NCC Question 24 & 25

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NCC Questions 24 & 25

Think back with me before we went on the Winter Retreat and we began to wrestle through some very important theological questions.
We talked about who is the redeemer, what sort of redeemer we need and why the redeemer must be truly man and why he must be truly God.
We are going to continue down that line of thinking this morning and answer two more very important questions about Christ the Redeemer.
Before we get to today’s question let me ask you this—what is punishment?
What is the purpose of being punished?
The dictionary definition is “the infliction or imposition of a penalty as retribution for an offense”
Basically the result or consequence of something you did.
Give an example of punishment.
It can be as small as taking away a toy, a device or game, alone time, having to read, some sort of physical action (spanking, etc).
Oftentimes the punishment is tailored to each child or situation for maximum effectiveness. There are some children where taking away their screen time really isn’t that big of a deal and they don’t care. Others are “sent to their room” to be alone and thats like the best thing that can happen to them.
Punishment in our eyes has a negative tone to it for sure.
One of the results of common grace is that we also have a justice system that maintains law and order as best it can and within that system there is a concept of fairness and equality of punishment.
Now with any human system it is flawed, but even without our childhood’s there was some sort of fairness to punishments.
What I mean by that is you probably were not grounded for a month if you called your brother stupid. More than likely you did not lose your cell phone and video games for not finishing your dinner.
To move into a legal scenario, you are not subject to time in prison for a speeding offense. If you back into another car in a parking lot you are not sent to federal prison. Convicted shoplifters are not sentenced for execution.
Punishment, while necessary, is typically correlated to the offense.
Now, how do you feel when you are punished for something you did not do?
We all have siblings, we have all been accused and maybe even found guilty of an offense in the court of mommy & daddy of something we did not do. And we took our timeout or are spanking and moved on.
But imagine with me its much more than that. How would you feel if you were convicted of a crime you did not commit. Let’s say you have been convicted of acts of terrorism for your involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Now wait, it couldn’t of been you, you were not even alive! Doesn’t matter, you are guilty and now you must face the punishment.
How do you feel?
Hopeless, anxious, scared, frustrated. You’re probably crying out hoping someone would listen and realize it couldn’t of been you.
It doesn’t take a church theologian to guess the direction I am going with this, why did Jesus have to be punished for something He did not do.
More specifically, our first question this morning,
Q: Why was it necessary for Christ, the Redeemer, to die?
First of all its vitally important that we communicate this: it was necessary that the Redeemer had to die. There had to be blood spilled and it had to be from one that was fully man and fully God. But why?
A: Christ died willingly in our place to deliver us from the power and penalty of sin and bring us back to God.
Just like in a maze there is only one way out, there is only one way to be made right before God which is through Jesus Christ.
Jesus told us in John
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
When someone does commit a crime, they actually did it and they are found guilty, does the judge have to forgive them and give them mercy and send them home without punishment.
No, they have the option and ability as the judge to give lienency depending on the situation and be gracious. But they have no obligation to do so and I would say in some situations they would even be considered a bad judge if they did not punish—they would be a bad judge if they took a car jacker and said you know what you just wanted a nice car, don’t worry about it, have a nice day.
God is obligated to punish sin, and he has no obligation to show us mercy and provide a release, a rescue from sin and death. However, God is full of mercy and love.
John 3:16 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
God has provided a way of escape, of forgiveness.
Turn with me to Colossians 1
Colossians 1:15–23 ESV
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
There is lots to unpack here which we don’t have time for. Jesus was fully God, Paul reminds us here.
He is the image of the invisible God, all things were created through him and for him, in him all things hold together, he is the head of the body, in him to fullness of God dwelled.
God was pleased, excited, that Jesus would be the Mediator, the one who got between Holy God and Sinful man.
There is only one way to be made right and it is through Jesus.
Look at verse 20: through him we can be reconciled (made right) how?
Through the blood of his cross. It was necessary for Jesus to die, on a cross, for the shedding of blood.
We were alienated, hostile, doing evil deeds yet he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death.
And now we can be presented as holy and blameless.
Colossians 3:3 ESV
For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
I wish we had time to go down this road but as a believer there is no more reassuring truth in my mind than the fact that we are hidden with Christ in God. We are not hidden in Christ and think about what that means: he by his blood has taken us out of darkness and not only put us in the light has hidden us in the light. Like a child safe in the arms of a parent in a storm or a trial we are hidden in Christ and nothing can separate us from that including the devil, the world and ourselves. This has implications for sanctification, perseverance of the saints, confidence in trials, and so much more.
The point is this—through Christ we died and are now seen as Holy and blameless before the Father—because of Christ death and blood shed.
Jesus died on the cross because that’s how God the father intended it to be. It was done that way in the foreknowledge and plan of God the Father and foretold in the old testament.
But Jesus, the Redeemer, having to die, was necessary because there was no other way for man to be made right. Sin entered the world through Adam, and life was offered, available, through one man, the God-man, Jesus Christ.
We can have our sins forgiven by Christ’s death.
Which brings up another important question. Before we get there:
Have you ever traded something with someone that was beneficial to you?
What did you trade and what did you get back?
I have to say one of the things we have lost in America is the art of the trade. We are so conditioned to just go buy something when we need it and we just accumulate all this stuff. We could benefit from a couple good trades with others.
We can trade with others to satsify both our needs, I need something you have and I have something you need and so we trade.
Christ on the cross took place in this great exchange, this trade, that we made out like a bandit. We got way more out of the trade than Jesus did. We got his righteousness and he got our sin. Thats not fair at all.
And so that begs the question,
Q: Does Christ’s death mean all our sins can be forgiven?
I understand that Christ took on our sin and the cross and that he had to die, but does that mean all our sins are accounted for? I mean, I sin a lot, and I keep sinning and yet he only died once.
A: Yes, because Christ’s death on the cross fully paid the penalty for our sin, God will remember our sins no more.
There is a big difference between remembering no more and forgetting. Forgetting implies I used to know something but it has slipped my mind and now I don’t remember what happened or what you said.
Remembering no more implies an intentional moving past and moving on, putting those things out of your memory and wiping the slate clean. God is all knowing and all powerful and he COULD remember all things that we have ever done against him for all time. But because of Christ’s death he has chosen to not remember them anymore.
Turn to 2 Corinthians with me.
2 Corinthians 5:16–21 ESV
16 From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
We are now a new creation, in Christ. The old is gone, new has come.
Christ reconciled us, made us new.
Not only does it not count any trespasses against us anymore, but he also gives us this message of reconcilation that we are to now take to others and share.
We are ambassadors.
What is an ambassador?
One who acts as a representative, represents someone or something on their behalf.
George HW Bush was the ambassador to China. It had a different name at the time for some political reasons but he represented the United States in China. His job was to promote the brand or image of the United States amongst the Chinese. When he met with people he represented the entire nation of the US in what he said and did.
You do not want someone to be an ambassador if you dont trust what they are going to say or do or if you think they will publically embarrass you. You are not going to pick someone who is always acting a fool or always saying dumb things to be your ambassador. It is a prestigious position that means something.
We are now ambassadors for Christ and should reflect that in our words and actions. First of all we have been made right, redeemed, and so we have 10,000 reasons to be excited and eager to share that. Secondly, we represent now this message of reconciliation and should desire for others to seek this in our attitudes and actions.
Its important we don’t skip over the central message of this passage though. Look at verse 21
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Let’s just break that down.
For our sake—for you, for me, for the beloved and redeemed in this room. This isn’t a hypotethcial or a fairy tale or a historical account from centuries past. For your sake <insert your name>
he made him—God the Father made God the Son
to be sin who knew no sin—the one who was sinless, the only one that was ever sinless, the only one to ever set foot on this earth and not make a mistake, that same man was made sin, took on sin, took my sin (mistakes, wrong doings, transgressions)
so that in him—in Christ
we might become the rightesouness of God—Jesus made us, considers us righteous.
This is the greatest exchange in history. We talked about trades and things that we did to profit one another. The greatest part of this exchange is none of the effort and all of the benefit is on our account.
Jesus took our sin and bore it, took on our sin, he who knew no sin was made to be sin, he suffered and was punished as if it was his mistakes on that tree.
And at the same time he took his righteousness and put it on us. Giving us not only a clean slate but the worthiness to enter into paradise.
Come behold the wondrous mystery Christ, the Lord upon the tree In the stead of ruined sinners Hangs the Lamb in victory See the price of our redemption See the Father's plan unfold Bringing many sons to glory Grace unmeasured, love untold
The price, the cost of our redemption was the death of Christ and in doing so all our sins have been covered.
Psalm 103:1–12 ESV
1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. 6 The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. 7 He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. 8 The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. 9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. 10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
He has taken our sin and forgiven all of it. He has taken it and cast it as far as the east is from the west, which by the way means forever, there is no point.
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