Don’t Deny Him

Matthew 16:13-17 NASB

Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

The Son of Man

Jesus often referred to himself as “the Son of Man.” Yet, he was fully God and fully man when he lived on this earth. For, he always existed with God and he is God, and he is our creator, as well as our Savior (See: The Gospel of John, chapter one). He is both God and the Son of God, for he is the second person of our triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The prophets of old prophesied concerning the coming of the Christ, the Messiah, the Savior of the people. They told of his virgin birth and of his life and ministry, and of his death and resurrection. They told of how he would come to save the people from their sins.

Jesus, although he was God, left his throne in heaven, came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered like we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. And, then he was put to death on a cross, although he had done no wrong, because the people, in particular the Jewish leaders, hated him for what he taught and what he stood for.

Yet, it was God the Father’s will that Jesus should suffer and die for our sins so that he could be our sacrificial Lamb to take away the sins of the world.

Matthew 16:21-23 NASB

From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”

Death and Resurrection

Yes, it was God’s will that Jesus should suffer and die for our sins. For, when he died he became sin for us in order that he might put our sin to death on that cross. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. But, praise God, he did not remain dead. He was resurrected back to life on the third day so that he might give us new lives in him, and so that we might also live with him in freedom from sin and to his righteousness.

But, Peter, who had just so wondrously proclaimed Jesus to be who he was (and is), now rebuked Jesus for stating that he must suffer and die and be raised from the dead, because Peter was setting his mind on man’s interests, not on God’s.

What is interesting about this is that this is still happening today. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, and yet many are rebuking that teaching and are saying, “This shall never happen!” They are saying nothing is required of us – no repentance, no death to sin, no living to righteousness, no walks of obedience to the Lord and no surrender to his will.

They have reduced faith in Jesus Christ to a mere profession (or confession) of him as Savior of their lives, an acceptance of his forgiveness of sins, and the promise of heaven when we leave this earth. But, they deny that we must die with him to sin and live with him to righteousness if we want to have eternal life with him. For, they misconstrue God’s grace and his free gift of salvation to meaning they don’t have to do anything, while they ignore the fact that his grace to us is the God-given ability to die with Christ to sin and to walk with him in his holiness (See: Tit. 2:11-14; Rom. 6:1-23).

Matthew 16:24-27 NASB

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds.

If Anyone Wishes

Yet, if we follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and those of his NT apostles, we soon realize that scripture clearly states that faith in Jesus Christ results in death to sin and living to righteousness. It results in us walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to our sinful flesh. For, if we still walk according to the flesh, we will die IN our sins, because we did not die TO our sins, but we took God’s grace for granted (See: Rom. 8:1-17).

Jesus did not die for our sins merely to give us an escape from hell and the promise of heaven when we leave this earth. He did not die merely to forgive us our sins, but to put sin to death in our lives. Jesus is not satisfied with us continuing to live to the flesh and us giving him minimal acknowledgment. He wants our lives on the altar of sacrifice laid. He wants us fully surrendered to him. If he is our Lord, then he is to be our owner-master and us his servants.

So, if we want to put our faith in Jesus Christ, it means we deny self, that we die daily to sin and self, and that daily we follow him in obedience to his instructions to us. For, if we hold on to our old lives of living for sin and self, we will lose them for eternity. But, if we lose our lives, i.e. if we die with him to sin and self, we will have eternal life with him.

For, you see, the whole reason Jesus died for us was to deliver us out of our slavery to sin and free us to walk with him in holiness, purity and faithfulness. If we truly believe in him, then we have been persuaded by God as to his holiness and righteousness and of our need to die with him to sin so that we might live with him to his righteousness, and thus this is what we will do, all in his power and strength within us (See: Eph. 4:17-24).

My Jesus, I Love Thee

Hymn lyrics by William R. Featherstone, 1864
Music by Adoniram J. Gordon, 1876

My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

*Copyright status is public domain

Sunday, July 22, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for these continual reminders of why you died on that cross, and what that means for us in the way of holy living. May we truly love you, obey you, and live for you and not for ourselves. And, may we not rebuke you when you remind us of the necessity of us dying with you to sin so that we might live with you to your holiness.

 

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