Hard Questions – Part Four

In parts 1-3 of this series we sought to answer the following question:

“Why did God allow me to be abused?”

We have now established that God created us to love Him and be loved by Him. We have shown the origin of sin and the fall of mankind that separated us from God. We have shown the complexity of moments in our lives and how only the Lord can connect them to draw us and those around us closer to Himself and to salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. We have discussed briefly the history of the Israelites and the law and how God showed mankind that we cannot live up to His standards and save ourselves from sin and death. So, who will rescue us? The answer is Jesus Christ.

If mankind cannot save itself then there is only one solution. The Lord Himself must save us. The question now becomes, “How can God save us?”

This leads us back to the price of sin. Sin leads to death. There must be a death to make us right with God. Animals and produce were not enough. They were a temporary fix. So, how can the Lord save us once and for all? What could possibly pay the price of sin for all of mankind? What if we offered a man to represent all of us? But, who could possibly be pure enough? If you read about the sacrifices offered by the Israelites they had to give the very best of their stock without blemish. These offerings then had to be prepared and presented in a sacred manner decreed by the Lord.

What man could possibly be good enough for this sacrifice? Have we not established that all men are sinners and have fallen short? Therefore no man is holy before the Lord. What can be done? On our own, it is impossible to pay the price to redeem mankind. But, with God, nothing is impossible. And so, He gave the sacrifice for us. He paid the price for our sins with His own life.

But, Michael, you said God IS life. He can’t die. How is this possible? I’ll tell you. God sent us His only Son.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. – Luke 1:26-38

So, the Lord came to earth as a man. Jesus Christ is not only the Son of God. He IS God.

In the beginning, the Word already existed.
The Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
God created everything through him,
and nothing was created except through him.
The Word gave life to everything that was created,
and his life brought light to everyone.
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can never extinguish it.

God sent a man, John the Baptist, to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony.John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light.The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.

He came into the very world he created, but the world didn’t recognize him.He came to his own people, and even they rejected him. But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.

John testified about him when he shouted to the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming after me who is far greater than I am, for he existed long before me.’”

From his abundance, we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself, God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. – John 1:1-18

So, John the Baptist was sent to tell the Israelites that Jesus was coming and in fact, this had been foretold by many other prophets before him. God told His people to expect Him.

Jesus was born and lived a life without sin and in complete obedience to His Father in heaven. He was able to do this because He is fully man and fully God. God made Himself the perfect sacrifice. When the appointed time came He was sent out by the Father to teach about salvation and His kingdom. He performed many miracles and wonders during His time on earth. However, the Jewish leaders and lawmakers despised Him. They did not recognize Him as their Lord.

Jesus was betrayed by one of his own disciples, Judas Iscariot, and condemned to death.

And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.

Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”

Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.

“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword. Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled. – Matthew 26:47-56

Jesus was not a victim. He always knew that it was the will of His Father that He offer Himself as a sacrifice for our sins. He could have walked away or called down an army of angels to protect Him. However, He chose to be obedient.

He was whipped and beaten. He was forced to carry His cross through the streets of Jerusalem to a place outside of it called Golgotha or Calvary. They nailed Him to the cross, piercing His hands and feet and let Him hang from the cross until He died. He lived a life without sin and in perfect obedience to the Lord and His precious blood paid the price for all the sins of mankind. Our identities as sinners were nailed to the cross with Him.

The earth shook and they pierced His side to see if He had died. After confirming His death, His body was taken and He was buried. After three days his tomb was found open and He was gone. He then appeared to His disciples and many others, risen. Victorious. A new creation. For as I have said, God cannot die. God IS life. His blood was spilled and His body broken for our sins. However, his Spirit endured and came to dwell in a new, glorified body.

This is the most important moment in human history. I cannot stress enough what this moment means for all of mankind. The God of the universe came to earth as a man, lived a blameless life, loving, healing, teaching, and forgiving all those that came to Him. Then offered Himself as a sacrifice for us, allowing Himself to be tortured and killed by the very people He came to save so that we could be forgiven and redeemed. I don’t think we can ever truly understand what it cost Him.

So, let’s return to the abuser and the abused for a moment. The abuser’s sins have been forgiven. The abused’s sins have been forgiven. It’s done. Jesus did it all. Not only that, our identity as sinners was crucified with Jesus on the cross. And Jesus has risen to a new life in a glorified body. He is the new Adam. The beginning of a new creation. So, where does that leave us? What do we do with this information?

Jesus told us two things. We are to repent which means to turn, from our sins. Where do we turn? We’ve already established that sinners will sin even if they stop temporarily, right? Turn to Jesus. Believe in Him. Believe that His sacrifice was enough to satisfy God and that you are completely forgiven of all your sins. Not only that, you have a new identity in Him.

After Jesus rose from the dead and visited with His disciples and others, He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. However, He did not leave us without aid. He sent His own Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of those that believe in Him. That’s right. If you truly believe in Jesus Christ in your heart and confess it with your mouth He will send His Holy Spirit to live inside you. Think about that for a moment. The God of the universe living inside your body. You have direct access to the Father.

You are a new creation if you accept Jesus Christ. So, what do we do with that?

But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – 1 John 3:23

We are to love Him and each other. We are to forgive others as He has forgiven us. We are to believe in Him and share the Good News of salvation with everyone that will listen. We are to repent of our sins and no longer follow our sinful flesh, but, rather His Holy Spirit that lives within us.

God desires this for everyone and He is always for your good. Always. Even if you suffer or find yourself in a bad situation you can trust in Him to work it out for your good even if you cannot see it at the time. And He will use it not only to lead you closer to Jesus Christ and salvation but, to witness to others about the love and healing found in Him.

I have suffered and I will be covering that in my testimony which I will post at a later time. Just as a brief example from my own life, I had severe anxiety and depression for twelve years. Jesus healed me. He saved me. I have not had a panic attack in 8 or 9 years now. God can use the darkest moments of your life to bring hope to others and glorify His name. Because this isn’t the end my friends.

Which brings us to the final part of this series. Where does this end? I have the Spirit of God inside me and yet I still have this broken, sinful body. Ah, my friend. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior then you have eternal life. When this body dies you will be in heaven with the Lord. Someday you will be given a new body just like Jesus Christ after He rose from the grave.

More than that, those that believe in Jesus Christ are adopted by God. The God of the universe calls those that believe in His Son, Jesus, His children. You are a son or daughter of God. He is your Father. Your Daddy. You will live in a loving relationship with Him, with Jesus, with the Holy Spirit, and all your brothers and sisters forever and ever just as He always intended.

I would highly recommend picking up a Bible and reading the gospel of John and Romans. There is nothing better than reading the message yourself straight from the word. I personally recommend the NLT as it is easy to read and understand.

So, what about the sin-filled, dying Earth? What about the enemy of our souls, the devil? What about all those that do not believe in Jesus? God is going to deal with all of that as well and that is what we will cover next as we explore how our Father will make all things new. Praise Jesus!

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