Spiritually dead people cannot live good lives. They need life. Jesus is life.
In my May 1 Proverbs, I made this statement, “Technically, we don’t have to ask Jesus to forgive our sin.” A friend of mine helped me see that it needs some explaining. Yes, Jesus died for our sin. Our sins are dismissed forever and we no longer need to make the payment for our sin personally, but there is still a transaction that needs to take place. Application must be made. We accept the sacrifice of Jesus and ask Him to apply His blood to our lives. Over these next two days, we will look at what Christ did for us and the process of salvation.
7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge [personal, intimate knowledge of Him]; not so the hearts of fools [we were once all fools]. 8 The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked [we cannot be right with God our way–“our way” is a form of rebellion], but the prayer of the upright is His delight [we need the right sacrifice: Jesus].
Enter Jesus. He is the atoning sacrifice for all sin.
12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. Hebrews 9:12
24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. Hebrews 7:24-25
Sacrifices used to cover our sin; Jesus came to forgive our sin and to remove it. Originally, sin had a stinger, which is death (1 Corinthians 15:56). Jesus removed the stinger (Romans 4:15, 8:37, 1 Corinthians 15:57).
Salvation is surrendering our lives to Jesus when He gives us His life. He describes it as removing our hearts of stone (dead in our sins) and giving us hearts of flesh, living hearts–His heart (Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26-27)! When His Spirit takes up residence in our lives, HE IS our living heart. The blood of His sacrifice is applied to us and we receive His forgiveness, His pardon. The stain of sin is removed; the desire to sin is still there, but it is trumped by our new desire to please the Father (more on this tomorrow).
Our lives are now banners that give testimony to the wonderful salvation we have received in Christ. As we live our lives, the Lord will connect us with those in whom He is working. We look for conviction of sin and a contrite heart, “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Psalm 51:17. We share the difference that Christ has made in our lives since we surrendered to Him in the hope that they will surrender their lives to Jesus, too.
Tomorrow, we look at Jesus being lifted up and why it is so important to look to Him.
Abba, I would love to present You to people as a new and improved version of life, but that’s not the truth. They have to come to terms with the fact that they are separated from You. They are cut off from the True Vine and are dead. They need life. You offer life through Your Son, Jesus. This new life comes only through Him, which is why I am constantly aware of my own need for Christ and to follow closely to Him. Jesus, You are my life; I feel most alive when I allow You to lead me, when I am obedient, when I am praising You, and when I turn to You from sinful thoughts and desires. It’s not all joy and peace, but it IS resolve: I feel You giving me what I need in each circumstance to be true to You and to be obedient. I rest in Your grace and in the fact that I am alive in You and no one can change my POSITION in You. Keep turning the diamond, Lord, so that I can see more and more facets of Your wonderful grace. Amen.