The Ultimate Sacrifice

January 12, 2008

When you think of the reality and temporal pleasures of sin in this life, you will think about and know it as one of two kinds of people. You know sin as a child of God or you know sin as an enemy of God. Either way, a sacrifice is required.

If you were born from a woman into this earth, you, at least, began your life as an enemy of God and therefore a slave to sin. Since you only know how to sin, you love it because you are more acquainted with it than anything else in your life. You know sin because it is the very essence of your nature. It is who you are and you care more about it than anyone or anything else on the face of the earth, including your closest relatives. Your father, mother, sister and brother are only likened to you by the blood in your earthly body. You are only related to them by the flesh. Since you are born into sin, you have no means of knowing or communicating with your Creator, thus being cut off from Him in every way. Therefore, you enjoy the following defining characteristics of the flesh in some shape or form more than your family or your own life.
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21.
Also, for the majority of mankind in regard to God’s judgment of sin in the last days, it seems people will be as follows:
“For people will be lover of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 3:2-5

Sin is loved more than family and friends because we are born hating God.
“The haters of the Lord would pretend submission to Him, But their fate would endure forever.” Psalm 81:15
We cannot love our family until we at least meet them and recognize them for who they are. Even then, we don’t know what love truly is. Sin is loved and practiced naturally all day and night because it lives within us (John 3:19). It comes from a human heart that is hard as stone. If the human soul is maintained and manifested in an unregenerate, unrepentant state, then it is naturally a living sacrifice for evil since it only knows evil. Therefore, it stands currently condemned before God. Jesus Christ Himself blatantly and shockingly clarifies this fact to the Jews and Pharisees,
“You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is not truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” John 8:44, 45
If the Devil himself is and has been a liar from the beginning, then we also are living a lie. We will continue living our lives as if there is no God, unrestrained, yet unpardoned from sin. If sin, i.e. the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life, did not stop the Pharisees from denying the incarnate Christ as God, what stops us now as Christ is at the right hand of the Father and will one day return? Human nature remains the same. Rebellion is prevalent. Blindness and deafness to Holy things show the heart to be careless of The Gospel. The absolute, just wrath of God has been demonstrated to mankind as proclaimed in His word and is seen in this world evermore today.

The apostle Paul explains very clearly about the evidence of the flesh that resides within the human soul. They are thoroughly labeled to cover every sinful action or reaction of a human being. Even if one were to declare that there is no God, they cannot deny that they perform the very characteristics of the flesh as explained in the bible. In fact, they are experts and have mastered the flesh. When you speak to someone, the words that proceed out of your mouth are being judged by God.
“But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.” Matthew 12:36
Not only are the words judged, but the very thought processes are being judged as explicitly.
“Their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; Wasting and destruction are in there paths.” Isaiah 59:7
There are many more Scriptures in the word of God that speak of the iniquity from human thought. For example, Jesus says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” Matthew 15:19

“But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, ‘Why do you think evil in your hearts?’ For which is easier, to say ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk.’?” Matthew 9:4, 5
If the suggested “hidden sin” of thought is judged in righteousness, it goes without mentioning judgment of the physical act of sinning listed in the above works of the flesh that Paul describes in Galatians and 2 Timothy. It is a continual lifestyle practiced by the entire human race as slaves to their own desires of wickedness and defilement (Romans 6:16). There is no understanding of holiness and purity. There can be no reverence or true worship of Jesus Christ. We are deaf and blind to our own passions. The mind, body, soul and everything we stand for, including our unregenerate existence, is alienated from and hostile to God. We would rather die and perish eternally with unrepentant sin than to yield our lives to the only One who can promise eternal life. For, we are born dead. We truly have a worthless existence. This is historical human nature after the fall of Adam, indeed.

“For when you are slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.” Romans 6:20
When we are slaves to sin, it shows that we are freed from “righteousness.” We are not free from it in the sense that we are not responsible for our actions and deeds, i.e., our sin against an infinite and morally perfect God. We are free from righteousness in that we do not fear God and have no concept of His Character or who He really is. We don’t understand His attributes and the fact that he judges sin. Yet, we are fully consecrated to our own selfishness and pride. Although we claim to be moral creatures (as God created us to be), with various definitions of right and wrong, we are still completely in bondage to the flesh. We have no care or concern that we are in a perilous existence, but ultimately living according to our mere pleasure or desires of this world. We do what comes natural. We sin. Spiritually speaking, it is as if we are in a pitch dark room our entire lives with no concept of the light, while being judged by the light. We live and walk in the darkness.

The unregenerate human being does not look at the Word of God with reverence because he doesn’t believe that it applies to him. It is not real to him because it is foreign to his soul. He sees the words but they are foolishness to him (1 Corinthians 2:14) and he is bound in chains with no way of escaping from the snare and power of the Devil and this world on his own. He is dead to God, without fear and in union with Satan, tuned in to this evil age, although he may be religious.

As fallen human beings inherited from the sin of Adam, it is to our moral failure and demise that we do not comprehend the offense we are against the Almighty. It is our failure to not acknowledge and know Jesus Christ as the just, sin bearer of the world, perfectly fulfilling the law, whereas we cannot and will not. Because of sin, it is impossible in thought, deed, ability and willingness for us to bear our own sins or to repent for them.
“For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.” Romans 2:12
It is a case closed trial and for the majority of mankind, the verdict is guilty, sentenced to eternal destruction (Matthew 7:13). We have indeed inherited death and all have turned aside to be thrown into the fire. This is what we truly are in the eyes of God, according to His Word.
“as it is written: None is righteous, no, not one, no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Romans 3:10-18

Concerning anyone in an unrepentant state, who has not rested in Christ, know that each step could be the last. Each breath could be the last. Each night when you fall asleep, you might not wake, though you are already dead. Each day you drive your car could be the last. You do not know if you will live another minute, much less where you will vacation next year. Why do you concern yourself with retirement decades from now when you do not concern yourself with your eternal destiny this very moment, not knowing if you will live tomorrow? Either way, you will die. You will not have money in eternity. You will not be married in eternity (Matthew 22:30). You will not be able indulge in fantasies or let the mind wander in eternity (Revelation 21:8). You will either be with Christ in eternity as His dear ransomed sheep, or suffering with Satan in the lake of fire and brimstone that burns with sulfur because you have offended Almighty God and have broken His Law. It is called Hell and its horrors are unfathomable to the human mind. But there is a way to know if you are a sheep or a goat.

Only by the shedding of blood is there forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 9:22). And by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, shedding His blood on the cross for sinners, in complete, infinite humility, we who were far off have been brought near.
“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Romans 5:8, 9
Jesus Christ is God incarnate that came down as a servant, a babe, from Heaven as the firstborn of all creation. He has the highest status in Heaven, earth and the entire cosmos (Philippians 2) throughout all of eternity, and is eternity in Himself (Psalm 90). He, Himself, is the Word of God and nothing was made that was not made from Him (John 1:1-5, Ephesians 3:9, Revelation 19:13). He is the Mediator between God and man. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Although sinless, He temporarily sacrificed the perfect Triune love, harmony and unity to pay the penalty of sin by having the full wrath of God placed on Him, on the cross. His innocent blood was poured out as a ransom for many (Matthew 27:4, Mark 10:45). That is the ultimate sacrifice for sheep that have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). This is true love represented (John 3:16). We, who were under wrath, are now under grace. We, who lived in darkness, are now called into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). We, who did not know God, now know Him. We, who did not fear God, now fear Him, and rightly, only Him (Matthew 10:28, 2 Timothy 1:7). We, who were dead, have now been made alive. We, who were orphans, have now been adopted (Galatians 4:5, 6). We, who were mortal, have now been swallowed up in immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53, 54). We, who were lost, have now been saved. We, who would curse the day of our birth before living according to ordinances, commandments or a law, now consider it great joy with conviction to observe, follow and treasure the Holy Law of God, but it is not on our own; and if it is true, it is caused by Him, as He writes it on our hearts (Ezekiel 36:26-27, Hebrews 8:10).

The true children of God have greatly rejoiced in this sweet salvation that has allowed us to know, love, fear, embrace, treasure, revere, cherish, worship and abide in the Lord Jesus Christ.

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:1-10
Although the regenerate and truly repentant heart of man knows that he was formerly an offense against God Almighty, dead and under His wrath, he has now been accepted and justified by faith because of the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Just as we have infinitely broken the law, Christ has infinitely and perfectly fulfilled the law, satisfying, in completeness, as God incarnate, the wrath of God for all that have been appointed to eternal life (Acts 13:48). And because of that, we have been made alive, by grace through faith. It is a supernatural miracle of God; the event of regeneration, where a heart of stone is made into a heart of flesh. This is salvation or the act of being saved. Only now is our sin forgiven.

“This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and judgments; therefore you shall be careful to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul. Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and that he will see you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.” Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Since we are, in every way, unrighteous and unholy, God imputes the righteousness of His Son to us by providing His very Spirit because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 4:22-25). It is not an active force or a wind. It is comparable to such in the sense that we do not understand it, yet it gives us understanding and life because He dwells within believers.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the spirit.” John: 3:8
According to Jesus, we must be born again to inherit the Kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit initiates and confirms, instantly, the process of salvation that provides a beautiful illumination with strong conviction and consciousness to the soul of God’s majestic holiness, righteousness, justice, wrath and mercy (although we do not understand the great depth of these). The Holy Spirit provides a wonderful intertwined understanding of the true character of God. Salvation provides a whole new life, for old things have passed and new things have come. The born again believer is given an entirely new nature as he became alive to God and therefore becomes a spiritual creature. Although he may look the same physically, he is radically changed inwardly. It creates an understanding and an undeniable appreciation for creation. He acknowledges God as the Creator of all things as the scales of blindness fall from the eyes. This is the new birth.

Only a born again Christian has a true, yet only relative understanding of sin. Since they are no longer slaves to sin, they are able to abhor and despise it as Christ does because they have His Spirit (Romans 8:11). We are now slaves to God.
“But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.” Romans 6:22 Although sin is more evident and freely practiced in the life of the unregenerate, it is hated instead of loved in the life of the Christian because of the recognition, discernment and conviction by the indwelling Spirit that it offends God and breaks His law. The Christian is caused to stare at the Cross of Calvary and the righteousness of Christ in the eye. Indwelling sin is not understood at all in the unregenerate because it is at one with the soul. They are in perfect harmony and do not dispute one another.

The Spirit Himself is morally perfect in obedience to the law of God because He is God. It enables the regenerated soul to see God for who He really is in light of His Word. It is the only thing that makes our sin saturated bodies alive. Without it, we are completely dead. But, with it, we are completely alive, although we actively battle sin and will sin because we live in dead bodies until we pass into Glory (Romans 7, 8 John 14:19) Spiritual warfare has then conceded within the flesh caused by the indwelling Spirit and the battle has now begun. The Spirit, being fully God, reflects perfectly and completely the righteousness of Christ, being without sin. It is what raised Christ from the dead and enables believers to obey the law, produce the fruits of righteousness and make war against the flesh.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22,23
The Holy Spirit means everything because Christ is everything; He gave everything, which was Himself, perfectly, infinitely Holy and Glorious. It is the only thing that can truly override, and shine through our selfish ambition to make us holy. It is the mark of God, a seal, to those that are being saved (Ephesians 1:13).

If the truly regenerated man has backslidden and fallen into sin, he is not allowed to stay there and must put it off. Because of the new condition of his soul, he realizes that he is living in sin and separating himself from intimate fellowship with His Savior. He is not truly satisfied and does not have joy because he is rebelling. Great men and women of God in the bible have fallen into such grievous sin, such as murder, sexual immorality and rejecting the Son of God to His face. Since that is true, we are certainly not alleviated from it yet because of the present evil age. This shows that the heart is still wickedly deceitful above all things and still capable of the utmost evil. The regenerate may weep bitterly as Peter did or plead to God for His great Mercy like King David. Once we are in a state of falling away, the heart slowly becomes calloused to the things of God and it becomes more difficult to see His Glory and attributes in light of holiness and righteousness because of the blanket of sin. That is why 1 John speaks on the very heart of the issue of sin in a true believer.
“Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” 1 John 3:7-9
If we are indeed one of the Saints, we are not satisfied in the condition of habitual sinning because we, once again, are dead to it.
“But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:20-24
We must put off the old man, repent and walk in the Spirit because we now have the ability and unceasing desire to do so. If this does not happen, and we continue in the same unrepentant sin, then we are living proof that we have never been changed by His Grace and are still living in a perilous existence.

Sin and death are foreign to the souls of believers.
“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” 1 Corinthians 15:55
We now inherit eternal life instead of eternal destruction. Death has no part with the soul of the one who rests and abides in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
“He will swallow up death forever, And the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces; The rebuke of His people He will take away from all the earth; For the Lord has spoken.” Isaiah 25:8 We are now citizens of heaven and are now alienated from this earth instead of alienated from God.
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 3:20
The Apostle Paul reminds believers or “brethren” that we do not belong to this earth. Since Satan is the prince of this world, we are now enemies to it, and although we may seek at times, we do not find our ultimate home here. Furthermore, we are sheep that have been found and are being led by our Shepard, despite our selfish longings and desires caused by indwelling sin, the things of this earth can no longer quench any satiable desire. We now have a longing to be like Jesus Christ and with Him personally because we are His children and belong to Him.

As transformed humans by the power and dominion of the Holy Spirit, abolishing sin and death forever, we are being formed more into the image of Christ as each moment passes. The closer we are to our physical death, the closer we are drawing to the Lamb that was slain. Like Thomas, may we continually see the scars in His hands and put our hands in His side, so that we may not be unbelieving, but believing, that Jesus Christ is our Lord and our God. May each meal with Him be more blessed than the last as we dine with Him and He with us. May we rejoice in the continuing unspeakable joy because of the promises of God revealed in His Word. Since we are only able to communicate with God through His Spirit, Word and prayer on earth, while living in a wretched human body, sold under sin, John reminds us that, in Heaven, it will be as follows:
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.” 1 John 3:2, 3
Brethren, there is no joy, gift, revelation, knowledge, illumination or discovery in the history of the Universe greater than seeing the Son of God as He is. He came to this earth as a Lamb to be slaughtered, pitied and spit upon. He was rejected by most people, mocked and laughed at as He was eventually sent to the cross to die, and bring us peace with God. But when His children see Him, He will be in Glory as we will be in Glory, made perfectly pure, like Him, Holy and Righteous; For we shall see Him as He is.

Amen

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