Monday, January 20, 2014

The Death Penalty

He Paid the Death Penalty for Us

In the beginning, after God had finished creating the heavens and the earth, He looked at His creation on the sixth day and determined that it was very good, Gen 1:31. After God formed woman, He took Adam and Eve and put them in the garden of Eden, and gave it into their care. The tree of life was in the garden, so that they need never die. But they had one problem-- Adam and Eve had been created subject to temptation to sin, with free will.

God gave them one commandment, and warned that if they violated that commandment, they would die. They gave in to temptation, ate the forbidden fruit, gained the knowledge of good and evil, and were cast out of the garden, separated from life. The wages of sin is death.

Gen 2:15-17--Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die."
Gen 3:13-19--Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this you have done?" And the woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." ----

Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it'; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you will eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return." NASU

The nature of mankind did not change after the sin of Adam and Eve, but because of their sin, they were removed from the presence of God in the garden.  They tried to hide from Him in their shame of nakedness, trying to cover themselves with clothes made out of leaves. But even though Adam and Eve had sinned, and were cast out of the garden, God still cared for them. He made for them some clothing from the skins of animals to cover their shame, Gen 3:21.

Paul, writing about the creation of mankind, says this: Rom 8:18-21—“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

Yes, mankind was created subject to the futility of temptation leading to sin and death, so that God could show His love to people who do not deserve it, so that we can learn to depend on the Power and Goodness of God rather than trusting in ourselves. Through this process of sin and death, and God providing the covering for our shame with the precious blood of Jesus, the children of God are revealed by faith in Jesus.

We escape from the death penalty in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the resurrection and the life. All who come to Him and trust in Him will be delivered from death. 

It is the blood of Jesus, not our own righteousness, that purchases our salvation, 1 Peter 1:18-23—“knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God."

Yes, we have all been under the death penalty because of our own personal sins. But Jesus provides the covering for our shame. Paul said it well, Gal 3:21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law.
 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.
25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (ESV)

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