WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME?
"'David, of course, having completed the work God set out for him, has been in the grave, dust and ashes, for a long time now. But the One God raised up -- no dust and ashes for Him! I want you to know, my very dear friends, that it is on account of this resurrected Jesus that the forgiveness of your sins can be promised. He accomplishes everything that the Law of Moses could never make good on. But everyone who believes in this raised-up Jesus is declared good and right and whole before God.
"'Don't take this lightly. You don't want the prophet's sermon to describe you:
"Watch out, cynics, Look hard -- watch your world fall to pieces. I'm doing something right before your eyes that you won't believe, though it's staring you right in the face.'" Acts 13:36-41 (The Message).
The forgiveness of sins -- that's what the cross is all about! Sin is the one great barrier between us and a holy God. "Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong." Habakkuk 1:13 (NIV).
God created a perfectly functional world. Everything fitted together with everything else in perfect harmony and functioned as one, reflecting the same perfect harmony within the Godhead. He also created man, forming him from clay and filling him up -- which is what the word "create" actually means -- with His own image, male and female in perfect union.
He separated the woman from the man and brought them together again to live in a union that reflects the oneness of God. Because of the intimate connection between humans and the natural world, when man chose to disconnect himself from his Creator and make his own rules, the entire created order followed suit and became dysfunctional. Conflict replaced harmony in the plant and animal world, making life a battleground instead of an orchestra.
Life on earth should have been a perfect reflection of life in the presence of God. Therefore, from God's perspective, everything that is imperfect is sin because it falls short of God's glory. Even what we consider "natural", like sickness, disabilities, accidents that cause brokenness, decay and death are alien to God and are therefore classified as sin and demand blood sacrifice to atone and cleanse its pollution.
Jesus' death on the cross did not only pay for man's sin. It also paid for the pollution and disruption that man's rebellion caused in the whole of creation. Even the entire universe was affected by that one choice.
"For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross." Colossians 1:19, 20 (NIV).
The expectation of those who believe in the finished work of Jesus on the cross goes beyond this life into the life beyond the grave. "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God." Romans 8:20, 21 (NIV).
The forgiveness of sins Jesus purchased for us on the cross brings with it the promise of the restoration of the entire creation to its original state and purpose. When we receive the gift of forgiveness, we become a part of God's design to restore all of creation and to complete the work He began; a perfect world in which He can live in union with man that can never be disrupted again.
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