still tormented him? Did he remember all the times he had disregarded the ceremonial law, failed to do his duty to God and his fellow Jews? And now he was powerless to make it right.

The first words that fell from Jesus’ lips were, surprisingly, not, ”Be healed,” but, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” (Mark. 2: 5b) Did you get that? First of all, Jesus called him “son”. What did that mean? Yes, he had sinned, but that did not cancel his relationship with His Father as His son. Not even sin could destroy that relationship. His guilt had long destroyed fellowship with God – in fact he was born in sin, but God’s forgiveness through Jesus would take care of that.

Jesus knew what he needed most of all, even before the healing of his body. He needed the healing of his heart and Jesus gave it to him unconditionally. Forgiven! Imagine that! No more regret. No more tormented dreams. Just peace. Peace. Peace!

The ever-present Pharisees were up in arms. They knew that there was no forgiveness without sacrifice. What right had Jesus to forgive sins? Did He think He was God? Where was the sacrifice? Little did they know that they would be partly responsible for making the sacrifice – not of an animal on the altar in the temple court but of the man they had come to hate because of His goodness, on the altar of a Roman cross.

You see, the death of Jesus was much more than just an event in history. It was the very heart of history – the pivot around which the whole of human history turned. Every animal that was sacrificed on the Jewish altar of God, in the tabernacle or in the temple, pointed backwards to what had already taken place in eternity, and forwards to what would happen at a moment in history.

Could Jesus forgive his sin? In spite of the religious leaders’ objections, yes, because He was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. God planned it before man sinned, and the effects of the one event in history covered all sin for all time. Those who sinned before the cross were invited to put their trust in a lamb because the Lamb of God would be manifested on earth to reveal what He had already done in heaven.

Forgiveness! Yes, Jesus had the authority and the power to forgive sins because He bore our sin in His body on the tree. He was the sacrificial lamb and the scapegoat who took away our sin, removed our guilt and set us free to follow Him.

This is the power of the cross!

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.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

 

The Power Of The Cross – The Blood Of Jesus Speaks A Better Word Than The Blood Of Abel

THE POWER OF THE CROSS

THE BLOOD OF JESUS SPEAKS A BETTER WORD THAN THE BLOOD OF ABEL

You have not come to a mountain that can be touched and that is burning with fire . . . But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. (Heb. 12: 18; 22-24)

Better, better, better! Have you noticed how many times the writer to the Hebrews uses the word “better”? Everything about the new covenant is better because it is based on better promises and mediated by a better high priest, one who offered Himself once for sin, rose from the dead to prove that His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father, and sits at the right hand of God in the seat of authority and power.

Why does the writer single out Abel’s death as the contrast between the death of a murdered man and the death of Jesus? There were many murders that are recorded in Scripture. Why Abel? Is it because Abel’s was the first murder recorded in Scripture?

Both Abel and Jesus had their lives taken from them violently. Both Abel and Jesus died for doing the right thing. The perpetrators hated them because they were righteous and, instead of changing their ways and following their example, they killed them because of envy.

God demanded an explanation of Cain for what he had done, because He heard the blood of Abel crying out from the ground. Of course we don’t interpret those words literally. God didn’t need Abel’s blood to tell Him what had happened. It was His way of informing Cain that He knew what he had done. Cain hid Abel’s body in the ground, but nothing could hide the guilt of his crime. Sooner or later even his parents would know when Abel failed to appear.

But why was the killing of Abel different from the killing of Jesus? There are several reasons why the blood of Jesus speaks a better word than the blood of Abel. Abel died violently but unwillingly at the hands of his brother. He had not part in his own death. Cain lured him into a field away from his home and rose up and killed him.

On the other hand, the Old Testament prophesied that Jesus would die. He was Yahweh’s Suffering Servant, whose coming was foretold by the prophets and whose death is described in detail. He was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Jesus’ life was focussed on His death. He came to die. He predicted His own death at the hands of the religious leaders. His own people would disown, reject and kill Him in the most violent and cruel way.

More than that, He made it clear that no one could take His life from Him. He would lay it down willingly as an atoning sacrifice for sin, and He would take it up again.

The reason the Father loves me is that I lay down my life – only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father. (John 10: 17-18)

Now that is amazing? It’s no wonder His opponents said He was crazy! He was either crazy, or He was speaking about an authority far about the understanding of human beings.

And even more than that, His death was the will of the Father.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer . . .  (Isa. 53: 10)

And more than that, His death had a purpose.

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh be a sin offering. And so He condemned sin in the flesh. (Rom. 8: 3)

And His resurrection had a purpose.

He was delivered over to death for our sins and raised to life for our justification. (Rom 4: 25)

He came back to life not only to prove that death could not hold Him because He was sinless, but also to confirm that the Father had accepted His death of behalf of sinners, that the debt of sin had been paid in full, and that the Father could declare all sinners justified, that is, not guilty.

Of what, then, does the blood of Jesus speak? While Abel’s blood cried out for vengeance, the blood of Jesus speaks of mercy.

“Abel, the first martyr of faith, is a foreshadowing of our Lord Jesus, whose “blood… speaks a better word than the blood of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24). For though Abel’s innocent blood cried out for justice against sin, Jesus’s innocent blood cried out for mercy for sinners. Abel’s blood exposed Cain in his wretchedness. Jesus’s blood covers our wretchedness and cleanses us from all sin (Romans 7:241 John 1:9).”

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-dead-abel-speaks-to-us (- retrieved October 2015)

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.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

 

The Power Of The Cross – Made Holy By The Blood

THE POWER OF THE CROSS

MADE HOLY BY THE BLOOD

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through His own blood. (Heb. 13: 12)

Holiness is a scary subject, even for believers, if we don’t know what it means. We lower the volume when we sing about it in church as though holiness is something mysterious about it and we daren’t say the word too loudly!

The Bible declares that God is holy. What does it actually mean? God is absolutely and utterly disconnected from anything that is less than perfect. He is set apart from sin and set apart to Himself because there is no one greater than He. Habakkuk was well aware of this when he said:

Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent when the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? (Hab. 1: 11)

God is holy because He always acts towards His creation in righteousness and justice. He is always consistent with who He is. His holiness guarantees that He will always be faithful to who He is and what He has said.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot disown Himself. (2 Tim. 2: 13)

God’s holiness is our security. Therefore, God’s holiness should make us shout, not whisper!

However, because He created us in His image for fellowship with Himself, He requires that we be holy, that we be set apart from sin for His exclusive possession. But why should we be holy?

Firstly we are because we are to be holy because we are His sons and daughters, and He requires that we be like Him as members of His family.

Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. (Heb. 2: 11)

Secondly we are to be holy because there can be no fellowship between light and darkness.

What do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Cor. 6: 14)

But we are sinful, born in sin and spiritually dead. How can we approach a holy God as we are, polluted with sin? Since it was impossible for us to remove our guilt except through the penalty of death, God provided His own solution to remove the barrier of sin and reconcile us to Himself.

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering . . . (Rom. 8 :3)

By dying in our place, Jesus paid the debt for our sin once for all, and brought us back into the family of God as His beloved children, guilt-free so that we are once again set apart from sin to God to live for Him under His authority and for His glory. By dying in our place, Jesus changed our status from sinners to God’s holy and beloved children (Col. 3: 12).

For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Heb. 10: 14)

But that’s only the first step. We also have a part to play in becoming what we already are. Potentially, we are holy. We have been set apart from sin to God through Jesus’ death. But how do we become what we are? It’s a process and a partnership between us and God, through the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil His good purpose. (Phil. 2: 12-13)

The blood of Jesus has “washed” us clean of our sin and guilt if we have responded to God’s word. By faith we received and believed the message, and God responded to our faith by removing us from the dominion of darkness and transferring us into the kingdom of His Son, under His authority and rule.

Our responsibility now is not to make ourselves holy by trying to keep rules, but to remove ourselves from the corruption and pollution of the world, and to respond to His discipline by trusting Him in our trials and hardships and by submitting to and obeying Him because He is our Father and His love is perfect.

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all . . . They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good.in order that we may share in His holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Heb. 12: 7-8; 10)

Hardships expose our doubts, insecurities and fears, and reveal the level of our trust in God. He wants to bring us into the place where we trust Him and live in His perfect love, without fear and absolutely secure in Him so that we can enjoy uninterrupted fellowship with Him.    

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.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

 

 

                             

 

 

The Power Of The Cross – We Have Life Through His Blood

THE POWER OF THE CROSS

WE HAVE LIFE THROUGH HIS BLOOD

Never cross swords with Jesus! The Pharisees tried it and always came off second best. The amazing thing was, though, that every time Jesus engaged them in debate, He said something profound and unforgettable. Like the time they tackled Him about His declaration that He was the bread of life. Once again they demanded a sign. Refusing to recognise that He was their Messiah, they kept harping on the same thing: “Give us a sign. Give us a sign.”

Jesus insisted that He had given them sign after sign but it made no difference. They were not convinced and they demanded yet another sign. Moses gave them bread of heaven. That was a sign that he was a prophet from God. What would Jesus give them? He startled them by declaring that Moses’ manna was not the real bread from heaven. He was!

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6: 51)

That shook them. He must be joking! What did He mean? Was He advocating cannibalism? Of course not! Then He said something even more explicit.

Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.’ (John 6: 53-54)

Jesus was a Hebrew. He thought and spoke like a Hebrew. He was not talking about literally eating His flesh but about what eating does. We eat food to nourish our bodies. Eating food keeps us alive. When we stop eating, we die.

Jesus spoke of His flesh and blood as nourishment, obviously not for our bodies but for our spirits. He was referring to His broken body and poured out blood given willingly as a sacrifice for sin for the whole world. To eat His flesh and drink His blood implied believing the truth of the meaning of His sacrifice. Faith in what He did for them would bring them back to life because they were dead in their sins.

Jesus was referring back to a statement in the Old Testament that explained why blood was so significant. Long before the discoveries of science and medicine, God made clear in His Word what we know to be true today. The life is in the blood.

“So says Leviticus 17:11. Everyone knows that we must have enough blood flowing around our body or else our bodily functions deteriorate and we die. Yet for a long time the exact function of blood was little understood. In what ways has modern science shown Leviticus 17:11 to be true?

Blood is fundamental to the function of every cell of every component in our bodies. Cells need food to survive, grow, repair themselves and to fulfill their specific functions, and, to reproduce. Cellular food is transported in blood to provide energy for all the cells’ needs. As humans are multicellular organisms, having separate specialized organs with highly sophisticated functions, transport and communication between these structures is essential.”

http://creation.com/life-is-in-the-blood (- retrieved October 2015)

We all know that, when the body is depleted of blood, the organs cease to function and the body dies. Without blood, there is no life.

Jesus used this analogy to explain that His blood, not flowing in His body but poured out through His broken flesh, provides life for the inner being when it is taken in by faith. Sin killed the spirit of the first pair and, since that moment, death came upon every one of their descendants because we have all sinned.

But Jesus declared the good news that His life, poured out on the cross by the shedding of His blood, has given us life, not just physical but eternal life.

For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness, reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. (Rom. 5: 17)

And this life is given to us as a free gift! Just as we take in food to sustain our physical lives, so we take in by faith the blood of Jesus which gives us and sustains our eternal life. Jesus said to Martha:

‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ (John 11: 25)

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.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?

 

 

The Power Of The Cross – Our Consciences Cleansed From Dead Works

THE POWER OF THE CROSS

 OUR CONSCIENCES CLEANSED FROM DEAD WORKS

The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ who, through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God. (Heb. 9: 13-14)

“The law of God given to Moses is a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that the Israelites’ behaviour reflected their status as God’s chosen people. It encompasses moral behaviour, their position as a godly example to other nations, and systematic procedures for acknowledging God’s holiness and mankind’s sinfulness. In an attempt to better understand the purpose of these laws, Jews and Christians categorize them. This has led to the distinction between moral law, ceremonial law, and judicial law.”

http://www.gotquestions.org/ceremonial-law.html (- retrieved October 2015)

According to the writer to the Hebrews, the sacrifices prescribed in the Mosaic Law could do no more than remove their guilt for transgressing the ceremonial law. Let’s look at an example. A woman has a baby – which involves the shedding of blood. There is nothing morally wrong with giving birth but, because she bled, she became ceremonially unclean because the shedding of blood was contrary to God’s perfection. She, therefore, was obligated to offer a sacrifice to remove her ceremonial impurity.

All the animal sacrifices prescribed for every condition and every transgression in the old covenant served one of two purposes; firstly, they covered ceremonial guilt but could not change the status of the worshipper. No matter how many sacrifices they offered, they could not approach God except through a priest who was their designated mediator, because of sin. Secondly, they reminded the worshipper of the barrier of sin that separated him from a holy God.

The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. . . But those sacrifices are an annual reminder of sin. (Heb. 10: 1; 3)

Animal sacrifices were a foreshadowing of something much better that was to come.

What are the “acts that lead to death”, to which the writer refers? Sin can be both the things we do, say or even think that transgress God’s absolute perfection and the so-called “good works” we do to try to gain God’s favour. In His mercy God intervened to change our status before Him by sending His own Son to take our place. He came under judgment for our sin and paid our debt by submitting to death although He had no guilt of His own.

Jesus was born of a human mother, but He was not conceived by a human father but by the Holy Spirit. He became the “last Adam”, without sin, but subject to our human condition in a fallen world so that he could prove His love for the Father as a son by living in perfect submission and obedience to Him. After 33 years of sinless living, He gave up His life by being executed on the cross – condemned as a criminal, but not guilty.

His death became an atoning sacrifice for all people, for all sin, for all time. He is the only human being who ever died as punishment for sin He did not commit, qualifying Him to be the Saviour of the world.

The human problem is that we are not only guilty of transgressing God’s laws and His holy nature, but we are also guilty of believing that we can balance our sin by doing “good works” which we think will satisfy God’s justice. How can a murderer hope to make amends for his crime by doing community service for a prescribed length of time? No amount of “doing good”will make up for taking a life. The law demands appropriate punishment for the crime. But we apply that kind of cock-eyed thinking to God!

All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are as filthy rags . . . (Isa. 64: 6)

God demands the death of the sinner and no amount of “community service” will take away the guilt of our sin. The problem is that we are already dead because sin has killed us. So it’s not a case of balancing our bad deeds with good deeds. No amount of good deeds will bring us back to life.

But, because of His love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions . . . (Eph. 2: 4)

We have been declared “not guilty” because our debt has been paid and our sentence carried out by Jesus. We now have a clean conscience and a clean slate and can approach the Father acceptably because we have peace with God (Rom. 5: 1)

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.

Have you read my first book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3,                                                                              eBook 978-4828-0511-6

Available on www.amazon.com in paperback, e-book or kindle version, on www.takealot.com  or order directly from the publisher at www.partridgepublishing.com.

My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.

For more details, check my website:

http://luellaannettecampbell.com/

Have you read my blogs on www.learningtobeason.wordpress.com ?