When God created Adam, He placed him on the earth and gave him dominion over every creature and the earth itself. This first man was subject to all the laws of the universe, just as we are today. Man does not live for himself. He exists within a set of boundaries that allow him to continue to reside on the earth. God established these laws for mankind, just as He established them for the universe.
The Spiritual Laws:
- Sin and Death
- Eternal Life
Sin And Death
The principle law that we will concern ourself with in this chapter is the laws of sin and death. As gravity; “The force that attracts a body toward the center of the earth, or toward any other physical body having mass,” defines objects; the laws of sin and death defines behavior for human beings; “the soul that sins will die.”
God did not place us on this planet with no directives. We all understand that in order for human life to exist, there must be laws to govern behavior. This only became true after the fall of man. Before Adam fell into sin and death began, there was only one rule: “Don’t eat from one fruit in the garden. This single law became the method, by-which, man could measure his love and obedience to his Creator. If Adam truly loved God and would do as He had instructed him; there would be no end to his life, nor the perfection of his existence. If Adam wished to exercise his right of choice and disobey God, then the result would be a loss of eternal life, and his relationship with God.
And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” ~Genesis 2:16-17
There was only one rule: don’t eat from this one tree, one penalty: death.
This is the law of sin and death that God had established: “The soul that sins will die.”
“Behold, all souls are Mine; The soul of the father As well as the soul of the son is Mine; The soul who sins shall die.” ~Ezekiel 18:4
This is what God told Adam on the day that he first sinned. His disobedience would result in a “curse,’ that would permeate the entire earth and cause death and decay to begin.
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it: Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.’ ” ~Genesis 3:17
The Bible is clear that all men, since Adam, are under a curse. From the moment that Adam disobeyed God, he was under the judgment of sin and death. Because all men are descended from Adam, all human beings have inherited this curse.
Paul wrote later in the New Testament that this was the purpose for Jesus coming into the world, to remove the curse.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.” Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)… ~Galatians 3:10-13
What Happened To Adam After His Sin:
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. ~Genesis 3:7-8
Their eyes were opened; and for the first time, they noticed that they were naked. They felt guilt and hid themselves from God. Prior to Adam’s sin, he was not focussed on himself; he was looking at Eve and his relationship with God and all of creation. The fact that immediately after Adam’s sin occurs, he becomes self-aware; illustrates the defect that is in all of us. We are sinners by nature, being self-consumed. This defective nature that we all posses is the cause of all of the pain and suffering that is in the world.
The Bible is clear that all men, since Adam, are under a curse because of the actions of Adam. He was our representative and by his failure, every person on the planet has suffered the consequences. From the moment that Adam disobeyed God, he was under the judgment of sin and death. Because all men are descended from Adam, all human beings have inherited this curse.
We Are Not Sinners Because We Sin; We Sin Because We Are Sinners.
Our propensity towards sin comes from the fact that we are inherently flawed in our basic spiritual D.N.A. We commit sin because that is what we do best. It is not really possible for any human being to not sin.
A large part of the plan of God in allowing Jesus to suffer for the sins of all people was that God would have a righteous basis to forgive sin. The pronouncement of God was that: The soul that sins will die.
How God Justifies The Sinner
In order for God to be seen as Just, He must punish sin by the death of the guilty. God does not ever overlook sin; He always judges it and punishes all wrong, just as He said that He would. There is, however, a provision in the law of God that allows for an innocent, who has done no wrong, to substitute his life for the life of the guilty. The innocent is made culpable by the transfer of sins to his account and then takes the punishment that is due. The former guilty party is treated as innocent, and there is no record of wrongdoing attached to his account. This is exactly what was accomplished by the provision in the law of God, to which Jesus availed Himself on our behalf.
Then he shall put his hand on the head of the burnt offering (who is innocent), and it will be accepted on his behalf to make atonement for him (who is guilty). ~Leviticus 1:4
Although the process of sin’s removal is the same in both the Old and New Testament examples, through an innocent second party, the permanent removal of those sins in the Old Testament did not occur until the Messiah made His one perfect sacrifice for all those sins. After Jesus’ death, everyone who comes to Him, based on this provision in the law; they have their sins fully paid, and removed from their record.
In the Books of Exodus, Chapter 29, and Leviticus, Chapter 4, the Lord describes a process whereby a person who has committed sin may have those sins atoned for by the death of an innocent animal. This sacrifice did not remove the sin of the persons who committed them; it simply acted as a kofar—a covering, until the Messiah would come and make His one perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people. God was illustrating the seriousness of sin and the cost involved to have those sins judged. If no sacrifice was made, if there was no shedding of blood, then the sins could not be atoned for.
And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. ~Hebrews 9:22
Jesus, The One Who Justifies The Sinner
Jesus came, in the words of Isaiah; to proclaim to the ends of the world this great salvation that would be accomplished by the Messiah. Jesus fulfilled every point and purpose of the law of God, by becoming the perfect sacrifice that would; once and for all, remove our sins.
But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. ~Hebrews 9:11-15
Old Testament Sacrifices Did Not Remove Sin
Paul’s puts forth the argument in Hebrews Chapter 10, that if innocent animals who shed their blood, could take away the guilt of the offending sinner and allow them to continue to worship God, how much more can the precious blood of the Son of God completely remove our sin and our guilt—forever? The purpose of these Old Testament laws were to serve as a “shadow of the good things to come.” If the Old Testament sacrifices had been perfect, then the person offering the animal would have experienced the complete removal of their sins. This was not the case; however, the sinner who brought his sacrifice, understood that his sins were still present. God was allowing a temporary provision to cover the guilt of the sinner until the Messiah arrived to permanently remove them forever.
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. ~Hebrews 10:1
To be “saved,” means to be rescued from the law of sin and death, so that it no longer has any effect upon you.
The Arrival Of Jesus And The New Covenant
To this end, the prophet Jeremiah describes the arrival of a God-man, who will have the capacity to remove the curse that Adam caused and restore all those who believe, back to a perfect relationship with God.
The Messiah will make a new covenant in His blood that will make the first covenant obsolete.
Old Testament Prediction:
Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke… ~Jeremiah 31:31-32
New Testament Fulfillment:
(Jesus Speaking) For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. ~Matthew 26:28
…by so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant. ~Hebrews 7:22
But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah—not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. ~Hebrews 8:6-10
In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. ~Hebrews 8:13
Hebrew Scholar, Paul of Tarsus, Confirms That Jesus Was The Object Of Jeremiah’s Prophecy
In confirming the fulfillment of this prophecy from Jeremiah 31:31-32, Paul directly quotes the exact words of the prophet in describing the work of Jesus Christ, to accomplish our complete salvation; by the shedding of His blood on the cross.
Jeremiah: Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. —Jeremiah 31:31
Paul: Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah —Hebrews 8:9
According to the covenant of the Old Testament, a person who had sinned could have his sins “covered” (not removed) by the blood of an innocent. These sacrifices for sin had to take place every time a sin was committed.
The Old Testament Sacrifices Had Limits In What They Could Accomplish:
Although the sacrifice of these animals served as an illustration for what God would do later through the Messiah’s perfect sacrifice for all sins, these animals could not permanently remove sin’s penalty and make a person perfect before God.
For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. ~Hebrews 10:1-4
The Sacrifice That Jesus Made For Us, As Described By The New Testament, Is Without Limits In What It Has Accomplished:
Jesus death on the cross, fully vindicates all those who look to His sacrifice as the final payment for their sins. These sins were completely removed at Jesus death, and they no loner remain on the account of those who receive Jesus by faith.
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. ~Hebrews 10:10-14
The purpose of the many Old Testament laws was to serve as a shadow of the good things to come. If the Old Testament sacrifices were perfect, then they would not need to be offered continuously. Once the person who made the sacrifice completed the ritual, then his sins would have been completely removed. This was not the case however; the sinner who made his sacrifice understood that his sins were still present. God was allowing a temporary provision to cover the guilt of the sinner until the promise of God through His Messiah could come and permanently pay for these sins, and thereby remove them forever.
This is the topic of this prophecy by Jeremiah 31:31-32, that God will make a “new covenant” with Israel, and finally to the whole world. In this new agreement, the sacrifice that Jesus made one time for all of us, is the only means by which God is ready to save us all.
The Basis Of The New Covenant
Malachi continues our education is understanding the laws of sin and death and how the Messiah will bring the message of a new covenant between God and man. What God requires for salvation, is the most important issue of all human life. The basis of forgiveness of sins in the Old Testament was the animal sacrifices that were continually offered. On every occasion when a person would sin, they must bring a sacrifice for each sin. Under the new covenant of God, all sins were fully paid and forgiven, by one sacrifice. As the Messiah comes to offer His perfect and eternal life for the sins of the world, by His death and resurrection; salvation is available to every person.
Here the prophet Malachi states that when the Messiah comes, He will bring a new covenant that will exist between God and man.
Old Testament Prediction:
“Behold, I send My messenger, And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, Will suddenly come to His temple, Even the Messenger of the covenant, In whom you delight. Behold, He is coming,” Says the LORD of hosts. ~Malachi 3:1c
New Testament Fulfillment:
Therefore, when Messiah came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, “Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’ ” Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first covenant that He may establish the second. ~Hebrews 10:5-9
By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God… ~Hebrews 10:10-12
Jesus’ Singular-Perfect-Life, Makes Us Ready For Heaven
This is one of the most important questions of a person’s life. Just as there are thousands of religions, with millions of churches who claim to have the answer to this question, how can we know who is correct? The correct answer is: Jesus.
What distinguishes Christianity from other religions of the world, is the singular life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. As you have read through this book, you have no doubt been struck by the uniqueness of Jesus. You have come to understand that salvation is not possible for any person, apart from Jesus death for our sins. The reasons are many, but they are all directed at two important points:
How God’s Salvation Works
- By Grace: Salvation is a free gift that became possible because of Jesus’ willingness to die and pay the penalty for our sins. There is nothing that any person can do to earn their salvation except to receive the forgiveness of sins and believe that God has saved you.
- Through Faith: A sincere trust in the completed sacrifice for all sins that Jesus accomplished by dying on the cross and raising Himself from the dead.
- With Repentance: A heartfelt and urgent desire to turn from all sin and to cease the practice of sin from the moment of salvation.
- A Sincere Trust In Jesus: To understand that Jesus died for your sins and that His death has fully satisfied God’s wrath against you. To be serious and earnest in seeking salvation from Jesus; not a casual, callous, insincere, or uncommitted confession made in a moment of emotion or doubt.
- A Diligent Endurance: Those who are really saved, abide in Jesus and never leave Him, regardless of the cost, difficulties, discouragement, persecution, or losses of life.
The principle of salvation and the granting of eternal life, requires moral perfection. Because all human beings are sinners, their salvation is not possible, apart from a supernatural work of God. A provision in the law of God allows for a substitution at the place of judgement for sins—providing that this substitute is a human being, perfect and without sin, and has a life of sufficient value to pay the ransom of all human lives.
Only Jesus Meets All The Demand Required Of A Savior
God sent His Son into the world for the purpose of saving us. He was able to accomplish this because of His unique qualifications. Jesus took the body of a man and came to earth as one of us.
First: The law of God requires that only another human being can save us. As Jesus is also the Eternal God, dwelling within the body of a human being, His life is of infinite value. This is a prerequisite because the one who is offering His life for ours, must have a value that is equal to, or greater than; all of the lives that He is saving. As God came to us in the form of a human being, and His life has sufficient value to redeem us; Jesus was uniquely qualified to offer His life for us. See the chapters: Virgin Birth, A Body Prepared, and Passover Lamb.
Second: Based upon the above requirements, there is no other person, religion, or institution of man; that can meet these demands of God’s law. Therefore, it is impossible for us to save ourselves by our good works, since they will always fail the test of perfection. Although we may have the capacity to do many good things, we are not capable of being good in all things.
This is a requirement of God for eternal life: perfection in moral behavior. We all understand that if imperfection is allowed in any system, before long, it begins to affect all of the other parts of a system. In the simple example of a basket of fruit: just one spot on one piece of fruit that has begun to decay, will eventually cause the ruin of all the other pieces of fruit.
The entire basis of all human law is to remove those from society who refuse to obey the laws of government that protect the safety and serenity of all other persons. We all understand that imperfection in human life, greatly affects the quality of life for everyone. In heaven, there will be no imperfection in anything. Only those who are fully ready, by obtaining perfection in their moral behavior, will be permitted in heaven.
By Jesus’ death and resurrection, His perfect life has made all of our imperfect lives—perfect. Once we believe upon Jesus our sins do not have the power to keep us out of heaven since they have been removed. They do, however, have the capacity to affect our fellowship with God in our current relationship. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to remove them; and our fellowship with God can continue. This new relationship with God, based upon Jesus death and resurrection; makes us fully ready for heaven. Those who take Jesus as their Savior are “Born Again,” by the Spirit of God:
Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” ~John 3:3-5
In our first birth, we are born of water at our physical birth when we come out from our mother’s womb through the water.
In our second birth, we are born of the Spirit when we turn our life over to Jesus Christ, trusting in the sacrifice that He has made for us on the cross.
Every living human being has experienced birth by water; however, only those who choose to be born of the Spirit will be born again a second time. Spiritual rebirth sets us free from the curse of Adam because we are no longer under the power of sin and death. When we place our trust in Jesus as our Savior, God causes the rebirth of our formerly dead spirit. This is what Jesus was referring to as being born again.
Those who refer to themselves as “Born again Christians” are describing this new spiritual birth, in which Jesus has removed the old curse that sin had formerly placed us under and He has given us a new life directed by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said in the above verse from John Chapter 3, that admittance into heaven comes only by a spiritual rebirth through Him as our Messiah, not through any good works that we might try to perform to please God. Nicodemus was a leader in Israel. He believed that his righteousness came from the fact that he was a son of Abraham and because he kept the laws of Moses. Jesus informs Nicodemus that God only accepts those people who come to Him through a new spiritual rebirth, not by being a son of Abraham, or by keeping the laws of Moses.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit. ~John 3:6-8
The spiritual birth which occurs when we sincerely turn our life over to Jesus is not something that is always outwardly visible. New birth happens internally within our spirit where our true self resides. The real you is spirit, and this spirit is dead to God while we remain under the curse. God created your spirit to exist for eternity. However, without this new birth, our spirit will remain dead within us. If we do not experience a new spiritual birth, we will remain dead to God and separated from Him forever. Without the new birth, we will remain under the curse of Adam’s disobedience and our own sins that we have committed.
This is the reason that a person cannot understand the Bible, the nature of God, nor how His plans for the universe operate. God only reveals Himself to those who are in a new spiritual relationship with Him, having had the curse removed through the sacrifice that Jesus has made for us on the cross.
But people who aren’t spiritual can’t receive these truths from Gods Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they cant understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means. ~1 Corinthians 2:14 (NLT)
If we choose to live our life apart from God by denying Jesus and His desire to remove our sins and the curse, then there remains no other way for God to save us. If we live for ourselves and to please our flesh, then we are already dead. If we choose to be born again and live our life directed by the Spirit of God who will reside in us, then we will live forever.
So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey Gods laws, and it never will. Thats why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God. ~Romans 8:6-8 (NLT)
If we choose to be Born Again by the Spirit, then God’s Spirit will begin to live within us, helping us to make better decisions to not sin as often as we had, before we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. ~Romans 8:9-10
The body that we live in is not a part of God’s plan of salvation, only our spirit (you will receive a new body). Because our bodies are unredeemed for the present time, we will continue to struggle with sin throughout our lifetime. We have a new nature that comes from being born again, while at the same time, we live within our old body that loves to sin. You can see how this presents us with great difficulty. Romans 8:6 above describes this conflict as a state of war between our flesh and God. We want to please the Lord with our new spiritual nature that has been born again, while our body seeks only to please itself.
Thankfully, because Jesus will live within us for the rest of our life, He gives us the power to overcome sin, if this is our desire. The Lord will also give us the power to rise from the dead, never to die again, when He returns for us.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. ~Romans 8:11
It was by the sacrifice that Jesus has made for us on the Cross, where He took the curse of Adam and removed it, that we are no longer under the condemnation which God placed on Adam and all of his descendants.
…Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us… ~Galatians 3:13
Those who receive Jesus as their Messiah and have their sins removed are not only called born again; they are also described as being a new creation. All of the old things from our former life have passed away; everything has become new.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. ~2 Corinthians 5:17
All sins which you have done in your former life before the moment you received Jesus as your Savior, no longer exist. God has placed all of your past failures and the terrible things which people have said and done to you, on Jesus’ Cross. When He died, everything that has happened in your former life also died. You are now a brand new creation with a clean record before God.
Nearly two thousand years ago, in a tiny town where Rachel breathed her last, Herod dispatched troops to kill all of the newborn baby boys, and David was born; an infant came into the world that would change human life, forever.
He was not the kind of man that most people would consider a powerful leader, or conqueror of nations. He worked with His hands and shaped wood from trees into useful objects for life. He used no force to compel anyone, He spoke humbly, and treated the lost, the broken, and the poor, with great compassion and love.
He did not attend a prominent Rabbinical school to learn the ancient scriptures. He was no author or traveling evangelist. There were no accolades or parades when He came into the world, though He created all that exists by the words of His mouth.
Although this man fulfilled every promise of the prophets of old, His arrival at Jerusalem was met with shock and dismay. “Who is this Carpenter from Nazareth,” the Pharisees cried, “no prophet ever came out of Galilee.” He was rejected, despised, ridiculed, scourged and crucified. While bearing unimaginable suffering Himself, the constant desire of His heart was to bring freedom to His tormentors. To the men who tortured Him: “Father, forgiven them.” To the repentant thief on the cross who had mocked Him moments before: “Today you will be with me in paradise.” To the whole world, a promise: “It is finished.” The work of your redemption is complete, eternal life is yours, heaven is your eternal home.
His heart burst from within as the mounting pressure of bearing the sins of the world pushed his body beyond the stress than any man had ever bore. He commanded His spirit to depart His body. He breathed His last, His blood poured out, His work— finished.
For three days, He lay in the borrowed tomb of a friend, his body experiencing no decay. On the first day of the week, a spectacular event—equalled, only by the first moments of the universe; when light exploded into the darkness of this world and He was alive once more.
All religious men and women seek to direct us to a set of ideals, a religion, or a set of teachings. Jesus is unique, in that He consistently seeks to focus all of our attention upon Him.
Other religious leaders seek to teach certain truths; Jesus said that He is the truth.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~John 14:6
Other religious leaders try to point us to the light; Jesus said He is the light.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” ~John 8:12
Others tell us where we can find satisfaction; Jesus said that only He can truly satisfy us.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. ~John 6:51
The various religions of the world tell us how we can have eternal life; Jesus said that He is the bestower of eternal life.
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” John 11:25
Every other religion that is offered in the world, has one thing in common: They allow many ways to God, and these ways are based upon works that people do to make themselves acceptable to God. Only the gospel of Jesus Christ states that we are lost, without hope, and we cannot save ourselves. The Gospel of Jesus Christ declares that we can only be saved if we are humble ourselves and repent of our sins—surrendering to Jesus Christ as the only way to heaven.
The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. ~John 7:7
The world hates Jesus because He claimed to be the only way to God. Not one of many ways, but the single, acceptable, and exclusive way to heaven and eternal life.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” ~John 14:6
If Jesus had simply stated that His way was the best way, but not the only way; His message would not be nearly as intolerable. Human beings have a problem with ultimatums. Many people resent the fact that Jesus claimed to be the only way to heaven and that by not receiving Him, they will condemn themselves to eternal separation from God. In my conversations with people, they have assumed that the Christian church has taken the stance that Christianity is the only way to heaven. This is not true. Jesus is the source of the statement that He is the only way to eternal life. Jesus Himself said this, and the Bible echoes this fact throughout the New Testament (John 14:6, above).
A Desire To Save
How does the Lord feel when countless numbers of human souls depart this earth without the covering of His sacrifice? How does the Lord feel after He has done everything that He could do to prevent the loss of a single person, and they miss heaven because they were unwilling to be saved?
Anyone who has resided a few decades on the earth knows that a person who does whatever he wants to do during his life is a truly miserable person—in the deep recesses of his soul. If you want to be a truly unhappy individual, just live for yourself and your own pleasure. We see these people everyday, walking around before us; men and women with empty souls. Those who have done whatever their heart desires, only to end up a desolate shell of a human being.
The Gift Of Guilt
The enduring problem that plagues those who live apart from God, is the guilt which arises from our instinctive knowledge of our sin, leaving us with self condemnation. God has hardwired each human being with an internal knowledge of right and wrong. Only by a very long process of denying guilt and a suppression of these feelings can a person finally sear their conscience until they can no longer feel remorse over their actions.
Loss Of Conscience
When Paul wrote to Timothy, describing the conditions of the heart—within those who live during the last days of earth, he described a conscience which has been “seared with a hot iron.”
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron… ~1 Timothy 4:1-2
When the conscience is continually suppressed, and a lifestyle of sin continues without repentance; over the process of time our conscience is no longer operational. As a hand which is repeatedly burned—looses the sensation of touch, so also, does the human conscience. In the last days there will exist a large population who have developed a suppressed conscience. For these individuals, it is impossible to repent; turn from sin, and surrender to Jesus as their Savior.
…who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. ~Ephesians 4:19
This is the common estate of those who have continually denied God and have chosen a lifestyle devoid of regulation by the conscience. Eventually this person may become quite adversarial towards the Christian gospel and the Bible. Once the conscience is made void and no longer operates, this person is unable hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, who is the instrument of salvation. At this point it becomes impossible for redemption to occur.
This is particularly applicable to those who have attended church and have heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ—even making a profession of faith in Jesus as their Savior. If these individuals fall away from Jesus, it is impossible to renew them to repentance and a desire for salvation.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. ~Hebrews 6:4
Notice that salvation has become impossible for this person, not for God. Anyone who comes to Jesus in sincere repentance for their sins and a desire to be saved—will be accepted by God; they shall obtain eternal life. The impossibility resides in the heart of those who fall away—they are unable to find repentance again and return to Jesus, from where their Salvation originates.
The Deception Of A Life Without God
The life of those who deny God, reject Jesus Christ, and continue to live in denial of their conscience—garners a result that is unaware to these individuals. Having denied God and having rejected the love of the truth that Jesus had died and offers salvation, God turns these persons over to their own deception and allows them to live free from God. In the same way that we might give up on a person who has continually rejected us and our love; God will honor the wishes of those who do not want Him in their life.
At this point, without the covering of God’s protection, these individuals accept the “lie,” described by Paul in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2; offered by satan, to Eve, in Genesis 3:4
And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness… ~2 Thessalonians 2:11
Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God… ~Genesis 3:4
The lie is the false assertion put forth by satan that a person does not really need God; we can be our own God. It was the desire of Lucifer to elevate his throne—equally with God’s throne and be worshipped by all creation, as God. As a result, Lucifer was destroyed, cast out of heaven to the earth and became satan—the adversary of God.
For you have said in your heart: “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. ~Isaiah 14:13-15
For these reasons, a discussion with many atheists who have maintained a life without God for a number of years—is frustrating for the Christian, and an irritation to the atheist. Evidence plays no part in convincing those who have reached a place of impossibility with God. Seeking to present evidence—irrespective of how compelling it is, will have no effect upon the persistent non-believer. The difficulty is in knowing, with certainty, whether or not a person has reached the place where they cannot be saved.
For this reason, it is always a good idea to make an effort to witness to those who are non-believers—with the hope that the Holy Spirit may still be able to reach their conscience. We cannot know the true condition of a person’s heart—even when they oppose us adamantly with our efforts to convince them of their need for Jesus. It would be a mistake to assume that a person cannot be saved—just because they will not accept our witness of Jesus Christ. We must try to present to Gospel to every person and pray that the Holy Spirit might be able to bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
Whether or not an individual has reached a place where they cannot be saved, is not our concern. We are to present Jesus and His desire to save—to everyone. Salvation is of the Lord, not from us.
But Jesus said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” ~Luke 18:27
An Internal Witness
We were created with the capacity to know that God exists, and we understand that we were made for a purpose. We feel this conviction deep within our heart. We know that there is more to life than just living and dying. No one has to explain this to us; we understand it inherently from the deepest recesses of our soul.
…God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart... ~Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT)
Without God and the surety that we are made for a purpose, we are left with a sense of hopelessness, bitter grief, and emptiness. None of us wants to believe that life has no meaning and our existence here on earth is a mere cosmic accident. This is the reason that we are so busy within our lives; searching with such fervor—for satisfaction. We are looking for the meaning of our existence, although it eludes us. We seem to understand that life can be satisfying—though the manner in which this is achieved, is a mystery.
We try to attain happiness through a career, money, relationships, pleasure, and travel. Regardless of how many things we accumulate, the number of relationships we have, or the places we visit, there remains a missing piece. People who have sought their personal fulfillment, through all of these pursuits—describe the emptiness and lack of satisfaction that remains, even after all their dreams are achieved.
The Purpose Of Our Life
The truth is; we were created for an immense purpose. We were made for God. It is in Him that we live and move and have our being. We discover who we are, by finding out who He is. It is through a personal relationship with our Creator that all things in life come into focus. The reason that our existence is often confused and meaningless is that we have left-out the most important piece. On the day that we come into a new relationship with the Lord, everything changes; life takes-on meaning and purpose. Until we realize this and begin to live for the One that were created for, we will remain unsatisfied and never find true and lasting happiness. God has created us with a fervent desire for Him. He created us for Himself, to love and glorify Him—forever. There is a great cavernous void in our life that can only be bridged by a true relationship with our Creator.
This relationship is only possible if God initiates the connection. Because all persons exist as fallen beings (imperfect); first God must remove our imperfection in order to have fellowship with us. Jesus came to be the instrument whereby our sins could be removed, and convey to us; perfect righteousness. In order for God to forgive sin, the penalty for those sins must be exacted. Jesus offered to stand in our place and take the full penalty that all human beings have accrued, since the beginning of the world. The fact that He rose from the dead after having taken those sins and died for them—is our assurance that God has accepted His sacrifice and has made salvation and a relationship with God, possible.
All that any person must do, after hearing what Jesus has accomplished for us, is receive the pardon that God offers us for our sins, and take Jesus as our Savior. The moment that we ask God for His forgiveness and receive Jesus as our Savior—God removes all of our sins, as-if they never existed, and conveys to us—perfect righteousness.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ~Romans 10:8-10
For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” ~Romans 10:13
Where The Journey Begins
I have discovered that there is complete satisfaction in Jesus. Not in religion or church, but in Jesus alone. Until a person finds their fulfillment in the God who made them, religion and going to church is a colossal waste of time.
The reason that Jesus left heaven and came to earth was to allow us the opportunity to know the true and living God—personally, as one person knows another.
And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3
Up to the time that Jesus arrived on earth, God was a distant ideal which could never be fully understood. He was in heaven; we are here on earth. The distance between us seemed infinite and unbridgeable. When God came to earth in the form of a man, someone who is like us, a person whom we were able to see and understand; for the first time mankind knew what God was truly like. By Jesus arrival on earth, we know and understand who the One true God is.
Jesus came to remove the barrier and infinite gap between a perfect and Holy God and al of us—who are imperfect, and unable to reach God, ourselves.
Isaiah describes Jesus as a man of sorrows.
If you have ever watched a person suffer, then perhaps you can understand the meaning of Isaiah’s words. To observe someone in misery—is emotionally overwhelming and exhausting. Imagine God, looking down from heaven, seeing each one of us suffering throughout our life and missing the incredible blessings that He created for us to enjoy. He knew that we would never be able to achieve true satisfaction and the genuine purpose for which we were intended, unless He intervened and came to save us.
As Jesus watched our lives, His heart was moved with compassion. He saw us in the true state of our desperation, and He was compelled to act. He would come to earth and die for our sins, so that they would cease to exist, and our estrangement from God would come to an end. As Jesus walked amongst us, He watched our suffering because of sin. He longed to remove our curse and looked earnestly towards the day when He would hang on the cross and bear all of our shame. When that day arrived, it was both wonderful and wicked. Our sins would be removed—but at great cost to the Son of God. Jesus was made sin for us. Could we fathom what this means? I think not. The perfect Son of God was covered with filth, bathed in the stench of our wickedness; and He took it all.
For God made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. ~2 Corinthians 5:21 (RCR)
Jesus did not die, only for those who would receive Him; He also gave His life for those who would never receive His sacrifice for their sins. At the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus contemplated the immensity of the cup that He was about to drink from. He asked the Father if there was any other way that human lives could be spared from judgment. The response was swift and certain; Jesus must go to the cross, or we would be lost.
The sorrow that Jesus must have felt at the moment He was made sin for us, is unimaginable. I believe that the suffering that Jesus endured at the Garden of Gethsemane, and upon the Cross, is beyond our ability to comprehend as mere human beings. It is likely that it will take eternity to allow us the capacity to understand the depth of Jesus’ suffering and the grief that He felt as He made His life an offering for us.
The interesting fact of Jesus sacrifice is that He did not have to die for us. It was of no consequence to God if the entire human race perished. God neither gained nor lost anything by Jesus death for us. He was already perfect and complete in Himself. He does not require the love or fellowship of anyone to increase His glory. He did not die for us because we are so wonderful and deserved such great love. Our ability to understand these truths is predicated upon the view that we have of our personal estate. If we do not understand our destitute condition, then it will be very difficult for God to save us. If we deny that these things are true, then we will never be able to come to God in a meaningful way. No person can truly be saved until they reach the end of themselves and believe that only God can save them.
There are many people today who claim that they once believed in Jesus and were faithful servants of the Lord. Like Judas, they really never believed and their actions in following Jesus were simply mechanical and contrived. There was no moment of sincere repentance over their sins and a deep need to be forgiven by God. Those who do not come into a relationship with the Lord by sincere repentance and a genuine belief that they are a hopeless sinner—without Jesus sacrifice for their sins, cannot be saved. The thief on the cross next to Jesus, did not understand all the theological points of Christianity, but he did understand one thing; he was a sinner, in need of a Savior. He believed that Jesus was dying for Him and when he said: “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom,” this was his sincere expression of sorrow for his sins and a belief that Jesus could save him.
Jesus became a man of sorrows and He was aquatinted with bitterest grief because of my sins and your sins. We can be thankful and very glad that He was willing to bear the unimaginable horrors which were thrust upon Him. He did this to show us how great the Love of God is for a world which did not recognize Him when He came. Sadly, to this very day; the world continues to ignore and reject Jesus.
Who Then Can Stand?
In this final section of the chapter, Malachi asks the question: “who can stand when Messiah appears?” We have previously learned that the Messiah will appear on the earth twice. Once for salvation; in which He will die for the sins of the world. Second; He will return to earth for judgment. Here, Malachi describes the Messiah’s return to earth, the second time; for judgement.
Old Testament Prediction:
But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire And like launderers soap.He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness. ~Malachi 3:2-3
New Testament Fulfillment:
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins… ~Luke 1:76-77
Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins… ~Acts 13:38
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace… ~Ephesians 1:7
Malachi asks the question: “Who can stand on the day of the Messiah’s arrival?” The question would be: “Which arrival is the prophet referring to?”
Jesus said that the purpose of His first appearance on earth was not for condemnation—yet, His presence here did bring judgment to all those who have rejected Him and the sacrifice He has made for their sins.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. ~John 3:17
And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” ~John 9:39
(Jesus speaking) He who believes…is not condemned; but he who does not believe (in Jesus) is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. ~John 3:18
Those who come to Jesus for salvation, through the forgiveness of their sins; will not be condemned. However, those who refuse Jesus, have judged and condemned themselves; because they have rejected the only way by which God has ordained that we can be saved. Those who make themselves blind to the truth of salvation that is only possible through Jesus Christ, affirm their blindness. Much in the same way that the Pharaoh of Egypt experienced the confirmation of his already hard heart, by seeing the judgments of God upon his kingdom. Because Pharaoh was persistent in his obstinance, God confirmed the hardness of his heart, making it impossible for Pharaoh to believe.
This is not to say that God conducted a transformation of Pharaoh’s heart; He simply placed circumstances before Pharaoh that would cause his already hard heart to be perfected in its hardened condition.
And the LORD said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.” ~Exodus 4:21
God did not give Pharaoh a hard heart towards Himself, this condition already existed before the ten plagues that God sent to Egypt. It was by these events that confirmation was made that Pharaoh had no desire, nor intention; of humbling himself before God.
In Jesus’ first arrival, He saved all those who came to Him in humility, out of a broken heart for their sin, by extending mercy and forgiveness. People who will not turn to the Lord, because of the stubbornness of their heart, God will send them circumstances that will either confirm or remove their hardness of heart. Trials have two possible outcomes: One, we are humbled by our difficulties and turn to God for help. Two, we are hardened by our difficulties and turn away from God.
God will confirm the blindness and hardness of a human heart, if that person continues to deny Him and will not humble themselves to seek Him. He does this so that on the day of judgment, there will be no excuse that is valid.
There is a point at which a person who refuses to believe what is so clear and obvious, will reach a place where they will never be able to comprehend God, nor His plan of salvation. We observe this phenomenon in those who consider themselves informed and educated regarding the nature and existence of the universe, while denying its obvious source; God. In the words of atheist, and theoretical physicist, Lawrence Krauss; “God is not necessary…” Dr. Krauss has reached a place where it is impossible for him to believe because of many years of denying and rejecting God in his life.
The Lord is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows in his life, he will reap. Those who sow unbelief in the truth of God’s simple message of salvation, will reap a heart that cannot believe. God will confirm their obstinance—thereby making their salvation an impossibility. There is a point in every human life, where after years of saying no to God, He will let this person go and they will be lost eternally. The impossibility of their salvation does not reside in God, who cannot save them; but in their own unwillingness to seek Him and be saved.
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind… ~Romans 1:28
…and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, 12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. ~2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
Once a person reaches a point of unyielding to spiritual truth, it becomes nearly impossible for him to ever believe.
In answer to Malachi’s question, “Who can stand on the day of the Messiah’s arrival?” The solution is found in the atoning work of the Messiah at the cross. As Malachi speaks of two purifying agents of fire for metals and soap for clothing, the Messiah’s atonement cleanses us from all sin—past, present, and future. The soap, represents the blood of Christ that washes away all of our sins; while trials are the fire that purifies the believer in a continuing process of refinement.
The Old Testament remedy for sin required that an animal should be brought to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle. As the lamb stands before you, the priest would take your hand and place upon the head of the lamb; transferring your guilt to him. When the Lamb dies and his blood is shed, your sins are forgiven.
The major problem with the old covenant of continuing sacrifices for sins, is that it did not have the power to permanently remove the sins of the guilty. The new covenant that God has made with us, is based upon what Jesus has accomplished at the cross. When Jesus died as our Lamb, He paid the penalty for our sins. According to God, when we believe this; we are viewed as righteous; fully satisfying the requirements for heaven. When this happens, God not only forgives all of our sins, He removes them as if they never existed. This is what the term “justification” means; “Just-as-if-i had never sinned.”
All those who had their sins covered by the blood of the Old Testament sacrifices did not have their sins purged completely. When Jesus completed His sacrifice on the cross and was put to death, rising from the dead on the third day; every sin from the beginning of the world, to the very end, was paid in full.
See the chapter: A Tabernacle, a Sanctuary, for a complete study on the Old Testament sacrifices at the Tabernacle, in comparison to the one perfect sacrifice Jesus made for us as the Messiah.
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come— In the volume of the book it is written of Me— To do Your will, O God.’ ” Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. ~Hebrews 10:4-10
God’s new covenant, declares that we are “not guilty,” and grants every person—eternal life; if we come to Him on the basis of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. Just as it was not possible that the blood of bulls and goats under the old covenant could take away sins, it is also not possible for any human being to be saved apart from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
God has chosen only one method whereby He will grant us a full pardon for our sins. If we accept this offer by faith, trusting that God will do what He has promised, at the end of our life; we will arrive at heaven and live in perfection and beauty forever.
See also: One God, One Way
God: His Spiritual Laws