||2014-02-26 12:59:28, 조회 : 1,684, 추천 : 266
Hello to another beautiful day to increase our knowledge of God. Today, we will be coming from Chapter eight, Redemption through His Blood.
As usual, the author starts off this chapter with verses from Ephesians 1:7 –
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our
trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”
In the last chapter, we reached an important turning point. We discovered that the same God, whose holy character punishes all sin, has now taken our punishment upon Himself. He has satisfied his justice and expiated our guilt. To continue, in this chapter we will see on how the effects of the Atonement become ours.
As we may know, the gospel of Jesus Christ is freely offered by God to all people everywhere. And this is was God truly wishes for every person, for them to come to repentance. Also, again and again we see that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked; He prefers that they turn from their ways and live. This way of living and invitation of the gospel has been given to all people.
Yet the painful fact is that there are many who reject the gospel. But there would be no reason why people would reject it, for the gospel itself is very deep related with our human condition. Because there is not the possibility of a defect in the truth, there must be a defect in their hearts. The fallen human heart is hostile to God. It hears of His holy law and its fear is kindled and so it runs from God in terror. It learns of His grace in Jesus and then the pride is hurt. It suppresses the truth with unrighteousness.
The use of denial and disbelief that led to Jesus’ crucifixion and persecution of many of His followers is the same as today. The hate towards God brings us further and further away from Him. And so people are not drawn to Christ unless it is done by the secret works of the Holy Spirit. Only the work of God can overcome our resistance to God. No one can come to Jesus unless it is granted him by the Father. God must call us with a calling which is effectual, a calling that carries with it the power to raise us from the dead.
Generally, it begins with the work of the Holy Spirit, we are exposed to the gospel message and so the truth enters our hearts, it is the Holy Spirit which makes us aware of our sins. We start to see ourselves from God’s view, and the sight instills fear into our hearts. The Holy Spirit had made aware to us who Christ is and what He has done and leads us to the realization that His death was for us. May I say, there is no single pattern for such conviction of sin, he works in different ways for each different heart. This is, how do you say, a general pattern for the conviction of sin.
Most importantly, it is not to be confused between conviction and faith. It is one thing to become aware of our plight as sinners before a holy God, and something else to willingly trust Jesus for our salvation. We can still see the truth and yet still hate such truth. Without a change in our nature, we will still continue to reject God’s grace and our conviction of sin will simply be the basis for our condemnation. What we need to avoid such thing is a new life.
Theologians generally call the obtaining of a new life as regeneration. And this has been fully taught within the Scriptures. We can look at John 1:12, “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” Also, 1 Peter 1:23, “You have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” These are just some of the verses that support the idea of regeneration. But in them all, contains two important factors.
First, they all indicate that in regeneration we are passive. In the natural realm or spiritual, we are not able to give birth to, create, or resurrect ourselves. And so it emphasizes that regeneration is God’s work. It is not something we do but something that is done in us. The other important factor is that it emphasizes on the greatness of the transformation God produces in us. He gives us new life, creates us again, and raises us from death. We are still the same people from before the regeneration but we are also changed. We now love what we use to hate, more specifically, God’s holy character and His gracious provision for salvation. And usually, we will be the able to see the significant change in our whole approach of life. Before, we weren’t able to see the kingdom of God, but after God has allowed for us to see, all we desire now is His Word, and so we may grow up in our salvation.
Although regeneration is God’s work, faith and repentance are ours. It is us who believe in Christ and us that turn from sin. It is faith and repentance that follows from regeneration and also the manner in which our rebirth registers upon our conscience. In John 6:37, it says that all whom the Father has given to the Son will come to Him, which means that we will exercise faith in Him and humble ourselves before Him. Both repentance and faith is described in Scripture as granted to us because the change He effects in us causes us to want to give ourselves to Christ and become like Him.
However, in recent time, faith has been stripped of its biblical definition and has been more “modernized.” Many times people tell us to have faith in faith or just to have faith in you. Yet, when we see the New Testament, the only faith it considers is faith in Christ. As apostle Paul says in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” This means that before we can exercise biblical saving faith, we must have some knowledge of who Christ is and what He has done, hence the reason that Christian faith is faith in the true Christ. True saving faith requires knowledge of the good news.
Faith and repentance are very closely tied together. The two can be defined separately, but can never be separated from one another. Faith is resting in Christ, looking to Him alone for a right standing before God. Repentance, on the other hand, is turning from sin. Turning to Jesus means to turn away from a life in which Jesus is in any way irrelevant. We can say that faith is the regenerate soul’s steady, constantly renewed embrace of Christ, while repentance is its constant, hard-fought rejection of sin.
And following along with this is the justification we receive from Christ. God demands of us that we perfectly obey His holy Law, but we are not able to do so. So, we can wonder how we can be made right with God. And the answer to such curiosity is justification. Justification is a statement on God’s part that not only does He forgive us but also views us as possessing all of the righteousness of Christ. Justification doesn’t change our characterization into holy, but our status in front of the Law. It becomes a declaration that God regards us as no longer standing under condemnation. And this is only possible by God viewing us as having a union with Christ. Just as Adam stood as our representative, Jesus also is our representative and so He satisfied God’s justice. His death allows God to demonstrate His righteousness and justify those who are united to Christ by faith. God not only forgives us, He regards us as if we had perfectly fulfilled the requirements of His Law.
There is one thing in this process which many people face trouble with. Many people have stumbled on the truth that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to the unrighteous. It is to be understood that our faith is not righteousness, but that in God’s way of reckoning, in His grace, our faith connects us with the promise given for righteousness, which was fulfilled by Christ. We were incapable of obeying God’s Law for ourselves, but through Christ, God has done it for us. And because Christ has perfectly obeyed the Law, God has freely given us all the blessings and privileges that depended on obeying the Law. Our job is to entrust ourselves to Christ to receive such blessings.
But as great as the gift of justification is, there is another gift which is still much greater, that is our adoption as the children of God. It really is wonderful to have our sins cleared and to be in the righteousness of God, and it is MORE wonderful that we have been brought into God’s family. As said in Ephesians 2:2-3 and John 8:44, we were previously children of wrath, of disobedience, and of the devil. But, as said in 1 John 3:1, God has put His love on us so that we may rightly be called the children of God, and most definitely, Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brothers.
There are two important aspects of such adoption. First, there is the legal declaration. We are given the legal status of children of God when we believe in the name of Jesus. Also, we are given the nature of children. Due to the gift of the spirit of son-ship, which stimulates us to look to God as our Father and by the statement that within our regeneration we made God’s children by nature. The idea is that we are able to and desire to regard God as our Father. God becomes to us the most tender, attentive, and protective Father, who has numbered even the hairs on our heads.
But this is not to say that we should be lazy as Christians. Justification of Christ’s righteousness does not mean we can go commit any sins as we please, but what we should do is seek holiness even harder. The Scripture demands that we live a new life, just as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is all about holiness. The New Testament letters also have their basic outline as: God has blessed you with a large amount of blessings and so you must live like new people. It is BECAUSE God has blessed us, we must pursue holiness both as a demonstration of our gratitude for what He has done for us and as a way of straining forward to the still greater joy the lies ahead of us.
That is the ultimate goal, to be united with God through Christ forever. Before the foundation of the world He chose us in Christ and predestined that we should be holy and blameless before him in love. And our final consummation of our union with Christ awaits the day when death is destroyed forever and Jesus hands over the kingdom to God the Father. It is that time when God will dwell with us an we will be marked as his people, and God himself will be with us as our God. To describe such a world, Jonathan Edwards say it will be as a world of love, where the love of God flows endlessly in innumerable streams toward all the created inhabitants of heaven, to all the saints and angels there.
The most important part of all such glory is that it is in Christ. When we are in Christ we receive the full forgiveness of sins. In Christ is the imputation of a righteousness we ourselves could never grasp. In Him there is adoption as the children of God. In Him there is the instantaneous transformation of our innermost nature in regeneration and the gradual renewal of our character in sanctification. In Him is extremely glorious and literally endless in enlargement. In Him there are pleasures forevermore.
And to conclude I hope that you were able to see the concept of Christ and I hope that you will be able to apply such concepts to your own Christian life and so increasing towards Him ever so much more. Thank you!
* admin님에 의해서 게시물 이동되었습니다 (2015-12-31 06:13)