What Was “Finished” at the Cross? (Pt 4)

Daily Devotion | Day 364

“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy” (Daniel 9:24, NKJV).

Let us pick up where we left off yesterday. We were talking about how Daniel’s prophecy regarding the cessation of transgression is fulfilled and explained in the New Testament. We referenced Matthew 5:29-30 where Jesus instructed us that if our right eye or right hand causes us to sin, we should pluck it out or cut if off and cast it from us. Today we will examine this teaching closely in light of other passages in the New Testament. We want to find out how the transgressing of God’s law ceases at the Cross and because of the Cross.

Jesus did not come into the world to give us a partial solution to the sin problem. He came to deal with the sin problem once and for all. That is why He took away all our sins with a single sacrifice (John 1:29; Hebrews 10:10, 14, 18). When He appears a second time, it would not be to deal with sin but to give salvation to those who eagerly await Him (Hebrews 9:27-28). Therefore, as Messiah, Jesus addressed the sin problem at its root. To tackle sin at its root, He did (and said) many things, culminating in His death and resurrection.

We have already talked about how Jesus made an end of sins and made reconciliation for iniquity (see Parts 1 & 2 of this teaching). In addition, Jesus did something else to make sure that after we are reconciled and forgiven, we do not return to a life of transgressing God’s law, but rather obey the Father in holiness and righteousness. This is where He taught us about denying the self.

Specifically, Jesus said that if something causes us to sin, we must cut it off and cast it from us. Jesus was not joking. What He said has the same force today as it did when He spoke those words. If we understand this teaching and practice it, then we will understand the Cross and benefit from its power. The most effective way to resolve a problem is to identify the cause and remove it. This is what Jesus is doing when He tells us that if our right eye or right hand causes us to sin, we must cut it off and cast it from us. He wants us to identify the things in our life that cause us to sin and take decisive action to part with them; no hesitation and no excuses. If we had to choose between life in heaven with one eye (or one hand) and death in hell with our full body, Jesus says the former is more profitable.

Jesus is not asking us to mutilate our body or someone else’s. His point is about doing whatever it takes to distance yourself from whatever causes you to sin. This means if you are aware of anything (or anyone) in your life that is a source of sin for you, Jesus expects you to “cut it off” and get rid of it. If, for example, you are in a relationship or friendship that causes you to sin, Jesus expects you to end it by walking away from the relationship. Likewise, if you have in your possession any images, videos or other materials that cause you to sin, Jesus wants you to get rid of them. And He wants you to obey Him now, not some time later. If you want Jesus to save you, He will, but on His terms alone, not yours. If you want to be saved on your own terms, He will not be part of that arrangement.

When you obey Jesus by “cutting off” the causes of sin in your life, this will cause you some suffering: You might lose friends, relatives, money, reputation and so forth. You might even be persecuted or killed. This is what Jesus means when He talks about losing your life for His sake and for the sake of the Gospel (Matthew 16:24-25). But persevering in this suffering is how you stay crucified with Christ and remain dead to sin. And because you are crucified with Christ and are dead to sin, you will no longer transgress God’s law. Your former life of transgressing God’s law would be over. In your new life, you will live for righteousness alone. Salvation from sin is costly; it cost Jesus His life. Make no mistake; it will cost you, too.

We have more to say about this point, but I have to pause here. I will post the continuation shortly. Then God willing, we will conclude the series (as well as the Daily Devotional) tomorrow. Stay blessed.

For further study1 Peter 4:1-19

When You Yield to Jesus

Daily Devotional: Day 31

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, KJV).

Paul puts it so well. What he says in today’s Bible passage is a concise and excellent description of what a Christian’s life is and ought to be. Let’s look at what this Scripture means for us. As a Christian, there are essential truths you must keep in mind always. One of these truths is that you are crucified with Christ. This is a deep truth, so take time to reflect on what that means. You didn’t get crucified with Christ physically, but you’re crucified with him nonetheless. It’s truth. Take a moment and visualize how being crucified with Christ would look like (Read Romans 6:1-23). The old you, i.e. the “you” before you got born again is crucified with Christ. That old self was unrighteous, a slave to sin and faced condemnation. It’s this self which is now crucified with Christ. This old self no longer exists; he is crucified, i.e. dead. Once Jesus got rid of the old self, he had to replace it with something else. So, you’ve been born again and given a new self, made righteousness and filled with God’s righteousness, just like Jesus. But here’s the thing: if you forget – and many Christians do forget – that your old self is crucified with Christ, there’s a big chance you’ll repeat the habits of the old crucified self. Again, read Romans 6:1-23; Paul explains this point at length.

The key is to remember what occurred at your new birth. If you remember that your old sinner-self is crucified and dead, it’ll make a big difference in how you operate. Of course, you’ll face temptation daily, but the truth of God in you will make you overcome. I know . . . It sounds simple, but that’s how it works. The Gospel is simple, but it produces amazing results. You must remind yourself often about the realities of your new birth until they become a normal part of your daily life; then, you can relate to what Paul says in today’s Bible verse. Like Paul, you’ll get to the point where you can confidently, but humbly say that you’re crucified with Christ; nevertheless you live; yet not you, but Christ lives in you. This is the essence of being a Christian, being born again, being identified with Christ. It’s the point where Jesus is in the driving seat of your life. It’s the best thing that could happen to you. If you’re reading this devotional, I’m excited for you. I’m praying that the Father’s wonderful plan for you be fulfilled, and that you enjoy this wonderful and glorious life Jesus has given you.

Pray:

Daddy, thank you for the wonderful life you’ve given me in Christ. I want Jesus to take over my life. I step aside and yield to his Lordship. You are my good Father. Let your will be done in my life. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21