“On this account the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it again. I have received this commandment of my Father.” (John 10:17-18)
No one would be able to crucify Jesus if that were not the Plan of God (cf. Acts 2:23). It is Jesus Himself who CHOSE to lay down His life for us; were it not so, no one would be able to take His life. But Jesus loved us with the greatest love: “No one has greater love than this, that one should lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) And it was impossible for Jesus to be held in the power of death (cf. Acts 2:24), because He is the Resurrection and the Life (cf. John 11:25)! How could death hold the Resurrection and the Life Himself?! How can one seek the LIVING One among the dead (cf. Luke 24:5)? Jesus has the authority to lay down His life and to take it again, as He is God the Son who is the Life. So “he was raised the third day, according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:4). Just as the prophecies of the Scripture said beforehand, CHRIST HAS RISEN from the dead; He overcame sin and death.
But why did He die? Why did He choose to pass through that terrible and violent death? Why did the Life Himself choose to get separated from life? Why did He choose to be forsaken by God?… He is innocent and sinless; so why did He choose to be condemned to a violent death reserved for the greatest criminals of His days?… It is because “All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid upon him the iniquity of us all”, as the prophet Isaiah foretold almost 700 years before Christ in Isaiah 53:6. We all have sinned. We refused the Way of God, and each one of us has chosen his own way. Each one of us thinks this life is his own, and that he has the right to live it as it pleases him… We have chosen our own ways, our own opinions, our own philosophies of life, and we despised the Will of God. We have chosen to live for ourselves and not for God. There is none of us who is righteous, not even one, not even the greatest “Saint” (cf. Romans 3:10). Even those of us who make every effort not to sin and not to displease God fall in sins, and none of us can say that he is perfect and that he does not commit any sin against the holy Law of God (cf. Romans 8:5-8). Actually, the fact is not that we just sinned, that we just committed some sins, but it is that we did nothing but sin! By nature, none of us understands the things of the Spirit of God, we naturally despise everything related to God, and there is none of us who naturally seeks for God and for His Will (cf. Romans 3:11 and 1 Corinthians 2:14). We have done nothing but sin, as we all have turned aside and we became useless to the Glory of God, and there is none among us who does good, there is not even one (cf. Romans 3:12). Even those works which seem good to us when compared to the works of other fallen humans, are considered as bad in the sight of the Holy God who hates sin, all sins, and not just what we call “big” sins… For God, all our good works done without His Grace are filthy and sinful, as they are not done to His Glory but with selfish purposes, and He describes them as filthy garments: “For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.” (Isaiah 64:6)
And all this describes our condition away from God.
Is this a condition of good health?
Is this a condition of sickness?
Yes, in case we want to call death a sickness! Indeed, our condition which is described above is called death, i.e. total spiritual separation from the life of God and from His holiness. God says that we are “dead in our transgressions” (Ephesians 2:5). Our condition is a condition of rebellion against God’s Will, i.e. sin. And God says: “For the wages of sin [is] death” (Romans 6:23) The wage that we receive for our rebellion against God, i.e. for our sinfulness, is death. This is not just a physical death. This is the condition or the nature of total separation from the life and Righteousness and Glory of God. This condition of death is described above: we have chosen our own ways, and we do nothing but sin. This is spiritual death. Spiritual death is not only a future condemnation to Hell. It is a present condition and nature in which we are, as we refused to obey God and each one of us chose his own way… And the end of this condition of death is surely death in Hell forever, i.e. the judgment to an eternal separation from God in the terrible darkness and fire of Hell.
And none of us can raise himself from this condition of death, as a dead man cannot make himself alive. Whatever you do, you cannot make yourself alive to God. Even if you try to do unimaginable sacrifices and good works, it is all considered by God as “filthy garments”, because you never do anything perfectly pure, and all your works are mingled with sins and selfish motives. Your sinfulness cannot glorify God. You cannot participate in the life of God with your sinfulness, and thus you are separated from the Glory of God: “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). In order to solve the problem of separation from God, you are asked to pay the debt of your sins, i.e. eternal separation from God in Hell, and that is impossible for you, because that eternal separation itself is what you are aiming to avoid! And besides this, you need to do all the good works that you could have done, without committing any sin! This is something impossible for anyone of us to do, because we all are sinners and cannot be perfect in ourselves in order to restore the relationship with the Holy God who refuses any relationship with sin… This is our condition: a total slavery to sin; a condition of spiritual death.
As you can see, our condition is as hopeless as the case of a dead man… We all stand powerless before a corpse. The corpse itself is more powerless than all of us! None of us can save himself from this condition of spiritual death, and eternal Hell is our unavoidable destiny… The only solution would be this: one of us, who is alive (i.e. he never sinned and he did all the good that he could have done) and has the power to give us life, takes our place and pays our debt of eternal death, he overcomes death and he is not lost himself forever in Hell, and he thus gives us life, i.e. he makes us pass from death to life. Well, we can say that this is as hopeless as the above: none of us is alive, because none of us has never sinned and has done all the good that he could have done. Besides this, none of us has the power to give us life, as none of us has an authority over his own life to lay it down in our place! That would be suicide, and suicide is a sin. So anyone of us who would try to do this for us would be lost forever in Hell because of his sins… Indeed, the case is so hopeless… The condemnation of God against us because of our sins is just, and we all deserve eternal Hell, and none of us can do anything to change this condition… It is impossible for us…
But “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” (Luke 18:27)
The Good News is that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him may not perish, but have life eternal.” (John 3:16) No human can understand the depth of this love! God was not obliged to do this. We didn’t deserve it. None of us had any righteousness that would make God obliged to do this favor to him! Even more: God KNEW that many of us would despise this sacrifice; but He did it nonetheless! What an unconditional love! God knew that no one could save us from our sins and our spiritual death, and that no one could give us life, and He chose to send to us someone who could meet the characteristics detailed above concerning the Savior: He is alive (i.e. He never sinned and He did all the good that He could have done), He doesn’t even have the sinful nature that we have, and He has the power to give us life; He takes our place and pays our debt of eternal death, He overcomes death and He is not lost Himself forever in Hell, and He thus gives us life, i.e. He makes us pass from death to life. When this Savior would be born, the angel told Joseph, to whom Mary was betrothed: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)
Indeed, Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and didn’t inherit our sinful nature that we get by the natural way of marriage between a man and a woman. In other terms, Jesus is not of Adam by nature; He came from above, from Heaven. He is the Word of God who became human. He has the same human nature that we have, but without sin. As He is God the Son, the Word of God, so He is Holy by nature, “full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) He lived the only sinless life that this earth has known. JESUS… The Lord Jesus never sinned! He even challenged His enemies: “Which one of you convicts Me of sin?” (John 8:46) None could convict Him of any sin. He is the Perfect. And He did all the good that He could have done. The people witnessed for Him: “He does all things well; he makes both the deaf to hear, and the speechless to speak.” (Mark 7:37). He has the power to give us life, for He is the Life who came down from the Father. He raised Lazarus from the dead, after he was for four days dead in the tomb!
Just before raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus said:
“I am the resurrection and the life: he that believes on me, though he have died, shall live; and every one who lives and believes on me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)
The key is to believe in Him, i.e. to repent of your sins, to leave the sinful system of the world, to admit that you’re a totally lost sinner, and to put your whole trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, because He alone can save you from your sins and give you the eternal life. Note what Jesus said: He didn’t just say that he who believes in Him will rise from the dead; that would be obvious, because even those who don’t believe in Christ will rise; the only difference in resurrection between the believers and the unbelievers is this: “those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:29) And yet this is a big difference!… But Jesus was not just talking about resurrection. Jesus said that he who believes in Him, though he have died, shall LIVE! That’s LIFE! That’s eternal life. Those who don’t believe in Christ will die in their sins, as we have seen above, because the spiritual death in which they are naturally leads to an eternal separation from God in Hell where the unbelievers will go with their risen bodies. Jesus was talking about life, spiritual life, and not only about a physical resurrection. He who believes in Christ, even if he dies physically, yet he will live! (And not: yet he will become alive…) The physical death cannot kill the spiritual life that he has by faith in Christ. And even more! Jesus didn’t stop here; He continued: And he who lives (this is physical or biological life) and believes in Him, will IN NO WISE die forever! (This is what the Greek form means: in no wise). It is impossible that any of those who have real faith in Christ may die spiritually; they will live forever, and no one and nothing can kill that life that Christ gives, because those who have Christ, have the eternal life Himself who does not die. Jesus is the eternal life, and Jesus does not die again (cf. 1 John 1:2, 1 John 5:11-12, Romans 6:9).
And how did Jesus give us the life? By dying for us, i.e. by His blood. As He is the only sinless and perfect human, so He took our place and paid our debt of eternal death. As His life has an eternal value because He is God, so His death for us on the cross has the value of our eternal separation from God in Hell. He had already said: “For also the Son of man did not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and give his life a ransom for many.“ (Mark 10:45) On the cross, He finished the work of our Redemption, and He said: “It is finished!” (John 19:30) It is all finished; we can’t add anything to that fully finished Salvation that He prepared; we can just receive it by faith, by putting ourselves under the authority of Jesus Christ the Lord. This means that we should put our will and our life and our ambitions and our all under the authority of Jesus Christ. For more about this faith by which we can be saved, please read HOW TO BE JUSTIFIED BEFORE GOD?
In order to have this eternal life, it is not enough to know that Jesus rose from the dead. And contrary to what is usually believed, it is also not enough to believe from all your heart that He rose from the dead; that helps in nothing to save you. It is also not enough to believe from all your heart that Jesus died for our sins. I imagine how many readers are surprised when they read this. Indeed, if you want to be saved, you need to believe that Jesus died for YOUR sins, and that as He rose from the dead, so you rose from spiritual death TO WALK IN NEWNESS OF LIFE:
“We have been buried therefore with him by baptism unto death, in order that, even as Christ has been raised up from among [the] dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
If you don’t have this newness of life, then you have no reason to think that you are saved, even if you believe from all your heart that Jesus died for our sins and that He rose from the dead, and even if you fight with those who say otherwise and you kill them!… even if you’re so jealous for that Christianity which is another kind of religion and has no life in it… You need to have the Life! Jesus Christ is the Life, so you need to receive Him and to submit to Him. You need to deny yourself, and to put yourself under the Will of Christ the Lord. No other kind of faith is real faith. No other kind of faith can ever save you. You need to have this newness of life, and this life cannot be made by you… You can’t fake it… you can’t try to have it by your good morality or by going to a biblical church or whatever… You need to receive Jesus Christ who is the life. You need to be born of God. And then the Lord will make you grow in this newness of life as you walk in it BY FAITH ALONE in the blood of Jesus Christ.
When Lazarus was dead in the tomb, he couldn’t make himself alive. But as soon as Jesus told him to come out of the tomb, he rose from death. In the same way, those who are in spiritual death cannot make themselves alive. But as soon as Jesus Christ the Life enters their life, He makes them alive! They experience the spiritual resurrection to the newness of life. And, as we have seen, this is not biological life; this is the spiritual life, i.e. the life of righteousness in loving filial obedience to the Will of God the Father. “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17)
The Lord Jesus promised:
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, that he that hears my word, and believes him that has sent me, has life eternal, and does not come into judgment, but is passed out of death into life.” (John 5:24)
Do you believe this?
Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ
Posted in Truth