Through His Name

Feb 09, 20 Through His Name

 

“And He (Jesus) ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead. “Of Him all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins.” – Acts 10:42,43

 

            The above Bible quote from the Book of Acts is spoken by Peter. This part of the Bible was originally written in Greek, and though translated into English, it can still seem like Greek at times. 🙂

            I’ve been studying the Bible consistently since becoming a Christian 11 years ago, using study Bibles and respected commentaries because I was Bible-illiterate. I didn’t know Bible cultural contexts, idioms, or history. I also had a lot of misconceptions, because I’d previously used Bible interpretations by people who had no scholarly background. The coolest thing I’ve discovered by reading the Bible properly is how much sense it makes as a cohesive work. It is a compilation of books by various authors in which God conveys primarily 1) His holy character and 2) His loving master plan for us. The Bible is divided into two sections: the Old Testament OT (or Hebrew Scriptures to the Jews), written over a period of approximately 1,500 years, and the New Testament (NT), which is about when Jesus lived, died on a Roman cross and was resurrected (raised from the dead). It also contains directions to Christians and prophecy about Jesus’s return.

                  God’s loving master plan: In the OT, He promised for all people a Savior (or “Messiah”, which means anointed by God), born through the bloodline of the Hebrews/Jews/nation of Israel. Throughout the OT, God patiently orchestrates circumstances to bring us all this rescuer who can do what we cannot: Restore our right-standing before our holy God.

                  There are 350+ prophecies about the coming Messiah (by the OT prophets that Peter mentions above). (A familiar prophecy passage is OT Isaiah 52:13-53:12 used in Handel’s musical masterpiece, The Messiah.) Through prophecies, God readies the world. And, surprise! The Messiah is His son, Jesus Christ! Born to take away our Sin. Jesus is essence of God’s essence, fully God, not created, born a man (God incarnate) but “found without sin”. (Bible verses: OT Isaiah 53:9; NT 1 Peter 2:22, 2 Cor 5:21; Hebrew 4:15; and 1 John 3:5)

            Why do we need a Messiah? Because we are dead in our sin, which entered mankind in the Garden of Eden. The devil (satan) lied to Eve, claiming that if she and Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they would NOT die as God had forewarned. They would instead be like God, wise, knowing good and evil.

            Prior to this, God had graciously invited Adam and Eve to eat abundantly from anything in the garden, except from this tree. Tempted by the devil, they give into a willful rebellious act, choosing to be like God and actually, they thought a better God. But we make lousy gods. We are limited in our perceptions; God is not. He is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. The boundary regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was proper because only God can determine good and evil; only God has over-encompassing knowledge of everything and only God cannot be tempted by evil, while mankind can. A reoccurring theme in the OT is that without God, people quickly slip into lawlessness, doing what is “right” / “good” in their own eyes (at everyone else’s expense).

            Adam and Eve sinned, and the cost was instant spiritual death; they lost their holy relationship with God, our life-giver and, eventually, they suffered physical death too. They are representatives for all mankind. We, as their offspring, inherited these ramifications: Spiritual and physical death and a sin-nature, a propensity to trespass or rebel against God’s will for us. In NT Bible verse, Ephesians 2:1, it says that we are all dead in our trespasses and sins against a holy God.

            So, who’s this Peter in the Book of Acts?

Peter is one of Jesus’s closest disciples, who learned directly from Jesus when He was on Earth. Acts is in the NT, covering approximately the first 30 years of Christianity (Christianity was initially part of Judaism but quickly was rejected from it because of who Jesus said He was: God). Acts starts with Jesus just ascending to heaven. He has promised that He will one day return to complete his role as Messiah: “for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” NT Romans 14:10b. Jesus’s role is not only as judge; He is also a potential Mediator between each individual person and God For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” NT 1 Timothy 2:5

            If a person has not accepted Jesus’s offer to accept Him as their Savior, He can’t mediate or intercede on their behalf. His right-standing before God can only be transferred to a person when that person has entrusted their faith in Him as Savior. It’s painfully simple. We can’t handle this problem by just being a “good” person. That’s another lie from satan.

            God CANNOT choose to be anything but holy; holiness is His nature and who He is. God LOVES us and CRAVES relationship with us but we are so filled with impurities, rebellion, lawlessness, that we can’t come into His holy, perfect presence-and outside of His holy presence, we are dead because He IS our only source of life. We have to be made holy somehow. On our own, this is impossible but with God, all things are possible (NT Matthew 19:26) and He made it possible through sinless Jesus because He will mediate if allowed.

 

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