Acceptable to God
How can a sinful person ever be acceptable to
a holy God?
God takes sin seriously; it will be severely punished
unless atonement is acceptable according to God’s standard.
Sin is a barrier that separates a person from God. In the
Old Testament God dealt with man’s sin by substitution (Lev. 1:4; 4:20; 7:7;
In the New Testament sin is still a serious problem because
everyone has sinned and come short of God’s expectation (Rom. 3:23). Moreover,
an eternal hell awaits all who sin (Mk. 9:43; Lk. 12:5; Rom. 6:23).
It is the will of God that everyone come to repentance and be saved from the
wrath of God (Jn. 3:16; Rom. 5:8; 2 Pet. 3:9-10). Salvation is accomplished by
what God has done in the person and work of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul
wrote, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor. 5:19). This
reconciliation was accomplished by the death of Christ. “For if while we were
enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, how much more,
since we have been reconciled, will we be saved by his life?” (Rom. 5:10 NET).
The death of Christ is absolutely essential to our salvation. Only the death of
Christ can save us from our sins and the eternal punishment we deserve.
Jesus gave His life as “a ransom for many” (Mk. 10:45) because “God made the
one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the
righteousness of God” (2 Cor. 5:21 NET).
The sacrifice of animals could not “take away sins” (Heb. 10:4). However, the
sacrifice of Jesus did what was impossible for animal sacrifices to accomplish.
“By his will we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus
Christ once for all” (v. 10 NET). “But now he has appeared once for all at the
consummation of the ages to put away sin by his sacrifice” (9:26b NET).
By His death Jesus Christ paid the sinner’s debt in full and that death turns
away the wrath of God (Rom. 3:25). Because Jesus paid sin’s due penalty God can
be both a just and holy God, and at the same time justify the person who has
faith in Him (v.26). “For the payoff of sin is death, but the gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:23 NET).
How did Christ redeem us? “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by
becoming a curse for us (because it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on
a tree’)” (Gal. 3:13 NET). It was as a sacrificial substitute “having become a
curse for us” that he redeems us. Therefore, we can stamp across our sin debt:
“PAID IN FULL!”
Jesus bought us while we were in the slave market of sin,
paid the price in full, and set us free to live the Christian life (Eph. 1:7; 1
Cor. 6:20; Gal. 5:1). He purchased us with His own blood (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet.
1:18-19). Because our sin has been dealt with completely we are now free to
serve the LORD God. We no longer have to be preoccupied with sin, guilt and
punishment. It has been dealt with in the blood of Jesus and we can focus on
serving him with a clear conscience.
We have entered into a new covenant with God in Christ
(Heb. 9:11-15). Jesus entered “the greater and more perfect tabernacle . . .
through His own blood . . . once and for all, having obtained eternal
redemption” (Heb. 9:11-12). The effect is it cleanses our conscience from dead
works to serve the living God (v. 14).
We are now irrevocably the children of God, heirs of God
and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:15-17, 29-39; Gal. 4:6; Phil. 1:16; 2 Tim.
1:12; Jn. 5:24; 1 Jn. 5:13; 4:13; 5:10).
“All these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ,
and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18 NET). We share
with others what God has done in reconciling us to Himself.
We have a right relationship with God, the forgiveness of
our sins, and eternal life because Christ has taken our place, doing what we
could never do for ourselves.
Christ paid our debt in full; our part is simply to accept
that great salvation by faith. It is God’s free gift to the believing sinner.
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006
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