In New Testament times, the apostles Peter and John were instrumental of God in the healing of a man lame from birth. And the people were all filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to the man who was lame and now was healed. So, Peter seized this opportunity to talk with the crowd about Jesus Christ by whose name the man had been healed.
Acts 3:12-16 ESV
“Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.”
Jesus Christ was and is God, the second person of our triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God the Father sent Jesus to the earth to be born as a baby to a human mother, conceived of the Holy Spirit. And by age 30 he began his earthly ministry with his chosen 12 disciples. But he was not well received by the religious rulers in the temple and by the teachers of the law.
Jesus healed the sick and afflicted, raised the dead, delivered people from demons, fed the hungry, and comforted the sorrowful. He also taught repentance for the forgiveness of sins and for eternal life with God, and he taught that we must obey him, too. But the religious rulers and teachers of the law hated him, so they plotted and carried out his death.
And they convinced the people to call for his crucifixion, too. So, they arrested Jesus and put him on a mock trial, and all his disciples deserted him, and one of them betrayed him, so he was all alone for a while, but his heavenly Father was with him. And then they crucified him on a cross as though he was a criminal, but he never sinned, not once.
But this was all in God’s plan that Jesus should die on that cross, for this was God’s plan for our redemption. So, Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And with his blood he bought us back for God so we would now honor God.
Thus, the people had denied and had put to death their Messiah, the Christ, the Holy and Righteous One, their creator who is the Author of life, and whom God had raised from the dead. He is the one who was to come to be the Savior of the world. He is the one that the prophets of old foretold was to come to be our Savior to deliver us from our bondage to sin.
Acts 3:19-23 ESV
“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’”
This is the reason that Jesus gave his life up for us on that cross. It wasn’t just so he could forgive us our sins and to promise us eternal life with him. It was so that we would repent of our sins, that we would turn away from them, forsake them, reject them, and not return to living in them and so we would now walk with him in obedience to his ways.
For Jesus died to put our sins to death so that we might be crucified with him in death to sin. He died that we might be delivered from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we would now be slaves (bond servants) of God and to his righteousness. The righteous requirement of the law is now fulfilled in us who walk no longer according to the flesh but who walk according to the Spirit. He died to transform us, to change us.
For, we are to repent of our sins and turn back to God, for this is why Jesus redeemed us, to buy us back for God so we would now honor God with our bodies. Thus, sin is to no longer be our master. Jesus is to be our only Lord and Master. This doesn’t mean we will never sin again, but sin is not to be our habit, our practice. We are not to live any longer under its dominion.
If we don’t repent of our sins, and if we don’t turn back to God to follow Jesus in obedience to his ways and to his commands, then we don’t have our sins blotted out. We are not forgiven our sins. We don’t have eternal life with God. But we will die in our sins, and heaven is not in our future. What is awaiting us is the wrath of God, instead. Please take this to heart!
If we want to have Jesus be our Lord and Savior and the hope of eternal life with God and the promise that Jesus is going to return for us one day to take him to be with us forever, then we must die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness in the power of God and in the strength and wisdom that He provides.
For, if we don’t listen to Jesus, and we decide to go our own way, instead, and if we decide to believe in a man-made gospel which tells us that we don’t have to repent of our sins, that we don’t have to obey Jesus, and that we do not have to make him Lord of our lives, then one day he will tell us, “Depart from me you workers of iniquity. I never knew you.”
Acts 3:26 ESV
“God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”
If we want to be blessed by God, and if we want to bless others with the blessing that we received from Jesus Christ, then we will turn away from our sinful practices, we will allow God to transform us in heart and mind, and we will now surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and follow him in obedience to his ways, and we will teach others to do likewise.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]
Angels We Have Heard on High
Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echo back their joyous strains
Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
Say what may the tidings be
Which inspire your heavenly song?
Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing,
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
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