The following article can be read as standing on its own, or, as the next in a series on sin and it’s consequences which can be found immediately below the present one if you wish to read them first.
You will see in this article references to earlier subjects in this series that follow this one in date order.
The object of this article is to answer the question posed above which, is how did Jesus overcome the seemingly impossible situation when God’s law decreed that “the wages of sin is death”?
Our regular readers may recall God had declared that the of purpose His creative work is that [see October 2021 suffering]
14 … the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2
The most important aspect of His work was the creation of men and women of whom He was going to require much more than any other creature …
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. Genesis 1
This means that He needs thinking beings that are able to understand Him. The word ‘image’ in the original Hebrew צֶלֶם means similar, not identical as God and the similarities He gave him included a mind that could think, reason, and have emotions in the same way as God, and have the ability to communicate with Him.
Man’s creation happened like this …
7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. Genesis 2 KJV
Follower by the forming of the companion God gave him,
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Genesis 2
Above all He wanted the more perceptive of human beings to grow to love Him and obey him as best they can.
21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. John 14
The original New Testament was written in Greek which has three words for love.
‘Eros’ which stands for sensually motivated lust and is never found in the scriptures, indicating that there is a great difference between the loving relationships associated with the Christian way of life and a selfish worldly way.
‘Phileo’, used 25 times in the New Testament, meaning to be a friend to another, to be fond of (have a liking for) an individual or an object, to have or show affection. In some contexts it means to kiss another as a mark of tenderness for that person.
‘Agape’ is the word for Christian love and is used 115 times in the New Testament. It means undefeatable goodwill; it describes the way we respond others which, no matter what they do will always seek their highest good and will accept all the difficulties, problems and toil which the relationship may bring. Agape love is the deepest king of love that can be exhibited one towards another.
However, all men and women have been given freewill, and the way they react to certain situations will show agape love is at work, for there will be times when the easier option will be to be selfish and refuse to help. To exhibit the kind of love God wishes to see requires motivation and effort and God through His Word shows us the king of people He wishes us to be
A good example of agape love is the love God has for His people Israel. They have been so often disobedient, rebellious and with not a care for God, yet he cared for them … …
37 … because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt; Deuteronomy 4
As Jehoshaphat, one of the kings of God’s people in praying for God’s help said
7 Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever? 2 Chronicles 20
That is the deep, loving, visible relationship that God requires of men and women through Christ if they are to be resurrected and given Eternal Life in the glorious, peaceful Kingdom of God.
So, let us now focus on how the relationship between God and men and women, all started.
The creation of the earth and all that is upon it is a marvellous work of beauty and wonder. But God wanted to include intelligent beings with the ability to appreciate His work and the life He gives them who can, and some will, grow to love Him to the best of their ability. For them it will be God’s pleasure to lavish upon them His love with the most wonderful reward imaginable.
It all began like this … …
Genesis 1 1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. … … 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. … … … Genesis 2 8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. … 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die* [The Hebrew, literally, “dying thou shalt die.”]
God created man with freewill as we have explained, with the ability to love Him with a deep agape love. Also, to be obedient and respect Him.
So God immediately set the scene for a test. If they were to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they would surely die. And eventually, we don’t know how long after, the test came. God used a creature called a serpent to suggest the women disobeyed God’s commandment.
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3
The serpent directly challenged God’s command and His promised consequence. The serpent used a lie which the woman found too attractive to resist. “Your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” She ate the fruit and gave it to her husband who also ate and their idyllic life in a beautiful garden with everything provided for a comfortable life was to end.
17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3
Thus was established the rule for all men and women – “The wages of sin is death”. In the words of the apostle Paul,
12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Romans 5
There are two reasons why men and women are condemned to die. First, they all inherit a dying nature from Adam, so it is not our fault we die. Even Jesus, who inherited human nature from his mother Mary, was condemned to die.
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; Hebrews 2
Secondly, we all sin and therefore cannot escape death and the grave. But in this respect Jesus was different to us.
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4
There are several verses that tell us Jesus did no sin and therefore he is in a different position to all other men and women. Because Jesus did not sin and God is a just God, it was wholly right that Jesus did not remain in the tomb.
24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. Acts 2
Jesus had done a wonderful thing for us all! Let the apostle Paul tell us what it was.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: Romans 8
How did the law, which governed God’s people, work? It was a collection of laws setting out how God wanted His people to live with appropriate punishments if they failed to do them and the consequences are clear. ”Sin is the transgression of the law”1 John 3:4 and “the wages of sin is death”Romans 6:23 but this law provided no way of escape from death, only punishment if broken.
All men and women sin, some more some less, except Jesus. He, by a huge effort, had his Heavenly Father’s support through His Angels, did no sin.
6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. Psalm 34
Jesus did not deserve the wages of sin, so God, who is a just and righteous God resurrected Jesus, showing through Jesus that it is sin that condemns men and women to death.
To explain how, remembering what we learnt earlier in this article, Jesus, like us all, had to die because he had the same nature as Adam, being formed of “the dust of the ground”. But, Adam and Eve both sinned and their punishment, was “for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” So, Jesus too, like us, had to die, but by being SINLESS which is the mark of RIGHTEOUSNESS and PERFECTION, whilst bearing our detestable mortal nature, Jesus met sin on its own ground and overcame it, even though tempted precisely as we are. Being the only one ever, who has been totally sinless even though tempted. Christ brought his sinless life to God in the earthen vessel of human nature. Thus, he broke the power of sin and opened the doors to endless life. He turned God’s original purpose into reality.
9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Timothy
What a wonderful achievement by Jesus and marvellous blessing for all men and women who are willing to listen to and follow Jesus today.
So our advice to all who read this article is to follow the advice of Jesus as the apostle John recorded it.
12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8
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We hope that you enjoyed this presentation. It is the third in a short series of monthly presentations. If you would like to read them they follow below starting with October 2021.
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