Saturday, December 1, 2012

Will We Ever Hear the End of It?

Sidney Herald religion column published October 21, 2012

You have seen a kid like him. One day, he is trying too hard to please everyone. The next, he doesn’t give a rip what anyone thinks. One minute, he walks with ease. The next, the ground beneath his feet turns uneven and rocky.

You’re there one day when he gets into trouble. He “borrowed” his brother’s toy without asking, and he broke it. His parent lights into him. He is grounded and loses his allowance for two months.

Then the parent says, “This is just like when you broke the window, and when you played with matches,” and on and on. The parent drags up past infractions. When will he ever hear the end of it? He feels that punishment never is enough. There never is real restoration. His conscience worries him with intrusive fears of condemnation.

The whole human race was in the same shape. Under Moses, God prescribed sacrifices for sin. Those sacrifices never laid condemnation to rest. Sacrifice had to be repeated. Sacrifice peaked on the Day of Atonement. (Leviticus 16) Even that had to be repeated again next year. Like that kid, Israel never heard the end of it.

Those sacrifices pointed to Christ. As with the Day of Atonement, when the sins of Israel were laid onto the sacrificial animal, on the cross, the sins of the world were laid onto Christ. Israel’s sin brought death to the sacrificial animal, and our sin brought death to Christ.

But that’s not enough, if Jesus, like that kid and Israel, never hears the end of it. Our only way out of sin is to have him as our substitute. Once He takes our sin, does He ever hear the end of our sin? If our substitute never hears the end of our sin, neither do we. What can clear our conscience from fear of condemnation?

Once again, the answer is the Trinity. The resurrection of Christ is not only his coming back to life. It is also his going to the Father. He could go to the Father because the Father accepted his sacrifice as the end of condemnation for our sin. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father, and the Father has put angels under Christ’s authority. (1 Peter 3:22) Jesus is seated while the Father defeats Christ’s enemies. (Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:13) That’s acceptance. That’s restoration. That’s hearing the end of sin and condemnation.

Peter says Jesus went to God “that He might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 3:18) Our hope of going to the Father lies in the Trinity event that Jesus went to the Father. He went to God to give us a “good conscience,” (1 Peter 3:21) so we could “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.” (Hebrews 10:19-20) Our conscience is cleared by what happened between the Father and the Son for us. They are steady, even when we feel unsteady. The Trinity makes the resurrection of Christ our justification.


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