Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Finished Work of Christ Do-You Understand it?

The Finished Work Litmus Test

How familiar are you with the finished work of Jesus Christ? When you think of the cross, do you think of a man suffering and dying, or do you think of the reasons why that man suffered and died? For that matter, do you consider why it had to be that man? Could it have been anyone else who died, and if not, why? These are fundamental, simple questions about Calvary upon which the bedrock of Christianity rests.

Take this little test with me to ascertain whether or not you truly understand the work that Jesus accomplished at the cross. It is a simple test and it will only be effective if you are 100% honest in your answer. I will pose one scenario with two possible responses. You pick the response that sounds like what you FIRST think of when you see that scenario.

Scenario: Soldiers are lashing at Jesus with a whip while the flesh is ripped from His back. He is punched in the face repeatedly, and is mocked and scorned while never lifting a hand to defend Himself. A crown of thorns is plunged into His skull and the blood flows down His face, stinging His eyes. He is forced to carry His own cross up a hill where He is stripped of His clothes and then nailed to the wood, with spikes through His hands and feet. His cross is set between two common thieves and then elevated so that all can look upon Him and laugh. He struggles to breathe while the thieves hurl insults at Him. The sky grows back and you hear Jesus scream as His body takes upon it all kinds of diseases and sicknesses. Finally, He utters some words and hangs His head and dies.

Response #1 – “Oh, what a price He paid for me. He went through all of that because of my sin. He suffered and died at the hands of the Father, the least that I can do is live for Him!”

Response #2 – “Oh, what a price He paid for me. He went through all of that because of my sin. He suffered and died at the hands of the Father so I can rest assured that the Father will never judge me!”

Notice that both responses are exactly the same right up until the end. I did this on purpose, because I believe that all of us feel sadness and pain when we see that scenario, and we all realize that Jesus suffered because of our sins. The difference lies at the end of our response. Some people view Calvary as a motivation to live right. If Jesus could suffer and die for them, the least that they could do is live for Him. Calvary then becomes a source of condemnation for these believers; for they feel that no matter what they go through, they will never live up to the price that Jesus paid.

If your response was #2, then you view Calvary as a finished work that guarantees that you will never be punished in the manner that Jesus was punished. He was disciplined for your peace (Isaiah 53:5), so you need never fear an angry God. He bore your sins and iniquities so that God cannot and will not judge you for them ever. This saint believe that if God judges them for sin, then He did not judge all sin in the body of Jesus, which Peter made clear that Jesus did (1 Peter 2:24).

Jesus did not suffer and die so that you could constantly be reminded of how poor that you are living up to His death. He suffered and died so that you could have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10). The scenario remains the same, but if need be, may our response begin to change.
Posted by Pastor Paul White

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