Scriptures and Thoughts on “Crucify”

Crucify – to fix to a cross – “crux” is the root of “excruciating.”

 How does crucifixion work?

 It is clear from the remains of Jehohanan that crucifixion was in practice in Jesus time. Those who suffered were nailed to a cross in such a way that they would naturally fall forward unless they made the effort to pull themselves up and back. Eventually, this would lead to utter exhaustion and suffocation.

 Why did the people insist on crucifying Jesus?

(Matthew 27:21-26) But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!” 23And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!” 24When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” 25And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!”26Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

(Mark 15:9-15) Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead. 12Answering again, Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”13They shouted back, “Crucify Him!” 14But Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15Wishing to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas for them, and after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.

(Luke 23:1-4) “Then the whole body of them got up and brought Him before Pilate. And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” So Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And He answered him and said, “It is as you say.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they kept on insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place.”

(Luke 23:13-25) “13Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. 15“No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. 16“Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 17[Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.] 18But they cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!”19(He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder.) 20Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, 21but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!” 22And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”23But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. 24And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted. 25And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.”

(John 19:12-15) As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.” 13Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” 15So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”

(Acts 13:26-28) 26“Brethren, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. 27“For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him. 28“And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed.

 What does it mean for a Christian to “crucify the flesh?”

(Galatians 5:16-24) 16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

(Galatians 2:20) “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

(Romans 6:1-7) 1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? 3Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7for he who has died is freed from sin.

(Daniel 3:16-18) 16Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18“But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

What phrases did Jesus speak from the cross?

 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots – Luke 23:34 (KJV)

And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. – Luke 23:43 (KJV)

When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. – John 19:26-27 (KJV)

4. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? – Matthew 27:46 (KJV)

After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. – John 19:28 (KJV)

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. – John 19:30 (KJV)

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. – Luke 23:46 (KJV)

What did Jesus mean by quoting Psalm 22 from the cross? Did God forsake Jesus there?

 (Psalm 22) My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
[b]Far from my deliverance are the words of my [c]groaning.
O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but [d]I have no rest.
Yet You are holy,
O You who [e]are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.
In You our fathers trusted;
They trusted and You delivered them.
To You they cried out and were delivered;
In You they trusted and were not [f]disappointed.
But I am a worm and not a man,
A reproach of men and despised by the people.
All who see me [g]sneer at me;
They [h]separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying,
[i]Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him;
Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”
Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb;
You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts.
10 Upon You I was cast from [j]birth;
You have been my God from my mother’s womb.
11 Be not far from me, for [k]trouble is near;
For there is none to help.
12 Many bulls have surrounded me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
13 They open wide their mouth at me,
As a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It is melted within [l]me.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;
And You lay me [m]in the dust of death.
16 For dogs have surrounded me;
[n]A band of evildoers has encompassed me;
[o]They pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
They look, they stare at me;
18 They divide my garments among them,
And for my clothing they cast lots.
19 But You, O Lord, be not far off;
O You my help, hasten to my assistance.
20 Deliver my [p]soul from the sword,
My only life from the [q]power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion’s mouth;
From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.
22 I will tell of Your name to my brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise Him;
All you [r]descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And stand in awe of Him, all you [s]descendants of Israel.
24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from him;
But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.
25 From You comes my praise in the great assembly;
I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.
26 The [t]afflicted will eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.
Let your heart live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations will worship before [u]You.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s
And He rules over the nations.
29 All the [v]prosperous of the earth will eat and worship,
All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him,
Even he who [w]cannot keep his soul alive.
30 [x]Posterity will serve Him;
It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.
31 They will come and will declare His righteousness
To a people who will be born, that He has performed it

(Isaiah 53:6) “We all, like sheep, have gone astray … and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all”

(Romans 6:23) For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(2 Corinthians 5:21) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

(Psalm 31:5) Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.

 Is crucifixion related to the Jewish curse of hanging on a tree?

(Deuteronomy 21:22-23) 22 “If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.

 (John 19:31) Then the Jews, because it was the day of preparation, so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

(Acts 5:30) The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross.

(Acts 10:39) “We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross.

(Galatians 3:10-14) 10For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM.” 11Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, “THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” 12However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, “HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM.” 13Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON ATREE”— 14in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 What does it mean to “take up your cross daily?”

(Matthew 16:24-27) 24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life[g]will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

(Luke 9:23-26) 23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. 25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.

Cicero’s comments on crucifixion show how carrying a cross is a source of embarrassment and being made a spectacle and being looked down upon.

 What does it mean that the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing?

(1 Corinthians 1:18-31) 18For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.” 20Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; 23but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,24but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,28and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29so that no man may boast before God. 30But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

How is the cross similar to the golden serpent lifted up by Moses in the wilderness?

(Numbers 21:6-9) The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “[j]Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.

(John 3:13-18) No one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven: the Son of Man. 14 As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up;15 so that whoever [d]believes will in Him have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His [e]only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the [f]only begotten Son of God.

(John 12:30-36) Jesus answered and said, “This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 31“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” 33But He was saying this to indicate the kind of death by which He was to die. 34The crowd then answered Him, “We have heard out of the Law that the Christ is to remain forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?” 35So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes. 36“While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.”

 

Advertisements

Scriptures and Thoughts on Redemption

What does redemption mean?

Hebrew:
Ga’al – “to redeem, deliver, avenge, or act as a kinsman.” (90 x in OT)

(Genesis 48:16) “The angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; And may my name live on in them, And the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

(Leviticus 25:25) “If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold.”

(Leviticus 25:47-49) “Now if the means of a stranger or of a sojourner with you becomes sufficient, and a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to him as to sell himself to a stranger who is sojourning with you, or to the descendants of a stranger’s family, then he shall have redemption right after he has been sold. One of his brothers may redeem him, or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him, or one of his blood relatives from his family may redeem him; or if he prospers, he may redeem himself.”

(Ruth 2:20) “Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, ‘May he be blessed of the LORD who has not withdrawn his kindness to the living and to the dead.’ Again Naomi said to her, ‘The man is our relative, he is one of our closest relatives.’” (guardian redeemer, family redeemer, next kinsman)

(Numbers 35:12) “The cities shall be to you as a refuge from the avenger, so that the manslayer will not die until he stands before the congregation for trial.”

(Exodus 6:6) “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.’”

(Exodus 15:13) “In Your lovingkindness You have led the people whom You have redeemed; In Your strength You have guided them to Your holy habitation.”

(Psalm 77:15) “You have by Your power redeemed Your people, The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah.”

Padah – “to redeem or ransom.” To intervene on behalf of another.

(1 Samuel 14:44-45) “Saul said, ‘May God do this to me and more also, for you shall surely die, Jonathan.’ But the people said to Saul, ‘Must Jonathan die, who has brought about this great deliverance in Israel? Far from it! As the LORD lives, not one hair of his head shall fall to the ground, for he has worked with God this day.’ So the people rescued Jonathan and he did not die.”

(Exodus 21:8) “If she is displeasing in the eyes of her master who designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He does not have authority to sell her to a foreign people because of his unfairness to her.”

(Number 3:44-51) “The Lord also said to Moses, Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. The Levites are to be mine. I am the Lord. To redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites, collect five shekels for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons.’ So Moses collected the redemption money from those who exceeded the number redeemed by the Levites. From the firstborn of the Israelites he collected silver weighing 1,365 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel. Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord.”

(1 Kings 1: 28-31) “Then King David said, ‘Call Bathsheba to me.’ And she came into the king’s presence and stood before the king. The king vowed and said, ‘As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my life from all distress, surely as I vowed to you by the LORD the God of Israel, saying, “Your son Solomon shall be king after me, and he shall sit on my throne in my place”; I will indeed do so this day.’ Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground, and prostrated herself before the king and said, ‘May my lord King David live forever.’”

(Psalm 130:8) “And He will redeem Israel From all his iniquities.”

Kapar – “to ransom, atone, expiate, propitiate.” A material transaction or ransom.

(2 Chronicles 30:18-20) “For a multitude of the people, even many from Ephraim and Manasseh, Issachar and Zebulun, had not purified themselves, yet they ate the Passover otherwise than prescribed. For Hezekiah prayed for them, saying, ‘May the good LORD pardon everyone who prepares his heart to seek God, the LORD God of his fathers, though not according to the purification rules of the sanctuary.’ So the LORD heard Hezekiah and healed the people.”

Greek:
Lutroo, apolutroo
– “a deliverance or a releasing.”

(Matthew 20:28) “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

(Mark 10:45) “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

(Ephesians 1:7-8) “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.”

Exagorazo – “to buy.” To buy out, ransom, redeem.

(Galatians 3:13-14) “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, ‘CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON ATREE’— in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

What is a Redeemer-Kinsman?

 See verses under Hebrew “Ga’al”

(Ruth 4:5-8) “Then Boaz said, ‘On the day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you must also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the widow of the deceased, in order to raise up the name of the deceased on his inheritance.’ The closest relative said, ‘I cannot redeem it for myself, because I would jeopardize my own inheritance. Redeem it for yourself; you may have my right of redemption, for I cannot redeem it.’ Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning the redemption and the exchange of land to confirm any matter: a man removed his sandal and gave it to another; and this was the manner of attestation in Israel. So the closest relative said to Boaz, ‘Buy it for yourself.’ And he removed his sandal. Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, ‘You are witnesses today that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and Mahlon.’”

(Ephesians 3:14-15) “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.”

(Acts 17:16-18) “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’”

(Matthew 12:48-50) “But Jesus answered the one who was telling Him and said, ‘Who is My mother and who are My brothers?’ And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! ‘For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.’”

(1 Peter 2:9) “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”

(Galatians 4:4-7) “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”

(Isaiah 43:1-2) “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.’”

What does it mean that the Christ was a “ransom for many.”

 Look at Greek Latroo “ransom” and Exagorazo “buy out”

(1 Peter 1:18-19) “Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

(Revelation 5:9) “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.’”

(John 12:24) “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

(1 John 3:16) “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.”

What human stories serve as earthly illustrations of redemption?

* Story of Nicholas Winton

How should we respond to God’s redemption?

(Psalm 107:2) “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.”

(Galatians 2:20) “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

(Titus 2:14) “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”

(1 Corinthians 6:18-20) “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the [j]immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a [k]temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from [l]God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

(Isaiah 44:22) “I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

 

 

Christianity is Unique

Poet and journalist Steve Turner satirically remarks in his poem “Creed:” “We believe that all religions are basically the same; at least the ones we read were. They all believe in love and goodness.  They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.”

Indeed, to claim that “all religions are basically one” or that “all religions lead to the same god” is logically inconsistent. I would like to define some of what separates Christianity from other worldviews, and the power that it has.

1) Christianity gives ultimate meaning and purpose to life. In this respect Christianity is separated from atheism.  The Bible gives us a view of a cosmic, beautiful, incredibly important story unfolding.  It is a war between good and evil, between love and lawlessness.  It gives us a reason to live and it shapes our lives. Of course an atheist can live with a sense of personally constructed meaning, but that meaning lacks the authority to empower his actions in his moments of greatest need.  It is essentially utilitarian.  It is, by his own admission, only a product of random chance that happened to serve him for a time and will abandon him at the grave.

2) Christianity does justice to the importance of the heart. This separates us from Islam.  A Muslim is justified when his good deeds outweigh his bad ones. But Christianity is not a legalistic religion.  It is not chiefly about rule following.   In a legalistic religion, rituals become compulsive.  The heart is not addressed because the actions are considered sufficient. Christianity, on the other hand, emphasizes the heart first, and actions follow naturally.  Consider Jesus’ brilliant “Sermon on the Mount” that begins in Matthew 5 for examples.

3) Christianity is ambitious. This separates us from Eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism.  A central goal of Buddhism is to become free from all desire.  Desire is understood to cause pain, and eliminating desire eliminates pain and brings us to enlightenment.  There is no distinction between desires for right or wrong ends.  All desire is to be eliminated. Christianity, however, exalts the desire for that which is right, while rejecting that which is wrong.  It is ambitious enough to expect something more wonderful to be accomplished than an escape from all desire.

4) Christianity teaches us how to forgive others and ourselves. In this way I believe that Christianity outshines any other worldview.  The Bible teaches that God is Love.  Love is willing to suffer for the good of others.  Thus Jesus Christ came to the cross to suffer for our sakes, so that He might forgive us. The incredible teaching of Christianity, which no other religion dares to suggest, is that God Himself, our Creator, is willing to suffer in order to absorb our evil.  In this way the relationship between Him and us is held together. It follows that we have no right to withhold forgiveness from others.  We are not justified in withholding mercy when we are so clearly in need of it (Matthew 18:21-35).

In conclusion: No worldview meets mankind where he is like Christianity.  Its meaning, purpose, and morals are universal and objective, giving them the necessary weight to serve us in our most difficult hours.  It emphasizes the transformation of our hearts, not simply of our actions.  It gives us an ambitious outlook on the outcome of this amazing battle that we see around us.  And most importantly, it teaches us the truth about love, the only force strong enough to hold us together.

What are You Thankful For?

This is the time of year when millions of Americans place a special focus on thankfulness.  Perhaps this is a favorite celebration for many because its focus has the potential to be so enriching for us emotionally and spiritually.  Indeed, even secular psychologists acknowledge what the Bible also indicates, that pausing each day to think about what we are grateful for has a positive effect on our wellbeing.

1 Corinthians 4:7 is a powerful verse on thankfulness because it reveals that not only is thankfulness healthy, it is also the only sensible response to the good things in our lives.

“For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

What good thing do you have that God has not given you?  James 1:17 tells us that “every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”

If it is good, God gave it to you.  Thankfulness, therefore, makes sense.  Alternatively, boasting about having something that someone else gave you out of their own charity seems rather silly.

But what is particularly thought provoking about the context of our verse in 1 Corinthians 4, is that Paul is not actually talking about physical possessions.  I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 3:18 – 4:7 some time for context.  You will find that the Corinthians were being tempted to boast about their own spiritual wisdom, and their own connections to well know spiritual leaders.  They were perceiving themselves as exceptional Christians.

It was in response to this pride that the Corinthians were warned: “For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”

The implication is this: we are not only indebted to God for our possessions, but also for our knowledge of the truth, and our relationships with the “Pauls, Apollos’S and Cephas’s” that first taught us about Christ.

In fact, the Bible indicates that we are indebted to God for our very righteousness itself: He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)  Also consider Romans 3:21-26 for more scriptural support.

What do we have, that was not given us by God?

Houses?  Cars?  Pantries full of food?
Relationships with other Christians?
Righteousness?

Eternal life?

We have nothing to boast about except the cross. (Galatians 6:14)  And yet, we have more to be thankful for this season than anyone else.

turkey-532962_1280