John 1:29 – “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” NKJV
I want to take an approach that some might call ‘splitting hairs’ in this devotional and address what Jesus did on the cross when He sacrificed His life for us. He died for THE SIN of the world. Notice that this is singular not plural and deals with SIN not acts. What was the SIN of the world? Again, some will consider this ‘splitting hairs’ and declare that Jesus died for our sins and He did but His specific purpose on the cross was to take away THE SIN that separated man from God. The SIN that separated mankind from God initially transpired in the Garden with Adam and Eve’s rebellion, disobedience and electing to move God from the center of their universe to a peripheral position and elevated self to the center replacing God they became a god unto themselves. We call that THE FALL of man and it was when the first Adam, by his choice and action gave the devil ‘legal ground’ to become the ‘god of this world’. Jesus came to negate that and satisfy divine justice so that man could be ‘redeemed’ or ‘bought back’ from the control of the devil and a door for restoration opened so man could once again be reconciled to God.
Sometime I fear that we spend too much time on ‘sins’ or commissions of wrongful acts rather than the root condition of the heart where SIN has separated us from God. Jesus came so that SIN would be taken away and a door to the Father opened. Does that mean that He does not forgive our ‘acts’ we call sins? Of course He does and that is part of the package but the root is SIN that SEPARATED which is the condition of the heart in rebellion. I had someone tell me that man is basically good and drifts from God and I would suggest to you that the Bible identifies man, since the fall, as depraved and bent toward evil needing a Savior.
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God! There is none good, not even one! It is by grace we are saved and that not of ourselves it is the gift of God! Isaiah tells us that our righteousness is as ‘filthy rags’ in His presence and Jeremiah advises that the heart is ‘desperately wicked’. Psalm 51, Psalm 58 and Ephesians 2 all reveal that we are born ‘dead’ in transgression and sin as unregenerate man and in bondage to sin. We are told in 1 Corinthians 2 that man (lost man) loves darkness rather than light and in verse 18 declares that man rejects the gospel as foolishness. That is a heart condition and that is what Jesus addressed on the cross first and foremost. When He said, “It Is Finished” He was declaring that Redemption for mankind had been won and the price paid to redeem us. He went on to declare in Luke 10:19 that He has given us ‘authority’ over all the ‘power’ of the devil. Paul declares in Colossians 2 that Jesus made a public display of the devil, triumphed over him and put him to open shame as He disarmed the devil. His work on the cross is completely complete we have access to the Father!
It is my view that too often we focus on the acts a person commits rather than the condition of the person’s heart. You may get someone to ‘clean up’ their act and act like a Christian but if you have not dealt with the heart condition they are only clean on the outside and inside a sepulcher full of dead bones. Jesus, the Lamb of God, came to die that our HEARTS could be transformed. The heart is what God is after. I equate it to fishing you first catch the fish then clean them not the reverse. God focuses on the inward (heart) while we tend to notice the outward (acts).
May God be with you as you go through your day!