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Truth Of The Cross 

The story of the cross reveals the truth of Godís love for his creation. The truth of the cross discloses the grace of God and his plan of salvation for anyone that chooses to believe in Christ. Sin had separated man from a Holy God, but God devised a way to forgive and reconcile man to him. In his mercy he unveiled a plan throughout the Old Testament foretelling hundreds of years before he sent his son as the Lamb of God.  The life and death of Christ fulfilled everything written about him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.

"Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms." Luke 24:44

The story of the cross is Godís plan for justice, but it is also the way God chose to openly display his love for mankind and demonstrate his mercy to the man who sinned. Because of its self-destructive nature God hates sin and is harsh towards its cause and those who indulge in it. God will not allow the presence of evil in his sight. In his court sin is a deed on record of a moral quality owned and possessed by you and that deed is a barrier preventing you from obtaining eternal life.  No man on earth is without sin and all have fallen short of the glory of God. Thank God for his forgiveness and the grace to pardon the sins of the world. There is one condition, however, without exception everyone must enter a covenant with God to have his or her sins forgiven through the sacrifice of Christ.

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people. Hebrews 9:27-28

The history of sin begins with Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God by eating forbidden fruit. Adam and Eve were placed in its midst creating of the Garden of Eden and were instructed by God that they could eat anything in the garden, except the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. A serpent enticed Eve into believing that when she ate the fruit she would become like God and know good and evil. Eve struggled with that temptation for a brief moment remembering God said that she would die if she touched or ate of the fruit. As Eve considered the fruit and what she would get in return, the fruit became appealing and beneficial to her needs.  

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Genesis 3:6

Adam was with Eve when she ate the forbidden fruit and shared the fruit with him. Something happened when they ate that exposed their nakedness and made them feel ashamed. Being ashamed and afraid of God, Adam and Eve hid among the garden foliage as he came to talk during the cool of the evening.

Immediately God determined that Adam and Eve had eaten from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God in his mercy was able to forgive the sin of disobedience, but subjected man to a harsh world in order so man may learn from his choices. Death had entered into the physical realm as God drove Adam and Eve from the garden and placed a guard at the entrance to prevent Adam and Eve of ever returning.

When God drove Adam and Eve from the garden we learn that sin separated man from God. God removed Adam and Eve from a favorable environment and subjected all of creation to frustration. Being driven out of the garden is a type of hell where the condition of creation was much worse than God had planned for mankind.  

God tells us that the lake of fire is the second death, a horrible place of torment separated from God with no escape. God placed an angel to guard the entrance making it impossible to reenter the garden of God. Being separated from God is a choice through seeking the person who is able to give you life. Through Godís infinite grace, God has given man the choice of life or death.

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. John 17:3

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Death comes from overlooking the choice to accept the promised life God is willing to give. The majority of the world does not know that they have a choice and must accept Godís terms for eternal life. If anything they assume that because God is love and he will accept everyone who lives a sensible and moral life. However, the hope of men is based on conceit and human reasoning not about the person who will be making the final decision.  

Those who seek God learn that God instituted a plan so that sins could be forgiven and a relationship with God can be reconciled and restored. We learn that God established the penalty of death when he said when you eat the fruit you would surely die.  Adam and Eveís death did not die physically then as they lived several years after the original sin. They were driven out of the garden to separate them from the tree of life and they spent their life in the world of suffering. Under Godís plan, forgiveness required the shedding of blood but in this story we have to ask why was it necessary to clothe Adam and Eve with garments of skin?

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them. Genesis 3:21

Adam and Eve tried to hide their shame, but the fig leaves began to dry and crumble. The drastic change within the minds of Adam and Eve revealed that by hiding from Godís discipline knowing that they were guilty of something they werenít supposed to have done. While Adam and Eve tried to cover their sin with the temporal use of fig leaves, God covered their shame with clothing that was more permanent. God didnít exactly say get out of my garden and donít come back but he did drive Adam and Eve out of the garden and placed a guard to prevent them from coming back. Still, it is evident that God informed Adam and Eve how to make the right kind of sacrifices and that knowledge was passed down to their children.

But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. Genesis 4:4-5

Because God loved his creation he chose the sacrifice of animals to atone for the sin of his creation. Before the law was given through Moses, we see men like Job and Noah making sacrifices for sin.

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 life. Leviticus 17:11

Abraham was sent to Mount Moriah by command of God to sacrifice his one and only Son as a burnt offering. On the way his son Isaac asked where is the lamb?  Abraham answered by saying that God would provide the lamb.  As Abraham raised the knife to slay his son, he heard an angel of the lord saying do not lay a hand on your one and only son.  This particular sacrifice is a prophetic picture that foretells that God would provide the lamb, his one and only begotten son.

Sacrificing animals was also used to establish covenant or agreements between men. God used this particular method to bless Abram and guarantee that he would be the father of many nations.  In Chapter fifteen of Genesis God asked Abram to bring a heifer, a goat a ram a dove and a young pigeon. Each was to be three years old. Each animal except the birds was cut in half and arranged so that the blood of the animals would drain to a trench made between the carcasses of the sacrificed animals.

 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram. Genesis 15:17-18

Tradition says that those entering a blood covenant such as this one took an oath saying may this be done to me if I fail to keep my part of the covenant. Those who entered this covenant understood they had the right to tread the blood of person who failed to keep his part of the covenant into the ground. Many enter into a covenant with Jesus Christ for eternal life, but few will be chosen because they fail to take their covenant with God seriously.  This covenant requires you to be faithful in keeping your part of the covenant. The prophetic scriptures present a triumphant Jesus Christ riding upon a horse in the blood of those who did not make or keep a covenant with God.

They were trampled in the wine press outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia. Revelation 14:20

The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh. Revelation 19:21

The atonement sacrifice was made once a year by Godís command to cleanse men of unintentional sin. In this particular sacrifice two goats were presented to the High Priest who cast lots to decide which goat would be sacrificed to the Lord and which one would be taken out of the camp and released in the desert, hence the term scapegoat. Before the man who released the scapegoat in the desert could return to the camp he had to wash himself and his clothes.

The trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ presented a similar picture of the scapegoat by releasing Barabbas a known criminal and crucifying Jesus who was without sin and in whom no basis for a crime worthy of death was found. The priests struck and slapped his face laying sins of world on the chosen lamb that was to be sacrificed.  When the trial of Jesus ended Pilate washed his hands of the matter saying that he was innocent of Christís blood. Like the man who released the scapegoat in the desert took a bath when he returned to camp.  The crowd responded with these words.

All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" Matthew 27:25

The sin of man has always been a major issue that separated God from man even in its earliest stages. God covered the shame of Adam and Eve with skins taken from an animal that died so that Adam and Eve may live.

But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him. 2 Samuel 14:14

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 life. Leviticus 17:11

God instituted the sacrifice of animals to reconcile man to God. The evidence of death was in the blood that was poured out and trampled into the ground around the altar. But the sacrifice of animals was just a forerunner of the perfect sacrifice made once for everyone.

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people. Hebrews 9:27-28

Jesus Christ came into the world as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. (John 1;29 and Hebrews 9:28).  His lifeís blood was the atonement for our life. Paul wrote.

The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 1 Corinthians 11:23-25

Today we celebrate Passover in the form of communion where we remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The elements are symbolic of Christís death, the bread representing his body that was broken for all men and the wine representing the shed blood of Christ. In taking communion we partake in the sacrifice of Christ remembering the elements represent the life and death of Christ who was sacrificed once for all. His blood became the blood of a new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins, Matthew 26:28. Because Christís blood cleanses man from sin this sacrifice was for your sin.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

God sent his son through the Virgin Mary to become the savior of the world, to deal with the sins of man. On the cross Jesus reconciled mankind with God by becoming the sacrificial Lamb of God. He was the lamb that Abraham prophesied God would provide to take the sins of the world away.

The person of Christ fulfilled the words of Isaiah 53.

 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.  Yet it was the Lord's will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.  After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light [of life] and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:1-13

Isaiah 53 speaks of ultimate price that Jesus Christ paid after a 3-Ĺ year ministry that led to becoming the sin offering for all of mankind. It reveals the corrupted methods of unbelieving Priests that justified the death of Jesus by the laws of God. The scriptures about Jesus were fulfilled in his trial, the brutality and the suffering of Christ on Calvary. There on the cross Jesus said father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.

The plan of Salvation would be nonsense without cross of Calvary as the whole of scripture foretold the life and death of our Lord. The choice between life and death and to love the world by laying his life down for all was at the core of Godís plan. Christ died so we may become the children of God and live with him forever in his kingdom. Still the plan of salvation requires you to do more than acknowledge Jesus Christís death on Calvary. Those who believe Ė respond to their belief in learning to obey God their father. The truth of Jesus Christís death and resurrection conforms to actual event of human history all because Jesus Christ desired to fulfill his fatherís plan.

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