|Lecture 13 : [Salvation 3] Salvation through the Cross|
|Date created : 2014-11-27/ Views : 1080|
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Lecture No. 13- Salvation through the Cross
Welcome back to our series on the Unification Principle. I’m your host, Tyler Hendricks.
As we discussed in the last session, for the ones who are facing the last days, more than anything, now is the time to realize the divinity deep inside through prayer with a humble heart. We should not cling to conventional notions, but prepare to work with new perspectives from God.
When Jesus came, he was the Son of God and Messiah who ministered and taught, but no one truly recognized him. In the last days, the Messiah comes, but will you recognize him? This session will talk about what exactly happened when Jesus came, to help us recognize him when he comes again.
Today, I will talk about salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross. The word messiah means the “anointed one,” signifying a king. Jesus Christ came as the Messiah. Jesus came for the complete salvation of fallen man 2,000 years ago—be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48). The purpose of Jesus’ providence of restoration was to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. This is why he proclaimed, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”(Matthew 4:17)
How would we describe a person who is perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect? It is a person who has realized the purpose of creation. He or she is fully attuned to God and experiences God’s Heart within their innermost self. They possess a divine nature and live their life inseparable from God. They do not have the original sin, and hence are not in need of redemption or a savior. They do not need religious practices, which are necessary for fallen people, and they will give birth to children who are free of original sin.
Safe to say, there has not been one person, even the most devout Christian, who fulfills these criteria. No one lives in oneness with God; we need a life of prayer and faith, we have original sin and give birth to children with original sin, who also need the salvation of a Savior. This teaches us that after the grace of redemption by the cross there is something more to come.
This does not mean that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was in vain. The grace of redemption by the cross is evidently great. However, belief in the cross does not entirely purge us of our original sin or completely restore us. Paul’s words teach that the cross has brought spiritual salvation. Therefore, he lamented over his inability to prevent sin from infiltrating his flesh saying:
“So then I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” Rom. 7:22-25
John also confessed in John 1:8-10, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. . . . If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” Jesus said, “be perfect” and “the kingdom is at hand.” And yet we are not perfect, and the world still suffers. We will see that God and Jesus did everything for us, but human beings failed in their responsibility. The Bible shows us what their responsibility was, and the mistakes they made. We study it so we fulfill our responsibility this time. .(please move position)
First, I will examine the position of Jesus’ religious community, Judaism. Jesus came to the religious leaders. God prepared them for thousands of years and they were fervently waiting for the Messiah. They were under the rule of many empires—the Assyrian Empire, Babylonian Empire, the Persian Empire, Hellenistic Empire, and Roman Empire. The Jews had been desperately hoping for righteousness and holiness before God. They eagerly waited for a great king like David, who could rule with goodness in fulfillment of the Law. The whole purpose of this prophetic tradition from God was to create a culture that would have the spiritual maturity, wisdom and humility to follow the Messiah when he came. Why? because he brought the love and word of the new era. But they judged him by the external standards of the old era. The lesson is: don’t cling to the external form of the old era.
Second, let us examine God’s providence of salvation. Jesus came to fulfill God’s three blessings and not only to bring humanity complete salvation spiritually and physically, but also to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Therefore, Jesus should have married and become true parents, to bring salvation to all spiritually and physically, and establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. He was not supposed to die before he fulfilled the three blessings. The lesson is that the Messiah lives a full and complete life, but centered completely on God, with no trace of sin or Satan, and shows us how to do the same.
Third, we can understand further by looking at the reaction of Jesus’ disciples to his death on the cross: they were grief-stricken and indignant. They burned with indignation over the ignorance and disbelief of the Jewish leaders, and condemned their actions, calling them murderers and rebels. (Acts 7:51-53). And yet it was they too who betrayed Jesus, denied Jesus and ran away when the authorities seized him. The lesson is: it will not be easy to follow the Messiah; everything in the world will try to get people to deny and betray him, even though he is full of love and truth, and does nothing wrong.
Fourth, look at Jesus himself. Jesus’ words and deeds were meant to engender belief on the part of the people that he was the Messiah. When the people asked him what they must do to be doing the works of God, Jesus replied, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” John 6:29
When Jesus was agonizing over the disbelief of the religious leaders and having no one with whom to share his heart, Jesus looked at the city and as he wept, he lamented the fate of the Jewish people, whom God had so laboriously and lovingly guided for two thousand years. Jesus prophesied that the city would be so utterly laid waste that not one stone would be left upon another. He clearly pointed to the ignorance of the people, saying, “You did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke: 19:41-44) .(please move position)
Jesus also lamented the stubbornness and disbelief of the people of Jerusalem, saying:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Matt. 23:37
Jesus reproached the ignorance of the people who refused to believe in him, even though they were familiar with the Scriptures that testified to him:
You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. John 5:39-47
How many miracles and signs did Jesus perform in his desperate efforts to lift the people from their disbelief! Yet, even as they were witnessing the wondrous works of Jesus, the religious leaders mocked him as one possessed by a demon. (Matthew 12:24) In the midst of such a wretched situation, Jesus cried out:
Even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father. John 10:38
Christians accepted the greatness of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and the redemption we receive through faith in it. This is good. But they go one step too far, to say that the cross was the best thing that could have happened, that there was no other way to forgive sins. But Jesus himself forgave many people of their sin while on earth; he said the Son of man has the authority on earth to forgive sin. Jesus went to the cross because of the failure of human responsibility.
If Jesus’ death on the cross was the best way, then why did he pray three times, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt?” (Matt 26:36-46). Because he was afraid? Or because he knew the suffering that God and humankind would endure as a result of the Messiah’s rejection? We think the latter.
If Jesus’ death on the cross were not predestined as necessary for the complete accomplishment of his purpose as the Messiah, why was it prophesied in Isaiah 53 that he would suffer? The Bible always presents two possible outcomes, one based on us fulfilling our responsibility, and one based on us failing to do so. Some passages express the crucifixion as an inevitable event (Isaiah 53, Matthew 12:23, John 19:30) and others express that Jesus would become the king of the Jews in his lifetime and establish an everlasting kingdom on the earth. (Isaiah 9, 11, 60; Luke 1:31) God gave contrasting prophecies because the outcome would depend on whether human beings would fulfill or fail to fulfill their responsibility. It was very clear with Moses, when God said: here’s my commandment: obey it and you will be blessed; disobey it and you will be cursed. It’s up to us. .(please move position)
If we had believed in and followed Jesus as the Messiah, all humankind would have been saved both spiritually and physically and God’s nation would have been established. But, in the case that we did not believe in Jesus, all was lost. So Jesus went to the cross to achieve spiritual salvation, which we will explain later.
Jesus said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (John 3:14) When the children of Israel disobeyed God, God told Moses to lift up a bronze serpent on a pole, and that those who looked upon it would be saved. Jesus used this as a parable of what would happen if the people rejected him.
When Peter tried to dissuade Jesus from the path of crucifixion, Jesus said, “Get behind me, Satan!” (Matthew 16:23) This was because Peter’s dissuasion could have hindered Jesus from paving the way for spiritual salvation through the cross.
Jesus’ last words on the cross, “it is finished,” meant that he had finished laying the foundation for spiritual salvation.
As we can see, it is clear that Jesus came to make us perfect and bring God’s kingdom. Thus we can understand God’s broken heart as He watched His Son die on the cross, and the grief of Jesus, who came to bring salvation to humanity.
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We surely do not want this tragedy to happen when Jesus comes back. So we can benefit by what the Bible reveals about the turning point between Jesus being accepted and rejected.
I look forward to sharing this with you in the next session. Thank you for listening, and may God bless you.