The Great Defection and Its Infection

Background

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned. Romans 5:12

The narrative of Scripture from the Cross of Jesus shows humanity infected with sin — this impulse to act independent of God and His Word. Adam’s defection from the communion of God radically altered the innocence, honour, and trust humanity had enjoyed. The consequence is death — a brokenness permeating everyone and all our relationships: with God, with self, with people, and with the stuff of earth.

Living disconnected from the communion of God has brought death. I hate it. This viral death has spread among us and it takes ugly forms in its rage and its apathy, its blindness and its rebellion, its strange delight in evil and its self-righteousness.

Everyone sinned.

The narrative of the Cross tells us the truth about our brokenness and it tells us of God’s hope and healing for humanity:

15But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins. 17For the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death through this one man, Jesus Christ.

18Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. 19Because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many will be made righteous.

Romans 5:15-19 NLT

We give regard to the Cross because of the One who died there for all.

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He humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a  cross. Philippians 2:8 (NLT)

The cross was a feared execution stake. It was a place of shame, guilt, and fear. And it meant those very burdens were being bourn in the person nailed there. But Jesus, died a criminal’s death that was not His own. The testimony of Scripture is that Jesus was “without sin” but “became sin” for us. (1 Corinthians 5:21) The cross is the location of that transfer. God was up to something extraordinary there for us! But first it most be considered that Jesus took up the cross in regard to His communion with the Heavenly Father. Jesus is a willful participant in your salvation.

Let’s reflect on Jesus and His Cross. from the context of this from Philippians 2:5-10 —

5… Christ Jesus…

6Though he was God,

he did not think of equality with God

as something to cling to.

7Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;

he took the humble position of a slave

and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form,

8he humbled himself in obedience to God

and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

9Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

and gave him the name above all other names,

10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.

Scandalized by the Cross –Saved through Christ.

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21Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish preaching to save those who believe. 22It is foolish to the Jews, who ask for signs from heaven. And it is foolish to the Greeks, who seek human wisdom. 23So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense.

24But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:21-24 (NLT)

The cross is the central symbol of Christianity. And its really a bit of scandal! We preach that Christ was crucified. We proclaim that God has done something extraordinary for humanity and it involved the most despicable and cursed of objects. It involved the most beloved One, Jesus Christ, coming from the communion of God and passing through a womb and entering the halls of humanity’s history, so we could see for a moment what is our true destiny.

Now we see Christ crucified, God on a cross accomplishing the love and justice of God so we can know and enjoy Him forever.

What wisdom is there in the cross? Wouldn’t faith be better served with a sign from heaven? Wouldn’t faith be better served with a something less weak and scandalous?

“But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

The King who died on a cross.

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32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.” 39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.  Luke 23:32-49

Jesus is the King, the Christ of God, who died the death of criminals.

Jesus, who could have saved Himself, remained for the salvation of all.

Jesus, who will justly judge all, forgave those who unjustly judged Him.

Jesus gave grace for one who believed even as He made Paradise accessible to those who find in Him the righteousness that comes by faith.

Praise to the Lamb who was slain! Praise to the King who died on a cross.

The King that makes peace by dying.

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19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.  Colossians 1:19-20

How do kings and the leaders of our world make peace? Any serious consideration of the question requires us to just as quickly contemplate, how do they make war, wield power, and create friendships? We can learn lots about a leader in how she approaches conflict.

The Gospel shows us our conflict. It takes our earthly situation, enmity with God, and shows us God’s character. Colossians 1:19-20 is full of the Gospel.

In Colossians we see not only that Jesus is King of Creation, He is also King over the New Creation. And just as He is the creator of the stuff of earth, He is also the creator of the new creation. The new creation begins with the reconciliation of people into the communion of God through Christ Jesus and it will find its completion in the creation of a new heaven and earth. The church is the fruit of Jesus’ peace-making work at the Cross.

Taking on flesh, Jesus comes to humanity full of God in order to reconcile all of creation to Himself. This peace-making could only be done through his death on the cross, to give us redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Forgiveness always costs. Jesus is the King of all Creation, and He is our peace. He gave Himself fully for our forgiveness and inclusion in His Kingdom.

All praise to Jesus, our peace!