March 25, 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
This blog is the fourth in the series, Questions Concerning The Cross. Today’s offering is What Did The Cross Accomplish? In John 16:7-11 Jesus is technically referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, to dwell in those who accept Him as Savior – the founding of the Church. But the Lord had “…to go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7). To “go away” He had to die on Calvary’s cross! The rest of our scripture tells us three things that were accomplished by that – verses 8 through 11:
And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteous-
ness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of right-
eousness, because I go to My Father, and you see Me no more; of judgment,
because the ruler of this world is judged.
Let’s look at these three things:
• John 16:8, 9 – “…He will convict the world of sin…because they do not believe in Me….” You might say, “The greatest sin, if identified, would included all other sins, they being lesser.” What is the greatest sin of all? It is that which affects in the greatest way our eternal destiny. And that sin would be rejecting the Savior and what He accomplished on our behalf on the cross! He died, bearing our sins and totally paying the price before His Father to make us clean by His blood, declared righteous in Him, reconciled to God, and – as it says in Ephesians 1:6 – “…accepted in the Beloved.” To reject His sacrifice is the unforgivable sin!
I know the unforgivable sin is described by Jesus differently in Matthew 12:31 and 32:
…I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blas-
phemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a
word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks
against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in
the age to come.
But think about it – the job of the Holy Spirit is to draw a person to the Son so he or she can be reconciled to the Father through the sacrifice of the Son (see John 6:44; Romans 8:14; I Corinthians 2:10). A person so drawn to Jesus must then decide whether to accept Him and His sacrifice on his or her behalf, or reject Him. As it says in I John 5:11 and 12:
…this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in
His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God
does not have life.
If rejecting Christ is so great a sin as to seal one’s eternal destiny – forever in torment in hell! – then it is no wonder that Jesus used this to summarize all sin! The Holy Spirit “…will convict the world of sin…because they do not believe in Me…” (John 16:8 and 9).
• John 16:8, 10 – “…He will convict the world…of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and you see Me no more…” How does the return of Jesus Christ back to the Father in heaven reveal God’s righteousness? God’s righteous nature demands that sin be paid in full! What the debt because of sin was incurred before God? Ezekiel 18:4 and 20 – “The soul who sins shall die.” God told Adam in Genesis 2:16 and 17:
Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the know-
ledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you
shall surely die.
The basis of that first sin was willful disobedience of the direct command of God! Eve and Adam ate and they died – spiritually first, being separated from the fellowship with God (see Genesis 3:8-10); and then physically many years later (see Genesis 5:3-5). Paul tells us in Romans 5:12 how all of us then inherited that deadly condition: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned….”
“The soul who sins shall die.” So death will follow the sinner – all the way through eternity – unless that debt is paid! But a sinner cannot pay that debt! All that a sinner can do is tainted by sin! Even the best actions of a sinner is more sin! (see Isaiah 64:6). But if someone sinless could be found….
When Jesus died on the cross, He died as a man accused of horrendous crimes against the Roman government and against the Jewish religion. He was condemned as an egregious sinner! But what was it that showed He was not a sinner – that He was the righteousness of God Himself? The Father raised Him from death and received Him back into heaven to be at His own right hand (see Ephesians 1:20-23). So the cross – the Lord’s return to heaven and the sending of the Holy Spirit following Jesus’ death on the cross – “…will convict the world…of righteousness…because I go to My Father….”
We will continue in the next blog with the last of the three things that were accomplished by the cross.