Monday, September 24, 2012

Good News!!!!!

The Gospel... what is it? The Greek word is euangelion; in old English - from where the word is derived - it is godspell. It means good message; glad tidings.

The Gospel is simple, but it isn't easy.

I could start with Yeshua's death on the cross, but there is much that leads up to that point.  Yeshua didn't come to start a new religion called Christianity.  He came to fulfill what the Scriptures foretold in so many places.

Let's go back to the Garden of Eden. Genesis 3:3 shows that Chava (Eve) knew the penalty for disobedience - death.  Of course, the serpent deceived her and convinced her that she would instead become like God, knowing good and evil.  When she ate the fruit and gave some to Adam, sin entered the world. 

Adam and Chava tried to atone for, or cover, themselves - with fig leaves.  God proclaimed the penalty for them... that from the dust they were created, and unto dust they will return (die).  But in His mercy, he promised that One would come to crush the head of the serpent (Satan).

Then, in verse 21, He gave Adam and Chava a different covering - animal skins!  This is the first instance of blood being shed for atonement (kafar, which in Hebrew means covering).  This is the first foreshadow of the future redemption!

Fast forward to Abraham.  God asked him to sacrifice his only son.  At first glance, you might say what??? Kill the child of promise, that Abraham waited so long for??  But God is in control.  He was testing Abraham to see where his heart was... did Abraham love God above all?  And then God stopped Abraham and instead provided a ram for the sacrifice.  He was giving us another picture of His provision.

The covenant made with Moses and the people of Israel at Sinai set up an elaborate system of atonement through sacrifice.  One of the key sacrifices was the Passover lamb, which was a picture of escape from the slavery of Egypt.  Egypt is also a representation of sin in the Bible. 

All these pictures of sacrificial substitution lead up to the One who was sacrificed once for all.  Yeshua, Son of God, came to earth and lived His life in perfect accord with the Law of Moses, thus becoming the only One who ever was able to fulfill that covenant.  In doing so, He ushered in the new covenant that was foretold in Jeremiah 31:31... “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah -- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,says the LordHe is the ultimate Child of Promise, for Whom the world waited a long time.

Leviticus 17:11 tells us this:  For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have appointed it to you to make atonement on the altar for your lives, since it is the lifeblood that makes atonement.

The word sin means to miss the mark, or fall short.  Yeshua fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Moses covenant perfectly, yet was put to death.  Scripture says that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), yet Yeshua did not sin.  Because he paid the price that He did not owe, his shed blood is able to cover, or atone for, our own sins when we receive Him by faith.  The second part of Romans 6:23 says that the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.  The ultimate GOOD NEWS!

To receive that covering, the Bible tells us to come to Him in repentance; a word that means to make a u-turn.  Turn away from our life of sin and toward the One who paid the price for us.  Yes Lord, we accept your gracious payment, a payment we could never make for ourselves!

This is our justification.  Our price is paid by the Passover Lamb and we are redeemed unto eternal life. Halellujah!  But God loves us too much to simply leave us there at the altar of sacrifice.

What comes next, then, is our sanctification.  This is the process of becoming cleaned up.  We come to Yeshua repentant but unclean.  He cleans us up through the work of the Holy Spirit, without Whom it would be impossible.  It is a process that takes the rest of our lives.  This parallels the Biblical Feast of Unleavened Bread, which immediately follows Passover and continues for seven days.  Seven is a symbol of completeness, and represents the rest of our lives.

Yes, the gospel is simple.  But it isn't easy.  Sanctification requires us to die to self.  Again and again, I might add.

Tomorrow at sundown begins the holiest day of the year in the Jewish calendar:  The Day of Atonement.

So if our justification and sanctification were fulfilled at Passover and Unleavened Bread, what is this Day of Atonement?  Watch for my next post!

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