God is with you - Part 26
1 Peter 3v18
27th October 2017
1 Peter 3v18
A lot of funny things get said in church, and on web sites. A lot of preachers say strange things. Some are just wrong. Some are based on a flawed theology. Some come more from the heart of the preacher than from the word of God. A lot of strange things are said, and a lot of good things are said, too. You can't rely on everything said by every preacher. Sometimes, what they say is true but you can't receive it yet. But here's something you can absolutely rely on: If you are a Christian, then Christ has died for your sins once for all. Take it to the bank, as they say. Absolutely rely on this fact: if you are a Christian then your sins are forgiven.
Every one of us has done things we should not have done. We've failed to do things we should have done. We've said things we shouldn't have said, and we've failed to say things we should have said. We've all sinned. And because God is perfectly just, there must be a reckoning for sins. And there's nothing you or I could ever do to pay God back for the sins we've committed. We're totally unable to make restitution for our own wrong doing, but Christ died for sins once for all. The only way to God is though the suffering, the shed blood, the death, the atoning sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. That is true. Perhaps you can't receive it yet, but it is the truth.
We know in our hearts that we don't deserve to be in a relationship with God. We know we need someone to make it possible for us to be received by God and adopted into His family. And the only One who can make that restitution is Jesus, so He did.
The only way for a human to come into loving relationship, peace and fellowship with God is through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus dying on the cross. And the way we apply that wonderful, sacrificial event to our own lives is through repentance and faith.
Repentance means thinking differently, and acting in accordance with the way we now think. It means agreeing with God that His way is right, and doing our best to live in accordance with what the Bible says God's way is.
Faith means actually believing what we just said: that Jesus is God, that Jesus did die on the cross to pay for our sins, and that because He did we're forgiven and accepted as children of God.
There are a lot of people who repent but don't believe. They try to live a good life, try to earn God's forgiveness, by making up for their sins by being good. It doesn't work. A lot of people in churches up and down our country are doing precisely that. They come along, and sing songs about how great God is, and try really heard to be nice to their neighbours, and to abstain from gross immorality. But that doesn't pay for our sin. It's a good idea, but it doesn't pay for our sins.
And there are a lot of people who believe but don't repent. They claim the redeeming blood of Christ, shed for them, but they don't go to the Scriptures, and find out what they mean. and apply them to their lives, and change. There are Christians who are unkind, who are not gentle, whose conversation is not godly. We all sin, so none of us can point the finger at anybody, but the idea is to change, to be kinder than we were, gentler than we more, more godly that we were.
We're saved through repentance and faith, not repentance or faith.
Christ died for sins once for all but there are good, lovely, kind, gentle Christians who don't really believe all their sin is forgiven. There are Christians who think "Most of my sin is forgiven, but that's too horrible. That can't be forgiven. I'll always carry that guilt. But Christ died for sins once for all, not just for all believers but for all their sins. Whatever you have done, Christ died to pay for it. You no longer need to carry the burden of it. You are 100% forgiven.
Christ died for sins once for all - the righteous for the unrighteous. You can't be a Christian until you first admit that 're a sinner. We must first acknowledge that we need the blood sacrifice of Christ before we can receive it. We must first admit that we needed Christ to die for us so we could be reconciled to God, or rather so God could be reconciled to us.
He - Jesus - never did an unkind thing, never said an unkind word, never did an ungodly act. Jesus was righteous every minute of every day that He lived on earth. We can't imagine what that was like, but He did. The only human who deserved not to die, died for you. The only person who was just before he was justified - Jesus - gave his life for you. He died for your sins. You may remember awful, gross sins you committed years ago. If you're a Christia1n, they are forgiven. Every sin you've ever committed is forgiven. Every sin you're continuing to commit is forgiven. Every sin you will commit is forgiven. He died for sins once for all.
There is no longer any sacrifice you or I need to make for sins. There is no sacrifice you or can make for sins. It's all done - once for all.
If you go to God and say, "I'm sorry I did this bad thing. I'll be miserable for a week to make up for it", you're wasting your time. Your sins are already paid for, and you being miserable for a week won't change anything, except it'll make you more miserable, and that will make everybody around you more miserable. Christ has already paid. We've received 100% forgiveness, because Christ died in our place. His blood was enough to pay for all the bad things in your heart, and all the bad things in your life.
And, since Christ has forgiven us, we really must forgive one another.
Christ was put to death in the body. He did actually die. He was actually buried. And He came to life three days later. This it not a nice story or a religious myth; it's a historical truth. God died in the person of Jesus. His heart stopped beating. His brain stopped passing electrical signals. He was dead. He loves you that much. He was so passionate about paying for all your sins, so that you could belong to God, that He accepted that punishment in your place.
But He was made alive by the Holy Spirit, and now He sits enthroned above the heavens for ever and ever, where He makes intercession for you.