Yahweh's Provision for Man's Sin
First edition: Saturday 12 April 2003
Second edition: Friday 14 November 2014
Man's Versions of Yah'shua
Very few people who have read the story of the life of Yah'shua (Jesus) can fail to be impressed by the impeccable life and sublime teachings of this carpenter from Nazareth. The Muslims regard Him as a great prophet, Hindus as an one of many human incarnations of Krishna, Jews as a good Torah teacher and Rabbi, New Agers as a perfect man, communists as a social revolutionary, and humanists as a warm and kind man whom anyone would hope to meet and know. Each and every one of these people, however, strip way aspects of Yah'shua (Jesus) that do not harmonise with their particular beliefs, comfort zones, or desires. Muslims deny that He was Elohim (God)-in-the flesh and declare this to be blasphemy. Hindus deny that He is the only path to Elohim (God). Jews, like Muslims, deny that He was anything more than a man, albeit a navi /prophet), and communists and humanists would, of course, reject His religious teachings. It seems that nearly everybody who has never met Him has recreated Yah'shua (Jesus) into the god or person they want or expect Him to be.
A 20th Century Movie Version
People will give you all sorts of answers as to what Yah'shua (Jesus) considered His mission to be. Our family was watching a modern film about His life the other day which shocked and appalled us. He is portrayed as weak, unsure, childish, and lacking in deity - a 'Jesus' crafted for the late 20th century possessing all the expectations of the current generation for a hippie-like 'pal'-Messiah requiring little and in turn giving very little spiritual teaching beyond some socialistic values. He was constantly joking, reminding me of the 'laughing Messiah' of the Gnostics. The film wasn't all bad but it left a sour taste in my mouth - the man I watched on the screen left me little or no respect for the Christ the script wished to portray. He might have been any good and likeable man, but not one at whose feet I would fall to worship like the apostle Thomas.
The Reason Yah'shua Came to Earth
Why did Yah'shua (Jesus) come to earth? What was His mission? There were, of course, many reasons, and I am sure that your average person with a basic biblical knowledge could write a valid list. He came to set an example for godly living. He came to uphold the Torah and to correct the perversions of it made by the Talmudists. He came, like John the Baptist, as a navi (prophet) to warn the nation to repent and get right with Yahweh. He came to fulfil in minute detail dozens of prophecies made about the Messiah in the Tanakh (Old Testament) to bear witness to the omnipotence and omniscience of His, and our, Heavenly Father. He came to show us how to love. And there were other reasons He came too, but none of these was the principle reason. Let us look at some key scriptures which clearly explain His mission. When the malak (angel) of Yahweh appeared to Joseph this is what he said:
"'Yosef (Joseph), son of David, fear not to take Miriam (Mary) your [betrothed] wife, for that which will be born of her is from the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit); for from the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) she has conceived. And behold, she will bear a son, and you will call His Name Yah'shua (Yeshua, Jesus); for He will save His people from all their sins'. And all this was to fulfil what was spoken from YHWH (Yahweh) by the prophet Yesha'yahu (Isaiah), saying, 'Behold, the virgin will conceive, and bear a son, and will call His Name Immanuel'" (Mt.1:20-23, HRV).
Come to Take Away the Sins of the World
The apostle John adds:
"And you know He (Yah'shua) who was manifested to take away our sins indeed had not sin in Him" (1 Jn.3:5, HRV).
Come to Save His People
This, then, is the reason why Yahweh sent His Son Yah'shua (Jesus) to the earth. That is what Joseph was told by the malak (angel) of Yahweh and that is what Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself taught to His talmidim (disciples):
Please note that He did not come to save everyone from their sins but "His" people - that is, His followers - those who would trust in Him to lead them back to Yahweh. And secondly, note that He came to save them from "all" their sins and not just some. This means, quite simply, that those who do not receive His invitation to follow Him cannot be delivered from their sins. Though the invitation is made to everyone, we know - because Yahweh Himself has said so - that few will respond to the call to receive the free gift of salvation. Many are called but few are chosen (Mt.20:16).
Russian Roulette Salvation
We now know why Yah'shua (Jesus) came to the earth. We next need to know how He accomplished that mission. What was it that actually delivered - and still delivers today - His followers from all sin? Again, different people will give you different answers based on what they want Messiah to be. The majority will probably tell you that all you have to do is lead as moral a life as you can so that you will be delivered from your sins. They believe that when they get to heaven and come to face Yahweh at the Judgement Bar that they will be able to list all the good things they have done and hope that these will outweigh the bad ones. For them salvation is a matter of Russian roulette. Most people have no idea what sin is because they haven't even bothered to find out how Yahweh defines it. But even if we are ignorant it doesn't mean we are innocent.
How Much Does Yahweh Hear?
I would like you to imagine together with me a conversation between two people. One is a Bible-believing Christian and the other is an ordinary kind of person trying to live a decent life. The first thing that your average man or woman has problems accepting is that Yahweh is keeping a detailed account of everything we say or do. They assume He is quite distant and only notices when something 'big' or especially 'disturbing' happens like violence or murder. But is this true? Is Yahweh completely unaware of the 'little' things like harbouring a grudge against someone? Or saying some spiteful word under our breath? Does He come hard against robbers but turn a blind eye to petty theft? Does He accept 'white lies' and only condemn the black variety? Let is see what Yah'shua (Jesus) said:
"And I tell you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they will render an account thereof on the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Mt.17:36-37, HRV).
Reincarnation and the Myth of Postponement
Not just the things we do but the very words we say. That is frightening enough. We are often very careless in our speech and injure people grievously without knowing it because we have grown insensitive to the demands that Yahweh makes of our behaviour. The spiritually lazy people often shrug such things off and say they can fix their problems in the next life - in some future reincarnation. But Yahweh gives the lie to this kind of thinking when He said through the apostle Paul:
"It is appointed to the sons of men that they die once and after their death [is] judgement" (Heb.9:27, HRV).
Death and Judgement
No reincarnation, no second chance. Some who do not believe in reincarnation believe that they can fix things up in heaven. But it's too late. Once you're dead you're judged. That is why this life is so important to get things right. The scriptures warn us again and again not to procrastinate the day of our repentance because this is so dangerous.
Judgement is Total
We are judged for every deed we do and word we speak. But that isn't all. According to Yah'shua (Jesus) we are also judged for our thoughts and feelings too. These are all taken together.
Who Can Monitor Everything?
Now I don't know about you, but I don't think I am capable of working through a complete list of all my deeds, words, thoughts and feelings - I am conscious of only the tiniest fraction of my life. Our unconscious motives are hard enough to understand sometimes.
Good Deeds Do Not Cancel Evil Ones
Now it is true that our works will be judged and that we will be rewarded for the good we have done. But good works don't cancel evil ones. Let us imagine that our friend has led an exemplary life and people have nothing but praise for him. But what if suddenly, in a fit of rage, he goes and murders someone? If you were a judge in the court trying him, and the murderer asked you to take into consideration all the good things he had done in his life to cancel out the murder, how would you react? Would you let him go free?
Heavenly and Earthly Courts
Just as the state expects us to stay within the law or be judged and sentenced, so Yahweh expects us to stay within Torah and sentences us when we break it. If we break the law we are punished by the law no matter what else we may have done that is good.
Judged by Our Best?
However, what if our friend insists that he is doing the best that he possibly can and that he'll be OK at the judgement? What if he argues that Yahweh cannot expect him to do better than his best? For many this is their religion. Their 'best' is what they hope to be judged by.
The Meaning of Our Religion
The question has to be begged, though: are we really doing our best? I think if we are honest we will admit that in most things we could probably do better. And if we could have done things better, then it follows we haven't been doing our best! And if we haven't been doing our best, and we hope to be judged on the basis of our 'best', what, then is the meaning of our religion?
All are Sinners
The Bible declares unapologetically that everyone is a sinner (Rom.3:23) - everyone is a Torah-breaker - and that the wages of sin is death (Rom.6:23). When we sin, we spiritually die. And when we spiritually die we are cut off from Elohim (God). And if we are cut off from Elohim (God) and die, we remain cut off from Elohim (God). And if in the next world we are cut off from God, where else is there to go? To the place where those who are cut-off from Elohim (God) dwell. It's called hell. Plain and simple.
A Respectable Life?
At this point our friend may protest that he is not a sinner and that he leads a respectable life. I am sure we have all made similar protests. But it can't save him. Yahweh says it cannot save him. Sinful thoughts are as bad as sinful deeds. And so long as we remain in these sins, we stand condemned before Yahweh. However, there is a way - the only way - to part from our sins and no longer stand under judgement. It's called the Atonement.
The Holy Standard
People don't realise the desperate situation they are in. When our conscience is not troubled by Yahweh's Law, the Torah, we come to believe in the illusion that everything is well. Only the other day my mother was witness to some shoplifters. I doubt they had the slightest twinge of conscience because they have been stealing so often. The majority of people, according to polls, are habitual liars now. And the more they steal and lie, the more 'normal' and 'acceptable' it will seem to them. Which is why if you confront them with Torah - what Yahweh's qadosh (holy, set-apart) standards are - they will likely either mock or fly into a temper. People deal with lies in their lives by indifference or anger.
Designed for Fellowship
Whether we like it or not, we exist, and we exist in a certain way. No amount of biological engineering, no amount of re-education, or brainwashing, or anything else is going to change that. We are what we are. We were designed to have fellowship with our Maker and to derive our greatest peace, satisfaction and joy from Him. When we turn away from Him and try to find substitutes, we are always ultimately left frustrated and empty after short-term satisfaction has worn off.
One of the most important things we were created with was free agency - our free will - the right to choose to do what we want. We will be discussing this at length in another lesson. We were created not to be forced. We all of us deep down resent force. We would rather make up our own minds. Yahweh does not force us but invites us to choose what is right. Satan gives us choice too, but once he has tricked us into disobeying Torah, takes possession of us step by step. He will never let go of anyone voluntarily. We can walk away from Elohim (God) because He does not employ force. You cannot walk away from Satan without a fight.
Rules to Live By
Yahweh has given us rules to live by which, if we choose, will bring us shalom (peace), ahavah (love) and happiness. If we break them, there are consequences to our prosperity as human beings. At any one moment in time we can choose to follow His ways by free choice or follow Satan's by the same free choice. The big difference between the two paths is that only one of them leads to true ahavah (love) - the other leads to misery, loneliness, and great unhappiness. We were built to have fellowship in His ahavah (love) - that is where we obtain our meaning, purpose in life, and sense of fulfilment.
The Fall and Fallen Nature
Because of the fall of Adam and Eve, we are born with two very different and contradictory natures in ourselves. One of them is the Nature of Elohim (God), and the other is variously called:
You Chhose Your Own Nature
- 1. The Sinful Nature;
- 2. The Carnal Nature;
- 3. The Adamic Nature;
- 4. The Psychic Nature;
- 5. The Fleshy Nature; or
- 6. Our Fallen Nature.
We can choose whether we are led by the one nature or the other. Even if you lived a life with no-one around you as a hermit you could still choose one or the other in your own inner fantasy world of thoughts and feelings. Ultimately, then, we cannot blame others for the way we are. We are what we choose to be. We react to people and situations the way we choose to react. We may be treated badly by people but we still have the choice to respond with ahavah (love) or hate.
Why Does Yahweh Allow Condemnation?
Why, our friend may ask, would a loving Elohim (God) allow us to be condemned? Why does He allow the world to be as evil as it is? And the answer is, very simply, because he never forces anyone to be condemned. He rather asks us to choose eternal chayim (life) together with Him. The reason the world is evil is because people have rejected His invitation. If people would accept His gift of eternal chayim (life), wickedness in the world would stop. That is the price of free agency. Without it, we would never be genuinely able to love.
Sin Not Allowed
Because Yahweh is righteous, qadosh (holy, set-apart) and pure, His nature cannot permit sin in any degree. If He allowed sin, He would cease being righteous, holy and pure. If I, as a father, permitted foul language in my home, what would that say about me? How would others judge me? Because He is righteous, qadosh (holy, set-apart), and pure, He has devised a way - a Derech or Path - that offers free pardon for all our sins.
Set in Our Ways
We don't have to pay for our sins or karma ourselves in millions of endless, gruelling reincarnations as false religion teaches. Does that sound like ahavah (love)? Would you wish your children to be punished in countless miserable incarnations until they had truly done their 'best'? And as a matter of observation, do the majority of people usually improve without Christ? People seem mostly set in the ways they were brought up with at home. It seems to me that we are pretty set in our ways!
The Evidence of Yah'shua's Messiahship
Yahweh sent His nevi'im (prophets) and caused them to announce that a Saviour or Deliverer would come and take the punishment for our sins which we deserve. There are over 300 prophecies in the Tanakh (Old Testament) that were fulfilled in the life and death of Yah'shua (Jesus). Yahweh sent His Son to earth to incarnate as a human being like us with the same struggles between the Adamic Nature and the Elohim (God) Nature. He was conceived supernaturally without the agency of a human father, for His Father was Yahweh Himself, was conceived through the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), His Heavenly Mother, and entered into the womb of the Virgin Mary and utilised her physical elements and genetic material. He gave evidence of who He was by what He did through His miracles, the greatest being that He rose from the dead and is even now alive. In addition to this, He lived a sin-free life. He never did wrong. He never broke the Torah which is why the religious leaders of the day could never find fault with Him. He was the first human being not to break the Law of Moses in a single particular. He accomplished what no other man had ever done.
The Price He Paid for the Certificate of Forgiveness
All our sins were placed on Him. He paid for every one of them. He was punished for every wicked thought, feeling, and deed than any of us has ever done, and will do. He carries in His own flesh the certificate that releases us from the debts of our own sins, and it is simply a matter to go to Him in emunah (faith) to collect it. We do this by making teshuvah (repenting) - feeling godly sorrow for our acts of lawlessness - and asking Yah'shua (Jesus) to issue that certificate of forgiveness to us - not a sheet of paper, but His very spiritual presence in our hearts. He - as Son of Elohim (God) - enters us, purifies us, and makes us new.
All May Be Forgiven
These are not easy things to understand. The testimonial of their truthfulness, however, is to be found in the hundreds of thousand of lives that have been delivered from the penalty of sin. It is the only method that works. He - and He alone - is "the derech (way), the emet (truth), and the chayim (life)" (Jn.14:6). Everyone - no matter how evil - can be forgiven, if they will turn to Messiah and renounce a life of sin. The past is obliterated and the future is redeemed in conjunction with our b'rit or covenant with Him not to sin any more. We continue to trip up from time to time, but so long as we are living a life of submission to Yahweh, His Messiah, and His Torah, we retain His living presence, continue to hold on to eternal chayim (life), and live in a state of pardon which is called grace - His undeserved loving-kindness, His unmerited favour toward us.
When we make teshuvah (repent) - change direction - in life, and reject a life of sin and selfishness, asking Yah'shua (Jesus) to rule in our lives, we obtain a new nature. This life-change is called rebirth - or being 'born again'. Without this new birth, His Kingdom remains invisible - unappreciated - and not infrequently mocked and scorned. Indeed, most people think Christianity to be stupid.
Beware the Counterfeit
We must also be aware of the fact that there is a counterfeit 'Christianity' or 'Messianism' which looks like the real thing but isn't. Many people use the words of Christianity but their lives do not match what they say. Yah'shua (Jesus) warns against hypocrites (Mt.7:21-23). When we are born-again, there is concrete evidence in our lives that this has happened. It isn't just theory or some nice idea. Yah'shua (Jesus) is a power, not an abstract doctrine. Many people are turned away from Christianity because of the hypocrisy of others who call themselves Christians. We must resist that temptation - the emet (truth) lies not in what people say they are but what they have become through a new chayim (life) in Messiah. The fruits of their new birth will be seen in their loving nature and in their obedience to the mitzvot (commandments) of Yahweh's Torah. Remember, we are saved not by being loving and obedient, but by trusting and surrendering - by pro-active emunah (faith) - the ahavah (love) and the obedience follow naturally and spontaneously afterwards.
The Cross-Secured Life
This miracle in humans is only possible because it was secured by a horrible death on a cross. Yah'shua (Jesus) declared that this was the reason He came to earth - this was the means by which our pardon and new life would be secured. It was His sacrificing His life as a payment for our sins that sets us free if we will receive it. His people are those who do. And when they do, all their sins are forgiven. When we speak of being saved by His blood, it is this life-force that we are talking about, because physical life is in the blood (Lev.17:11). His death was shocking, appalling, frightening - but it was the only way to release this life-force. It is this force which purifies our spirits and brings the promise of a resurrected, immortal body in a time yet to come - the same kind of body that He has.
When we humbly recognise that we deserve eternal destruction - and that does take a bit of contrition and a blow to pride and selfishness to arrive at that understanding - and call upon the Name and blood of Yah'shua (Jesus) for forgiveness and a new life, we open the door for a miraculous change to take place inside of us. There is, as a well-known hymn says, "power in the blood".
Next week we shall be looking at repentance to see how we need to properly prepare to open the door of salvation into our lives.
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