Who killed Jesus Christ and what does it mean to be saved by His blood?
Someone gave an experience that went like this: “I have a friend who is a dedicated, principled Christian. The person is generally thorough and logical. I asked the individual the question: “When Christians and the Bible say that Jesus Christ died for us to save us from sin, explain exactly how that works?” The individual humbly confessed that she did not know but asked me for my explanation. She was actually asking me to explain a scripture text because she was to do a presentation at her group worship that night.” This is not a unique situation and it illustrates the fact that even though people are saying certain things, many of the issues involved are not really understood.
It is well established among Christians that Jesus Christ died to save us and that it is by the grace of God we are saved. But what do these things mean? How does His death serve to save us? And is anything required of us? To answer these questions, I’ll make the following points:
- To be saved, the primary requirement is that we believe the truth about God.
“He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” (Mark 16:16).
“Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” (Luke 8:12).
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Rom. 4:3).
- The basis for us obtaining salvation has been provided to all humanity.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11, 12).
- People are lost because they fail to believe the truth. Why do people not believe the truth? Because they take pleasure in unrighteousness.
“And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19).
“Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thess. 2:9-12).
“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Heb. 3:12-14).
The sin problem
- The sin problem is an attitude of rebellion against God, started by a bright angel whose wisdom got corrupted from admiring himself rather than God, and his rebellion is transmitted to others by his deceiving them concerning God.
Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness” (Eze. 28:12-17).
- Jesus is the best revelation of God that has ever been given to humanity.
“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3).
No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18).
- Salvation, which is to be saved from the deceptions concerning God, and hence from the destruction that will come upon those who remain in rebellion against God, is based on the knowledge of the truth concerning God.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17:17).
The death of Christ
- The death of Christ was brought about by the fallen angel, Lucifer, now called Satan, stirring up of a multitude against Christ, the only begotten Son of God; an event that provides the ultimate evidence of the truth that God is love, whereas, Satan is a liar and a murderer. This understanding should lead us to love God and forsake all forms of rebellion against God.
“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Heb. 2:14, 15)
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” (Col. 1:20).
“And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” (Col. 2:15).
“Satan saw that his disguise was torn away. His type of government was laid open before the unfallen angels and before the heavenly universe. He had revealed himself as a murderer. By shedding the blood of the Son of God, he had uprooted himself from the sympathies of the heavenly beings. Henceforth his work was restricted.”— The Desire of Ages, p. 761 by Ellen G. White.
- The death of Christ provides the basis whereby our minds might be purged (cleansed) of all rebellion (sin) against God, which was planted in our minds through Satan’s deception.
“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die.” (John 12:31-33).
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom. 12:2).
“But even as a sinner, man was in a different position from that of Satan. Lucifer in heaven had sinned in the light of God’s glory. To him as to no other created being was given a revelation of God’s love. Understanding the character of God, knowing His goodness, Satan chose to follow his own selfish, independent will. The choice was final. There was no more that God could do to save him. But man was deceived; his mind was darkened by Satan’s sophistry. The height and depth of the love of God he did not know. For him there was hope in a knowledge of God’s love. By beholding His character, he might be drawn back to God.” – The Desire of Ages p. 761, 762 by Ellen G. White.
“Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ’s agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God.” – Education p. 263 by Ellen G. White.
The blood of Jesus
Many people speak about the “blood of Jesus” without understanding that it is a reference to the fact that Christ died, the fact of who killed Him and what it therefore says about the issues concerning God and Satan. It is these beliefs that determine whether we will be aligned with God or Satan; that is, whether we will still have sin (rebellion against God) in our hearts or not. The cleansing from sin is a purging of our thoughts. Of course, there is an aspect of it that is beyond us, namely, forgiveness for past transgressions and empowerment to act in accordance with the truth that we would now believe. If we believe the truth concerning God, as revealed in Jesus, which is what accepting Jesus Christ means, and we are sorry for our past misdeeds and wrong attitudes, God’s promise is that He will forgive us and give us the power to live righteously.
God did not require the death of His Son as a precondition to His forgiving us, as in pagan religions, where the god would not forgive except a sacrifice is offered. He forgives freely without holding a grudge or demanding payment, as He asked us to do. By allowing His Son to be placed in a vulnerable human form, He provided an opportunity for Satan to show his true colours before the entire universe, while showing the extent of His love for us, so that our minds might be aligned with the truth. This is God’s cure for rebellion (sin). For those who still harbour rebellion in their hearts, there is nothing else that would change them, and they will perish with their sin, as will Satan.
Some people will outrightly reject the truth, while others will choose not to avail themselves of it. Jesus warned us to take heed that no man deceives us. To be deceived especially in the last days is to forfeit salvation. If we believe that Christ must work a special miracle in order to save us, beyond what is already done for all humanity in making the truth available to us, and that we have no part to play in our own salvation, we deceive ourselves and open ourselves for other deceptions of the evil one. We are admonished to search for the truth as for hidden treasures, because it is by belief in the truth that our minds are transformed and our mistrust for God and our lack of submission to His will (our sinfulness) is eradicated.
“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Phil. 2:12).
“The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.” The Desire of Ages p. 456-466 by Ellen G. White.
It is what we need to do that we need to focus on. Many people go to lengths to emphasize that salvation is a gift from God to the exclusion of our part in it, as though its all up to Jesus to do everything. So, if it is not done for us, what then? Is it that Jesus did not do His part? They will say, oh, you need to accept that he has already done it for you. And what does that mean, when everybody claims to accept the gift? Will they all be saved, then? Is it that deception is of no consequence, even though we have been warned?
We need to understand and help others to understand that we have a part to play in our own salvation. Nobody can know the truth for us. We must know it for ourselves. So, let’s stop focusing on that which is outside of our control, which is already taken care of, and do what we need to do, or we’ll be sorely disappointed.
People must understand that the controversy is an information war. It started with a corrupting of knowledge (the truth); that is, it started with deception, and it can be resolved only by a reversal of that process. Even Satan himself, iniquity was found in him because his wisdom was corrupted by reason of his brightness – looking at himself and then developing a warped view of God (Ezekiel 28:22-27).
We have a task on our hands. Christianity has embraced a view of salvation that leads people to focus on things that Christ supposedly does, which are out of our hands, while neglecting the one thing that is required of us, which is to know the truth and believe it, so that our minds might be brought back in harmony with God. People seem to think that it is Christ’s job to work a miracle. They wait and think that they will be saved in ignorance. Many will be sadly disappointed when they hear, “Depart from me” and find out that they were really serving the Devil in willing ignorance.
“Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock” (Matt. 27:21-24).
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).
“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” (Matt. 11:15).
For further information, please visit Patience of the Saints at http://thecommandmentsofgodandthefaithofjesus.com/
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