This week we have looked at some of the "who, what, where, why questions about the significance of Resurrection Sunday and Christmas. Continuing in that vein the ‘how’ becomes clear. How did Jesus redeem mankind from sin and how is this message transmitted to the world:
4-7 He wants not only us but everyone saved, you know, everyone to get to know the truth we’ve learned: that there’s one God and only one, and one Priest-Mediator between God and us—Jesus, who offered himself in exchange for everyone held captive by sin, to set them all free. Eventually the news is going to get out. This and this only has been my appointed work: getting this news to those who have never heard of God, and explaining how it works by simple faith and plain truth.1 Timothy 2;4-7 (MSG)
God and His Son Jesus wanted everyone in the world to be saved from the ultimate payment for sin, death and hell. Paul in the above passage establishes that the only One who could appeal our case before a holy God was HIs Son, Jesus, the only Priest and Mediator who had lived a sinless life; and not only lived a sinless life but offered that life up for the payment for the sins of mankind.
In this first century after the resurrection Paul was determined to spread this message, but he knew that whether it was him or someone else, eventually the message would get out. And get out it did. Despite persecutions, imprisionment, beheadings, more crucifixions, the message spread and the response to that message grew.
Yet, the message was constantly challenged as being untrue. Scripture affirms the weakness of their arguments and explains why:
But God’s angry displeasure erupts as acts of human mistrust and wrongdoing and lying accumulate, as people try to put a shroud over truth. But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.Romans 1:20 (MSG)
The reason for the conflict, God always offers a choice. Not wanting robots mimicking pious platitudes, He freely offered His Son for redemption, forcing no man:
But now we are seeing the righteousness of God declared quite apart from the Law (though amply testified to by both Law and Prophets)—it is a righteousness imparted to, and operating in, all who have faith in Jesus Christ. (For there is no distinction to be made anywhere: everyone has sinned, everyone falls short of the beauty of God’s plan.) Under this divine system a man who has faith is now freely acquitted in the eyes of God by his generous dealing in the redemptive act of Jesus Christ. God has appointed him as the means of propitiation, a propitiation accomplished by the shedding of his blood, to be received and made effective in ourselves by faith. God has done this to demonstrate his righteousness both by the wiping out of the sins of the past (the time when he withheld his hand), and by showing in the present time that he is a just God and that he justifies every man who has faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 3:24 (PHILLIPS)
More on tomorrow…