Why, Where, And When Was The Atoning Blood Shed
Part Three of Five
It was the manner of CONCEPTION (Luke 1: 35) that set the stage for the means of the blood sacrifice to be DELIVERED nine months later. Once delivered, Mary's exclusive part in God's plan of salvation was complete. From that point forward, both Joseph and Mary had combined parts to play the raising and in the protection/preservation of Jesus, the Lamb of God.
I believe it was because Joseph had devoted his life to the protection of Jesus that his time of departure came before Jesus' public ministry that would end in crucifixion. Scripture (Isa. 57: 1) teach that one of the reasons that individuals are called home is to avoid what he/she would have to otherwise witness or endure.
At the time of Joseph's departure, he left behind his wife Mary, and four other sons and two daughters (Mark 6: 3). One of the last things Jesus did while nailed to the cross was to arrange for the Earthly logistical care of His mother, Mary (John 19: 26, 27) by way of the Apostle John. There is no record of any of Jesus' half-brothers or half sisters being present at His crucifixion.
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As of The Fall, Adam and the woman (later named Eve) remained physically alive but became spiritually dead; just as God foretold (Gen. 2: 17). The resulting spiritual death status was (and continues to be) passed down to ALL of the offspring of Adam and Eve at the moment of conception (Psalms 51: 5). In addition, the entire human race (to be) came under a physical death sentence (Gen. 3: 22, 24), as well. Because of the atoning blood sacrifice of Jesus, the spiritual death sentence has been removed from those who are born again (Romans 8: 1). The physical death sentence remains in force (Heb. 9: 27).
Because of the passing down of the sin nature at conception, all male human beings were eliminated from fathering the type of (sinless) humanity called for in God's plan of salvation. Female human beings, like their male counterparts, also receive the spiritually dead status being passed down to them by their biological fathers, as well. But female human beings are not involved in the passing down of the spiritually dead status to their offspring. This is what enabled God to involve Mary to conceive and to the delivery Jesus' humanity without passing down the spiritually dead status and sin nature to what became our Lord's humanity.
Often times there is a Biblical truth unwittingly being communicated when people say your just like your father!
Mary, clearly identified herself as a sinner when she acknowledged God as her personal SAVIOR (Luke 1: 47 NASB). Mary was blessed AMONG (not above) women. We can and should be eternally grateful for the HUMAN part Mary played in the God's plan of salvation, but err if we elevate her or any other human being to a status of equality with God in either nature, position, or function.
"And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior (Luke 1: 47 NASB)."
The physical death sentence is still in view (Heb. 9: 27). The spiritual death sentence, to be experienced for all of eternity in the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15), is still in view for anyone who is not saved from it by being born again! This is what evangelists mean when they inquire if one has been saved.
There are several ways that the phrase temporal death is used in theology. For the purpose of this presentation, when I speak of temporal death, I am referring to the circumstances that a born again believer finds him/herself in when out of fellowship (2Cor. 13: 14) with God.
Born again believers enter into temporal death as a result of committing post (after) salvation sin (1John 1: 8). They remain in this status until the sin has been confessed (1John 1: 9) to God in private prayer. These periods of temporal death can be as brief as the time it takes to confess the sin, or it can last for the remainder of one's post salvation spiritual life if the sin is never confessed. Once confessed, it must also be forsaken (John 8: 11) if the newly restored fellowship (2Cor. 13: 14) and the (1John 1: 9) cleansing is to be maintained.
Because of sin that has not been confessed and/or forsaken (John 8: 11), many Church Age (born again) believers spend (waste) much of their post salvation spiritual life going around and around in a revolving doorway, going in and out of fellowship with God, but never moving forward in the corporate (Matt. 28: 19, 20) and individual (Romans 8: 29/1Cor. 12: 11, 18) plan that God has in mind for them.
During periods of temporal death, the born again believer will shy away from God (Gen. 3: 8) and the things of God (John 3:20). The back-sliding believer will lose his/her appetite for feeding on the Word of God, and often try to compensate by pursuing religions alternatives that the world has to offer (Rev. 3: 17). While becoming VERY religious, he/she will be unproductive (John 15: 5) in his/her individual (Romans 8:29) and interactive (Matt. 28: 19, 20) post salvation SPIRITUAL life.
As in the case of physical death, the atoning blood sacrifice did not take temporal death (or it's consequences) off the table.
This lack of productivity does not result in the loss of salvation (Romans 8: 1), but will result in the loss of heavenly rewards (1Cor. 3: 15) that the same believer might have otherwise received.
After the Fall, the means (Gen. 3: 22 - 24) for Adam and Eve to have physically lived on indefinitely was denied to them and to the descendants.
The means to be saved from the spiritual death sentence to be experienced in the lake of fire was given to Man through the atoning blood sacrifice on the cross.
The means to address temporal death is given in 1John 1: 9. The means to maintain fellowship with God is given in John 8: 11. Without fellowship, the born again believer will not experience either the intimacy or the joy of walking with the Lord. Such believers are among those who "get nothing" out of participating in the things of God.
It was/is the soul of Man that was/is created in God's everlasting likeness (Gen. 1: 27) that NEVER ceases to exist. Life after physical death is NOT a matter of IF, but rather WHERE and HOW it WILL be experienced. The verse that states that the soul that sins will die (Ezekiel 18: 20), is speaking of spiritual, physical, or temporal death. Physical death end the life of the body, but does NOT change the life of the soul. The physical death of the body changes the location of the soul that lives on throughout all of (never-ending) eternity. Temporal death impacts the quality of one's post salvation spiritual life, but not the integrity or status of one's salvation. One enters this world spiritually dead and remains so through the sin of disbelief.
If the sin debt had not been paid by the blood sacrifice ON THE CROSS, the spiritual death sentence would have been sent the entire human race into the lake of fire for all of eternity future. This is where and how each one of us (James 2: 10) deserves to spend eternity. But through the (undeserved) grace of God, born again believers have been saved (Eph. 2: 8).
Physical death sets the stage for the bodily remains of Fallen Man to inevitably return to dust (Gen. 3: 19). The dust (or whatever stage of decomposition the body is in) of departed born again believers will be raised up in resurrection form when the Rapture (1Thes. 4: 16) takes place. In the meantime, the souls of departed born again believers are conscious, alive, and well indwelling interim bodies in Heaven (2Cor. 5: 1, 8).
If the divine purpose for the PHYSICAL death of Jesus was to save us from physical death something went wrong. Scripture (Palms 31: 15/Psalms 139: 16/Heb. 9: 27) teach that we still have a scheduled appointment with physical death. Our physical death is not the end of us, but does result in an immediate change of location. Our appointment with death is just as much apart of the plan of God as was the day we were born, and for born again believers, the day they were born again.
This is one of the reasons why God sees the physical death of one of His children as a precious, and not a tragic, event (Psalms 116: 15).
Advancing disciples do not want to depart this world before accomplishing all that God has individually planned for them to do so that they can experience a "Well done...(Matt. 25: 23)" reception. But on the other hand, they look forward to the time for them to depart and be in the presence of the Lord (2Cor. 5: 8).
It was His spiritual death ON THE CROSS that He endured while physically alive in OUR place that not only provided the means for believers to be SAVED from spending eternity in the lake of fire, but opened the door for believers to receive eternal life and a home in Heaven. His spiritual death took place BEFORE His physical death. The plan of God called for both the spiritual death and the physical death of Jesus. When we say that Jesus died for us on the cross to save us, keep in mind that it was His spiritual death that is in view. AFTER finishing (John 19: 30) His atoning blood sacrifice in a state of spiritual death, the fellowship between His forsaken (Psalms 22: 1) humanity and God was restored. It was AFTER finishing His blood sacrifice and securing it's objective that His physical death took place. Physical death provided Him with the means to move forward in the plan that God the Father had in mind for Him (Heb. 12: 2).
"...Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12: 2 NASB)."
The same (moving forward) can be said about our own departure.
Because of the spiritual death He endured while making His blood sacrifice, born again believers will never experience it in the lake of fire.
Born again believers have already received a regenerated spirit (Titus 3: 5) through their faith in Christ. Born again believers are still subject to the consequences (1Cor. 3: 15) of temporal death, and unless alive on the Earth when the Rapture (1Thess. 4: 17) takes place, will experience physical death as the means of departure.
Because the sin nature is passed down through the MALE partner (Romans 5: 12/1Cor. 5: 22) when the female partner conceives (Psalms 51: 5) during intercourse, neither Joseph nor any other fallen male could have been used in the producing of our Lord's humanity. Otherwise, the sin nature would have been passed down to our Lord's humanity disqualifying Him as, "...the Lamb of God (blood sacrifice) that takes away the sin of the world (John 1: 29).
Because of the male factor, Joseph could not be used of God to participate in the production of what would become the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. Females (Mary) receive the sin nature from their own biological fathers (at conception), but do not pass it along to their offspring.
No one can or should dispute the part that Mary played in God's plan of salvation by giving birth to our Lord's humanity. Jesus loved His mother as much as any good man would love and appreciate his own. One of the last things our Lord did while nailed to the cross was to arrange for the logistical care of Mary after His earthly departure (John 19: 25-27). Joseph, Mary's husband, had already passed. I found it interesting to note that the logistical care of Mary was given to John, and not to any of His half-brothers or sisters (Matt. 13: 55, 56/Mark 6: 3).
That being said, there is a great danger when religious people elevate Biblical characters to positions (1Tim. 2: 5) and/or functions (Acts 3: 12- 16/ Acts 14: 14,15) that are above and beyond what Scripture has to say about them.
Mary herself, conceded that she was a sinner when she acknowledged God as her personal SAVIOR (Luke 1: 47). Mary, like all human beings since the Fall, received the sin nature that was passed down to her via her biological father when what would become her humanity was conceived.
AFTER the birth of Jesus, Scripture (Matt. 1: 25) teach that Joseph and Mary had four more sons and two daughters (Matt. 13: 55, 56/Mark 6: 3). They were our Lord's half-brothers and half-sisters, but being the offspring of Joseph, NONE of them ever did or never could have qualified as the Lamb of God.
End of Part 3