Jesus didn’t die to pay for our sin, He came to take it away. Sin is a product of a fallen nature and a fallen world. It is like a disease that needs a cure. It isn’t something that is forgiven day after day with confession after confession. That is just another bondage to another master. No, it needs to be dealt with once and for all. That is what Jesus did.
For over 1000 years the western church has taught that God needed a payment for the crime of sin. That teaching is nothing more than religion repackaged. Jesus came to liberate us, not pay a price to some angry, blood thirsty God. Even in the very beginning God came to our rescue in the garden AFTER we sinned. He gave us clothes to cove our shame. Almost every character that the Bible calls a champion of faith has sin upon sin in their lives. God still forgives. God has always forgiven. Abraham saw that and that revelation was the basis for his right relationship with God. Even Jesus forgave people before the cross.
Our fallen nature fails to see a God that can forgive. Our fallen nature has us running for the bushes and running into religion to try to make things right with God. We have always been right with God. Religion has put the emphasis on us when God has been our savior from the very beginning. Jesus came to restore us to our original intent. Jesus came to PROVE God loves us. Jesus came to show us who God really is. Jesus came to defeat the works of the devil. He came to defeat the power of sin. He came to defeat the power of death. He did all that by demonstrating His love for us on the cross. That sacrificial love that submits to mankind, as a servant all the way to death on a cross, is the power to change everything.
Instead we have fallen back into our comfortable fallen nature and insist on rules and laws and formulas and get-out-of-hell cards and church memberships and more and more religion to make ourselves feel like we are doing something instead of just letting Jesus liberate us as He intended. As a child of God we are a new creation. We have always been right with God and being born again reveals that truth. We have always been God’s chosen and favorite. Being His children reveals our inheritance. Letting His love in us and on us and through us soaks us in the truth of our unencumbered access to the very source of love and goodness. Living with and in and one with the Holy Spirit changes our very nature to be more and more like Jesus. Our transformation is our liberation and our reconciliation is our restoration. If we would only just let Jesus be Jesus in our lives. If we would only just let God redeem us. If we would only agree with the Holy Spirit as He reminds us of how awesome is our heavenly family. We all need Jesus. We all need more of Jesus. We all need to be supersaturated with the love and mercy of Jesus. We need to meet Him and live with Him. We need a savior.
That is Jesus evangelism.
It isn’t using the fear of Hell as a tool for a “conversion.” Being saved isn’t avoiding Hell. Being saved is knowing the savior. Being saved is being restored. Being saved is Jesus setting things right again. Being saved is…well…being saved from everything that is not of God that comes from a fallen world and a fallen nature. It is for now and for eternity which has no beginning or end. When we meet Jesus and fall in love we will never be the same. His restoration program begins in earnest and our salvation is made manifest. It isn’t death that saves us. We are delivered from death. It isn’t a payment to an angry God that KEEPS us out of Hell. It is a Jesus that is TAKING us out of Hell. It isn’t some fire insurance. It is becoming the love of God.
Enough diatribe. Here is a quick look at the Romans road (Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9) and what it really means:
Romans 3:23 For all men sinned, and have need to the glory of God; (WYC)
If we are fallen humans (which we all are) then we have at some time done something against someone else or against God. God’s perfect plan is for us to have perfect relationships with others and Him. His perfect love and goodness is always manifest perfectly. That is His glory. When I am angry at someone, I have missed the glory of God. When I am blaming God for something He didn’t do, I have missed the glory of God. The good news is Jesus. In Jesus the good news give us His life to love. We don’t have to be angry at our neighbor any more. We don’t have to blame God but instead praise Him. We don’t run and hide in fear of an angry God, He is inside us. I like what the message says:
Rom 3:21-24 But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. (The Message)
Can you see now that verses like this are not a threat but a goal to look forward too? In Jesus we experience His love free of our hangups so we are operating from His glory. That is awesome!!!
Rom 6:23 For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord. (AMP)
That verse has been used to suggest that our sin requires a death sentence imposed by God since we have sinned. Wow, is that missing the mark. When we sin, SIN pays us with death not God. That is what it says. Can you see it? When you jump off a cliff the sudden stop at the end is going to leave a serious and likely permanent mark. That is what this verse is saying. Sowing and reaping…that is the point. So if you feel the need to use a verse like this with the casual evangelism victim on the street I suggest you ask them about how things are going. I guarantee that if they are “sinning” then they likely have some “death” in their lives. I drank with intensity and purpose for much of my life. I really got sick and tired of being sick and tired. OBTW the second half of the verse is the point. Our sin investments and returns are completely countered by the eternal life of the source of life which is the opposite of death. Just saying.
Rom 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (ESV)
This last verse is another verse that the fire insurance salesman uses to yet again convince us all that “we have sinned and we should be so incredibly grateful that Jesus would go out of His way to pay the death penalty price for us miserable sinners.” First go back to the intent. Not a payment but a liberation. (Yes Jesus uses the word ransom. Check out this post and this one). The beauty of a verse like this is how it reveals the love of God. When we were hiding in the bushes, running from God, being jerks to each other, Jesus climbed up on the cross so we would know how much He loved us. Can you see that if He climbed up there to pay a price that is different from if He climbs up there because He loves us and is willing to die to prove it? Again the Message is inspiring:
Rom 5:6-8 Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn’t, and doesn’t, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn’t been so weak, we wouldn’t have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him (The Message)
Romans 10:9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (AMP)
And this last verse is the where the road usually ends. There are a few other pit stops but the highway leads to this moment. Usually there is a prayer that accompanies this moment. Churches have split, denominations have been formed, families have been broken over the contents of the prayer. Silly really since the prayer has nothing to do with it. Ooops, guess I got your attention.
Again, Jesus not a payment to an angry God. Jesus is a liberator! Know why you are saved when you can confess that Jesus is King and believe He is alive today? Because Jesus is King and still alive today!!!! When I know that Jesus has power over EVERYTHING, I MEAN EVERYTHING, then I have faith that He has power over everything. Are you getting it? If I know that Jesus is alive and in me and working with me and working over me and working through me and is supernatural on this Earth and in my life to change EVERYTHING, then there is nothing that can come against me….even sin. That is why I am saved. I let Him save me.
How many say the prayer to get to Heaven only to find they are the most miserable, angry and bitter people on the planet. They wish they had stayed at the bar but are too afraid of Hell to go back. They aren’t being saved. They are still living in Hell. That is why a prayer (as good as they all are) is a good idea but it doesn’t save you. Jesus does. We all need to meet Him and love Him and be in love with Him and let Him love us. That is salvation. That is being saved. That is Jesus evangelism.