For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Peter 3:18).
DO YOU SEE THE BLACK HAMMER raised to strike? Look at the soldier kneeling on his left knee with his head down. I don’t know if a soldier would have raised a hammer that high, but the artist seemed to think so. Looks like about a two-pound hammer.
JESUS HAD ALREADY WARNED: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Becoming a Christian in those days wasn’t as simple and risk-free as it is today in America. Peter wrote his letter to Christians who were scattered and being persecuted. He encouraged them to stand firm in the face of suffering and death. It was written about 64 A.D., about thirty years after Christ rose from the dead. perhaps during the persecution by Nero. Christians suffered from the beginning. First it was at the hands of their own Jewish countrymen, such as the Apostle Paul. Later, the Romans considered them an outlaw religion, disloyal to Rome.
THE ROMANS FINALLY REALIZED that the Christians were not welcome any longer in the Temple at Jerusalem and at the synagogues. As Rome conquered new territories, they accepted the religions of those new territories if they proved to be submissive to Rome. They had crucified Jesus as one whose loyalty to Rome was in question and thus, His followers were naturally suspect. Christians were some of the best-behaved citizens the Romans had. Their loving behavior spared them the wrath of Rome for a while. In writing to Christians widely scattered, Peter writes in the strongest language to comfort and encourage persecuted Christians to stand firm for Christ.
ONE OF THE STRONGEST REASONS Christians should stand firm is that Christ suffered pain and death on the cross for our sins. Today, in America especially, many people who have attended church most of their lives do not know the meaning-in-depth of the story of Christ. They know that he was nailed to a Roman cross and hung there until he died and that he rose again from the dead. From that point on it’s a blank page. They do not know the what and why of His bloody death and how it relates to them personally.
MANY PEOPLE DO NOT NOW IN THEIR HEART OF HEARTS that Christ died for them personally and that their sins were laid upon him as their sin bearer. “Christ suffered for MY sins.” The crucifixion of Christ is a fact of history, but “what does it have to do with me?” For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6).
SOME KNOW THAT Christ died for the ungodly who feel that it was for those really bad people that the FBI has been looking for. “‘Ungodly people need Christ to die for them. I am not perfect, but I’m not bad enough for Christ to die on the cross for me. I’ve never robbed a bank or beat anybody up. I’ve worked hard and paid my bills. I’m an honest person.”
MAMNY KNOW THAT CHRIST DIED FOR THE UNGODLY but believe that Christ’s death only cleaned up their account until the day they were saved. From that day forward, they must “live it” in order to remain saved. It does not depend on Christ but depends on them. At this point they do not know the story of Christ. They either live in dread and fear that they will do something bad enough to damn their soul, or else they may become so discouraged that they give up living for the Lord altogether. We have all met people like this.
GOD HAS MADE IT SIMPLE FOR TRULY SINCERE, LOST PEOPLE. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). You have to be lost before you can be saved. You must acknowledge that you are who God says you are: a lost sinner.
For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23). …there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Romans 3:12). Your biggest job is not getting saved. Your biggest job is getting lost. God only saves lost people, not proud people.
LOOK AT THIS: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:13). Have you called upon Him? Have you believed in Him?
YOU CAN ONLY BE SAVED WHEN YOU ARE DRAWN TO HIM BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: (John 6:44).
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father (John 6:64-:65).
By nature, we sinners do not call on God to be saved. And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee:…. (Isaiah 64:7).
OUR SINFUL NATURE FEELS ADEQUATE WITHOUT GOD. We do not want to yield to God’s authority to be Lord over us. We want to be in the place of God. Therefore, we will never leave that smug, rebellious attitude on our own. We need help to turn from ourselves to God. He knows that and has provided help to us for calling on Him. In Noah’s day before the flood we read: And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man,….(Genesis 6:3).
THOUSANDS OF YEARS LATER, fallen men still need the Spirit of God to strive with them in order for them to be saved. Jesus said: And when he [the Holy Spirit] is come, he will reprove [convict] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: (John 16:8).
For the word of God is quick [living], and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
THE BIBLE SAYS THE WORD OF GOD IS THE SWORD of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17). If you feel drawn toward the Lord, it is the Spirit of God drawing you. (The devil will not draw you, that’s for sure.)
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him (2Corinthians 5:21).
So, Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation (Hebrews 9:28).
If Peter were here today, in the strongest language he would tell you that Christ suffered for sins…for your sins. Jesus paid it all. That is all you need. That is the good news of the Gospel. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 5, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. Numbers 34-36 P.M. Mark 10:32-52
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verses to Memorize:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psalm 19:14)
Song for Today:
Jesus Paid it All (A-Cappello) (3:20) ( Pub. By S.E. Samonte)
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