Saturday, January 4, 2014

Why We Need Jesus

Ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, mankind has been under the bondage of sin. In an effort to combat this the leaders of the human race have devised various systems of law in order for us to keep ourselves in check. Eventually God came up with His own system of Law and gave it to His chosen people Israel. This Law was given through Moses and was very strict. This Law includes moral, ceremonial, and judicial Laws. 

The Law was intended to guide people to Christ and to show them their need for the coming Messiah. Paul tells us in Galatians 3:24-26, "Therefore, the law was a tutor for us for Christ, that we would be justified by faith. Now when faith came, we were not under tutors. For all of you are sons of God by the faith of Jesus Christ." The Aramaic word translated as "tutor" is tara (ܬܪܐܐ). This word can also be translated as "guide" or "instructor". 
The Greek New Testament uses the word paidagōgos (παιδαγωγὸς), which James Strong defines this Greek word as "A legally appointed overseer, authorized to train (bring) up a child by administering discipline, chastisement, and instruction, i.e. doing what was necessary to promote development." John Wesley Etheridge translates tara as "conductor" and George Lamsa translates it as "pathfinder". Both of these translations offer very fascinating insights into what Paul was saying here.

The Law of Moses was never intended as a way of eternal salvation. It was a temporary solution to the problem of sin. The Law prophecies and bears witness to the permanent solution: Jesus the Messiah. The Law does this not only through genuine prophecy, but through various types and shadows. The many sacrifices that were offered as a covering for sin were types of the coming Messiah, who is the Lamb of God who takes away sin (John 1:29). Blood was first shed for sin when Adam and Eve disobeyed God. After the fall, Genesis 3:21 says, "And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife."

Sin rendered Adam and Eve spiritually naked. Before Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Genesis 2:25 says, "The two of them were naked, the man and his wife, yet they felt no shame." Later, Genesis 3:6-7 says, "When the woman saw that the tree was desirable as a source of wisdom, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave some to her husband and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened and they perceived that they were naked, and they sewed together fig leaves and made themselves loincloths." Eating of the fruit of the forbidden tree did not merely cause a physical nakedness, but also a spiritual one. They were exposed before God and were ashamed. They had loincloths on already, so why did God slay two animals to cover them up (Genesis 3:21)? Hebrews 9:22 tells us, "Because everything is cleansed by blood in the law, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Hebrews 10:1-10 says, 'For the law had a shadow of good [things] to come, not the substance of the things themselves. Because of this, although these same sacrifices were offered every year, they were never able to perfect those who offered them. For if they had perfected [them], then doubtless they would have stopped their offerings, because their conscience would no longer trouble them with sins once they have been cleansed. But by the sacrifices, they brought their sins to remembrance every year, for the blood of bulls and of goats is not able to cleanse sins. Because of this, when he entered the world he said, "You are not pleased with sacrifices and offerings, but you have clothed me with a body. And you have not asked for burnt offerings that are for sins." Then I said: Behold, I come, for in the beginning of the writings it is written about me, I will do your will, [oh] God. Above he said: You do not desire sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings that are for sins, those that are offered according to the law. And after that he said: Behold, I have come to do your will, [oh] God. By this he annulled the first, so that he would establish the second. For in this, his will, we are made holy by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ one time.

The sacrifice of Christ is the sacrifice that took away sin because of the fact that He fulfilled the righteous requirements of the Law and fulfilled it perfectly. This is not the only reason. A sinless man was not enough either, because the death of a mere man could not cleanse the entire human race. God coming in the flesh as the Son and experiencing death was the way through which God paid the debt that we cannot. The infinite coming and dying for our sins brings infinite forgiveness to those who place their faith in him.

We can do as many good deeds as we want, but they aren't enough to please God. Paul, using the Law as an example, states in Romans 3:19-25, "But we know that what the law said, it said to those who are in the law, so that every mouth may be shut and all the world may be found guilty before God, because by the deeds of the law no flesh is justified before him, for by the law sin is known. But now, without the law, the uprightness of God is revealed and the law and the prophets testify about it. But the uprightness of God is by way of the faith of Jesus Christ to everyone, even on everyone who believes in him, (for there is no distinction, because all have sinned and are deficient compared to the glory God) and they are freely justified by grace and by the redemption that is in Jesus Christ (this [one] whom God determined beforehand [to be] a pardon by the faith of his blood because of our sins that we had previously sinned)."

Jesus is the only one who pleased God. Jesus always does the will of His Father, while we do not. John 6:28-29 says, 'They said to him, "What should we do to labor for the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you should believe in him whom he sent."' There is no other human being who can claim the things that Jesus claimed with truth. Jesus is the only begotten Son of the heavenly Father, sinless and perfect in every way. He humbled Himself to the point of such lowliness that He died on the cross in order to fulfill the will of God and the requirements of the Law. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God (the only one who is God-incarnate), therefore He is the only way to salvation. Let me close with John 14:1-7, '"Let your heart not be troubled. Believe in God and believe in me. There are many rooms [in] the house of my Father. And [if] not, I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go [and] prepare a place for you, I will come again and I will take you with me, so that where I am you may be also. And to where I go, you know and the way you know." Thomas said to him, "Our Lord, we do not know where you are going and how are we able to know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and truth and life. No one comes to my Father except by me. If you knew me, you would also know my Father. And from now on, you will know him and you have seen him."'

All Scriptural quotations taken from:
Tanakh- The Holy Scriptures by the Jewish Publication Society
Aramaic Peshitta New Testament Translation- Janet Magiera