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The Cross. The cross is the center of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation but has become the rarest preached message from the pulpit of the churches these days. Message about blessing and prosperity have become more interesting to the people now. The demand for a modern lifestyle with a much better economy in the society has made the message of the Cross blurred. The emphasis of He has become poor so that we may become rich is the only thing we understand from the Cross. The meaning of blessing only focuses on worldly matters such as money and material, wealth and treasures. If there is a passage which is not a material thing about blessing, it will be just a sense of peace or tranquility, more precisely a life that is good without any trouble or problem. Blessing is considered as happiness only. Yet blessing is not happiness at all. Happiness is merely a temporary pleasure (or feeling) with its focus on good physical condition only. Blessing has a wider understanding and much deeper meaning instead.
If we want to judge ourselves honestly, we do not understand what God’s blessing really means to us. Our understanding of blessing is totally deviating from what the Bible clearly stated. Ours mostly comes from our background from where we came from and what we need urgently today. Christianity is not a matter of life and death for most people, but rather a better lifestyle, practical and efficient in modern times as it is today. Many of us become Christians not because of repentance but more because we were born as a Christian. Just like the disciples of Jesus in Jesus’ day, they were very hopeful that Jesus would be their Liberator from Roman’s occupation of that time. The most important need in that era was independence. So the Messiah’s understanding for them was a leader who would free them from Roman’s occupation and to be the King of the free nation of Israel. And just like that, most of us would see Jesus as just the Saviour of what we need today. And what we need right now is the freedom of our financial situation because of the demands of a high lifestyle. For most of us, Jesus is simply the Messiah which will free us from poverty. We fail to see what exactly Jesus has given to us.
Sin is the main issue of human life. The real human problem is not a lack of food, nor clothing nor shelter. These three issues are often categorized as a major need which when they are not fulfilled, we consider ourselves facing a big problem of life. But there is something more fundamental and more rooted than just those three things. The sin which has penetrated and destroys human life. What is a sin? Sin is a violation of God’s law. The iniquity or the errors of the wicked human heart, wrongdoing, and transgression of moral ethics and the shorts of the standards that should be. All of these are a sin. And sin is not only a wrong action of the failure of our character or behavior but also a defect of the soul that damaged the whole human being as a person. So fixing a mistake because sin is not just by learning to do right but to restore a damaged and defective soul because of this sin. Romans 3:23, all have sinned and have lost the glory of God. Romans 6:23, for every sin of us must perish before our Creator, the Holy God. Father of all light; in Him, there is no change nor shadow made by turning. James 1:17. It literally means we are all dead before Him, the wage of sin is death.
However we are trying to be righteous before Him which is Holy, His Holiness would only reveal our defect soul because of the sin which has damaged our life. Once it is revealed, we would have perished before Him. None of us can escape the light of God’s holiness that permeates everything. Everything is open and transparent before Him. And it simply means we are all perished, period. The sin has made us unable to stand before the Almighty God. All of us will be thrown from His presence, thrown and lost into the fire of Hell. There will be no sinner who can walk into Heaven which is enlightened by God’s holiness. That is why the wages of sin is death, Romans 6:23.
If so, who can save us? For though we could be successful, healthy, rich and blessed in this world, but because of our sin we will have perished. So who can save us? How much worse when we live in this world we experience bad, evil, poor, sickness, damned, wasted then at the end we will be still perished because of this sin? Who can save us? Matthew 19:25. A question that has been asked for a long time ago by human beings.
Jesus is the one who can save us. Thus we know that the main problem of our life is a sin. This is where Jesus is the answer we need most. He is the forgiveness of sins that God the Father provides for us. Our soul needs forgiveness of sins more than being full of food. Because it is better to die hungry knowing your soul has been forgiven rather than to live fully without having the Lord’s mercy on you. Our soul needs to be born again because of irreparable defects of sin. That is why He answered His disciples in verse 26 of Matthew 19, to mankind this is impossible, but to God everything is possible. God’s omnipotence shown here is not because He is able to do everything but because of His willingness to give everything even His own life on the Cross in order to open the way for us the sinners. That is the real blessing. That our Lord Jesus Christ wanted to die for us on the cross to provide forgiveness of sins for us who believe in Him. His death and resurrection are God’s atonement sacrifice to extinguish God’s wrath against us because of sin. For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9. Now, we can stand before the Holy God because Jesus justifies us before Him.
But I can really help myself. Is this indeed possible? The rich young man argued back in Matthew 19 that he had done the Torah (all) since his childhood (verse 20). But is it possible that we can not be punished in a human court for our offense against the law by doing charity? Can we be justified for our loot if half of us donate to orphans or we use to build houses of worship? Should not a proven offense be punished before the law of the good? If in human court such a thing can hardly escape, how can we fool God by our good deeds before the White Throne of God’s own Judgment? Is there indeed a man who can do the law (Torah) perfectly flawlessly? Is not a small offense against the law means a fatal mistake to everything? No one can be justified by law. The Torah itself is given only to silence every mouth of a man who says that they can be justified by their deeds, Romans 3: 19-20. Our obedience to the law will only make us good people before men, but it can not help us to be righteous before God. Notice, this is in the concept of being saved. Not a matter of changing and fruitful after survival. Is not it because our laws recognize sin? Verse 20 Romans 3.
Is it really possible? The argument of the rich young guy against God in Matthew 19 stated that he had done (all) the Torah since his childhood (verse 20). But is it possible that we will not be punished in a human court for our offense against others by doing charity instead? Can we be justified for our errors if we would donate to orphans or build houses of worship instead? Shouldn’t we be punished first justly before the law of man? If within human court such thing can hardly escape, how can we fool Him by our good deeds before the White Throne of God’s Judgment? Is there indeed a man who can fulfill the law (Torah) perfectly and flawlessly? Isn’t a small offense against the law means a fatal mistake to everything? No one can be justified by law. The Torah itself is given only to silence every mouth of a man who said they can be justified by their own deeds, Romans 3:19-20. Our obedience to the law will only make us good people before men, but it can not help us to be righteous before God. Isn’t it because the law we know sin? Verse 20 Romans 3.
The above discussion is just about deeds, about doing. If there are really some people who can be righteous because of their own deeds, what about the existence of a man which are all defected by sin? Don’t we all know that little children do not need to be taught to lie? They need to be taught of being honest. It’s simple evidence that we have been deformed from birth. This defect of sin comes since the father Adam who had fallen in the Garden of Eden. This flaw of sin alone is one of the main reasons why we can not stand before the Holy God. All have lost the glory of God, Romans 3:23. If our existence within ourselves has been wrong since the beginning, is it possible for our actions to be able to help us?
Isn’t God fair to us, isn’t our sin too small? Why can’t He consider all our greatness far greater than the small and simple mistakes that we do? Ah, God set the standards too high for all His creatures. God is not fair! Why should the wages of sin be death? My mistake is too small compared to the death penalty. Besides, my mistakes never harm others or even cause death to others. Is not an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth is more than enough? Can’t she just forgive me and forget my small error? Doesn’t He have nothing to do with me? After all, I was born not because of my will, why should I be so prosecuted?
Yes, the Holiness of God (will) demands the law so much to all men. And no man can escape His Holiness. If God’s standards are degraded, imagine what happens to the greater sin. Furthermore, He will not be the God He supposed to be if His Law is not perfect, if His Law does not demand in such a way. He is a Holy God, and we are only from clay. Adam must also be covered with His glory even without sin in the garden of Eden before he fell into sin. When they came to know that they were naked, that glory has been lost (removed) because of sin. Genesis 3:7. He is merciful, but it is impossible for him to do anything contrary to His law or His Holiness. Everything must go without any conflict or contrast to Himself. Or is there a father here who because what so call his love will not discipline his son if his son did wrong? Is it true to “let” is love?
So because all of these situations we are facing, God gave His only Son for us. Jesus Christ. Jesus has become a proof of God’s love that He would never abandon us. But at the same time is proof that He is justice and truth for all. The Cross of Jesus stated these two things very strongly. Jesus’ death is God’s love for us that He did not condemn us for the sins of our sins but punished His own Son. He does not nail us to the Cross but rather He nailed His own Son. And at the same time on the Cross, He upholds justice by making Him who knew no sin as a sin for us, so that in Him we are all justified by God. 2 Corinthians 5:21. Now, if Jesus has been given for our salvation, why do we still reject Him? Aren’t we know that we all need help?
Jesus was the perfect sacrifice. If it is not Him, who else can help us? If He would not, it will just us facing against the Lord of the Most Holy, The Creator? Will the Devil help? Isn’t he the one trying to destroy us? What about angels? Aren’t they on the Lord’s side, they are created to serve Him whom we will face? Another human being? Aren’t we all condemn? Can anyone be sinless enough to stand up and help us from among ourselves? A holy man, any? Can anyone be so sure if all of us have lost the glory of God? Aren’t all of us have become disabled because of our sin? Like it or not, Jesus is the only One and the only Way to God. He was the perfect sacrifice. Yes, He was (and is) human just like us because He was born of a woman. Not a creature that descended from the sky or so-called an alien. But He was not from Adam’s descendants. Mary conceived Him by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by the result of a relationship with a man (or Joseph). Luke 1:35, Matthew 1:25. So He was a human like us but a new kind, a kind that had no defect of sin in His soul like us. He was the new Adam. His existence was perfect. His deeds were also perfect, He lived perfectly without blemish. He did not undo the Law but fulfilled it. Romans 3:23 did not apply to Him when He was here. And even though death did not apply to Him, Romans 6:23, He still died on the Cross for us. Because of our wickedness, He was nailed to the cross. And died as a guilt sacrifice for all of us.
Uniquely, He was (and still is) God from the beginning. By Him all were created, John 1: 1-4. He was the Word of God Himself, together with the Father from the beginning. He was and is God Himself. Remarkably, He was willing to become a human just like us, Philippians 2:6-8. His Omnipotence was proved here not because He is able to do everything but because He was willing to give everything, including Himself on the Cross. Who are we that He was so desperately wanting us until He was willing to descend into this world, became like us and be in obedience till death on the Cross to redeem us? Now, shall we reject Him?
The Cross had been His goal from the beginning. When He came, He was not trying to be the strongest person in this world even though He was and is the Almighty. He was not trying to be the smartest person with all the titles he could just achieve. Wasn’t He (and is) the Wisdom of God Himself? He did not even try to be the richest person even though He who own the heavens and the earth. But the Cross was the main purpose of His life. He came to establish God’s justice by offering His own blood to wash away our sins. And He wanted to do it so we would not be punished. Perhaps somebody might think this way, how stupid He was to create something so complicated that He Himself had to sacrifice His own self. Do you mean His own Law? He made the Law which caused Himself to die on His own? No, sin existed before the Law of God was given. His holiness? No, but we humans, were created so much that it caused Himself to die on the Cross, yes because He loves us. Yet we do not know Him, John 1: 10-11, 3:16.
If it could become so complicated of what has been happened, why did God then still create us at the beginning? Why did He really want us back? Just imagine if He would not want us back? Imagine if Jesus did not want to be a sacrifice for us? How about our fate in the end? Try to consider all these questions.
Will you accept Him now, Jesus Christ, as your personal Lord and Saviour? If so, speak this prayer to Him: Lord, I come to You. Thank you for having died for me on the cross. Thank You for being a sacrifice of atonement for my sins and thank You for rising on the third day to justify me. I turn to You now, repent of my old life. Let my spirit be born again now because You are now my Lord and Saviour. Come in my heart and my life Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Amen.