Battle Field Wounds of Christ

  Remembering His Cost was Our Gain

They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said.  They spit on Him, and took the staff and struck Him on the head again and again.  After they had mocked Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him.”  Isaiah 52: 13, 14 says, “See, my servant will act wisely; He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.  Just as there were many who were appalled at Him–His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness.”  (Matthew 27:28-31)

In contrast was the atonement day of Christ

When I first got started in the Arabian Horse business, my parents and I attended a special coronation celebration for a beautiful Arabian Stallion. On a Saturday night, in Lincoln, Nebraska we sat in a large indoor arena, excitingly watching this beautiful horse receive the very high honor of “Legion of Merit.”The lights were turned off and a large spotlight appeared at the entrance gate.  Music was playing and our hearts beat with anticipation.  Then suddenly a beautiful bay stallion with long black flowing mane and tail entered at a gallop.  The spot light followed him as he loped through the arena while the announcer told of all the achievements that this horse had accomplished. When the announcer was finished, the horse trainer entered and called the horse to come to him. With lights upon them, a coronation of roses was fastened around his neck and laid across his chest.  With a standing ovation this beautiful Arabian Stallion was led from the arena.

In contrast was the atonement day of Christ–the day the perfect man received for a coronation a crown of thorns.  He went about accomplishing the complete will of God, healing the sick, feeding the multitudes and raising the dead.  If anyone was worthy of honor it was Him. Yet, He was not greeted with lights and music, but darkness came over the land. (Luke 23:44) He did not receive a coronation of roses, a public announcement of achievements and a standing ovation.  Rather, He was given a crown of thorns and afflictions from men. They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ they said.  They spit on Him, and took the staff and struck Him on the head again and again.  After they had mocked Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him.”  Isaiah 52: 13, 14 says, “See, my servant will act wisely; He will be raised and lifted up and highly exalted.  Just as there were many who were appalled at Him–His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness.”

We have chosen this Sunday to observe Easter by observing the Lord’s command to His church. (1 Corinthians 11:23)   The observing of Communion is a blessed occasion and the Lord Jesus was clear in His instructions to the Apostle Paul,   “…do this in remembrance of Me.” (1 Corinthians 11: 24, 25) I would propose to you that Jesus means for the Communion service to be a lot more than just a religious observance,   but to keep fresh in our minds the act of sacrificial love He has for us.

What are we to remember? What are the blessings of His wounds?

Sometimes we need to talk about and meditate on the battlefield wounds our Lord received as He paid the price for the redemption of our very souls.I grew up in home were I did not experience the frustrations and heartaches of war.  Most of my life no one ever took time to talk to me about the cost of war. I have watched closely at the “Veteran’s Day Parade” and took notice how the young find their joy in grasping for the candy.  The youth are captivated by their friends who ride on the floats.  But, it is those who have tasted the bitter fruit of war in some way, they are the ones who appreciate the men and women of whom the Veteran’s Day remembrance parade is for. I have to admit, it took getting to know a veteran who received a purple heart and hearing the story of how he received that honorable medal, before I could grasp the truths of Veteran’s Day.  Because I took time to listen and meditated upon the cost of one of our American soldiers, I attend the “Veteran Day Parade” with a much different outlook.

Crown of thorns

The Word of God gives us great details on the “Battlefield Wounds of Christ” which were inflicted upon Jesus Christ as He gave His life for our redemption.   Taking time to remember those wounds and understanding what He purchased for us could fan into flames the love we should be expressing all year long to our Lord. The scene of the battlefield of which Christ was on was humanity at his worst and Jesus was inflicted with many wounds, one was a “crown of thorns.” Jesus came to rule in the hearts and souls of men, and the rebellion of man’s soul wounded Him.  He came to rule the wills of His people, and the resistance of self-will hurt Him.  He came to rule in righteousness, to cast out all unrighteousness, and the wickedness of the world turned against Him. The crown that the soldiers pressed on the brow of Jesus was meant only for insult with the purpose of causing pain and mockery.  Yet, even through their view and pleasures, God was pronouncing some power truths. Thorns came in with sin and became part of the curse that was the product of sin.  (Genesis 3:18)  Therefore Christ, being made a curse for us, and dying to remove that curse from us, felt the pain and hurt of those thorns. Jesus’ bearing the crown of thorns answers the type of Abraham’s ram, which took the place of Isaac. (Barnes Notes; New Bible Dictionary; Matthew Henry’s Commentary)   The “thicket” (bak) that the ram had his horns caught in were a dense growth of heavy shrubs or underbrush that are intertwined in a manner that would catch persons or creatures and were very difficult to go through. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary; Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains)  The Bible is very clear, God told Adam, Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.  It will produce thorns and thistles for you…”  (Genesis 3:18)  Thistles (darda) were a very prickly plant having no value for producing life giving fruit.  Even though they are a luxuriantly growing plant, they are still a worthless plant. (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains; Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament) Thorns (qowts) are a non-fruit bearing bush noted for their sharp, wood-splinter-like spines or tines.  (Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains)

It has been said that “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay.”  Sin holds you in bondage and keeps you from having a fruitful relationship with Christ.  Sin grows vigorously yet will leave you in a worthless state of mind and heart.  It was the custom of some heathen nations to bring their sacrifices to the altars, crowned with garlands; these thorns were the garlands with which the greatest Sacrifice, Jesus Christ was crowned.  That garland, the crown of thorns represents all that He was to die for, the sins of the world.


Sin, sooner or later becomes public, thus, Christ wore publicly the “Crown of Thorns” a representation of that which brings disgrace on all men.  Symbolically Jesus wore our sins so all could see, so that we may receive forgiveness and have our sin no longer to be remembered against us.  Another wound that was laid upon our Lord was mocking.  Matthew 27:29 says, “They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him.  ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’”  A definition for mock is an object of ridicule.  The common mode of showing respect or homage for kings was kneeling or prostration.  This showed the tremendous love that Christ has for us.  He withstood a false homage from the sinful wicked so that we may not have to remain guilty of sin that always brings mockery in the end. In the workplace it is not uncommon to see co-workers encourage sinful behavior that leads to all kinds of outward manifestation such as lying, adultery, and the misuse of God’s name.  Worldly attitudes cause all to eventually misuse gifts, talents, and skills that God has given to mankind.  When the manifestations of the sinful nature reach the point of public embracement, mockery comes from the co-workers, who by their actions and words encourage the sinful behavior. I have seen the very ones who encouraged flirting among the man and female sexes, mock those who eventually become involved in adultery.  I have heard those who encouraged back biting, telling dirty or off colored jokes, and wrong attitudes, publicly bad mouth those they have encouraged to live a sinful lifestyle.  Sin always brings approach, heartache and emotional drain.

Jesus undertook His Father’s will.  No one could not find any real fault in Him so they hurled Him with lying accusations and put Him through an unlawful trial. Mockery and reproach is at all times very cutting to a man’s integrity.  Yet our Lord took those words and actions of mockery for the sake of God and us.  The Holy Spirit spoke through David, a man after God heart, reflecting the heart of Christ regarding His Father’s will, “For I endure scorn for your sake…” (Psalm 69:7; The Treasury of David)  That is exactly what Jesus did for His Father and us. Jesus was stripped when He was put on the Cross and no doubt this brought further mockery as He hung there exposed to the cruel gaze of a huge amount of people. (The Expositors Bible Commentary; Barnes Notes) The Romans had learned that this type of mockery is a powerful way to break a person mentally and especially emotionally.  Mockery does not affect the body but it puts tremendous strain on the mind and tears at the heart of a person.  Woman and children have been scared for an entire life time from emotional and mental abuse.  In war or sports, if you can intimidate or break the heart of your opponent the battle is half over. Sin brings destruction to every part of our lives and this includes our emotions. Thus, our Lord suffered in mocking and reproach, being placed on the Cross of Calvary naked. (Barnes Notes; The Expositors Bible Commentary; Matthew Henry Commentary)

Salvation is often represented as a garment. (Matthew 22:11; Revelations 6:11; 7:9,13-14)  In the Bible those who are bound by sin, those who do not have Christ as Savior and Lord are considered naked.  Those who are naked are exposed to cold, storms and shame.  The human soul that is not clothed in the Salvation of Christ is in the worst condition that mankind can find themselves in.  A soul naked, unclothed in Christ Jesus has no protection from sin.  Christ bore our shame on the Cross, so that all who have Jesus as personal Savior and Lord may be clothed in the righteousness of Christ, no longer naked and bearing the shame that comes with sin.

Flogging or scourging

In the battle for the souls of mankind Christ wore the “Crown of Thorns” representing the sins of the world.  He took our mocking and bore our shame.  Another battle wound laid upon Jesus was flogging or scourging.  Matthew 27:26 says, “…he  [Pilate] had Jesus flogged.”   The New American Standard Bible says, “Scourged.”

Among the Romans it was customary to scourge or whip a slave before he was crucified.  This was done to inflict greater suffering and cause a quicker death while adding horrors to the punishment. Our Lord was put to death after the manner of a slave or a criminal   therefore He was treated as a slave and a criminal. This is because sin puts mankind into bondage and causes him to become a criminal.  Jesus said,   “I tell you the truth,   everyone who sins is a slave to sin.” (John 8:34)    He took upon Himself the sins of the world.  Sin is in the heart of every criminal. Our Lord was scourged with a whip made of leather straps with two small balls attached to the end of each strap. The balls were made of rough lead or sharp bones or small spikes, so they would cut deeply into the flesh.  His hands were most likely tied to a post above His head and He was scourged.

The prophet Isaiah catches the reality of what Jesus was to look like when He would be scourged for our sins and he writes, “Just as there were many who were appalled at Him – His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human likeness.”  (Isaiah 52:14) The word for appalled (shamem) means to stun, stupefy, to grow dumb.  The practical application here is that His body was so disfigured because of His suffering that people would be struck numb or put to silence from sudden astonishment. When we hear of the results of sin on the news today or when sin has brought a tragedy into the lives of family members, people are struck with numbness and they are put to silence from sudden astonishment.  We were shocked with the news of a pastor’s wife shooting her husband, of a child killer serving regularly in his local church.

While attending horse shoeing college I listen to a retired homicide detective share how it never gets easy walking in on a homicide scene.  Every time it makes you want to cover your eyes, turn and look the other way for you just can’t stand to look on the sight of such a horrific scene. The sight of a loved one suffering the long term effects of addiction, a life without Christ and heading for hell is a horrific sight. John the Baptist spoke a powerful truth concerning Jesus, “Look, the Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world.” (John 1:29)  The sins of the entire world were being laid upon Jesus.  The Bible says, “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5) Jesus’ appearance had to be horrible for He was taking on the grief and physical abuse of every sin committed before that first Easter, sins committed since Calvary and sins that will be committed until we get the New Heaven and Earth. 

Crucify Him!

Another battlefield wound of Christ is the Crucifixion. The Bible says, After they had mocked Him… Then they led Him away to crucify Him.” (Matthew 27:31)  When Pilate asked the crowd, “What shall I do with Jesus who is the Christ?” (Matthew 27:22)  The people answered with, “Crucify Him!” (Matthew 27:22)

We are often told not to focus upon the physical aspect of the cross; but we cannot possibly have too vivid picture of what Jesus took for us on the Cross of Calvary.  Klausner, the Jewish writer, says, “Crucifixion is the most terrible and cruel death which man has ever devised for taking vengeance on his fellow man.”  He continues with, “The criminal was fastened to his cross, already a bleeding mass from the scourging.  There the criminal hung to die from hunger, thirst and exposure, unable to defend himself from the torture of the gnats and flies that settle on his naked body and on his bleeding wounds.” Our modern day pictures painted of Jesus hanging upon the Cross do not give the full picture of what Christ suffered. The results of sin have affected many and left them unable to defend themselves from the destruction of sin.  Many young people are victimized by exposure to pornography, humanistic views and a world despising of the things of God.  A great famine of hearing the Word of God is causing many around the world to literally die of spiritual hunger and thirst. For this reason Jesus carried the battlefield wound of crucifixion. The wounds that He was afflicted with in the conquest for the souls of man were a curse for Him but a blessing for us.  These blessings do not come as a reward for good works but for God’s name sake. God had given the prophet Isaiah great understanding of the work of the Lord, he writes, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more. (Isaiah 43:25) The Bible says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

God had revealed to King David some powerful truths of God’s loving hand, he writes, “[God] does not treat us our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities… as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:10,12) God demonstrated His love for us by giving His son for us (John 3:16) and Jesus showed it by lying down His life for us. (1 John 3:16)  Jesus said, No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of My own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:18)  He also said, “The reason My Father loves Me is that I lay down My life–only to take it up again.” (John 10:17)

The great news about Easter is that it records the end of the life of Christ upon this present earth before He was taken up to be once again with His father.  Yet before He leaves this earth, He opens the way for man to enter into the Holy of Holies for communion with God.  The Bible says at the moment Jesus gave up His spirit willingly, the curtain of the temple was torn into from top to bottom.  (Matthew 27:50-51; Mark 15:38; The Bible Knowledge Commentary; The Bible Exposition Commentary; Daily Study Bible Series)  Before His return to the abode of God, Jesus gets victory over death, the grave and all the workings of hell, thus paving the way for Christians to get victory over sin.  The Bible says, “…if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)

The Apostle Paul lived a Holy Spirit led and empowered life and out of his relationship with Christ and in his revelation of God, the Holy Spirit moved him to write, “…in all things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) “More than Conquerors” (hupernikao) meaning that through Christ, because who He is and what He has accomplished for us at Calvary and in His resurrection Christians are over comers, able to utterly defeat all that put Christ on the Cross.  They can have victory over all that desires to put them in bondage. “The Battlefield Wounds of Christ” were laid upon Him for a reason, because they purchase victory for every man, woman and child that will in repentance turn to Jesus for Salvation and surrender to His Lordship in their entire lives.

Jesus bore the “Crown of Thorns” so you and I can live victoriously over the effects of sin.  Instead of living unproductive lives, we can choose to live for Christ producing fruit of eternal life.  Instead of facing mockery for a life overcome by sin and the results of it, Christians can enjoy a life that is freed from sin and can see God restore all that sin has taken away.  Because Jesus’ body was crushed for our iniquities and His punishment purchased peace with God for Christians, they will receive a new body that is incorruptible in the resurrection of those who lived in Christ.The Holy Spirit of God calls all Christians to be a witnesses to family members, friends and co-workers.  Christians are to live in a way that shows the Lordship of Christ over their lives, so they can be seen as children of God who understand fully “The Battlefield Wounds of Christ.” This keeps them from being seen as children at a “Veteran’s Day Parade” who are more captivated by the candy and worldly floats than the veterans who bear the scars of war on their bodies and hearts. We give our Maker and Redeemer a standing ovation by surrendering our entire lives over to the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  Considering, “The Battle Field Wounds of Christ,” Christians should surrender their businesses, careers, talents and time over to lifting up Jesus Christ for all to see.

In spirit and in truth make this Easter Communion service a new beginning that proclaims, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”  (Revelation 5:11)

Christ, Our Sin Bearer

What Good Friday is All About

Isaiah 53: 1-6, Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?  He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.  He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to Him, nothing in His appearance that we should desire Him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.  Surely He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.  But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.  We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.”

Easter season is the time we “Celebrate Jesus’ Life and His Triumph over Sin and Death.”   

We are about to enter into the time of the year that should fill the child of God with great joy and expectation. It has been said, “Easter is proof that God’s Messiah had come.”  Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate the birth of Christ, and the Easter season is the time we “Celebrate Jesus’ Life and His Triumph over Sin and Death.” I would propose to you that Christians should remember what “Good Friday” was all about.  Because of the price Christ paid on the Cross, Christians should live a life that says “We want to stop falling prey to sin. Just how do the children of God live a life that presents the hope of Christ to a lost world? What are the truths to living a life that says I am victorious in Christ, purchased by His blood?   

Concept of sin

The key truth to cling to in celebrating Christ’s life and victory over sin and death is the concept of sin.  When this is understood,  the heart can be made ready to enjoy Salvation found in Christ and victory over that which destroys fellowship with God.  Romans 3:23-25 says, But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in His blood…”

Everyone has “sinned” (hamartono) meaning to miss the mark on the way to what God had created you for. The Holy Spirit revealed to Paul that sin is a powerful source ruling within people (Romans 7:23) and this battle continues on and on trying to harden the spiritual heart. (Romans 7:21-24) Adam was constituted by God as the head of the generation of mankind and when he fell, that fallen nature was and is passed on to his descendants.  Romans 5:12 says, Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”  The New American Standard Bible says, “…so death spread to all men.” The Greek Word for “came” (dierchomai) or “spread” means to extend to.  Paul is saying, “Sin penetrated the entire human race.  Like water permeates through sand, sin takes effect on the entire man, physically and spiritually.”  Sin is often compared to cancer, a living disease, not like a rotten branch which may be easily blown off with a fair wind.  Sin is like a living, crawling, poisonous crab in the soul and can only be overcome by Jesus Christ.

The Holy Spirit revealed to the Apostle Paul the blessedness of having the Spirit of Christ living in the child of God.  He wrote in regard to life through the Spirit, And if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you.” Christians who understand the truths of sin fear the cost of sin.  Romans 6:23 says, For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” “Death” (thanatos) in the New Testament is treated not as a natural process but always as a destroying power related to sin and all its consequences.

There are four truths to grasp as we take time to celebrate all that Christ overcame for His children this Easter season. There are the truths of physical death, spiritual death, eternal death and victory over death.In speaking of physical death Jesus said, Lazarus is dead.” (John 11:14)  It is the curse that came with the sin of Adam spoken of in Genesis 3:19 which says, “…you will return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Just as we see God’s curse on the ground and the curse of pain in childbearing we see the curse of sin today through physical death.  All through Biblical history mankind has been plunged into physical death. Sin brought forth physical death and understanding the concept of spiritual death enables people to grasp the frightening state James wrote about, but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:14-15)  “Death” here means separation, separated from God thus causing one to miss the resurrection of the righteous in Christ and missing out on fellowship with God.  The Apostle Paul writes about the condition of the Ephesians before they were made alive in Christ and about those who are still without Jesus, As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” (Ephesians 2:1-2)

The Apostle Paul understood the concept of spiritual death and he writes in great detail about the life they live.  He presents this truth, “Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.” (Romans 1:32)  The Bible says, Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done.”  (Romans 1:28) It is imperative to remember we are referring to people who know about God and know about His Word. Because they are spiritually dead, the Holy Spirit is unable to move them from their love of sin to a love for Christ.  People who have hearts of stone feel no shame or guilt as they live lives of profanity, jealousy, racism, lies, drunkenness, stealing, (omit going into) fits of rage, greed, cheating, disobeying parents, illegal drug use, lust, gambling, murder, adultery, covetousness, gossip, hatred, dishonoring the Lord’s day, pride or slander.  As a matter of fact they think it strange that they can’t get others to follow their lifestyle.  (1 Peter 4:1-4) This is a much different state than of the child of God who knows the Lord and seeks God’s forgiveness with a repentant heart as soon as he falls into any kind of sin.

Knowing the concept of sin enables people to fear spiritual death and eternal death.  Revelation 20:11-25 says, “Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from His presence, and there was no place for them.  And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”  

There is going to be the “Great White Throne Judgment” and standing before it will be kings, presidents, democrats, republicans, false preachers, the religious dead, corporate businessmen, common laborers, prostitutes, town drunks and people from the richest and poorest countries in the world.  It has been well said, “Physical death is the great leveler.”  All who are pushed into the river of physical death apart from Christ will be judged.  The end result–everyone whose name is not written in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire.

Opportunity to get victory over sin and death

People who understand the concept of sin have a fear of physical, spiritual and eternal death.  They also have the great opportunity to get victory over sin and death.  The writer of the Book of Hebrews writes about Jesus in chapter 2:14-17, Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels He helps, but Abraham’s descendants.  For this reason He had to be made like His brothers in every way, in order that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that He might make atonement for the sins of the people.”   Because we were flesh and blood our Lord Jesus Christ took on flesh and blood.  Through His death He destroys Satan’s hold on mankind.  Satan often uses the sinful nature and the influences of the world to put mankind into bondage to sin, thus birthing forth a life of sin causing separation from fellowship with God, keeping mankind from Christ and, making hearts hard to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The Bible says “He had to be made like His brothers in every way…”  The writer of the Book of Hebrews says this about Jesus as well, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15)

When visiting with a man who was going through some counseling for an addiction, he told me, “No one understands us, we are all like minded and have the same struggles.  We are made the same, we understand each other.”  Sadly, this man was finding fulfillment and justification in these counseling meetings.  The problem was that those who attended the meetings had a history of being repeat offenders offering the same excuses each time.  They were always blaming someone or something for their backsliding. Christians who understand the concept of sin and Christ being fully man so He can pay the penalty of sin on the Cross of Calvary proclaim, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)  Christians who are Holy Spirit illuminated with this truth are thanking God often for Christ’s incarnation and His death and resurrection so they can get victory over death.  The Bible says that Jesus’ death on the Cross literally “destroys” death (2 Timothy 1:10) meaning to render powerless all that deprive and keep people from walking with Christ as He gives enablement by the Holy Spirit.

Apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ mankind cannot overcome that sinful nature that so easily falls prey to this world’s view and the lies of the devil.  Understanding the concept behind all that Jesus did enables Christians to proclaim as the Apostle Paul, I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20) As Representative and Substitute Man, Jesus tasted death for every human being so that Christians pass from death unto life.  This life in Christ overcomes physical death at the resurrection of the living, overcomes spiritual death, and escapes eternal death. Jesus spoke of those who have a concept of what He accomplished on the Cross, He said, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.  I tell you the truth, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.” (John 5:24-25)

Desire victory over sin

Enjoying the victory Christ purchased by His blood causes Christians to desire victory over sin and makes them hungry for His righteousness.  Forgiveness and salvation from sin is guaranteed to the repentant.  The repentant grasp the heart of the Apostle Paul who wrote in 2 Corinthians 7:1, Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. The fear of offending the Lord and the desire to please Him is within the spiritual heart of Christians who express a life that says, “I want to stop falling prey to sin.”  F. W. Robertson wrote, “…Tender motives are not enough to restrain from sin.” Christians who understand what Good Friday is all about set their sights on the holiness of God, however, they say as the Apostle Paul, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12)

Christians let the promise of the Lord’s presence, fellowship with God, with Christ and with the Holy Spirit spur them on to a desire to be sanctified by mortifying lust and corruption.  The Bible teaches three responsibilities in the sanctification process, 1.) Mortification. 2.) Meditation on the Word of God and 3.) Allowing Manifestation of Christ-likeness. The Holy Spirit moved the Apostle Paul to write about our struggle with the sinful nature in Romans chapter 7.  In Romans 8 Paul writes about life through the Holy Spirit and instructs us with, “For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live…” (Romans 8:13)  Paul also instructs Christians with Colossians 3:5, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature.”   The words “put to death” or “mortify” means to deliver over to death, to kill.  Paul uses the word to indicate a process of deadening the power of the flesh.

I used to ride motorcycles and there is something about them that makes you to want to just give it gas and go.  The more gas you give the motorcycle the more power the engine has to satisfy that lust that causes you to disobey your parents, the law and to see just how much you can get by with. One day I went over to Mark McKenna’s house.  His parents were not home so we thought we would just race up and down the county road.  Over and over again we raced back and forth and every time we would race that lust was being satisfied yet wanted more and more.   We would think up everything we could to make the race more exciting and dangerous.  Mark’s dad came home so I headed for my house.  As I was riding home, without warning the motorcycle engine died and there it sat along the road dead.

When people fail to look to the Cross of Christ and remember the words written by Paul, “put to death… whatever belongs to the earthly nature,” they just keep pouring gas to the inward sinful nature and without warning they find themselves dead to the Holy Spirits promptings.  They are dead to fellowship with the Lord thus allowing them to fall farther than they wanted to go into sin, keeping them longer than they ever wanted stay in that sin and costing them more than they ever wanted to pay. Paul is saying, in regard to the price paid for us by Christ on the Cross we are not to feed the sinful nature, we are not to give it the fuel or food it needs to get power over us.  Just like the engine of a motorcycle, if we do not give the sinful nature the fuel it is graving, it will not have the power to control our lives.  If by the power of the Holy Spirit we feed the soul the Word of God and surrender to the will of the Lord we can mortify our spirit dead to sin and (omit a) live in Christ.

In ClosingGood Friday is approaching and considering the price Christ paid on the Cross Christians should want to live a life that says, “We want to stop falling prey to sin.”  No one is above sin’s temptations, so all must take heed of the possible dangers.  The Book of Romans tells Christians what their obligation is as Paul writes, Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation–but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:12-13)

God our loving Father and Christ understood the concept of sin.  Sin is what Good Friday is all about.  Sin came through Adam and carried into all of mankind.  It brings physical death, spiritual death and the horror of eternal death. Christ’s crucifixion on the Cross made Him our sin bearer and His atonement (hilaskomai) satisfied the justice of God, opened the veil so we can enter the throne of grace and find mercy in our times of fighting that continual battle against the sinful nature.  The great news is that Jesus Christ is the faithful One and is able to lead us victoriously because He was tempted in every way that we are, yet He remained without sin. We do not need to sit in the counsel of those who keep falling into sin.  We can enjoy the Holy Spirit of Christ who is the Counselor and live by His power to mortify the flesh putting to death the misdeeds of the sinful nature. Christians who understand the concept of sin and the price Jesus paid for them on Calvary say in their hearts as the old man who sat beside the basketball court at a Bible college reading his Bible.  One day Vernon Grounds asked the old man if he understood what he was reading.  The old said “O yes, Christ won victory over sin and death so He might live in us and we for Him.” Sin is what brought Good Friday about, so sinful man might be reconciled unto God, man who was a enemy of God may have fellowship with the Lord because of the sacrificial love shown to all mankind through the death of Christ.