WHAT JESUS ACCOMPLISHED FOR US

It is important to read the following two Scriptures regularly to remind ourselves of what Jesus has accomplished for us. Progressive Christianity has rejected penal substitution, seeing it as cruel and unjust, inducing self-loathing. The problem here is that they have not truly understood what God the Father has accomplished with His Son Jesus. There is no doubt that “the beginning of wisdom is to fear God” but that is not the end of the story.

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.Hebrews 12:18-24

“Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews… and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.” John 19:19-20

What actually happened on the cross? If we put aside unhelpful traditions and consider what the Bible teaches us, there is much to celebrate.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus didn’t just carry sin, or pay for sin; he became sin. The perfect Lord of all, who humbled himself to serve his own creation, became all human brokenness. Paying for sin is one thing; becoming sin is far deeper. Jesus became every expression of human brokenness, and more than that became the cause of all human brokenness, which is judgement. His spiritual agony was so much worse than the physical pain of the cross. It is no wonder the sky darkened, as all that is good became all that is harmful.

It doesn’t stop there. Jesus became sin, that we might become the righteousness of God. In turn, this means that we become righteousness, as completely as he became sin. 

The cross, then, is an exchange – of our lack for his supply, our brokenness for his wholeness, our fear for his love, which can all be summed up as our righteousness (“filthy rags”) for his righteousness (right-standing with God, forever).

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.Colossians 2:13-15

The cross provides the forgiveness of sin, by cancelling our legal indebtedness. Sin and death were destroyed. The enemies of humankind were disarmed, triumphed over, and made a spectacle of. What a wonderful God we have.

THE MAJORITY OF CATHOLICS AND MAINLINE PROTESTANTS WILL ENDURE GOD’S WRATH

More than three years after Pope Francis sparked a firestorm of religious debate by telling a young boy that his deceased atheist father might still end up in Heaven, a new study from the Pew Research Center shows a majority of Catholic and mainline Christians also believe people who don’t believe in God will go to Heaven.

Did not Jesus say, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.John 3:36

Catholic Church
Religious rituals versus relationship with the living God

What are the Christian leaders in these denominations teaching their congregations? What did Jesus accomplish on The Cross on our behalf? Does it account for nothing? And yet we know that without Jesus’ sacrifice our Heavenly Father could not have sent the Holy Spirit to indwell believers to sanctify us and enable us to live the Christian life.

Data for the Pew Research Centre study, conducted Sept. 20-26, was collected from a nationally representative sample of 6,485 U.S. adults.

Pew researchers decided for the first time to tackle deep philosophical questions like the meaning of life, the purpose of suffering, and why bad things happen to people. The national study was released amid a backdrop of major life-changing events for many, most notably the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed millions of lives globally.

In discussing American views on the afterlife, the study showed that majorities of U.S. adults believe in both Heaven and Hell, but significantly more believe in Heaven. Some 73% of respondents reported belief in Heaven, while 62% of respondents reported belief in Hell.

When it comes to Christians as a group, the study showed that the overwhelming majority of all Christian groups supported belief in Heaven. Protestants from historically black and evangelical churches were more likely than mainline Protestant Christians or Catholics to express belief in Hell.

And while 39% of all American adults, in general, believe people who don’t believe in God can still go to Heaven, 68% of Catholics and 56% of mainline Protestant Christians were found to hold this belief compared to 21% of evangelicals and 31% of Christians from historically black churches.

CHRISTIANS – The Urgent Case for Jesus in Our World.

Christians  The Urgent Case for Jesus in our World / Greg Sheridan

Greg Sheridan widely-respected foreign editor for The Australian. has written an impassioned, informed and utterly compelling case for the truth and importance of Christianity in our lives. He presents a strong argument for the historical reliability of the New Testament, meets the living Jesus there, explores the extraordinary personality of Paul, celebrates Mary’s activism and examines the magnificent richness of John.

Filled with insights, intelligence, warmth and humour, Greg also introduces us to a range of fascinating Christians today, among them political leaders, and young activists offering the radical Christian interpretation of love to their generation. His book explores the journey of those who have been guided by faith, such as Gemma Sisia, whose school in Tanzania has transformed the lives of thousands of children, and the dynamic Chinese Christians pursuing their beliefs under harsh restrictions. He examines where Jesus can be found in popular culture and talks to Christian leaders – Pentecostal, Catholic, Evangelical and others – in Australia, the US and Britain.

At a time when the chasm of understanding between secularism and faith has never seemed wider, Christians is timely, relevant and convincing.

‘At the heart of the Christian story is the truth about the life of Jesus … Greg Sheridan’s book is a good read about Good News.’ Peter Comensoli, Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne

‘If there is ever going to be a Renaissance of Christian belief to save us from the dreariness of much secular humanism, it will come from a book like Christians. I will be buying it and giving it away to believers and sceptics alike.’

Watch this video: an unbeliever who knows and is impressed by Greg’s work as a journalist interviews the author. He now believes there is a valid case for God that needs to be explored.

https://fb.watch/7xML_9LI7z/

FROM FORTUNE TELLER TO FAITH IN JESUS

Amanda (not real name) and her husband come from a small Muslim village in Northern China. Amanda had a secret. She was a fortune-teller. Word began to spread that Amanda was exceptionally good at her ‘craft’ of fortune-telling, and people travelled from other villages to ask guidance about their future and seek solutions for their problems. But then Amanda was struck by a mysterious illness. One day she awoke and was unable to move any of her limbs. Her husband rushed her to hospital, but the doctors were unable to diagnose the problem. “I was so afraid,” Amanda recounted. “Somehow I just knew God was punishing me. I knew I must have done something to displease him.” Amanda’s sister was a Christian and visited her in hospital.

She told Amanda, “Jesus is the only Saviour for all mankind.” That night Jesus revealed himself to Amanda in a dream. “In the dream, I was in a taxi and it was very dark outside,” Amanda recalled. “We were driving into complete darkness. Suddenly, three men wearing white robes with radiant light all around them appeared on the right-hand side of the car. I couldn’t see their faces, but they told me it was time for me to make a choice. As quickly as they had appeared, they were gone. “Then two men wearing black robes appeared to the left of the taxi. They approached me and tried to entice me to join them on their side of the car. Something drew me inexplicably to the pure white robes, so I got out on the right-hand side of the taxi.

“I woke from the dream and knew immediately that one of the men in white robes was Jesus, and that I was to follow Him. I prayed right there in my bed and immediately the paralysis left my body. It has never returned.” Miraculously, her husband experienced the same dream months later, and also came to faith. Amanda’s ‘craft’ has been changed by her encounter with Christ. Now, when people come to ask for wisdom and solutions to their problems, Amanda points them towards Jesus. She prays that he will illuminate their lives with his truth and love.  But Amanda’s conversion hasn’t been free of persecution. When her father-in-law found out that she had become a Christian, he lost his temper and began to treat Amanda and her children with contempt.

“On one occasion, I had to go out, so I left my children in the care of their grandparents,” Amanda shared. “When I came back, I found bruises on their faces. My heart just broke.” To this day, Amanda’s children are afraid of staying with their grandparents. In spite of the persecution from her relatives, Amanda continues to share the gospel with others. Many have found the Lord, and up until the coronavirus crisis began, they were meeting once a week to read the Bible and pray together. Even in the hardest places to follow Jesus, his light is continuing to shine through believers just like Amanda.