Monday 28 May 2012 -- #232
He will save his people
[We continue with our discussion of the mission statement of Jesus in Luke 4:18, "To proclaim liberty to the captives." ]
It didn't take long to come up with a list of things to which people are still in bondage. The number one captivity of course has to be what the theologians call "sin", that word that no-one wants to talk about. What does it mean? Does it refer to the time when I stole a Mars Bar, or when you kicked the cat? No, "sin" is talking about separation from God.
The word "sin" in the New Testament is a Greek word which means to miss the mark. So we can view it as a person with a bow and arrow or a gun shooting at a target, but their aim is off and they miss the mark. Or we can think of it as a goal that people have set and they haven't made it to their goal, they missed the mark. The implication of the New Testament is that the problem with sin is not the act that we so often focus on, but what that act has done. That act has caused a feeling of separation between me and God. That is what sin is all about. It's not having contact with God, not having God's help in my life.
Now when Jesus Christ came, even before his birth, one of the statements made about Mary, his mother, by an angel was, "She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). So the reason Jesus Christ came was to bridge that gap, that chasm between man and God. There is an old Hebrew word "Joshua", a contraction of Jehoshuah, which derived later into the word "Jesus", and means "Jehovah the Savior". And when he became an adult he said, "My commission is to proclaim liberty to the captives." And one of the captivities all humans need deliverance from is sin.
When Jesus started his ministry he went to John the Baptist and encouraged John to baptize him. John saw Jesus coming towards him and he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1.:29) So at the start of his ministry it was reaffirmed again that the reason Jesus came was to help people with their sin problem. And then much later on, at the Last Supper, on the day before he was crucified, in Matthew 26:28 he made the statement when he drank from the cup, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins." So he reaffirmed again that his life was there for one purpose and that was to help people with the sin problem.
I think that there's little doubt in the mind of even a casual reader of the New Testament that Jesus Christ came to not only proclaim but also to produce deliverance for those who are captive to sin, for those who have this feeling of a separation between themselves and God. And I believe that's exactly what Jesus did. He not only dealt with the sin problem, but as someone has well put it, he delivered us from the power, the penalty, and the presence of sin. He did that so that we could be free, so that we wouldn't feel guilty. It's good not to feel guilty. It's good to feel free, and that is why Jesus Christ came to free us from the power, the penalty, and the presence of sin.
Later on as you read through the New Testament, God says in Ephesians and other places that we have received forgiveness, we have received deliverance from sin. He did this by exchanging our sinful nature for the Christ within. And so in God's sight all those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour have entered into a life of freedom, a life of glorious liberty, as it says in Romans 8:21. That's our privilege and it's time we stood up and enjoyed it.
-- Peter Wade
Two new posts
On our main website, www.PeterWade.com, we have a new post on "Tarry or Act", highlighting the Pentecostal methods of receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. On our site, www.NewCreationRealites.com we have a new post on "Christ is in you, a glorious discovery" by A.B. Simpson, a respected teacher from a century ago. Please leave your comments on these post.