Once upon a time, we were created by God for His pleasure; to be in close relationship with Him; to walk in the Garden of Intimacy with Him day and night, sharing our heart and life and enjoying this wonderful creation and life in close harmony with our Creator.
We were created with total freedom, which included the freedom to step outside the boundaries set by our loving Father God … therefore, we were free to disobey Him … and we did. He told us lots of things we should do in this freedom and one thing we should not do … and we allowed the enemy of God to lie to us and tempt us and we rebelled and broke the heart of our Heavenly Father.
Sin entered this perfect world and changed everything. Sin will always bring a consequence – then and now. It certainly brought a huge consequence back then. Our sin repelled us from God’s presence and drove us out of the Garden of Intimacy.
A holy God cannot look upon sin without burning against it in judgement – God’s love for us was unaltered; He was not being mean; He was just being Holy; He can be nothing less and holiness cannot co-exist with unholiness any more than light can co-exist with darkness. Put light and darkness together and light will always repel the darkness.
So, the wrath and judgement and holiness of God was revealed against sin. The Law of God was then given through Moses to define our sin. The Law was not needed before sin entered. The sacrificial system was introduced to try and appease God and somehow deal with this barrier which had risen up between God and His much-loved children.
All through the Old Testament we see God going to incredible lengths to provide for our sin and warn us and call us back to Himself. Day after day after year after generation, God was calling us to repentance and calling us to return to Him.
The Old Covenant provided a way for that to happen – but it didn’t work. There was nothing wrong with the Old Covenant. There was nothing wrong with the Law of God and the sacrificial system and everything else God put in place to provide for our sin. What was wrong was us.
We were the problem – not the Old Covenant. We could not make the grade. We could not obey the Holy Law of God. We kept slipping and falling into sin again and that kept us at arm’s length to our God and that broke His heart, for He was desperate to walk with us again in the Garden of Intimacy. The Old Covenant was not wrong, but it certainly was ineffective in the final analysis.
So committed was our loving God to us, that He launched the most radical rescue bid in the history of the universe! This rescue mission made Rambo look like a wimp! This was radical. This was incredible. God was going to save the whole world, but not in a way that anyone expected. God Himself took responsibility for our problem – the problem of sin.
Even though it was our fault; even though we were the ones who messed up and failed to obey the Law of God; even though this was our problem – God made it His problem – because He was a hundred times more committed to His relationship with us, than we were.
So, the God of this universe; the Creator and Sustainer of all life; stepped out of eternity and into time and space; He left the glory of heaven as a spiritual being and entered a teenager’s womb, to be born as a mortal human being, named Jesus. This God-man, Jesus, was the long awaited Messiah and Saviour Whom the Jews had heard prophecies about for generations.
Although wholly God, He set aside His status and power and humbled Himself to become one of us. He submitted to the limitations of time and space. He had to communicate with the Father, through the Holy Spirit, just like us. He was wholly man – facing all the struggles, limitations and temptations we all face.
As a man, Jesus was the first human to obey the Law of God fully and completely. He fulfilled the Law, the Bible says. Whilst doing that, He also gathered some disciples together and taught them about what God was doing and why. He planted truth in their hearts and a seed of life that would last well beyond His time here in the flesh.
When that teaching and training was over, He then completed His earthly mission. Not only did He have to fulfil the Law, on our behalf, He also had to pay the price for our rebellion, because the wages of sin is death. So, Jesus died. This innocent man was murdered as a criminal, in accordance with the God’s will. There was no other way to redeem us.
He then rose from the dead and returned to the right hand of the Father, thereby conquering sin, death and Satan and completing the mission of saving the lost children of God. In our powerless, hopeless, rebellious, sinful, spiritually dead state – God came to us and breathed life into our spirit! What grace! What mercy! What a mighty and loving God we serve!
Now, as we embrace His free offer of salvation, we are, in spiritual terms, ‘united with Him’ in His life, death and resurrection. Which means His perfect obedience becomes our perfect obedience before God. His death becomes our death and His resurrection to new life becomes our resurrection.
Jesus came to earth and scored straight A’s on the report card of life and then, in the most mysterious, glorious and wonderful exchange in the history of the universe, Jesus put your name and mine on the top of that report card – that perfect performance – and He handed it to the Father and said, “It is finished.” He paid for your ticket to heaven with His life.
So now, as we embrace that truth in faith; as we accept the good news – the gospel; our eyes are opened and we see that we have forgiveness of sins, past, present and future! We have righteousness and holiness and eternal life and hope and grace and mercy and love and power flowing in us and through us because of Jesus Christ.
When we receive the salvation offered to us in Christ, we die to our old life … we die to the law, which we could never obey … and we receive new life – His life. That’s why Paul said this:
Galatians 2:19-21 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
Praise God for His love! Praise God for His amazing grace! Praise God for His wonderful salvation. Once and for all – Jesus has done it. His was the final sacrifice. Holy we stand before His throne, because Jesus paid the price!