Thursday, September 6, 2012

Christ – the Mediator


He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” - Genesis 3:24

I was recently asked how Jesus saves us by a person looking to learn about Christianity.  I think being raised under God’s word we sometimes forget the things of our faith that are mysterious to anyone looking in.  How Jesus reconciles us to God is one of those mysteries.  To understand it, we have to go back to the point in which we were already reconciled – before sin.
In the beginning man was without sin.  God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  They were in complete fellowship. There was nothing between them – no sin.  God, being holy, cannot look upon sin (Habakkuk 1:13).  In this perfect time in humanity, we were able to come directly to God of our own accord.

But when sin entered in, God did the most loving thing.  There were not one, many trees in the Garden of Eden.  Two of the trees were special, and were given names.  We often hear of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil that Eve ate of, which brought sin into our lives.  God had already told them that if they ate of it, they would die (Genesis 2:16).  I believe this had nothing to do with the tree itself, nor the fruit being some sort of poison.  But breaking the command to not eat of it would be disobedience to God, which is sin.  Sin has a consequence, and that consequence is always death (“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”- Romans 6:23).
The second named tree in the garden was the Tree of Life.  Eating of this tree would cause eternal life.  Genesis 3:24 says “He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.  Why would God then prevent us returning to eternal life after we had sinned?  If we were to then live eternally after becoming sinners, we would eternally live without Him.  God, in his purity and divine goodness, cannot look upon sin.  He assured that we would not live forever in sin so that we could be reconciled back to Him in death.

The issue then becomes how to we have fellowship with God after we have sinned?  How can we again be made clean and sinless?  God then presented us with a way – the Sin Offering.  The offering was first described Exodus 30:10, but also mentioned throughout the Old Testament.  In Exodus 30:10 it says And Aaron shall make atonement upon its horns once a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonement; once a year he shall make atonement upon it throughout your generations. It is most holy to the Lord.”
Why is blood necessary?  There is life in blood, and blood can only be created by God.  To this day with all our scientific and medical achievements, we can tell you all the parts of blood down to every cell, but we cannot reproduce it, and we never will.  God gives life, and He does so through the miracle of blood.  The shedding of blood would bring death, and death is the wage (cost) of sin.  In the Old Testament this was done repeatedly to cleanse us from sin because the blood of lambs and other animals was offered.  But not just any animal – it had to be a spotless, perfect animal.  The sin offering did not last because human life was given a soul, and animals are not.  As our souls are eternal, and an animals are not, the blood of an animal cannot be an eternal sin offering.

Then enter Jesus!  Behold the Perfect Lamb of God!  Jesus, being fathered by the Holy Spirit, and born from Mary, a woman, had a soul and blood and was sinless.  Jesus was the only one of His kind - fully man, and fully God.  As you may know, blood has many types (A, B, O, and combinations of them based on the parental blood types).  Jesus’ blood was divine in the His was type God and type man.  Note that God, being Spirit, and being the creator of blood, would not have blood that is like the blood we know.  I don't profess to understand God's blood type, I only know that our blood as humang beings is from both parents, and Jesus was  made human.

But God being eternal (life comes from the blood) would mean that Jesus would be eternal as well - except for the fact that He was also man.  This gave him the ability to experience death.  And as God had planned before the world was created, Jesus died as the lamb slain for our eternal sins (Revelations 13:8). He died perfect, without spot or blemish, making Him a complete and acceptable sacrifice for our sins.

So what did Jesus’ death do for us?  Nothing if you don’t believe in Him.  Just as the law of the Sin Offering of blood in the Old Testament was a willful act of man to make himself right with God, accepting the blood of Jesus as our atonement has to be willful as well.  God will not push the sacrifice on you.  You have to simply accept that Jesus is the Son of God, crucified for our sins, raised from the dead through His Holy Blood, and our mediator to our Holy God. 

I like how Paul puts it in Romans 10:8-13 best:
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Jesus Christ, an eternal blood sacrifice for our sins, and a mediator for us to God.  Accept Him and receive salvation. Reject Him, and the wages of sin will still be your death and a death separated from God by the gates of Hell.  Choose LIFE.

(To understand more about what Jesus’ death and salvation give us, read Romans 8.)
(To understand what the Bible says about Hell and not accepting Jesus, read: Matthew 10:28, Matthew 23:33; 2 Peter 2:4-9, Revelation 20:10-15).


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