christopher

bearing CHRIST

The Work of the Cross

I am sure you are well aware that our LORD Jesus did not pass away quietly in his sleep one night 2000 years ago. He did not get cancer and die. He did not suffer a fatal stroke or heart attack. Instead, being only in His early 30s, He was publicly executed by the government. With the full permission of His Father, He was falsely accused, ridiculed, beaten, tortured and killed. The local politicians among the Judeans, those who were also the religious leaders of their day, claimed He was a blasphemer, a man who made Himself out to be God. Their hatred for Him led to his trial before the Roman representative of the regional government, which resulted in His being sentenced to death by crucifixion. To their collective mind, the matter was resolved. When word spread that He had risen from the dead, the religious leaders worked diligently to quell the rumors, but were unsuccessful.

But were you aware that, according to the Scriptures, the process of Jesus’s death was purposeful, with each aspect of it authorizing action in the Earth for our benefit? Beginning with a betrayal in a garden at night and culminating nearly a month and a half later in His being taken up, received by a cloud and hidden from the eyes of those who were with Him, what we generally refer to as the crucifixion of our LORD was so much more than a death that occurred 2000 years ago. It wasn’t a “fix” for what adam had “broken” back in Eden, a fix that only took God 4000 years to come up with (For more on this, see my article titled, “The Origin of Man”). It was God’s purpose for us from the beginning.

Don’t get stuck in the timeline. What happened “within time” was already established outside of time, in eternity. The precedence had already been set. The script for this series of events was written from the foundation of the world, and performed in the Earth “in due time.” This is the apex of our history; of our existence. This was His plan from the origin. Most significantly, what He accomplished, He accomplished once, for all; for all of us, for all time. The work of the cross is an eternal work, outside of time. Permit me to walk you though it.

He Suffered

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

So that would be fulfilled which was said by Isaiah the Prophet, who said: “He will take our pains and he will bear our sicknesses.” Matthew 8:17

And he took all of our sins and lifted them in his body to the cross, for as we are dead to sin, we shall live in his righteousness, for by his scars you have been healed. 1Peter 2:24

Jesus’s suffering was neither accidental nor coincidental. It was not just a little pain that happened to accompany his gruesome death. Learn something very powerful regarding sickness (and what men call “health”, for that matter): Jesus took our place. He was pierced, bruised, crushed, punished, chastened, scourged, and wounded. Who, exactly, did you think He paid all these horrific prices for? It was for us, to reconcile us to God.

Does the fact that He suffered at the hands of men for our sake mean that we can never suffer at the hands of men? Of course not. It was His suffering, alone, that paid the price. Any suffering we endure does not heal us. It does not make us righteous or reconcile us to God. If He suffered for us, there is every expectation we will suffer, as no servant is greater than his master.

He Bled

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s soul, one’s life. Leviticus 17:11

This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed in exchange for the many for the release of sins. Matthew 26:28

For in him we have redemption, and the forgiveness of sins by his blood, according to the riches of his grace… Ephesians 1:7

Because all things are purged by blood in The Written Law, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22

Once again, Jesus did not simply spill a drop or two of blood during His execution. He was the Lamb of God, slaughtered for our sins! No bloodshed means no forgiveness. Because His blood was poured out we have the forgiveness of sins. Can our blood be shed at the hands of men? Most definitely. But the shedding of our own blood will not cleanse us. His blood , alone, the blood of the spotless Lamb of God, cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

He Died

Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, thus The Son of Man is going to be lifted up… John 3:14

But the section of Scripture he read had this in it: “He was led as a lamb for sacrifice and as a ewe before its shearer is silent, also in this way he opened not his mouth.” Acts 8:32

…the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. It was necessary, then, for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these sacrifices, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:22-28

But this One offered one sacrifice for the sake of sins, and he sat down at the right side of God for eternity. Hebrews 10:12

For the love of The Messiah compels us to reason this: The One died in the place of every person; so then every person died with him. 2Corinthians 5:14

Jesus did not die simply as the obvious result of His having been being beaten, hung on a cross and suffering blood loss. He willingly gave up His breath; He laid down His own life. How does His death, His shed blood and His suffering impact us? He was sacrificed in our stead. His suffering and wounding was the punishment we are deserving of. It should have been our blood that was shed, but He intervened on our behalf. He wasn’t deserving of death; we are. But what did His death accomplish?

Freed from Sin

For whoever is dead has been freed from sin. Romans 6:7

If therefore The Messiah has suffered in your place in the flesh, be you also equipped with the same mind, for everyone who has died in his body has ceased from all sins; 1Peter 4:1

For we know that our old person was crucified with him, that the body of sin would be destroyed, that we shall not again serve sin. For whoever is dead has been freed from sin… For when you became Servants of sin, you became free from righteousness… And now because you have been freed from sin and you are Servants to God, your fruit is holy, for the result of those things is eternal life. Romans 6:6-7,20,22

But if the Messiah is in you, the body is dead for the cause of sin, but The Spirit is alive for the cause of righteousness. Romans 8:10

For you have died to yourselves and your lives are hidden with the Messiah in God. Colossians 3:3

Paul wrote, “… your lives are hidden…” Hidden from what? Sin! As long as a man lives, he is a slave to sin. When he is dead, he is freed from that enslavement. But he is also now literally dead, so it won’t do him any good, since he died in his sin, as a slave to sin. Messiah made it so that we can live free from sin. But to do so, He had to die in our place. According to God, the math works like this: since one died for all, then all died. He that is dead is freed from sin. We already know that he that is literally dead is free. But we also know that, since all are dead due to the TRUTH that One died for all, as far as God is concerned, we are set free from sin.

I have been crucified with The Messiah, and from then on I myself have not been living, but The Messiah is living in me, and this that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of The Son of God, he who has loved us and has given himself for us. Galatians 2:20

If I am dead, I am freed from sin. And yet, because of how He accomplished this, I am still alive. But my life is hidden with the Messiah in God. When He appears, I shall then appear with Him. I am to “consider myself dead to sin, but alive to God.” (see Romans 6:2,11)

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. 1John 3:5-6

Many struggle with this, some to the point of adding words to the passage in an attempt to explain away the truth. John’s letter is addressed to children, young men, and fathers. The children do not yet understand the significance of the death of the Messiah, the young men are ecstatic about victory, and the fathers are at rest, having known Him from the beginning. Paul was given much insight into this very issue and introduced to the brethren the understanding of the works of the flesh (see Galatians 5:19). If you are dead with the Messiah, then you are dead to sin; sin is not your master (see Romans 7). You are no longer a sinner who commits sins (see Romans 8:1). If you foolishly wish to keep calling yourself that, I remind you of brother John’s words, “My little children… (see 1John 2:1). When you realize what is at issue, God’s decree – not your definitions, you may still find yourself (wrongfully) engaging in the unprofitable works of the flesh. Stop. Because you can. Walk in the spirit, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. The flesh is at war against the spirit, and vice versa. Join the young men who have overcome the wicked one, and go help others.

Freed from the Law

And now, my brethren, you also have died to The Written Law with the body of The Messiah that you would be for another, The One who arose from the dead, that you would yield fruit to God. When we were in the flesh, the diseases of sin, which are by The Written Law, worked diligently in the members that we might yield fruit to death. But now we have been exempted from The Written Law, and we are dead to that which had controlled us, so that we shall serve from now on in the newness of The Spirit and not in the Old Order Scriptures. Romans 7:6-6

For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. Galatians 3:21-25

As you learn about your freedom and the law of liberty in the Messiah (see James 1:25, 2:12), remember Paul’s words to the brethren at Corinth: All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. (see 1Corinthians 6:12, 10:23)

He was Buried

We were buried with him in baptism into death, for as Yeshua The Messiah arose from among the dead in the glory of his Father, in this way also we shall walk in a new life… Romans 6:4

And you were buried with him in baptism, and in it you arose with him, because you believed in the power of God who raised him from among the dead. Colossians 2:12

For those who have been baptized into The Messiah have put on The Messiah. Galatians 3:27

These who from the first were not convinced in the days of Noah when the longsuffering of God commanded that there would be an ark, upon the hope of their repentance, and only eight souls entered it and were kept alive by water. 1Peter 3:20

And they all were baptized by Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 1Corinthians 10:2

Jesus’s burial and our baptism are intrinsically joined. The Catholics redefined baptism as a sprinkling of said-to-be-special water and present it to this day as a club membership rite, typically performed involuntarily on infants. Protestant Christians usually think of baptism as a symbolic, voluntary drowning, where the “old you” passes away as you get dunked under water and the “new you” gets pulled back out. The purpose of the effort varies, depending on the denomination, and ranges from a requirement for club membership to a requirement for eternal life.

What is baptism, and what is its purpose? It certainly isn’t murder! We are dead because Messiah died in our place. What do we do with a dead body? We bury it. For those who are still confused about the purpose of baptism: We do not bury the living, we bury the dead. Burial is not some form of washing, cleansing or purging, and neither is baptism. Paul wrote, “… you were buried with him in (or by) baptism…” But why did God link water baptism with burial? Peter explained this:

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)…  1Peter 3:18-21

Remember the flood that covered the whole Earth? Eight souls, the lives of Noah, his wife, their 3 sons along with their wives) were saved. If you were thinking that all eight people were saved from drowning by getting onto a boat right before the fountains of the deep broke loose, and the heavens were opened to drop 40 days worth of rain, you would be right. But, believe it or not, being saved from drowning was not what Peter was talking about. It is written that eight souls were saved by water!”

By water, not from water.

It was the water that saved eight lives. Yes, of course you could say that the ark “saved” them from drowning but, since that is not what is written, you must answer this question:

  • Question: What did the water save them from?
  • Hint: What had just been utterly destroyed?
  • Answer: The entire world!

Peter wrote, “… in the same way baptism now saves us…” Get it?

How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? Hebrews 2:3

How shall we escape if we despise those things which are our life, those which began to be spoken by Our Lord and by those who heard from him among us, and were confirmed, while God testified concerning them with signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of The Spirit of Holiness, which were given according to his will? Hebrews 2:3-4

Those who are literally dead do not volunteer to be buried. But those who are still alive, who learn they died with the Messiah, do. Again, don’t let the timeline be an impediment. You were crucified with the Messiah when He was crucified, since One died for all. That would include all who live before, and all who would live after. Paul wrote, “… I was co-crucified with the Messiah…” (see Galatian 3:20). You died. Dead people need to be buried. God chose water baptism as the means to accomplish that burial and likened it to the purpose of the water of the flood (not the ark); the benefit being your salvation from the world!

Is baptism necessary for salvation? Absolutely! Salvation from what? The world.

He Arose

Thus also it is written: “Adam the first man was a living soul”; the last Adam the Life Giver Spirit. 1Corinthians 15:45

And what is the excellence of the greatness of his power in us, by those things which we believe, according to the action of the immensity of his power, which he performed in The Messiah and raised him from among the dead and set him at his right hand in Heaven… Ephesians 1:19-20

And he fills even you who were dead in your sins and in your stupidity… When we were dead in our sins, he gave us life together with The Messiah, and by his grace he saved us. And he has raised us up with him and seated us with himself in Heaven in Yeshua The Messiah… Ephesians 2:1,5-6

We were buried with him in baptism into death, for as Yeshua The Messiah arose from among the dead in the glory of his Father, in this way also we shall walk in a new life. For if we have been planted as one with him in the likeness of his death, in this way also we shall be in his resurrection. Romans 6:4-5

And if The Spirit of him who raised Our Lord Yeshua The Messiah from among the dead dwells within you, he who raised Yeshua The Messiah from among the dead also will give life to your dying bodies, because of his Spirit who dwells within you. Romans 8:11

If therefore you are risen with The Messiah, seek that which is above, the place where The Messiah sits at the right side of God. Feed on that which is above and not that which is in The Earth, for you have died to yourselves and your lives are hidden with The Messiah in God. Colossians 1:1-3

Consider the story thus far: The Word of God, He who was with God, He who was God, He who made us took on our form. Though He had the spirit without measure, and was not born of adam, thus He was never a slave to sin, in all other ways He was just like us. He told us of the good news of the kingdom of God, then was offered up as a sacrifice for our sins. To satisfy His own requirement, He suffered for our health – not His own, He bled for our forgiveness – not His, He died to set us free from sin and the law – from which He was already free, and He was buried to save us from the world. He took the good news to those who had literally died before us, those who He had called before us but had fallen asleep.

Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. After three (3) days and nights He arose from the dead, never to die again. He defeated death. That was definitely nice for Him, but what did that accomplish for us? There are two lineages of significance in the Earth, adam and Abraham. The first is the father of all mankind. The second is the father of all who believe. But we are told there are two (2) “adams” in the Earth: the first adam, a living soul, and the last adam, the Messiah, a life-giving spirit. Those who are born of the seed of the first adam all die. Those who are born of the spirit, the seed of God, live unto eternity (For more on this, see my article titled, “Born Again”).

This birth is authorized as a direct result of Jesus having risen from the dead. What if He not risen? Could we still still have health as a result of His wounding, be forgiven as a result of His shedding of blood, be free from sin and free from the law as a result of His dying? Not according to Paul. The apostle told us that if Jesus is not risen, then our preaching is in vain, our faith is in vain, we are all still in our sins, those who have fallen asleep before us have perished and we are to be most pitied among men (see 1Corinthians 15:12-19).

Many struggle with this issue of resurrection, thinking we are still waiting to be raised with Him at His coming. God has already raised us up with Messiah! For any who are still confused, and thinking it is incumbent upon yourselves to try to live a good life so you can be born again in heaven, you have entirely neglected the work of the cross. That work is effectual today in our lives because Jesus arose. It all went into effect because He already overcame death.

He Ascended

I tell you the truth: it is beneficial for you that I go away, for if I do not go away the Comforter, the Redeemer of the accursed, will not come to you, but if I depart I shall send him to you. John 16:7

But he, the Spirit of Holiness, whom my Father sends in my name, he will teach you all things and he will remind you of everything whatsoever I have told you. John 14:26

But when the Helper, the Advocate, him whom I shall send to you from the presence of my Father, The Spirit of Truth, he who proceeds from the presence of my Father, he shall testify concerning me. John 15:26

He is The One who is exalted at the right hand of God and he has received The Promise from The Father, which is concerning The Spirit of Holiness, and he has poured out this gift, which, behold, you are seeing and hearing…. For The Promise is to you and to your children and to all those who are afar off, those whom God shall call. Acts 2:33,39

Jesus clearly stated that if He did not leave, He who could only be in one place at a time, then He could not send the One who could be with all of us at once, the spirit of TRUTH, the spirit of holiness, our helper, advocate and comforter. He had to return to the Father in order to send the spirit.

If you can hear it, there is only one spirit.

Summary

  • He Suffered: Healing
  • He Bled: Forgiveness
  • He Died: Free from Sin and Law
  • He was Buried: Saved from the World
  • He Arose: New Life – the new creation
  • He Ascended: Spirit of Holiness