DIG for Friday the 29th of November…..a great exchange; our punishment for His forgiveness……Romans 4 v 24 and 25

A number of great exchanges took place at the cross of Jesus, our “atonement package” was bought by Jesus with His blood.

One great exchange was Jesus being delivered for our offences and exchanging this for His forgiveness (Romans 4 v 25).

We have been forgiven for all our sin and iniquity because of the shed blood of Jesus (Ephesians 1 v 7 and Colossians 1 v 14).

The Word tells us that there is no forgiveness (or remission) without blood being shed (Hebrews 9 v 22).

We can give thanks that Jesus has already shed His blood for us and because of this we have total, complete, absolute and unconditional forgiveness.

That is an amazing exchange!

Every single one of us has fallen short of God’s standard; indeed we were born separated from God because of sin (Romans 3 v 23 and Romans 5 v 12).

There was nothing that any one of us could have done about our sin and our separation from God.

But Jesus could and He did!

He was made sin and nailed to the cross so that we could be reconciled, forgiven and be made righteous (2 Corinthians 5 v 21).

His work on the cross has bought our forgiveness; He took what every one of us deserved and bestowed forgiveness on us instead.

He was delivered up for us so that we would be acquitted or declared not guilty (that is what justification means) (Romans 5 v 25).

What a great exchange; freedom and a “not guilty” verdict instead of what we should have had.

Thank you Jesus!

Speak this out today….”Thank you Lord for the cross of Jesus and thank you for my forgiveness purchased by His blood”.

Romans 4 v 24 and 25…..But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification

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DIG for Thursday the 28th of November…..atonement; what does it mean for you…..Romans 5 v 11

The atonement is a word (or phrase) that I’m sure you have heard spoken about a lot in church and Christian circles.

I was rather surprised then that this word is only used once in the whole of the New Testament (Romans 5 v 11).

The Greek word translated as atonement in that single verse is katallage and means exchange, or adjustment of a difference, reconciliation and restoration to favour.

The same word is translated in other parts of the Word as reconciling or reconciliation (Romans 5 v 11, 2 Corinthians 5 v 18 and 19).

When I hear the word atonement I straight away think about the cross; I think about the death and resurrection of Jesus.

At the cross, atonement or reconciliation took place; the death of Jesus brought about your atonement or your reconciliation to God.

At the cross your sins were forgiven, the difference between you and God was removed and you were restored to favour with Him.

At the cross there took place a great exchange; the greatest exchange in the whole of history.

Jesus took what we deserved and gave us back in return what He deserved; what an amazing exchange.

This is something that I call the “atonement package” and it is what I plan to write about in DIG in the coming days.

Do you really know what Jesus did for you on the cross?

Do you really know what He took for you and what He gave back to you in exchange?

Do you really know the benefits, as a gift of grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, that you are “entitled” to; in fact not only entitled to, but that Jesus died for and wants you to have TODAY!

The result of the atonement is that you can live a healthy, prosperous and abundant life; that is exactly what Jesus died for and won for you (John 10 v 10 and 3 John v 2).

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for the atonement, for my reconciliation; bought for me through the shed blood of Jesus Christ”.

Romans 5 v 11…..And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement

DIG for Wednesday the 27th of November…..words of comfort; that we shall spend eternity with Him…..1 Thessalonians 4 v 18

Do you ever struggle with the words required to comfort a fellow believer in times of despair, trouble or grief?

At times like this I always turned to the fact that we will spend eternity with the Lord, but in a sense I thought it was a bit of a “cop out” having no real words of comfort to share.

The good news however is that these are exactly the words of comfort that a believer needs!

In his first epistle to the Thessalonians, Paul says that after Jesus returns all the believers (those dead and those alive) will spend eternity with Him (1 Thessalonians 4 v 18).

He says that these are the words that we should be comforting each other with (verse 19).

Thinking in eternal terms our current life here in earth is relatively short and insignificant; important as it seems for us just now!

In eternal matters it is where we will end up that is important, and if we are believers we will spend the whole of eternity in the presence of the Living God.

That is good news and that is comforting!

Paul wrote to another group of believers telling them that the issues and problems of life were a light affliction, which lasted a mere moment; and he had more and harder afflictions than any of us so he could write this with some authority (2 Corinthians 4 v 17 and 18).

He said that they should look to things of eternity as they were far more important to us.

As difficult, painful and hard that life can be sometimes, in the time scale of eternity the issues of life are insignificant compared to our eternal issues.

I am not trying to make light of difficulties, pains and griefs in your life at the moment, or of those in the lives of your family and friends.

I am trying to give you comfort (in line with Scripture) in the sure and certain knowledge that, if you are a born again believer, you can be assured of your place with Jesus in eternity.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord for Jesus and His finished work, and thank you for my salvation as a gift of grace through faith in Him”.

1 Thessalonians 4 v 18…..Wherefore comfort one another with these words

DIG for Tuesday the 26th of November…..you don’t have to do everything Jesus said; I hope you know that…..Romans 6 v 14

How many Christians do you know that have sold all their earthly goods and given the money to the poor?

How many Christians do you know that have plucked their eye out or cut of their hand?

I know of none, and I would be surprised if you do either.

Yet, how many Christians do you know that say you have to forgive everyone yourself before God will forgive you?

Yes, I know many in that camp!

Christians have a weird habit of telling us that we have to follow the words of Jesus when it comes to forgiveness, but not in other areas.

Jesus spoke about forgiveness in this way in the very same discourse where He spoke about plucking out your eye or cutting off your hand (Matthew 5 and 6).

At this time Jesus was living and teaching under the law, and using examples to show men that it was impossible to keep the law.

Indeed he was “raising the bar” of the law here; saying if you want to keep the law and work for your own righteousness you have to forgive everyone for everything, and you should pluck out your eye and cut off your hand before you offend.

He even says if you just think about lust and murder you have actually committed those very offences under the law!

Jesus was painting a picture of how we could not save ourselves, and that we needed a Saviour; a Saviour who would do the work to achieve our righteousness and forgiveness.

Jesus did not want us to take literally everything He said; if He did the church would be like a giant pirate ship, with lots of hooks on hands and patches over eye sockets!

Next time a Christian tells you that you have to forgive everyone first in order for you to be forgiven yourself, tell them to go pluck out their eye or cut off their hand.

Or maybe (and this is probably better advice) just tell them that this was Jesus teaching under the law and pointing out the need for a Saviour, and that we now live under grace!

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that because of the finished work of Jesus Christ, we now live under grace and not under the law”.

Romans 6 v 14…..For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace

DIG for Monday the 25th of November…..who do you really think Jesus is…..Matthew 16 v 15

In preparation for a forthcoming midweek meeting I have been pondering on the biggest and most important question a person can ever try and answer; who do you think Jesus is?

Jesus asked His disciples this very question during their time together (Matthew 16 v 13 to 16).

They answered Him first by saying what other people said, or what the world said.

Jesus got right to the heart of the matter and asked, but what do YOU think?

You see my friends it does not matter what other people think or what the world thinks, we all have personal responsibility in this area; we have to make up our own mind and come to a decision about Jesus.

Simon Peter did come up with an excellent, and in my opinion, correct answer; he said Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God (Matthew 16 v 16).

The same happens today when we talk about Jesus.

I’ve heard people say things like “well, Islam says he is a prophet” or “but most people don’t even think he existed”; I’ve been told “well, I know what you think”.

In matters of eternity this type of answer is useless, the only important answer is to the question “what do you think”.

I know Jesus is the Christ, I know he is the Son of the Living God; in this matter I am in agreement with Simon Peter.

But Jesus wants to know how every single person answers this question; this is the question we will all be asked on the day of judgement.

You see friends, no one is separated from God for eternity because of their sin; they are separated if they have not made a positive decision in and for Jesus (John 16 v 8 and 9).

Jesus is still asking the same question every day; who do YOU think I am?

I am assuming that if you are reading this DIG you have made the same decision that myself and Simon Peter made.

I’m sure however you know people who have still to answer this most important of questions; let’s join in agreement that we will be in a place to help them make the right choice.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that I know who Jesus is; Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.

Matthew 16 v 15…..He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

DIG for Sunday the 24th of November……as an ambassador for Christ you have “diplomatic immunity” in this foreign land…..2 Corinthians 5 v 20

I wrote earlier this week about being an ambassador for Christ and I also taught on this very subject at MGF today.

While meditating on the subject I asked the Lord to give me something to teach on; He said “diplomatic immunity”.

And yes, I had to ask the Lord what He meant by this as it did not make sense to me at first either!

When an ambassador is working for his sovereign in a foreign land they can have exemption from certain rules, laws and regulations of that country.

It is almost as if the ambassador was still under the rules, laws and regulations of their home country.

When we are born again we instantly become citizens of Heaven, and are made ambassadors for Christ here on earth; at this point in time the earth became a foreign land for us.

As ambassadors we have “diplomatic immunity” because of what we have become through faith in the finished work of Jesus; because we were made ambassadors.

We have “diplomatic immunity” from illness and disease; by His stripes we have been healed and there is no illness or disease in Heaven (1 Peter 2 v 24).

We have “diplomatic immunity” from poverty and lack; He came so that we could live an abundant life, He became poor on the cross so that we could be made rich and there is no lack or poverty in Heaven (John 10 v 10 and 2 Corinthians 8 v 9).

We have “diplomatic immunity” from rejection; we are accepted in the beloved and there is no rejection in Heaven (Ephesians 1 v 6).

We have “diplomatic immunity” from lack of self worth; He has had a plan and purpose for every one of us since before we were born, there is no lack of self worth in Heaven (Jeremiah 29 v 11 and 1 v 5).

We have “diplomatic immunity” from sorrow and anxiety; we have all the joy and peace we will ever need in our born again spirit, and there is no sorrow and anxiety in Heaven (Galatians 5 v 22 and 23).

We have “diplomatic immunity” from fear; we do not have a spirit of fear, but of power, and love and of a sound mind, and there is no fear in Heaven (2 Timothy 1 v 7).

We have “diplomatic immunity” from all these evil and negative things on earth, because they are not part of the make up of Heaven, where we are true citizens.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that as a gift of grace through faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ I have become a citizen of Heaven and an ambassador for Christ”.

2 Corinthians 5 v 20…..Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God

DIG for Saturday the 23rd of November……stop beating yourself up; God is not doing it, so why should you…..Colossians 1 v 14 and Ephesians 1 v 7

One of the saddest things that I see in the church today is a fellow believer struggling to forgive themselves for things they have done in the past.

This is not only sad, it is silly and it is a snub to the finished work of Jesus Christ.

The word says there is no remission (payment and forgiveness) for sins unless there is shedding of blood (Hebrews 9 v 22), and Jesus told people He would shed His blood for the remission of sins (Matthew 26 v 28).

Jesus has already shed His blood and you have been already forgiven for all your sins; past, present and future (Colossians 1 v 14 and Ephesians 1 v 7).

You have already been forgiven and already reconciled to God because of the finished work of Jesus Christ and nothing else (2 Corinthians 5 v 18 and 19).

Jesus has paid for you sins and God has chosen to forgive you, reconcile you to Himself and remember them no more (Hebrews 10 v 17).

Let me ask you a rather brutal question this morning.

If this is what Jesus and God have done what gives you the right to remember your sins and beat yourself up about them?

Is the finished work of Jesus Christ not enough for you?

Do you have to do something over and above what Jesus Christ has done?

In fact, who made you God?

You may think, well that was a bit harsh Vic; to be honest I am trying to shock you and make you think!

You have been forgiven my friend, do you not think it is time to forgive yourself and move on; God has done that already!

You may be thinking but my sin will be keeping me from God, surely I have to do something.

The answer to that is a big NO; Jesus has dome everything required already!

Paul wrote about a number of things that could keep us from the love of God (Romans 8 v 38 and 39); do you notice that he does not even mention the things (or indeed sins) of your past?

Move on, forgive yourself, stop beating yourself up about things of the past that Jesus has dealt with (1 John 2 v 2) and God has decided to not remember (Hebrews 10 v 17).

You may not need this DIG today my friend, so please pass on to someone who does; this is a message every believer needs to hear and understand.

Speak this out today…..”Thank you Lord that through the blood and finished work of Jesus Christ I have been reconciled to You and I have been forgiven”.

Colossians 1 v 14…..In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins

Ephesians 1 v 7…..In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace