Friday, June 17, 2016

Insight: Impetuous Living

Impetuous Living

The Queen of England was scheduled to come to America for an official visit. Her assistants thought that it would be good PR if the Queen was to visit a local American resident as part of the royal trip. Consequently, Mrs. Bolton, An African American woman of middle age was selected to have the privilege of the Queen's visit. Naturally, Mrs. Bolton was quite excited about the Queen's visit to her home. She had followed the Queen's life, and remembered her coronation, her wedding, and even when the Queen had children. But never had she imagined that Her majesty would visit her. In anticipation, Mrs. Bolton, who was an excellent cook, set out to prepare the best "'soul food"' she'd ever made. Even her neighbors were saying that her food had never smelled that good.

On the day the Queen was to arrive, Mrs. Bolton, as well as the press, the media, and security personnel were ready early. Unfortunately, no one remembered to teach Mrs. Bolton the protocol for receiving a Royal dignitary into her home.  Upon the queen's arrival at Mrs. Bolton's home, cameras flashed, videos cameras and recorders rolled, and security was tight. The queen, stepping out of her vehicle, began the ascent up the pathway to Mrs. Bolton's home. Upon seeing the Queen, Mrs. Bolton moved quickly through her front door, out onto the step, and down the path. In her exuberance, she both embraced and drug the Queen into her home. Reluctantly, the Queen obliged; yet anyone watching could see the discomfort on her face. The Queen's bodyguards became frantic; this had the unfortunate effect of scaring Mrs. Bolton, and making the Queen even more uncomfortable. Not one of the Queen's entourage was accustomed to a host or hostess behaving in such an impetuous manner. Nevertheless, calm was restored after explanations and apologies had been made. Mrs. Bolton, despite the faux pas, rejoiced that the Queen had spent a few minutes in her humble home. The British however, were loath to let the matter go and were indignant at the treatment received by their Queen. Accordingly, the scandal sheets reported the details of the event for weeks.

The scandalous nature of the Queen's treatment reminds me of the story about the woman who anointed Jesus. Her "impetuous" behavior was no less a scandal in her day. Let's read the account in Matthew 26:6-13 (KJV), 

 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.
When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

In Luke's account of this story -- Luke 7:36-50we notice that the host, Simon, also found this incident reprehensible, "for the woman was a sinner."  Unlike the Queen, who by protocol was not to be touched by the host, Simon refused to have anyone touch Jesus, which went against the etiquette of his day. However, no one expressed disdain for Simon's breach of etiquette. Instead, Mary, the uninvited guest, performed the welcoming ritual that Simon should have done; only she responded not out of protocol but from gratitude.  

In her concern for Jesus, Mary relieved His suffering. Ellen White elaborates in the following quotes,

"The fragrant gift which Mary had thought to lavish upon the dead body of the Saviour she poured upon His living form. At the burial its sweetness could only have pervaded the tomb; now it gladdened His heart with the assurance of her faith and love… And as He went down into the darkness of His great trial, He carried with Him the memory of that deed, an earnest of the love that would be His from His redeemed ones forever" (Conflict and Courage, p. 306).
"The desire that Mary had to do this service for her Lord was of more value to Christ than all the spikenard and precious ointment in the world, because it expressed her appreciation of the world's Redeemer. It was the love of Christ that constrained her. . . Mary, by the Holy Spirit's power, saw in Jesus One who had come to seek and to save the souls that were ready to perish. Every one of the disciples should have been inspired with a similar devotion" (Christ Triumphant p. 252, paragraph.4). 

Although the disciples had privately received teachings regarding Jesus' approaching death, they were uncomfortable with the idea and resisted it, which later left them unprepared for trial. In contrast, Mary, an 'improper' woman, not privy to the disciples' intimate knowledge of Jesus, was informed by the promptings of the Holy Spirit and believed. That kind of inspiration she received can only find an entrance in a broken and a contrite heart. Thus, Jesus commended Mary.  

The heart of Mary of Bethany was a grateful one. She had truly grasped the Gospel as preached by Jesus, which is why she behaved as she did. Yet, someone called her actions impetuous. In the Dictionary, the word "impetuous" is defined as characterized by undue haste and lack of thought or deliberation. Mary's actions indeed may seem impetuous to some, and wasteful, or shameful to others. However, Jesus gives evidence that the Holy Spirit was moving her to do as she did. By Christ's description of her behavior, it's my guess that we can perceive the impetuosity of agape-love as heaven does -- as aptly describing how God loves us, and the manner in which we will love one another as the Holy Spirit moves us. Moved by the Spirit, Mary Magdalene of Bethany gave to Christ her most precious and costly possession.
So, the question today, comes to us individually: is there room in your life for Spiritual impetuosity? Have you ever been spiritually impetuous? Have you ever been led by the Spirit to live your life not according to the dictates of others, but purely according to His Word, and His prompting? It's so easy to be impetuous about something we love. If we truly love Christ, let's allow Him to have His way with us. Who knows what that fragrance wafting on the air will do for another?

Thursday, June 09, 2016

1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #11 June 11, 2016

INSIGHT #11 JUNE 11, 2016
Second Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Last Day Events
June 11, 2016

    The Second Coming of Christ is the climax of the Christian faith.  Isaiah 43:7 says that we were created for His glory, namely, to reflect the character of Christ.  Sin marred that plan, but through the Gospel and the New Covenant promises Christ will complete that plan in the people who are found faithful at the end of time.  The final events on earth are actually a blessing, as they provide us with the trials which are intended to result in a fuller faith, total surrender, and the revelation of Christ's love to a fallen world, as the whole earth is lit with His glory.  The Gospel and the Cleansing of the Sanctuary are inextricably linked, and they will result in a people to stand for the truth in the last days, when there are few with the faithful, and most of the earth has fallen for the deceptions of the "beast" power of Revelation 13.  
    In Jesus' call to the Jewish leaders to repent and accept Him, we can see a similar theme to that of the Laodicean Church at the end of time.  Those God loves He rebukes, chastens, and calls to repentance, but He also offers full fellowship and an abiding relationship.  God had chosen the Jewish people to be a "light to the Gentiles" and to bring "salvation" to the "ends of the earth."  Is. 49:6.  They had not proven to be faithful, nor to repent, and God finally had to, as a part of the 490 prophecy and the principles of His Kingdom, move away from the Jewish nation for the anticipated positive response of the church in the New Covenant.  Gal. 3:29 describes them as the faithful Israel, or the "seed of Abraham" and heirs to the promises.  There is a positive lesson to be seen here.  Jesus was faithful in attempting to reach Israel to the end of His ministry and time on earth, and to the ending of the Daniel 9 prophecy.  It reveals the character of God's agape love, willing to sacrifice and to suffer long with us in patience, trying to reach our hearts through the manifestation of His love.  The Old Covenant was the same gospel we have, typified in the sacrificial system, depicting the substitutionary atonement and thus the depths of God's love for fallen humanity.  They, sadly, chose salvation through the works of the law instead of a faith response, never understanding the need to yield to the righteousness of God in Christ.  Laodicea today faces the same choice, to replace "self righteousness" with the free gift of Christ's righteousness, a miracle and free gift to be received in living faith, a faith which works by love and purifies the soul.  
    Matthew 24, in a dual way, reveals the ultimate fate of Jerusalem as a result of Israel's intransgiency, but also is a lesson to us as to the ultimate fate of the world if they do not receive Christ.  Many things are experienced as a result of the continuing rejection of Christ and the false hope of the promises (lies) of Satan, namely, that sin will be beneficial and will elevate us to a state of wisdom, godhood, and freedom, instead of the truth of the bondage and slavery of sin.  God allows winds of doctrine, deceptions, natural disasters, etc. as a way of speaking to the minds and hearts of people in the world that there was a decided changed needed in choice, heart, motive, action, and faith response.  The Great Controversy must and will come to its intended close, in which all have ample opportunity to hear and respond to the Gospel and the prompting of the Holy Spirit, and to see the utimate outworking of both Satan's plan to take the throne from God, and the ultimate truth of the power of Love and the healing nature of that love in those who respond to God's message and drawing.
    The Bible promises that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.  As Malachi 3 tells us, Christ will refine us as gold tried in the fire, for the true experience of righteousness by faith is a life demonstrating the fruit of the spirit and total abandonment in faith and surrender to Christ.  The trials will include the various deceptions of Satan, including deception regarding the Second Coming itself.  Satan is said to deceive through miracles, signs, and wonders.  The "remnant" will instead prioritize the power of love, and the character of God, as opposed to external events and power over love.  Satan will come claiming to be Jesus, but those who have experienced the power of the Holy Spirit, and have come to know the character of Christ, will recognize the deceiver and not fall for His attempts to lure people into a false security and ecumenical unity that will both disparage the Bible and subtly express an independent spirit and will against Christ.  
    The one main point of Matthew 24, which also extends into Matthew 25, is a "watchfulness", a recognition of our continual need to keep our eyes upon Christ and not let daily living, or the problems and pressures of the world steal the seed out of our hearts.  We are told to stay faithful even if there is seeming delay, for daily expressing our faith in God, and our duty to the world forms a character of perseverance, endurance, and bondedness with the heart of Christ.  We live in an evil world, one increasingly filled with worldliness, unbelief, spiritualism, false teachings, carnality, secular humanism, eastern mysticism, skepticism, a denial of creation, and many other issues with which prove to be a test to our spiritual endurance and peace.  The Gospel, in the life of Christ in us, produces a "hope of glory" and a faith that will be sustained as the sin problem comes to an end.  The Gospel promises to both forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, to give us courage, faith, love, and a sound mind, and an ever growing commitment and love relationship with Jesus.  I encourage all to stay faithful, to watch and wait, and to believe that Jesus will return again soon.

~Pastor Tom Cusack
 1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #11 June 11, 2016

Thursday, June 02, 2016

1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #10 June 4, 2016

INSIGHT #10 JUNE 4, 2016
Second Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Jesus in Jerusalem
June 4, 2016

     Our lesson this week spends several days discussing, "The Cost of Grace", and the truth that Jesus gave "His life a ransom for many".  A vital question to answer, although it is rarely asked, is who was demanding or requiring a ransom?  Who was a ransom paid to?
     Clearly God in Jesus was paying the "ransom", but who was He paying it to?  Himself?  If God was paying Himself, what would be the purpose of a ransom the first place?  The paying of a ransom to oneself stands outside the bounds of common sense.
     Was He paying a ransom to Satan?  While Satan is certainly the instigator in the great controversy, there is no logic whereby God
or Jesus owe anything to Satan.
     Or, is it possible that we are the ones who needed a ransom?  Clearly in Scripture, we are the alienated ones.  We are by nature at enmity towards God and His law.  Is it conceivable that due to the animosity and enmity in our collective human heart towards God, that He "paid a ransom" to us, in order to win us back to love and trust and honor Him?
     Not that He is subject to our demands, but due to His humble, self-giving nature, He was willing to meet our demands, even though He wasn't required to do so.  But He did so, in order to "go the extra mile" and win us back to Himself.  Is that possible?  Is it possible that we are the ones who needed (required?) a sacrifice, and God thus provided it – not to satisfy or appease Himself – but to satisfy and draw us to Himself!
     This is not a new question.  One of the Lord's 1888 messengers – E.J. Waggoner – addressed this very question in a profound and little read article from The Present Truth in September, 1893, which he was the editor of in England, following his ostracism there by opposing brethren.  Please be blessed by the very significant truths that Waggoner brings out, and see "the cost of grace", and the "ransom paid" in a whole new framework.  It is a "most precious message" indeed.
Why Did Christ Die?" The Present Truth, September 21. 1893. 385.5-388.7.  (emphasis mine)
E. J. Waggoner

The fact that this question has been asked in all seriousness by an active Christian is sufficient reason for considering it, apart from the fact that it touches the very core of Christianity. It shows that the fundamental principles of the Gospel are not so generally understood as people are wont to imagine. This is not because they are so obscure and complex as to be beyond ordinary comprehension, but because they have been so thickly enveloped in the fog of theological terms. Those terms are the intention of men, and have nothing to do with the Scriptures. If we are content with the simple statements of the Bible, we shall see how quickly its light dispels the fog of theological speculation.

"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." 1 Peter 3:18. That is a sufficient answer, but we will read further. "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."  1 Tim. 1:15. "Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him is no sin." 1 John 3:5. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7.

Read again: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Rom. 5:6-10.

Once more: "And you, that were sometime enemies, and alienated in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight." Col. 1:21, 22. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." 2 Cor. 5:17-19.

All men have sinned. Rom. 3:23; 5:12. Sin is enmity against God. "The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." Rom. 8:7. In one of the texts above quoted we read that men need reconciliation, because they are enemies in their minds by wicked works. Therefore since all men have sinned, it follows that all men are by nature the enemies of God; and that also is what we read in Rom. 5:10, above quoted.

But sin is death. "To be carnally minded is death." Rom. 8:6. "By one man sin came into the world, and death by sin." Rom. 5:12. Death came in by sin, because it carries death concealed within it. "The sting of death is sin." 1 Cor. 15:56. Sin when it is full grown bringeth forth death. James 1:15.

Sin is death, for the reason that it is enmity against God. God is "the living God." With Him is "the fountain of life." Ps. 36:9. Christ is called the "Author of life." Acts 3:15, margin. Life is the grand characteristic of God. "He giveth to all life, and breath, and all things." Acts 17:25. "In Him we live, and move, and have are being;" "for we are also His offspring." Verse 28. The life of God is the source of every created thing; and apart from Him there can be no life.

But righteousness, as well as life, is the grand characteristic of God. "There is no unrighteousness in Him." Ps. 92:15. "As for God, His way is perfect." Ps. 18:30. Since the life of God is the source of all life, and all depend on Him, it follows that His righteousness is the standard of righteousness of all intelligent beings; for God's life is nothing but righteousness. Therefore life and righteousness are inseparable. "To be spiritually minded is life." Rom. 8:6.

Now since God's life is the standard of righteousness, it is evident that everything that is different from the life of God is unrighteousness; and "all unrighteousness is sin." But if the life of any being is different from the life of God, it must be because His life is not allowed free course through that being. But where God's life is not, there is death. Whoever is out of harmony with God-enmity against Him-has death working in him, and death for his inevitable portion. So it is not by an arbitrary decree that the wages of sin is death. That results from the very nature of things. Sin is opposition to God,-rebellion against Him,-and is utterly foreign to His being. It is separation from God, and separation from God is death, because there is no life outside of Him. All that hate Him, love death.

Let us now sum up the case of the relation between the natural man and God. (1) All have sinned. (2) Sin is enmity against God; it is rebellion. (3) Sin is alienation from God; men are alienated and enemies in their minds by wicked works. Col 1:21. (4) Sinners are "alienated from the life of God." Eph. 4:18. But God in Christ is the only source of life for the universe, and therefore all who are thus alienated from His righteous life are by the very nature of things doomed to death. "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." 1 John 5:12.
From all that has preceded it is very evident that the only object that Christ could have in coming to earth and dying for men, was the reconciliation of man to God, so that he might have life. "I am come that they might have life." John 10:10. "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." 2 Cor. 5:19. "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight." Col 1:21, 22. Christ suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, "that He might bring us to God." 1 Peter 3:18. "If when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life." Rom. 5:10.

"But," someone will say, "You have made the reconciliation all on the part of men; I have always been taught that the death of Christ reconciled God to man; that Christ died to satisfy God's justice, and to appease Him." Well, we have left the matter of reconciliation just where the Scriptures have put it; and while they have much to say about the necessity for man to be reconciled to God, they never once hint of such a thing as the necessity for God to be reconciled to man. To intimate the necessity for such a thing is to bring a grave charge against the character of God. The idea has come into the Christian Church from the Papacy, which in turn brought it from Paganism, in which the only idea of God was of a being whose wrath must be appeased by a sacrifice.

Stop a moment, and think what reconciliation means. The existence of enmity is the only necessity for reconciliation. Where there is no enmity, there is no necessity for reconciliation. Man is by nature alienated from God; he is a rebel, full of enmity. Therefore man needs to be reconciled-to have his enmity taken away. But God has no enmity in His being. "God is love." Consequently there is no necessity for Him to be reconciled; there is no possibility of such a thing, for there can be no reconciliation where there has been no enmity.

Again: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16. Surely, they who say that the death of Christ reconciled God to men, have forgotten this blessed text. They would separate the Father and the Son, making the former the enemy, and the latter the friend, of man. But God's heart was so overflowing with love to fallen man, that He "spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all;" and in so doing He gave Himself, for "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." The Apostle Paul speaks of "the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood." Acts 20:28. This effectually disposes of the idea that there was any enmity toward man on the part of God, so that He needed to be reconciled. The death of Christ was the expression of God's wonderful love for sinners.

Consider further what reconciliation means. It means a change on the part of the one reconciled. If one has enmity in His heart towards another, a radical change must take place in him before he is reconciled. This is the case with man. "If any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ." 2 Cor. 5:17, 18. But to speak of the necessity for God to be reconciled to man, is not only to say that He cherished enmity in His heart, but to say that God was partially in the wrong, and that a change had to take place in Him as well as in man. If it were not in the innocence of ignorance that men talked about God's having been reconciled to men, it would be blasphemy. That is one of the "great things and blasphemies" that the Papacy has spoken against God. Let us not echo it.

God is. He could not be other than He is, and be God. He is absolute and unchangeable perfection. He cannot change. Hear Him: "I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." Mal. 3: 6. Instead of having to change and be reconciled to sinful man, in order that they might be saved, the only hope for their salvation is the fact that he never changes, but is everlasting love. He is the source of life, and the standard of life. When any beings are unlike Him, the difference is on their part, and not on His. He is the fixed standard, to which all must conform, if they would live. God cannot change to accommodate the desires of sinful men, but simply because such a change would lower His dignity, and make His Government unstable, but because He cannot be other than He is, "He that cometh to God must believe that He is."

Just a thought concerning the idea that Christ's death was necessary to satisfy outraged justice. Christ death was necessary to satisfy the love of God. "God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us." Rom. 5:8. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." Justice would have been met by the summary death of the sinful race. But God's love could not suffer that. So we are justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Through faith in His blood, God's righteousness-which is His life-is declared upon us, and thus He is just, and at the same time the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. Rom. 3:21-26. The reason why it was necessary that Christ should die, in order that men might be saved, will be considered in the next edition of this article.

Why have we dwelt so long upon the fact that man must be reconciled to God, and not God to man? Because in that alone is man's hope. If God ever had any enmity in His heart against men, there would always arise the torturing thought, "Perhaps He is not yet sufficiently appeased to accept Me; surely He cannot love so guilty a being as I am." And the more one realized his guilt, the greater would be his doubt. But when we know that God never had any enmity towards us, but that He has loved us with an everlasting love, and that He has loved us so much that He gave Himself for us, that we might be reconciled to Him, we can joyfully exclaim, "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Freedom from sin, or at least from its consequences, is what men have been seeking ever since the fall. Sad to say, however, the great majority have sought it in the wrong way. It was with a lie against the character of God, that Satan caused the first sin, and he has been vigorously engaged in trying to induce people to believe that lie ever since. So successful has he been, that the mass of mankind regard God as stern and unsympathetic, a being who regards man with a coldly critical eye, and who would much rather destroy than save. In short, Satan has largely succeeded in putting himself in the place of God, in the minds of men.

Thus it is that much of the worship of the heathen is, and always has been, devil-worship. "But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God; and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils." 1 Cor. 10:20. Consequently all heathen worship springs from the idea that a sacrifice must be made to appease the wrath of their God. Sometimes this sacrifice is in the shape of property, but often it is of the person. Thus arose the great hordes of monks and hermits among the heathen, and later among the professed Christians, who borrowed their ideas of God from the heathen. These thought to gain the favour of God by scourging and torturing themselves.

The prophets of Baal cut themselves with knives, "till the blood gushed out upon them" (1 Kings 18:28), hoping thereby to induce their god to listen to them. With the same idea of God, thousands of so-called Christians have worn hair shirts, walked barefoot on glass, made pilgrimages on their knees, slept on the hard floor, or the ground, and scourged themselves with thorns, starved themselves nearly to death, and set themselves the most impossible tasks. But nobody ever found peace in any of those ways, because no man could get out of himself that which was not in him, and righteousness and peace are not in man.

Sometimes this idea of propitiating the wrath of God has taken an easier form, that is, easier for the worshippers. Instead of sacrificing themselves, they have sacrificed others. Human sacrifices have always been to a greater or lesser extent connected with heathenism. Men shudder as they read of the human sacrifices offered by the ancient inhabitants of Mexico and Peru, and by the Druids; but professed (not real) Christianity has its awful list. Even so-called Christian England has made hundreds of burnt offerings of men, for the purpose of turning away the wrath of God from the country. Wherever there is religious persecution to any degree, it springs from the mistaken idea that God demands a victim. This is shown by the words of Christ to His disciples: "The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." John 16: 2. All such worship has been devil worship, and not worship of the true God.

Just here somebody has remembered that it is said in Heb. 9:22, "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission;" and this makes him think that after all God did demand a sacrifice before He would pardon man. It is very difficult for the mind to rid itself of the idea received as a legacy from Paganism, through the Papacy, that God was so angry at man for having sinned, that He could not be mollified without seeing blood flow, but that it made no difference to Him whose blood it was, if only somebody was killed; and that since Christ's life was worth more than the lives of all men, He accepted Him as a substitute for them. This is almost a brutal way of stating the case, but it is the only way that the case can be truly presentedThe heathen conception of God is a brutal one, as dishonouring to God as it is discouraging to man; and this heathen idea has been allowed to colour too many texts of Scripture. It is sad to think how greatly men who really loved the Lord, have given occasion to His enemies to blaspheme.

"Apart from shedding of blood there is no remission." What is remission? It means simply "sending away." What is to be remitted, or sent away? Our sins, for we read that "through faith in Christ's blood the righteousness of God is declared for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." Rom. 3:20. So we learn that apart from the shedding of blood there is no sending away of sins.

What blood is it that takes away sins? Only the blood of Christ, "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." "Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin." 1 John 3:5. "Knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver and gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with precious blood, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ." 1 Peter 1:18, 19. "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."  1 John 1:7.

But how is it that the shedding of blood, even the blood of Christ, can take away sins? Simply because the blood is the life. "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul." Lev. 17:11. So when we read that apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission, we know it means that no sins can be taken away except by the life of Christ. In Him is no sin; therefore when He imparts His life to a soul, that soul is at once cleansed from sin.

Remember that Christ is God. "The Word was God," "and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us." "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself." God gave Himself in Christ for men, for we have read of "the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood." The Son of man, in whom was the life of God, came to minister, "and to give His life a ransom for many." Matt. 20:28

The case, therefore, stands thus: All have sinned. Sin is enmity against God, because it is a condition of alienation from the life of God. Therefore sin is death. The one thing, then, that man stood in need of was life, and this is the one thing that Christ came to give. In Him was life that sin could not touch, and that could triumph over death. His life is the light of men. A single light may make ten thousand other lights, and still not be diminished. No matter how much sunlight any person receives, there is just as much for everybody else; and if there were a hundred times as many people on earth as there are, there would be no less sunlight for each one than there is now. So with the Sun of Righteousness. He can give His life to all, and still have as much left.

Christ came to impart the life of God to man, for it is that that they lack. The lives of all the angels in heaven could not have met the demands of the case; not because God was so inexorable, but because they could not have imparted any life to man. They had no life in themselves, but only the life that Christ imparted to them. But God was in Christ, and in Him God's everlasting life could be given to everyone who would receive it. Remember that in giving His Son, God gave Himself, and you will see that a sacrifice was not demanded to satisfy God's outraged feelings, but that, on the contrary, God's inexpressible love led Him to sacrifice Himself, in order to break down man's enmity, and reconcile us to Himself.

"But why could He not give us His life without dying?" That is to say, Why could He not give us His life, and still not give it? We needed life, and Christ alone had life to give; but the giving of life is dying. His death reconciles us to God, provided we make it our own by faith. We are reconciled to God by the death of Christ, because in dying He gave up His life, and He gave it to us. Being made partakers of the life of God, through faith in Christ's death, we are at peace with Him, because one life is in us both. Then we are "saved by His life." Christ died, but He still lives, and His life in us keeps us united to God. The imparting of His life to us frees us from sin and the continuing of it in us, keeps us from sin.

"In Him was life; and the life was the light of men." John 1:4. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12. Now we can understand how it is that if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin." His light is His life; walking in the light is walking in His life; and when we thus walk, His life is flowing through us, a living stream, cleanses from all sin." "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift." His life is light, and will dispel all earth's darkness. In His light (life) we shall see light. Only as we consider hard questions in the light of His life, can we understand them.

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Rom. 8:31, 32. Let the weak and fearful sinner take courage, and trust in the Lord. We have not a God who demands a sacrifice from man, but one who in His love has offered Himself a sacrifice. We owe to God a life perfectly in harmony with His law; but since our life is just the opposite of that, God in Christ has substituted His own life for ours, and so we can offer up "spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." Then "let Israel hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption. And He shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities." Ps. 130:7, 8. 
~Bob Hunsaker