Learning To Love

There Is No Greater Love

If we should look up the word “love” in a dictionary, it should be mandatory that a picture of Jesus would be shown to indicate what real love is. There is no greater embodiment of what love is all about than to know and understand who Jesus is by what He has done.

The entire point of the Bible is to show us this love as it is illustrated by countless lives from the Old Testament. As we get to know these people we find that they must have been specifically chosen because of their many faults. For God shows these men and women to us so that we might see the Love of God demonstrated in their lives.

As we come into the presence of Jesus while He is walking on earth in the New Testament we are brought to a mountaintop where He is feeding 5,000. We sit beside Him a wedding in Cana and watch as He commands water to be turned to wine so that the bride and groom are not embarrassed before their guests.

We stand with our mouths open wide as Lazarus exits the tomb where he has been dead four days and see the cheers and tears of those who loved him and thought he was gone forever.

We remember a mountain in the Old Testament where an aging Abraham takes Isaac in obedience to God. He straps the wood for the sacrifice to his shoulders and lays him on the altar. A voice is heard from heaven where God stops the old man before the knife falls into the chest of his beloved son. Nearly two thousand years later God’s Son will walk up that same hill and His father will not stop the knife. He will die for the sins of the whole world, even those who will never believe in Him or thank Him for what He has done for them.

We see a woman being dragged through the dust and filth of Jerusalem’s streets where she is thrown to the ground in front of Jesus. The Pharisees have caught her in the very act of adultery and pronounce the prescribed penalty: death by stoning. The crowd quiets as the leaders of Israel wait to see what Jesus will do since He knows all too well what should be done.

To the amazement of everyone, the least of whom is the woman, Jesus cups his hands around the face of the woman and tells her that He will not condemn her on that day. “Go and sin no more.”

In every place that we see and hear Jesus in the New Testament. In all of the prophecies and shadows of Jesus from the Old Testament, we see one clear and defining attribute of Jesus the Messiah, His love.

If we want to learn to love, really love, we must learn this from Jesus, the Master of love.

The love that is in this world is not the love that Jesus has shown us in the scriptures. The world loves us if we agree with its course and do what it expects. If we fail at any point, it will turn and hate us, abandon us to obscurity.

Jesus shows us what love is by the giving of His very life for us. This is not the common life of an earth-bound man, but the eternal life of God who created all that exists. One drop of Jesus blood is sufficient to pay for the lives of every human being that has been born on the earth. Jesus pours out all His blood so that the payment will be sufficient to redeem all the world.

Learning to love like Jesus demands that we are willing to give up the old life that we have known and apprehend the new life that He give to all those who decide to trust in Him for their salvation.

This chapter describes a few of the places where we see Jesus’ love in action so that we might learn what real love is and have the opportunity to imitate and emulate what He has shown us.

If you ever have the opportunity to come into the presence of Jesus the first thing that you will notice is His love will permeate your very being, to ever fiber of your existence. You will be overwhelmed, not by wrath or judgment, but by an incalculable energy of pure love.

I cannot speak for you or any other person in this world, but I want to know this love and be able to give it to other people. I have been studying Jesus closely for four decades and I feel that I have barely scratched the surface of what His love is all about. I hope that these few words will show you a glimpse what God’s love is all about and you will desire to acquire this ability to love yourself as you pursue it with all of your being.

Love Demonstrated

There is an idiom that says: “No good deed goes unpunished.” We might speak the words to this little phrase after we have done what we imagined was a good work, only to have those who were the object of our good deed—turn against us in anger or betrayal.

Although Jesus created the universe (Colossians 1:17), when He came to the earth to give His life for the world; evil men tortured Him repeatedly as He was dying for their salvation. David records this event well in advance of its fulfillment: They reward me evil for good, To the sorrow of my soul.

Although the Messiah will die for the sins of the world, those who observe His suffering will repay His good deeds with evil.

David’s prophecy of the world repaying the love of Jesus with evil.

“Fierce witnesses rise up; They ask me things that I do not know. They reward me evil for good, To the sorrow of my soul.” ~Psalms 35:11-12

The New Testament Fulfillment of David’s Prophecy:

“He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.”  ~John 1:10-11

After healing the sick, opening the eyes of the blind, causing the paralyzed to walk, and raising the dead, the leaders of Israel repaid Jesus for His good works by taking up stone to kill Him. Jesus did all of the things that we would expect God to do, but these were not enough for these men. They hated Jesus and feared Him, so they wanted Him dead.

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.”  ~John 10:31-33

Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ ”  ~Matthew 26:59-61

Jesus Came to Restore What Was Lost

Isaiah described the Messiah as “a man of sorrows” (Isaiah 53:3). When Jesus stood outside the tomb of His friend, Lazarus, He saw what death does to our lives and the intense horror and sense of loss that we feel when someone we love is gone. Jesus looked at what sin had done to the beautiful world that He had made for us and He groaned.

Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”  ~John 11:32-36

Even the Jewish leaders who hated Jesus, could see His intense love for Lazarus.

As we read through the four gospels and hear the words of Jesus, it is impossible to deny the great love that He has for all people. Here, Lazarus had died because of the effects of his sins—yet Jesus loved him intensely.[1] Some have the idea that God could not possibly love them because of the many sins they have committed. In fact, Jesus came into the world for sinners. It was because of our failures that He came to give His life for us.

Every heartache, sorrow, loss, and difficulty that we face, Jesus saw them all. Because of His compassion, He volunteered to rescue us—before the foundation of the world. Before anything else existed, Jesus was thinking about you and I and He was looking forward to the day when He could change our destiny of sorrow and death, into joy and everlasting life.

God is not willing that anyone should be lost—therefore, He sent His only Son to bear the consequences of our sins and take them away from us.

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  ~1 John 4:10

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  ~John 3:16

In This, We See The Love Of God In Action

God so loved the world that He gave.” When a human being loves someone, it is most often in reference to the way that they make them feel, and with the expectation of being loved in return. When God loves; He expresses His affection by giving. His love is sacrificial and without reciprocation from those whom He loves.

When God says that He loves, He expresses His love by actions that are eternally beneficial towards those whom He loves. We were lost with no hope of saving ourselves, God did something; He gave us His only Son. Those who receive Jesus, experience the forgiveness of their sins and receive eternal life.

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  ~1 John 4:9

Examining The Nature Of Jesus

Critics of Jesus state that He is a liar and deceiver. He is not God and does not have the power to forgive the sins of the world.

We should ask: does a man who possesses all of these undesirable qualities, also have the power to speak to a child who has died, and raise her to life? Evil men do not stop a gathered crowd of angry men with stones in their hands, who want to stone a woman, caught in the act of adultery. A false prophet does not have the capacity to speak fourteen prophecies—all of which—were fulfilled precisely as Jesus declared them.

Jesus prayed for His tormentors as they drove the nine inch nails into His wrists and feet. He stood silent before His accusers and did not speak a word in His own defense. Jesus never owned a home, or had any other earthly possession. He entered the world in humility and He departed the world in submissiveness. Jesus came to earth to give His life for every person. He is ready to forgive the worst sinner imaginable.

Jesus Should Have Been Embraced, And Kissed; Instead He Was Beaten And Spit Upon.

Isaiah declares that the Messiah will be spat upon while suffering for our sins.

…I did not hide My face from shame and spitting.  ~Isaiah 50:6c

Matthew records this exact event as it happened to Jesus:

When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.  ~Matthew 27:29-30

Isaiah vividly predicts an event, 600 years before it took place; that God would send His Son to earth only to have Him spat upon by the people He is dying for. The prophet describes the Messiah’s submission to this cruelty, by the very words of the Savior Himself: I gave My back, My face…

How Much Jesus Suffered For His Love Of Us

It is nearly unimaginable the horrors that Jesus endured while completing the sacrifice He made for our sins. Mobs of angry people gathered around Him; hurling their hatred, cursing, spitting, and mocking Him in His pain. To be the King of the Universe—yet brutalized and spat upon by the very people you are suffering for—is a travesty of justice.

Jesus endured this suffering because He was representing you and I at the place of God’s judgment for our sins. Because He stood in our place, Jesus took the full measure of God’s wrath, both on the cross and by the hatred and violence of the crowds near Him. We can all have great confidence today that our sins have been forever put away by Jesus’ sacrifice, two thousand years ago, because His payment for our sins was so great.

By this written prophetic account of what Jesus endured in the terrible suffering, humiliation, pain and torture inflicted upon Him; we understand just how great God’s hatred of sin is. By the endurance and steadfastness of Jesus in not wavering from the cross, we can begin to comprehend the great love that He has for every person.

There is no greater example of love that has ever been shown to any human being—surpassing than the suffering of Jesus Christ during His death upon the cross. If anyone should doubt whether God truly loves them, all they must do is look back at the cross and see Jesus in His agony, to be certain of the eternal love of God. It is clear that this great God of the universe loves and cares deeply for all human beings because He allowed His only Son to suffer so profoundly.

If you have ever felt unworthy of God’s love, you should understand that this was the purpose for which God allowed Jesus to endure such hostility from evil men. God wants you to know how greatly He loves you and that in giving His only Son, you might begin to experience what true love is really all about. Everything that you have longed for—deep within your heart—is found in the expression of Jesus’ love for you. Your value in this world is revealed by what the Son of God was willing to suffer, on your behalf.

From the moment you believe that Jesus died for you and then receive Him into your heart, all your sins and all the guilt you feel for those sins, is gone forever. At that moment; you can begin a life of great peace and satisfaction. In acceptance of Jesus’ death for you, there is a knowledge that all is well between you and God.

A great majority of people do not understand that much of Jesus suffering was by mental torture inflicted upon him by all those who brutalized his mind and body. Imagine standing before people whom you have created, loved, and sought to draw to yourself; only to hear their great hatred and calls for your death. To be rejected, scorned, abandoned, and betrayed are perhaps some of the most painful and heart-wrenching experiences a person can endure. Jesus’ steadfast thoughts throughout this entire process was directed at loving the very people who shouted for His death. He looked back over the past 4,000 years, as well as, ahead; over 2,000 years, to all those who would receive His love and invitation to have their sins carried away by His great sacrifice; and He was glad to die for us all.

The emotional suffering that Jesus endured was equal to, or exceedingly greater than, the physical torture wrought upon His body. It is certain that no person has ever suffered as profoundly as Jesus anguished during these 24 hours of horror. He had done nothing wrong, yet the full weight of all the sins of the world were placed upon Him. He did all this willingly, gladly, exceptionally—for He could do nothing else but give all that He had. From His great heart of love and compassion, Jesus placed His eternal existence before the world and allowed evil men to torture Him to death. He did all of these things so that He could demonstrate how enormous the love of God is; for every person—even those who thrust the thorns, tore His flesh, and pierced His body.

As we look into the judgments that Jesus conducted during His ministry, we see that in every instance, He was always righteous and just. During His brief thirty-three years here on the earth, Jesus peered into the hearts of those whom judgement was required and showed mercy when it was needed. Jesus exhibited amazing discernment in knowing what the true issues were in every situation that was presented to Him—while at the same time; exercising great wisdom in pronouncing all of His verdicts.

  • The woman caught in the act of Adultery became a conduit for Jesus to show the true heart of the men who sought her judgement and death.
  • The outward righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was a mask for an inward heart of corruption, greed, and deception.
  • Judas, known by Jesus from the beginning as His betrayer, was given a place of honor at the Last Supper; Jesus right hand. Jesus continually beckoned Judas to repent of the sin he had contemplated in his heart. Judas could have been forgiven and restored, if He had only sought these things with all of his heart.
  • The rich young ruler, came to Jesus displaying an outward zeal for God, while his heart showed him captivated by his material wealth, making it impossible for Him to fully follow Jesus.
  • Peter, though bold and assertive, within his heart—he was a coward and unbelieving. By Jesus’ love and patience, Peter was allowed to fail so that he could see himself for who he truly was. Upon his recovery, Jesus restored Peter and gave him a place of great honor.
  • Though Pilate stood in judgment of Jesus, it was the Lord who controlled the final outcome of His trial, conviction, and death. It was Jesus’ judgement that He should die so that the whole world might be spared from the wrath and judgement of God.

In every instance, Jesus displayed an ability to judge all of the affairs of mankind in a way that no man has ever exercised authority before, in the history of the world. We understand by Jesus’ example that He alone is fit to be the King of the earth, and the only righteous judge who is worthy to evaluate and determine all the events of human life.

How encouraging and exciting it is to realize that when Jesus looks into our heart, His judgment is always righteous. This is in contrast to the way that we judge, which is often inaccurate and contaminated by sin.

  • All of our judgments are corrupted because we each have our own ulterior motives for why we condemn a person or their actions.
  • No person has the ability to perceive what is truly in a person’s heart, and therefore our judgment is nearly always incorrect.
  • When we judge and condemn a person for something, we, ourselves, are most likely—also guilty of doing the very same things.

We may not understand that much of Jesus suffering was by mental torture, inflicted upon him by all those who brutalized his mind and body. Imagine standing before people whom you have created, loved, and sought to draw to yourself; only to hear their great hatred and calls for your death. To be rejected, scorned, abandoned, and betrayed, are perhaps the most painful and heart-wrenching experiences a person can endure. Jesus’ steadfast thoughts, throughout this entire process; was directed at loving the very people who shouted for His death. He looked back over the past 4,000 years and ahead, over 2,000 years, to all those who would receive His love and invitation to have their sins carried away by this great sacrifice; and He was pleased to die for us all.

He did all this, willingly, gladly, exceptionally; for He could do nothing else but give all that He had. From His great heart of love and compassion; Jesus placed His eternal existence before the world and allowed evil men to torture Him to death. He did all of these things so that He could demonstrate how great the love of God is for every person—even those who thrust the thorns, tore His flesh, and pierced His body.

As Jesus completes all that is required of Him at the cross and fully pays for all of our sins, those who had witnessed His great sacrifice came to only one conclusion:

So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!”  ~Matthew 27:54

Why Would Jesus Do This?

Simply because He loves us all so much. This is why He was willing to allow these evil men to torture Him to death.

This may be the first time in your life that you have heard what Jesus went through, in such graphic detail. Perhaps, you were not aware that Jesus had gone through so much suffering and that He had endured it all because of His love for you.

This is the graphic and unmistakable love of God.

It is a love that is demonstrated in vivid color before the whole world. It is a love that was not ashamed to die for you. Jesus did it all, so that you might believe in Him as the only means by which your sins could be fully paid, so that you could have the opportunity to receive eternal life. If you have been moved to make a decision for Jesus and to receive Him into your heart as your Savior, you can do so by a very simple prayer of faith:

Jesus, I did not realize how much you suffered for me. I understand now that it was because of my sins that you had to die. Thank you for giving your life for me and for paying the price that I owed for my sins. I want to accept you as my Savior and my Lord. I turn away from all my sins and I ask you Lord, to forgive me, based on what you did for me at the cross. Jesus, please come into my heart and live in me forever. I ask these things in the name of Jesus, amen.”

What Does God Mean When He Says That We Are Sinners?

Is the Bible correct? Are human beings sinful and in need of a Savior, or are we simply living out our lives by doing what is perfectly natural for us?

In ancient England, those who drew a bow to strike the bullseye of a target, were called: a sinner, if they missed the mark of perfection. Over the years, this word was adopted to describe a person who commits a wrongful moral act—in relationship to God’s law. When we miss the mark of perfection in our words and actions, we are called a sinner. This term is not meant as derogatory, but simply as an accurate description of what wrong behavior is defined as.

Sin Originates In The Heart

The source of these wrongful behaviors originate in the inner fiber of a person’s being. Sin originates in the heart where our feelings and emotions reside. All of our outward actions—arise from our heart. What we do comes from who we are.

This is why all human beings are called sinners. At the core of our being we are flawed. Our tendency is towards wrongful words and deeds, not towards those things that are right. We are capable of wonderful acts of kindness, love, and benevolence—which we may frequently perform. We are, however, not capable of maintaining this good behavior—consistently. At some point, we will fail in our words or behavior.

How many times during a day do we have a wrong thought, action, or word? If we would measure these errors against the good things that we do throughout our day, we would be shocked to discover that we are most often—wrong in the manner which we conduct ourselves. In short: we are sinners. This came as a terrible revelation to me when I began to make a mental note throughout my day how many times I commit sin.

If you carefully study human beings, you will notice one startling fact: We are all selfish and self-centered. Now, there are many moments when we are kind, considerate, generous, and thoughtful. These moments are wonderful examples of what a human being is capable of. The problem is that these moments are infrequent in our life. We can be entirely generous and self-sacrificing in one moment; seconds later, so angry that we could inflict injury or death upon a person. If we were morally perfect, we would always be kind, generous, and thoughtful. The fact that we are not; is an indication that something is terribly amiss with our basic nature.

Although all of us are aware of the imperfection that is in us, we make allowances for ourselves, much more than we do for others. When we fail, we expect to be forgiven. When others offend us, sometimes it is very hard to forgive and go on as if the matter had not happened. We have become so used to sin that it no longer shocks us or cause us much discomfort.

In the beginning, this was not so. When God first created us, we were perfect in every regard. The plan and process of God that is in effect at the present time, is to redeem all those who will believe, back to this place of perfection—once again.

The fact that the Son of God was required to die for us, is a great indicator of how grave our condition was. If there was any other way that we could be made right in the sight of God, He certainly would have taken advantage of that method, before He allowed His Son to die such a horrible death. The one stunning reality that we should find in the reading of this book is the fact that our condition was terminal. When the doctor informs us that the cancer that had taken over our body, and our condition is terminal, we understand that there is no cure and we will die. When Jesus appeared on the earth, allowed Himself to be beaten, crucified, and die for our sins, this should be sufficient to convince any skeptic just how serious our condition was. If we could be cured by any other way, Jesus would not have died for us.

On the positive side of this story, the fact that God permitted His Son to die, and Jesus was willing; we should realize how great the love-is that God has for us. If He did not love you and I as much as He loves His only Son, He would never have sent Jesus into the world.

From God’s Point Of View:

Sin is defined as: missing the mark of perfection; falling short of the glorious ideal that God has established for all human beings.

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…  ~Romans 3:23

Every one of them has turned aside; They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.  ~Psalms 53:3

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one…”  ~Romans 3:10

Many of us have seen the text from John 3:16 displayed during a football or baseball game. The majority of the people of the United States have heard that God so loved the world that He gave us His only Son.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  ~John 3:16

There is, however, more to this verse than simply the Love of God for the sinner. Just three verses further in the text, we see a description for why most people will not receive this love that God offers through Jesus Christ:

And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, (but) men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  ~John 3:19

The prophet Isaiah wrote that the purpose of the Messiah’s sacrifice was to pay the penalty for all mankind’s sins:

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities…  ~Isaiah 53:5a

We See The Fulfillment Of Isaiah’s Prophecy By The Words Of Peter and Luke

Jesus, who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.  ~1 Peter 2:24

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.  ~Luke 23:33

Jesus Bore Our Sins

The key to this prophecy from Isaiah 53:5a is the word for, in Isaiah 53:5.

The Messiah will be wounded for the transgressions of human beings. He was bruised for our iniquities.

Transgressions: The actual sins that we commit against each other, ourselves, and God.

Iniquities: The inequitable (unjust) acts of human beings in regards to what is right.

The purpose of the Messiah’s arrival was to die for our sins. We should never miss this important point in any discussion of prophetic fulfillment. If it were not for our sinfulness, it would not have been necessary for Jesus to die. We should thank the Lord every day that He loved and cared for us so greatly that He was willing to depart heaven, come to earth, only to suffer unimaginable pain and suffering for us.

When I first learned what Jesus had done for me and how greatly He had suffered, I remember wondering why the whole world did not fall at His feet in thanksgiving and gratefulness. I later learned that most of the world does not consider that any of their actions would require a Savior. By its very nature, sin causes blindness. Jeremiah the prophet wrote that we are not aware of the deception which has been perpetrated against us. Even our own heart does not allow us to see the truth about ourselves.

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?  ~Jeremiah 17:9

When the Bible describes our present condition, it does so in terms of darkness and blindness. The idea here is that we cannot see our true condition, and how desperate and hopeless our situation is. The Bible declares that without someone to help us, not one human being could survive the future judgement for sin that is the destiny of all those who are without Christ.

Then John said to the multitudes that came out to be baptized by him, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  ~Luke 3:7

John the baptist said this to the leaders of Israel who had come out to the Jordan river to be baptized by John, but they had evil—ulterior motives.

From the cross, as Jesus hung before the world, dying for all of us; He was continually mocked, ridiculed, and accused of suffering such great punishment because He deserved to die. In reality, He had done nothing wrong, He was dying for us.

All of the people who were near Jesus cross while He was dying, did not understand the desperate state of their lives. As Jesus endured His suffering while the sins of the world were placed upon Him, He cried out to the Father to forgive us, because none of us truly understands our present plight.

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”  ~Luke 23:34

Jesus was not simply addressing the cruel treatment that the Roman soldiers were committing against Him; He was speaking to every sinful act of every person, for all time: Father forgive them all… It was our sins that placed Jesus on the Cross. It was to this end and for this great purpose that He allowed Himself to be tortured to death.

Isaiah writes in this prophecy that it was for our sins that the Messiah must die.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities…

The world was in a state of complete darkness up to the time that Jesus arrived in fulfillment of all the prophecies written of the Messiah. It had no real understanding of its condition nor the future surety of judgment. If Jesus had not come, the whole world and everyone in it would have been lost. Even the Old Testament sacrifices were only temporary—to act as a covering for sins until the Messiah arrived to perfect their redemption; by one perfect and acceptable sacrifice. No sin had been removed prior to Jesus’ atonement, only covered with the hope of a future promise of God that He would remove our transgressions and iniquities 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. 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.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 10:1-10

Paul so eloquently describes the process, whereby; we are saved. Not by the continual sacrifices of the Old Testament, but by the one perfect sacrifice of the Messiah’s life, for us.

For this reason, the world should understand that all attempts at obtaining heaven by human efforts will fail. There is no amount of good works that anyone can do which would ever make it possible to obtain eternal life. If this was true, then a Messiah would not be necessary. God would not have allowed His Son to die such a vicious death if we could be saved by doing something about our condition, ourselves. The fact that Jesus had to die should give us pause to consider that our condition was hopeless. Until Jesus arrived here on the earth to die for our sins, we were all without the means to obtain heaven and eternal life.

It should be understood that because only the Messiah would have the ability to die for us, being perfect and without sin and being God Himself; no church or method of man has the ability to save us. It is foolish to rely on anything for salvation other than the One whom God has chosen to be the Savior of the world.

In the world, this is called “dogma,” firm principles which are unyielding and without exception.[2]

The idea of one Savior for all mankind did not originate with the Christian church. One Savior, one salvation; is a law that originated in the mind of God before He made the universe. Jesus is spoken of as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8). God chose one way, because only His Son was qualified and willing to die for all of us. His death was essential if any person would be saved.

Without the removal of our sins, none of us will go to heaven. Only Jesus has the right, by His endless and sinless life, to accomplish salvation by His death—for us; therefore, He is the only way that God has provided for us to be saved.

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.  ~Acts 4:12

without shedding of Jesus’ blood, there is no forgiveness of sins. (author’s translation)  ~Hebrews 9:22

(Jesus said) “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He (the Messiah), you will die in your sins.”  ~John 8:24

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

Practical Examples Of Sins We Never Consider

Most of us are familiar with the well-known sins such as murder, adultery, fornication, lying, and covetousness. We do not often consider the more common failures of our nature which happen every day and are just as serious.

  • Two people exit their cars in the parking lot of the local Starbucks, at the same time. Out of the corner of their eyes, they notice each other heading for the door. Knowing that this is a popular establishment and that it is likely that there will be limited seating, both persons increase their steps in an effort to make it to the entrance door first.
  • While in line at the grocery store with a cart full of groceries, you notice that the person behind you has just one item. You know that it would be right to allow them to go ahead of you, but you are in such a hurry; you act as if you don’t see them.
  • While heading towards the freeway, a car just ahead of you and to the right, signals to get into the lane ahead of you—instinctively you accelerate your car to close the gap so that they will not get in front of you.
  • While talking with friends, are you really listening to what others are saying, or are you thinking about what you are going to say as soon as you have the opportunity?
  • When someone takes a group photo which includes you, who is the first person that you look for in the picture?
  • If the freeway speed limit sign indicates that 65 mph is the maximum, how fast do you go?
  • If the traffic light turns yellow just ahead of you, what do you do?
  • The change you are given at McDonald’s is $5.00 more than it should be, what do you do?

The honest person would say that in these familiar situations, that have likely happened to most of us, we are tempted to act in the wrong way. Sometimes we do the right thing, but not always. Anyone who states they are never tempted to take personal advantage of any of these situations, or does not think of themselves first, would be disingenuous.

The fact that we all know the feelings that swell up within us when we are in one of these circumstances reveals that we know what selfishness is all about. The very heart of all sin is observed in our total preoccupation and consuming desire for ourselves. It is from this moral defect that all of our failures are manifested.

Our turning from self-less-ness to selfish-ness, occurred immediately after Adam and Eve disobeyed God and violated His command to not eat from one fruit. It was not the fruit that was evil. It was not even the fact that Eve saw the fruit and wanted to eat from it. The failure was in not loving and trusting God to do whatever He said, because they understood that God is good, and all of His laws are set up to ensure us the maximum blessing in our life.

Notice The Change Between The Following Two Verses:

And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.  ~Genesis 2:25

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.  ~Genesis 3:7

Did you see the sudden change? Verse 25 is the condition of Adam and Eve before their disobedience to God’s law. They were not preoccupied with self; they didn’t consider their nakedness. In chapter 3, verse 7, after Adam and Eve ate from the fruit and broke their trust in God, they noticed they were naked. Suddenly, as sin has taken hold in their hearts, a change has taken place. They both notice that they are naked. They are suddenly focussed on themselves and not on God and each other.

In their disobedience, they became aware of good and evil. Prior to their sin, they had no knowledge of evil.

This simple example shows us how we became selfish and why. It is natural for each one of us to do what is most beneficial to us, before giving consideration to other people

This is not to say that many of us would not do the right thing. Some of us have trained ourselves to act correctly in these situations. My point is that all of us feel the temptation to act in a way that is of greater benefit to us, before other people, because this is our nature. Sin has created a selfish nature, whereas; in our original creation, we did not possess a knowledge of evil or sin.

My Own Practical Example

While I was writing this particular portion of the book, I noticed in myself a perfect example for how our fallen nature does not allow us to see our own defects.

As a writer, I endeavor to do my best to ensure that as few errors as possible are present in my work. I will read a paragraph at least five times after I have written it to make sure there are no mistakes. When I have finished writing, my editor reviews my work to look for errors. Despite my diligence, even after reviewing my work—repeatedly, my editor almost always finds mistakes that need to be corrected. Undoubtably, you will still find errors that even my editor missed. We are all, imperfect.

We are often blind to our own mistakes. We cannot see our inadequacies, because of our fallen nature. We all need an “Editor;” the Messiah, to come and fix our mistakes, and make them as if they never happened.

I have used these examples, which we often find ourselves in, to demonstrate the flaw that is within all of us. This is what sin is defined as: Self first, others and God after us; or not at all.

This defect is repeated billions of times a second, all over the earth. They are the reason that our world is so full of pain and suffering. This is why God sent His Son to die for all of our failures and to redeem us back to a place where we can become perfect and without sin, and enjoy a world that is free of this plague.

An often unknown fact of human life is that we need a Savior from the “biggie” sins as well as the common everyday ordinary sins, which are a result of our self-centeredness. These less-talked-about sins are considered by many people as so common that they are not really labeled as sin at all. In fact, the Messiah whom Isaiah predicts in this prophecy; had to die for the common sins, the biggie sins, and even the ones that we commit—totally unaware.

The Unaware Sins

Is the Lord the most important part of your life? Is He the first thought at the start of your morning and the last thought before your head hits the pillow? When you are about to spend money on an item, do you ask the Lord first if you should? Do you consider whether the words that you say to people are just as much a part of your worship of God as going to church on Sunday morning and lifting your hands to praise the Lord?

We fail in these areas of honoring and loving God above all other things—without considering that they are just as important as the larger issues of sin and obedience.

Perhaps when I mentioned how you spend your money, considering God in those decisions, you thought to yourself: “Are you serious? We have to ask God about what we buy?” This is an area that is left up to you to decide. You can certainly make your own decisions about what you purchase, if that is your desire.

When you spend the money you have earned, where did the money come from? You worked hard, perhaps achieved an education, labored long hours to earn the money you are spending, it is yours, correct?

…What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if everything you have is from God, why boast as though it were not a gift?  ~1 Corinthians 4:7( NLT)

…No one can receive anything unless God gives it from heaven.  ~John 3:27 (NLT)

According to the word of God, everything we have—came from Him. Our opportunities for education, a job, our paycheck—all these things are gifts to us from Him.

Without seeking guidance from the Lord, how many bad decisions have we made with our money? I can only speak for myself. I have forgotten several times to seek wisdom from the Lord before I make a purchase, only to discover later that what I obtained was not good, and in some instances, caused me or others to sin.

This is an area that many people do not often consider: how we spend our money, and what comes from those purchases.

Often the things that we think we need, are really just things that we want that come as a result of our desires for material possessions. There is nothing wrong with having things, as long as those things do not have us. Without seeking the Lord first in all of our decisions, we are far more likely to make bad decisions; than we would if we were to seek the Lord first and then just wait for awhile before we make a large purchase.

The area of finances is a place where many of us commit sins unaware.

Knowing Jesus does not inoculate us against committing sin

By the way, just for sake of notation here, all of the examples I used above are things that I noticed in myself as failures. I have known and loved Jesus for a little more than 41 years; and every day, I need Him to forgive me.

When we surrender our lives to Jesus we will not become sinless, but we should sin-less.[3]

Age Does Not Remove Our Sin Nature

Several years ago, I was in attendance at a Senior Pastor’s conference with about 1,500 other men. The speaker was a well-known man of God who had been a Christian and lifelong Expositional Bible teacher for nearly 65 years. One of the men who was present, rose to ask this well-respected man of God:

“Sir, you have known Jesus for nearly 65 years. May I ask you, as one man to another, when does the temptation to not look at a woman, in an inappropriate manner, go away?”

The old gentleman paused for an uncomfortably long period of time, scratching his beard as he considered the answer to this important question. Looking up into the eyes of this young man who had asked the question, in all earnestness, he said:

“I don’t know. I will have to get back to you later.”

After living some 80 plus years,;in love with Jesus, longer than most of us will ever achieve; this honest man told the truth. The temptation to sin and not be so selfish will never depart us as long as we occupy these bodies here on earth. Jesus has redeemed our soul, but the body remains a nest of selfishness and error. Only when we are taken out of this earth and receive our new perfect and glorified body will we cease to feel the temptation to sin.

For these many reasons, we all need a Savior. Jesus fulfilled this need and the impossible requirements to be a perfect Savior. All those who recognize that there is something terribly wrong within our inner-most-being, our very heart; are drawn to Jesus for a way to escape sin’s grasp. Jesus has the power to set us free from the bondage of abiding sin, so that it is not an ever-present plague. Although sin will abide with us until our bodies die, the once powerful hold that it had on us has been greatly diminished; as we live and abide in Jesus. As we rest in the salvation that He secured for us, all of our known and unknown sins have been fully paid for, and we exist today as perfect beings in the sight of God.

You are the Gospel of Jesus Christ, written by your words and the way you live before people. They many not read a Bible, but they read you every day.[3]

The way to love is the manner in which God has loved us by the example He has shown us in His Son. If we will carefully examine every part of Jesus life, we will see what true love is and find a reason for ourselves to learn this exquisite love.

The section called: “The Uniqueness Of Jesus,” is a great place to spend time learning who Jesus is by the things He has said and done.

[1] 1. Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death
2. Ezekiel 18:4 “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.
3. John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
[2] Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 24 Oct. 2011.
[3] Robert Clifton Robinson, August, 20, 2013.
[4] Robert Clifton Robinson, August 20, 2013.

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