Tag Archives: eternal life

Life at the Cross!

An instrument of cruel death was used by God to bring life to all.

The Easter season celebrates the fulfillment of Jesus’ most beloved words in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Life at the Cross

Jesus fulfills those words at the cross. There, he paid the penalty for all of our sins (1 Pet. 3:18, Rom. 6:8, Heb. 9:28). And it is there where we find Him to receive the gift of everlasting life (Rom. 6:23). It is a free gift when we repent in faith.

Jesus actually predicted the manner of His death in the words preceding his great promise. In John 3:14-15, we read: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Notice that verses 15 and 16 end with almost identical words. Why? Because Jesus was drawing a parallel between a spectacular Old Testament event (which prefigured the salvation which would be provided at the cross) with Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

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As recorded in Numbers 21:4-9, the ancient Israelites rebelled against God in the wilderness. God punished them with “fiery serpents who bit them, killing many. After the people repented, God provided a means of salvation:

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.’ So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived.”

numbers 21v9b

In similar fashion, whenever anyone who has sinned looks at Jesus  in repentance and faith, they shall live.

Speaking to the crowd, Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32). The next verse expressly states, “This He said, signifying by what death He would die.”

Just as Moses lifted up a bronze serpent on a pole to save all those who looked at it, God lifted up Jesus on a cross to save all those who put their faith in Him.

Let us all turn to Jesus, who beckons us with arms wide open, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mt. 11:28).

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A Fresh Start in Jesus Christ

During the Christmas season we are reminded of the birth of Jesus. The news of Jesus’ birth surely brought Joy to the World.

Fresh Start in Jesus

Why such joy? In “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” we sing these words:

“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;

Hail th’incarnate Deity,

Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,

Jesus our Emmanuel.”

Jesus was pleased to clothe himself in human flesh and dwell with us. He stooped down from heaven to live with us mere mortals here on earth. This Christmas carol continues:

“Mild He lays His glory by,

Born that man no more may die.

Born to raise the sons of earth,

Born to give them second birth.”

Yes, Jesus humbly gave up his divine prerogatives to live with us, suffer with us, and die for us – out of his great love for us.

Jesus was “Born that man no more may die,” that through faith in him we might have everlasting life with him in Paradise (John 3:16).

Jesus was “Born to raise the sons of earth,” that we might become children of God and heirs together with Christ in heaven (Rom. 8:17).

Jesus was “Born to give them second birth,” that we might be born again – a spiritual birth – so that we might be transformed into his likeness (2 Cor. 3:18).

Jesus has given us a fresh start!

Adam and Eve failed in the Garden of Eden and they were expelled from Paradise.

Jesus, the last Adam, has succeeded and is bringing us into Paradise!

“The Scriptures tell us, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living person.’ But the last Adam – that is, Christ – is a life-giving Spirit.” (1 Cor. 15:45)

Jesus’ birth was a game-changerfor all of us. His birth is still recognized in our calendars, in this Year of our Lord, 2016.

Jesus came to give us new life and a fresh start. But we have a choice: Will we accept his freely-given gift or will we continue to live our lives our own way – a way which leads to destruction?

Moreover, having received Jesus’ gift of eternal life, will we live our lives as Jesus would, or will we take his gift for granted? The choice is ours. May we all choose better than Adam and Eve.

Resurrection: Life & Liberty, Power & Purpose

He is Risen!

The Passion of the Christ drew record audiences when it was released in 2004 and, even today, a spiritual hunger persists in our increasingly secularized culture.

Resurrection

Easter is upon us and the message of the cross and the open tomb are destined to be commercialized and corrupted. Yet, God’s Word will prevail and His will be accomplished. The cross and the risen Christ prove His power and His love, just as they demonstrate God’s commitment to those who will be with Him in Paradise.

Life & Liberty

The words of John 3:16 speak of salvation and eternal life: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son” – yes, Jesus, the Son of God, was given (sacrificed) because of God’s love. Continuing, “that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

That is the essence of the gospel and Easter is the proof.

For believers, God gives eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection vanquished death and, when we are spiritually born again, we are given eternal life. We are joined with Christ in newness of life and God’s Holy Spirit inhabits us.

Death no longer has dominion over us. Life is triumphant! Along with life, God gives us liberty. We are freed from sin, which also no longer has dominion over us. While we will sin, we are no longer slaves to sin. God’s Spirit within nurtures us and heals us.

In our darkest hours – whether external circumstances or internal battles – God provides hope and healing. Our hearts and souls are resurrected in Christ.

Nicol Sponberg’s song, Resurrection, is hauntingly poignant and peculiarly powerful. It speaks of our translation from darkness to life, the renewal (or resurrection) of our lives. The chorus reads:

 Here I am at the end, I’m in need of resurrection.

Only You can take this empty shell and raise it from the dead.

What I’ve lost to the world, what seems far beyond redemption,

You can take the pieces in Your hand, and make me whole again, again.

This modern-day psalmist expresses confidence in the Lord of life and the only One who can resurrect her life, who can make her (and us) whole and complete.

Power & Purpose

Along with life and liberty, God provides power and purpose. Jesus conquered death that we might live and He has given us liberty in that life – liberty to grow and mature and become more like Him. We are to emulate Jesus, who empowers us to do so. In my sermon, “Living the Resurrected Life,” I addressed our dependence upon the One who alone can work His will in our lives and empower us to bear His fruit, the fruit of the Spirit. With that power, as we grow to maturity in Christ, He calls us to proclaim the gospel, known as the “Great Commission.”

The power of the Easter message is unstoppable, as is the One who accomplished it. “It is finished!”

We no longer need fear death or the dangers we face in this life. We are freed from ourselves and given a new life. In the dark valleys of our lives, Jesus again resurrects us, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. He empowers us to seek and do His will, which includes spiritual growth and evangelism.

Life. Liberty. Power. Purpose. …

Paradise

Easter points us to Jesus, to what He accomplished in the past, to what He accomplishes every day, and to our future with Him in Paradise. (Jesus called it Paradise for a reason.) As we eagerly await our entrance into His presence, let us remember the words of the apostle Paul, who wrote: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18).”

One of my favorite songs, Selah’s All My Tears, is irresistibly exuberant and triumphant. It rejoices in knowing Jesus annihilated death and that at the end of this life we will be with Him for eternity. With confident faith, it beautifully anticipates our future home, where there will be no more tears and sorrows. Here is a sampling of lyrics:

When I die don’t cry for me
In my father’s arms I’ll be
The wounds this world left on my soul
Will all be healed and I’ll be whole

It don’t matter where you bury me
I’ll be home and I’ll be free
It don’t matter where I lay
All my tears be washed away

 So weep not for me my friend
When my time below does end
For my life belongs to Him
Who will raise the dead again

 

Happy Easter!