For Our Transgressions

Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 3:34 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Tell Me the Story of Jesus.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 53 (Select vv. ESV).

Who Has Believed? (vv. 1-3; cf. Rom. 10:16)

Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah of Israel, our God and Lord, came to earth and took on human form, begotten of God the Father, and born as a baby to a human mother. He suffered as we suffer, and he was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. There was nothing about his physical appearance that anyone should be attracted to him. He did have some true followers (disciples), though. And, crowds did follow him, for he healed many, he drove out evil spirits, he performed many miracles, and he fed the hungry. But, when he spoke of the cost of following him, many who had been following him deserted him, never to return.

Many of the religious leaders within the Jewish temple did not like Jesus, and they made it their mission to destroy him. They hated him because he dared to be different, because he did not follow their human rules and traditions, because he healed people on the Sabbath, and he claimed to be God; and because he confronted sinful humans with their sinful conditions, warned of divine judgment and called for repentance and faith in himself. They were jealous of him because of his temporary and short-lived popularity among the people, and because they felt their own positions of power were being threatened by him. So, they plotted his death, and he was crucified on a cross for our sins (See: Jn. 1:1-34; Jn. 6:35-66; Phil. 2:1-11; 1 Co. 5:21).

We Are Healed (vv. 4-6)

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

When Jesus died on that cross, he who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. In his death, he put sin to death, and when he was resurrected from the grave, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death for our sake. By God’s grace, through faith in him, via death to sin and resurrection to new life in Christ, we can be forgiven our sins, released from the ultimate punishment of sin (eternal damnation), delivered out of slavery to sin, and released to walk in the Spirit and in Christ’s righteousness and holiness, and be given eternal life with God.

When we are born into this world, we are born with sin natures, separate from God and unable to attain God’s divine approval through human effort. So, that is why Jesus gave his life up for us, that we might be saved from our sins, walk in the Spirit, and have eternal life with God. Because he died, we are able to die to sin, and because he lives, we can live with him and for him for eternity. Yet, he did not come to earth, take on human flesh, and suffer for our sake just so we can escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. He died that we might live for him, and he suffered that he might be our compassionate and merciful high priest in taking our sorrows upon himself that he might also comfort us in our sorrows.

The Will of God (vv. 10-12)

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,
and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,
because he poured out his soul to death
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and makes intercession for the transgressors.

It was God the Father’s will that his Son should suffer and die for our sins. This was planned for us even before the creation of the world, and that many of us would believe on him as our Savior and would become children of God, and followers of Christ. Through faith in Jesus Christ we are not only made righteous in God’s sight, but we are able to live righteously for Him and for his will for our lives, for this is why he died. Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14).

So, we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God, and no longer according to our sinful flesh. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, even if we have made a profession of faith in Christ Jesus. If we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), for His sake, we will gain eternal life with God (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14). If we claim to have fellowship with God, but we still walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6). The true story of Jesus (the gospel) is not just that Jesus died to forgive us our sins, but he died to deliver us out of slavery to sin, and to give us new lives in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:17-24; Ro. 6:1-23; Gal. 2:20). Amen!

Tell Me the Story of Jesus
Fanny J. Crosby / John R. Sweney

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”

Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past,
How for our sins He was tempted,
Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.

Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”

Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.

By God’s Power

Sunday, February 19, 2017, 11:11 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Gift of God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Peter 1:1-5 (ESV).

For Obedience (vv. 1-2)

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

This letter is addressed to the “elect” of God. So, who are the elect? They are those chosen by God for salvation and for holiness before the world was created. We were predestined by God to be conformed to the image of his Son (Ro. 8:29). All the days ordained for us were written in God’s book before any of them came into being (See: Ps. 139).

Before we can even come to faith in Jesus Christ, the Father must first draw us to Jesus (Jn. 6:44). Then, he gives us the faith to believe in him, i.e. God divinely persuades us as to his will for our lives, i.e. he convinces us or he moves us to action; to change (Eph. 2:8-10). As well, God grants us repentance, leading us to a knowledge of the truth, so that we might realize the futility of our fleshly lives, and our need of Jesus to deliver us out of slavery to sin, and so we might call on him to save us (Acts 2:21; Acts 5:30,31; Acts 11:17; Ro. 10:13; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).

Then, when we accept this God-given faith in Jesus Christ to be applied to our lives, and he turns our hearts away from sin and to God, to follow him in obedience and in surrender to his will, we are then born again (spiritually) of the Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit comes within us to live, and then he teaches, encourages, empowers and strengthens us to live godly and holy lives pleasing to God.

Yet, we are not puppets on a string. We are not possessed of the Spirit of God in the same way someone is demon possessed. One characteristic trait of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control. God does not just zap certain people and instantly they are his puppets and they no longer have control over their own minds, will and bodies. This could not be more obvious when we read the books of the New Testament. We do have a choice to believe in him or to not, i.e. to accept or to not accept this gift of faith and to appropriate it to our own lives via submission to Jesus Christ, to the cross of Christ, and to his Word (See: Jn. 3:11; Mk. 4:20; cf. Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).

Born Again (vv. 3-5)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Not one of us can be saved of our sins by our own merit. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. It was while we were yet sinners that Jesus Christ died for us. When he died, our sins died with him, and were buried with him, and when he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over sin, hell, Satan and death on our behalf. Only by God’s grace, in giving up his Son (himself) to die on a cross for our sins, can any of us be saved from our sins and have the hope of eternal life with God. Yet, we must accept this free gift of salvation, by accepting this free gift of faith, by yielding control of our lives over to God, and via surrendering our lives to his will (See: Ac. 3:19; 26:16-18; Eph. 4:17-24).

So, why did Jesus die on a cross? He died to take upon himself our sin and our punishment for sin so that, by faith in him, we might be delivered out of slavery to sin, no longer condemned to die in our sin, and so we might have eternal life with God beginning now and forevermore. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us, and that we might no longer walk (live our lives) according to our sinful flesh but according to the Spirit of God who is at work in our lives in purifying us and in making us holy (1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Ro. 8:1-14). If we have believed in Jesus with God-given faith, “our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin” (Ro. 6:6-7).

Not only were we delivered out of slavery to sin, but we have been given new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived to his righteousness, free from the control of sin over our lives. That is a “living hope!” It is not living hope if all his grace does for us is frees us from eternity in hell and promises us eternity in heaven when we die. That still leaves us in bondage to sin. So, the real hope is that we have been set free, and we no longer are under the control of Satan or sin, but now we are slaves of Christ’s righteousness. We can walk in freedom! We are not destined to live our lives fighting for survival, regularly feeling defeated by sin, and thus giving in because we feel powerless to say “No.” God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return (Tit. 2:11-14).

By God’s power we can resist Satan, flee temptation to sin, i.e. flee sinful desires, and draw near to God in full assurance of faith. This does not mean we will never sin (See: 1 Jn. 2:1), but it means we should no longer be enslaved to sin or feel as though we are powerless to defeat sin in our lives, because Jesus already won this one for us! He already conquered Satan and defeated sin on our behalf, and he has given and will give us all we need to put off the deeds of the flesh daily and to put on the armor of God with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us. He empowers us to live for him, but we have to appropriate (put into practice) what he gives us.

Gift of God / An Original Work / October 25, 2016
Based off Various Scriptures

Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Died for us on a cross;
Conquered death, sin, and hell,
So, with Him, we would dwell.

For, by His grace, we are saved.
He set us free from all sin.
Thanks be to God for His Gift.
Through faith in Him, we’re forgiven.

Holy Spirit of God,
Given to us who believe,
Gives us new life in Christ;
Made to be just like Him.

We died with Christ to our sin.
New lives in Him we begin,
Walking with Christ day by day.
We read His Word, and we pray.

Jesus, He is our Lord.
Follow Him where He leads.
Tell the world of His grace.
We’ll see Christ face to face.

Soon He is coming again.
We’ll be forever with Him.
He’ll wipe our tears all away.
Oh, what a wonderful day!