The New Covenant of Grace (Part 2)

In Part 1 we explored the divine exchange that took place on the cross of Jesus Christ, and we found that we may distinguish nine aspects of this exchange. Let us examine these nine aspects:

1. Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven.

To a certain extent we have already dealt with this first aspect of the exchange, but it bears further exploration:

The great atonement chapter of Isaiah 53, verse 5 says, "The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him." God's justice demands that sin must be punished by death. But in His mercy He punished Jesus as an atonement for our sin. And the result? "Therefore, since we have  been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." [1]

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"For God was pleased ... through Him (Jesus) to reconcile to Himself all things ... by making peace through His blood shed on the cross." [2]
"Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now He has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation." [3]
"But when this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins ... He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy." [4]

This is the Good News: By faith in Jesus' single sacrifice on the cross we have been forgiven for all of our sins - past, present and future. God sees us as perfect, holy, without blemish and free from accusation. Even if we should fail, "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin." [5] In the original Greek the tense of the word translated "cleanse" is in the continuous present tense. This means that Jesus' blood continually cleanses us at all times.

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THANK YOU, JESUS, THAT YOU WERE PUNISHED SO THAT I MAY BE FORGIVEN.

 

2. Jesus was wounded that we might be healed.

Again we first look at chapter 53 in the book of Isaiah. Verse 4 says, "Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows ..." The King James Version unfortunately translated two Hebrew words here incorrectly. The Hebrew for 'griefs' is literally sicknesses and for 'sorrows' it is pains. Jesus therefore has carried our sicknesses away and endured our pains. The result is given in the last part of verse 5: "By His stripes ( wounds) we are healed." Literally the Hebrew says healing was obtained for us. Therefore Jesus was physically wounded so that we might obtain physical healing.

These verses were quoted in the New Testament in two places: Matthew says that Jesus "healed all who were sick," and explained in the next verse, "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, 'He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.'" [6] Peter testifies concerning Jesus, "Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes (wounds) you were healed." [7]

Notice that all three authors use the past tense: they don't say 'will be healed' but 'were healed'. From God's perspective the healing was accomplished when Jesus cried out on the cross, "It is finished." [8] It is up to us to believe and appropriate it by looking to "He Himself" who has done it.

We have already seen (Part 1) that the Greek word for salvation is sozo. In many passages of the New Testament where sozo is used, it is not translated as 'save' but as 'heal' or 'made well'. So in Matthew's and Luke's accounts of the woman with the issue of blood, [9] both Jesus and the woman use the word 'sozo' but in all cases the word is translated as 'made well'. This obscures the fact that healing is as much a part of salvation as is the forgiveness of sins.

THANK YOU, JESUS, THAT YOU WERE WOUNDED SO THAT I MAY BE HEALED

 

3. Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteous with His righteousness.

Isaiah 53:10 predicted that God would make the soul of Jesus "an offering for sin." Under the Old Covenant, if a person committed a sin he had to take a sin offering (an animal) to the priest at the Temple. The priest would examine the offering for any blemishes and, if satisfied, the sinner would lay his hand on the head of the animal, transferring his guilt to it before killing it. Therefore the animal sacrifice had to pay the penalty for the guilt of the sinner. [10]

In the New Testament this verse is quoted and expanded upon: "(God) made Him who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." [11] Here we have our third exchange spelled out. Man cannot become righteous by any work he does. The only righteousness available to us is as a free gift from God, and we obtain it through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. [12]

Another beautiful verse from Isaiah: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord ... for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness." [13] We can rejoice greatly because God has not only given us salvation, but also righteousness. Another word for righteousness is justification, which is a legal term. We have been tried in the court of heaven for a crime worthy of death, and the judge has declared us not guilty. We have been acquitted, justified of the crime, and cannot be tried again. This surely is cause for great rejoicing.

Satan loves to attack us through guilt: you have not prayed enough ... you have not read your  Bible enough ... you have not shown enough love you your neighbour ... Guilt is very debilitating. No matter what you do or how much of it you do, you still feel guilty. Don't allow anyone or anything to make you feel guilty, because guilt is a denial of the work of the cross. God has declared you righteous and without guilt:

"Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies."  [14]

"How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" [15]

"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." [16]

THANK YOU, JESUS, FOR MAKING ME RIGHTEOUS WITH YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

1. Nee, W. The Better Covenant, New York, U.S.A.: Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc., 1982.

2. Prince, D. Bought with Blood, New Zealand: Derek Prince Ministries - Asia, Pacific, 2000, 2007.

3. Prince, J. Destined to reign, Rep. of Singapore: Joseph Prince Teaching Resources, 2007

4. Richards, L.O. Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, Michigan, U.S.A.: Regency Reference Library, 1985.

References:

1.  Romans 5:1
2.  Colossians 1:19-20
3.  Colossians 1:21-22
4.  Hebrews 10:12-14
5.  1 John 1:7
6.  Matthew 8:16-17
7.  1 Peter 2:24
8.  John 19:30
9.  Matthew 9:21-22; Luke 8:47-48
10. Leviticus 4:27
11. 2 Corinthians 5:21
12. Romans 4:5
13. Isaiah 61:10
14. Romans 8:33
15. Hebrews 9:14
16. Romans 8:1

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Posted in: Bible by on January 5, 2013 @ 9:17 am

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