DEATH AND LIFE OF CHRIST, a Devotion for 12 July 2018 Anno Domini
St. Andrews Anglican Parish Church
We are told in the Gospel of St. John, chapter 10, that our Lord Jesus Christ is the DOOR – but DOOR to what? He is the DOOR to eternal life just as surely as the door of the Ark of Noah was the door to the natural life of all living. The fact is, only 8 souls entered that door. That was a great minority of the thousands and millions then living. In order to pass through that DOOR of the Lord, we must come to that DOOR. We must be recognized by the KEEPER of the DOOR (Christ). There is no other way than that Way, Truth and Life which He is.
Christ found it an absolute necessity, in order redeem us, to make that DOOR available to us at the cost of a great Sacrifice. Noah labored for 100 years in the building of the Ark amid scorn and ridicule of the lost multitudes. Christ labored amid the same scorn and ridicule of the Jewish rulers, Scribes, and Pharisees prior to His passion on Golgotha. The door of Noah’s Ark opened the way to a temporal life of finite duration in the new world. The DOOR of Christ opens the door for all elect into the Kingdom of God with eternal duration. While Noah suffered solitude and the winds of the unknown for more than one year aboard the Ark, our Lord suffered 40 days in the Wilderness in far greater want than Noah ever experienced. He suffered the years of His ministry healing the desperately sick and afflicted, raising the dead, restoring sight, and restoring the leper. He at last suffered a awful torture and beating at the hands of the Romans by being stripped, beaten with a cat-of-nine-tails to near death, had a crown of thorns averaging more than one inch each in length, carried a heavy and rough-cut cross of wood from the court of Pontius Pilate to the Hill beyond the gates of Jerusalem to the hill of Mt. Calvary. He suffered, through the heat of the day, thirst, hunger, unbelievable pain, shame at all who ogled His nakedness, and the sundry miseries of one who suffers from an ability to freely breathe in oxygen to sustain life without stiffening his feet and nail-pierced hands in order to make sufficient space for the expansion of His lungs. He finally gave up the ghost as a result of congestive heart failure. His side was pierced by a Roman lance, and He was buried in a buried tomb. He did all of that for you and me.
Through all of these events, and not only these but those from the eternities from before the foundation of the world He continued all the while to be the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. He has eternally been so, is now, and forever shall be. That WAY took Jesus through His ministry to the cross, through the events of crucifixion, to the grave, to resurrection, and finally to the ascension. He is THE WAY for us. We have a course set before us. It may take us through many sufferings and hardships. It may result in our being ridiculed for our faith. It may result in our suffering the rejection of friends and family. It may even lead to our suffering death by beheadings, burnings, and deprivation by the evil demons of Satan abroad in our world today even under the guise of some satanic or false religion. We must take up our cross daily and follow Christ – wherever those footprints lead us. We will have peace and joy in our hearts in spite of the external hardships we may face because we have an assurance from Him that He is with us always.
Christ suffered for sins once, the Righteous for the unrighteous. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1 Peter 1:18-21:all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Our Lord left to us His last Will and Testament. “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” (Matthew 26:28-29) A Will is not effective until the death of the one who executes a Will. So Jesus died in order that His called and chosen could inherit that eternal life that He has made available to us through His death. But not only His death, but also His resurrection and ascension. His elect shall enjoy those privileges by right of the children’s inheritance.
See how comprehensive and eternally beneficial is the Way of Christ. His character and purpose, His coming and ministry, His death and resurrection – all are illustrated and prophesied in the Old Testament. He is the executive agent at Creation. He laid the foundations of the world, breathed life into our nostrils, and has prepared a Way for us. But that work began before the worlds were formed. He was sadly prefigured by the sorrowful death of beautiful and innocent creature in the Garden to cover the nakedness (sin) of Adam and Eve.
His role in our salvation was illustrated in all of the Tabernacle and Temple sacrifices of old. Even at the present day, He sits at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us. He is our ONLY intercessor. Neither the saints, nor Mary, nor and minister can intercede – He is the only One who is worthy and able to do so.
and yet the fact that the Death of Christ is the ground of forgiveness, may be so certain to us as to be a great power in life.” As we think of the work of Christ on the cross in the broad outline of its comprehensiveness, it may be grouped under the following seven points
I submit a section from Pearls, Points and Parables by F.E. Marsh:
(1) The Death of Christ is Generative in its Life. “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit‘.” (John 12:24). “The Son of Man must be lifted up” (John 3:14). His death was a necessity; hence, the meaning and force of His “must,” for had He not gone down into the dust of death, He would not have been able to communicate to us His life. His death is our life.
(2) The Death of Christ is Substitutive in its Work. Christ’s own statement about the fact of His substitutionary work is conclusive and final. He says, in speaking of the great purpose for which He came into the world, that it was “. . .to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28). Dean Alford says of these words, they are “a plain declaration of the sacrificial and vicarious nature of the death of our Lord.”
(3) The Death of Christ is Protective in its Grace. :. . . Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10) “ . . .We shall be saved from wrath through Him.” (Romans 5:9). “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)
In these verses there is an impending doom hanging over the sinner, which is averted through the action of Another. Mark the sentence, “Through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The sense of the “through” is “by means of” Him. How? Because the stroke of Jehovah has fallen upon Him, as we read in Isaiah.53:8: “ . . .For the transgression of My people was the stroke upon Him.” (margin).
(4) The Death of Christ is Inductive in its Blessing. “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” 1 Peter 3:18 (KJV)
He died to save us from hell and bring us to heaven ; but what is of even greater moment He died to bring us “to God;” Yet there is more than introduction, there is induction, namely, bringing us to God and making us His children. Christ, in bringing us to God, brings us into the relationship of children, with all its privileges and responsibilities, and a great deal more.
(5) The Death of Christ is Formative in its Power. The Holy Spirit, in speaking of the believer being baptised into the death of Christ, speaks of it as that “Form of doctrine.” “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” (Romans 6:17) The figure is that of a mould into which the metal runs and is shaped by it. The heart and life of the child of God are to be formed by the death of Christ. The death of the cross is to be the death of sin; and its munificent giving, its holy sacrifice, its Divine passion, its devoted service, its patient suffering, its self-effacement, and its God-glorifying spirit are to be ours.
6) The Death of Christ is Inspirative in its Motive. The apostle, in speaking of the power which moved him in his life’s service for Christ, says “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Cor 5:18-19) It was not love in a general sense which moved him, but the love as expressed in the death of His Lord. The fire which ignited his being was got from the altar of Christ’s sacrifice.
(7) The Death of Christ is Procurative in its claim. The price which the Lord paid in order that He might procure us for Himself was the shedding of His precious blood. The price of His purchase is the right by which He claims us for Himself. “Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19, 20). The claim of His call upon the whole of our nature is based upon the purchased price He gave for us in His death.
Sin has inoculated all mankind with its poison; but through identification with Christ’s atonement, He, by the vitality of that death, transmits His life to us, and counteracts the virus. Our disease of sin requires a blood transfusion of the Blood of Christ.