What Benefit Did You Reap?

Jesus painting close up

What I hear a lot of is this:

Jesus did his part but now we must do ours.

I used to believe this.

I used to believe this – in the way that many Christians believe it today.

But what we’re actually saying is this:

Jesus’ crucifixion wasn’t good enough to cleanse us from our sin.

The blood of Jesus wasn’t powerful enough to destroy sin.

Jesus did not die to sin “once for all”, as Hebrews tells us.

It wasn’t ‘finished’ as Jesus shouted, pouring out His blood, from the cross.

No.

Jesus did his part but now we must do ours.

Brilliant English theologian John Stott says this:

We resent the fact that we have no part to play in our own salvation, so we stumble at the stumbling block of the cross.

– The Cross of Christ.

You see, either Christ ‘did away’ with sin on the cross or He didn’t.

But He did.

Christ appeared once to do away with sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

– Hebrews 9.26

Paul tells us how.

He made Him who had no sin to be sin for us.

But this is a little confusing.

What does it mean exactly?

I like this translation:

GOD’S WORD.
God had Christ, who was sinless, take our sin.

However we phrase it, when Christ died, our sin died with Him.

All of our sin – past present and future.

This is great news!

This is the gospel!

On the cross, our sin died with Him.

But Paul goes further:

Anyone who was baptized into Christ was crucified with Christ. We were therefore buried with Him, through baptism, into death…

and

If we were united with Him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.

If we are not yet a believer, we are still living with ‘sin.’

And, as Paul says:

The wages of sin is death.

But – and this is the good news – if we are in Christ we died with Him.

Crucified on the cross.

But, Paul says:

If we died with Him we believe that we will also live with Him.

– Romans 6.8

and

If the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead lives in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal body through His Spirit who lives in you.

– Romans 8.11

It is only in Christ that we can rise from the dead.

We will rise as He is risen.

This is the good news!

It is nothing to do with if we mess up, make mistakes, or ‘sin’.

And –

Where sin abounds, grace super abounds!

– Romans 5:20

Super-abounding grace!

We are free!

“But that means we are free to sin!” I hear someone say.

I answer with Paul’s words:

What benefit did you reap from those things you are now ashamed of?

– Romans 6:21

Really, what benefit did you reap in the past from your wrong doing, from your selfish, destructive behavior, from your mistreatment of yourself and others, and from your unwise choices?

I know what benefit I reaped: shame and soul-destroying guilt.

Sin has terrible, life damaging consequences.

And…

The wages of sin is death.

But…

The law of the Spirit of Life has set us free from the law of sin and death.

– Romans 8.2

We have been set free from sin and death.

In Christ we have life!

Eternal life!

In Christ we have everything to live for!

This is the gospel.

The true gospel.

The amazing gospel!

Amen!

Steve Edwards

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Walk like Jesus.

Everyone who claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did.

(1 John 2:6)

I love this verse.

I used to wonder how Jesus walked.

I always imagined with a bit of a cool swagger, but possibly a bit awkward because of the sandals.

But then I realized, the verse isn’t literally about ‘walking’ like Jesus, but living like Jesus!

Christians love to say ‘The Christian Walk.’

The great thing about GRACE is it becomes a lot easier to walk the walk when there’s no pressure to be perfect.

Knowing that He has already made us perfect.

If we fall, we can simply get up, and try and try again.

This is why kids love clowns. No matter how much they fail, they keep trying.

And so with us.

We are like kids, children of God, learning to walk in our new identities, learning to walk in this world, so corrupt, so counter – cultural to God’s values – and represent Him and His love, His values, His compassion.

We don’t have anything to prove to God.

We have admitted we are failures and in need of a Savior, and our acceptance of Him means we have His righteousness.

To God we are shining lights – representing Him… His ambassadors.

All we need to do now is learn to walk as Jesus did – full of grace and truth – and with a sandals swagger !

Steve Edwards

Does Hebrews 10:26 warn us we can lose our salvation?

If we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving a knowledge of the truth no sacrifice for sin is left except a fearful expectation of judgement and of raging fire which will consume the enemies of Christ.

Harsh words. Terrifying even.

But rest assured, beloved Children of God, the writer of this letter is not writing to you who have been cleansed once for all by the blood of Christ, as he says in verse 14:

By one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who have been made holy.

Now, if Christ’s sacrifice has made us perfect forever, how can we then be destined for the raging fire?

Verse 26 seems to imply that even though we have been made holy and perfect by Christ’s sacrifice, we still go to hell if we deliberately sin.

Well, that means just about every person who ever lived is destined for the fiery furnace then!

Certainly me!

So, come on writer of Hebrews, what do you mean?

Either we have been made perfect by Christ’s sacrifice once for all, or we haven’t.

Either salvation is a gift of God, as Paul states in Ephesians 2:8, or it depends on our own ability to stop sinning.

If it depends on us, then we are back to the law.

But Paul says we are saved apart from the law:

…a righteousness not of my own that comes from obeying the law, but that which is through faith in Christ.

(Philippians 3:9)

And the writer of Hebrews says we have been made perfect forever by Christ’s sacrifice.

So what’s going on?

Let’s look at the context.

The writer of the letter to the Hebrews is writing to, you guessed it, the Hebrews, the Jewish people who still believed that sacrificing animals could take away sins.

But this writer was telling them that after Christ there is no more sacrifice for sin.

The verse ‘If we deliberately keep on sinning after receiving a knowledge of the truth’ isn’t talking about any old sin, the kind of sin that we talk about today, sexual sin, lust, or things like that.

The ‘sin’ the writer is referring to is the sin of rejecting Christ.

As Matthew Henry’s concise commentary states:

The sin here mentioned is a total and final falling away, when men, with a full and fixed will and resolution, despise and reject Christ.

The writer is telling the Hebrews that if they keep rejecting Christ, no sacrifice for sin is left. That there is no point continuing to sacrifice animals, because animal sacrifices don’t work.

In fact, earlier in the chapter, he says that animal sacrifices never worked, but were merely an ‘annual reminder’ for sin.

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin.

(Hebrews 10:4)

Only Christ’s sacrifice can take away sin.

If anyone rejects Christ’s sacrifice, no sacrifice for sin is left.

This is what the writer is saying.

It isn’t aimed at me or you.

We have accepted Christ’s sacrifice, and therefore our sin was taken away, on the cross, making us holy and perfect forever.

Thank you, Jesus!

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Sunday Sermon week 2.

Hello, and welcome to the second sermon in my series Sunday Sermons.

I know you have a busy day, and it’s Sunday, which is a day of rest, and you want to kick back, relax and enjoy it.

So, I’ll keep it short.

Today we’re looking at Hebrews 10 verse 10.

We have been made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ once for all.

This is the word of the Lord.

Here endeth the lesson.

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Sunday Sermon. Bored Yet?

Hey, and welcome to the first in my new series: Sunday Sermons.

I will post a new sermon every…er… Sunday.

Ahem.

Bored yet?

Well, there’s Good News! With my sermons you don’t have to wait until the end, bored out of your mind, you can simply switch back to Facebook, or Twitter, or go listen to Joseph Prince instead!

Are you ready?

OK.

Here goes.

You’ll be very pleased that the first Sunday Sermon is extremely short.

OK (I’m a bit nervous) but here we are.

My first Sermon will be on the book of Ephesians.

Not the whole book, obviously.

Just one verse.

Chapter 2. Verse 8.

By grace you have been saved, through faith. And this not of yourselves. It is the gift of God. Not by works, so no one can boast.

This is the Word of The LORD.

Here endeth the lesson.

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Isaiah 12

WOW.

Have a read of this, Isaiah 12:

A Song of Praise

In that day you will say:

“I will praise you, Lord.

Although you were angry with me,

your anger has turned away

and you have comforted me.

Surely God is my salvation;

I will trust and not be afraid.

The Lord Himself is my strength and my defense,

He has become my salvation.

With joy you will draw water

from the wells of salvation.

Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name;

make known among the nations what he has done,

and proclaim that his name is exalted.

Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things;

let this be known to all the world.

Shout aloud and sing for joy, people of Zion,

for great is the Holy One of Israel among you.”

This is an amazing portrait of GRACE:

‘Although you were angry with me, your anger has turned away, and you have comforted me. Surely God is my salvation.’

This is the crucifixion!

God was angry with us, with our sin, yet He turned it away, onto Christ, and this gives us comfort. Comfort because we do not have to endure the punishment we deserve anymore, because someone else paid the penalty for us.

The Christ.

WOW.

Thanks Isaiah.

Let’s join Isaiah and give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name, make known among the nations what He has done.

Let’s shout aloud and sing for joy, for GREAT is the Holy One among us!