JESUS PAID FOR OUR PENALTIES

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JESUS PAID FOR OUR PENALTIES

Contracts need to be honored. If it is not honored, there is a penalty. Purchase agreements, employment contracts, all have inbuilt a penalty, which, if parties breach, the terms of the contract will exact a demand on those who have entered it.

During the time of Moses, Israel already had a contract, a covenant, with God. This was made between God and Abraham. Here were the terms.

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father to many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”
And God said to Abraham: “As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant between Me and you : Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you.” Genesis 17:1-11

Notice who the main actor in the covenant was? Yes, God. God was the one making nations out of Abraham. God was the one giving Abraham lands. God was the one making Abraham exceedingly fruitful. All Abraham needed to do was to walk before God and get himself and his family circumcised, nothing else.

What does it mean to walk before God? Really, does it mean do good before God? Does it mean be perfect in word, thought and deed? No. It just means walk. In modern terms, the closest interpretation might be ‘hang around’ God. Just hand around God. When we are walking before God, just like a child walks before his parents, the parent can watch over the child, attend to the child’s needs, protect the child, guide the child, instruct the child. Don’t we as parents have our children walk before us when we are in the mall? So if we walk before God, we are letting Him watch over us, attend to us, protect us and guide us. That is walking before Him.

And notice also that if we do that, we ‘be blameless’. ‘Be’ is a verb of condition. It is a state of being. It suggests that the subject has that characteristic, attribute. Not that the subject is doing anything to ‘become’ blameless. So that means that if we hang around God, His holiness ‘rubs-off’ on us, and we become blameless through His holiness and grace. What a simple contract for us to follow.

However, during the time of Moses, Israel decided that they wanted to change that contract.

“And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant , then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.
So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all the words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” Exodus 19:3-8

At this point, God was merely reminding them of the covenant which He had with Abraham, and therefore, as promised, them. If only they had remembered what that was, they would have realized that all God was saying is, ‘remember, walk before me, hang around me’. That’s all God really wanted. That was our end of the covenant which He was referring to. But Israel got ahead of themselves and said that they would do all that the Lord has spoken. In fact, God’s Word Translation brings out this wrong attitude even clearer,

“All the people spoke at the same time and said, “We will obey everything the Lord says.” Exodus 19:8[GW]

Since when was the covenant about our actions and obedience? Except for circumcision, there was really nothing else for us to do except to hang around God, walk before God. So Israel at that point, changed the terms to one that was dependent on their doing and obeying and from then on, all man came under that changed contract.

But clearly, man can never do all that God says, nor obey everything that the Lord says. Our sinful nature simply runs counter culture to that claim. In the same way that we often let down those around us, even those closest and dearest to us, we will invariably let God down. But because we changed that initial contract, now there was a penalty, death,

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

But God did not like that situation at all. It was not His plan. His plan was the original covenant with Abraham, in which He was the one providing. After all, just like a parent knows that his toddler is dependant, He knows that there was no way we could have looked after ourselves. But just like the parent who will allow the child to experiment just so that they know their own limits, God allowed man to try out living the life that we ourselves claimed we could, until we ourselves realise that we cannot. And like all parents, once we realise that we cannot make it on our own, God sent Jesus to fix things.

Now, understand that a contract is a contract. Since we said we could obey God’s laws, there had to be a penalty for not meeting up to expectations. And that penalty is death. But beloved child of God, it is not God’s will that we die by our own foolishness, just like parents, though wanting to let the child know that fire is hot and can hurt them, will never allow their children to be burnt to death. Yet, the penalty had to be paid. So how did God reconcile that? Through Jesus. That is why the apostle Paul said that the gift of God is eternal life.

Jesus came to satisfy the penalty which we essentially brought upon ourselves. He came to die on our behalf, so that the wages of our sin, the penalty of that contract is fully paid for and met; so that we never have to pay that penalty ever again.

On top of that, Jesus came to bring us a new covenant, a new contract,

“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:27-28

And what is our part in this covenant?

“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. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” John 6:47

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26

Yes. Our part is just to believe in Him. Abraham’s end of that covenant was to get himself circumcised. For us, our end of the covenant is just to believe. Believe and you will have remission of sins. Believe and you will have everlasting life. Believe and you will receive all the blessings that God has ever promised. You can read more about those promises in the other messages.

For “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6

Jesus is asking you that question now. Do you believe?

And if by chance you do believe, but have never told God, let us tell Him now. Pray this prayer with me.

“Heavenly Father, I believe that I have sinned and because of my sin, I am supposed to be deserving of death. But I also believe that Jesus came and died on the cross, and in so doing, shed His blood so that my sins may be forgiven, past, present and future. Thank You Father that by Jesus’ death on the cross, and His rising again, I am now made whole, made clean, made righteous before You. Thank You that You now look upon me with love and favor. Thank You for making me Your child. In Jesus' name, Amen.”

Blessed, beloved child of God, Jesus has broken the chains of the old contract and given us a new and better contract. Let us take Him up on His word and believe that His good days will follow us all the days of our lives.

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