Why was Jesus’ Death Necessary?


I was reading, “A Year with C.S. Lewis,” this morning and he addressed the subject of Jesus taking our place and dying for us so we could be saved. I thought I would share it with you:

“If God was prepared to let us off, why on earth did He not do so? And what possible point could there be in punishing an innocent person instead? None at all that I can see, if you are thinking of punishment in the police-court sense. On the other hand, if you think of a debt, there is plenty of point in a person who has some assets paying it on behalf of someone who has not. Or if you take ‘paying the penalty’, not in the sense of being punished, but in the more general sense of ‘standing the racket’ or ‘footing the bill’, then, of course, it is a matter of common experience that, when one person has got himself into a hole, the trouble of getting him out usually falls on a kind friend. 

Now what was the sort of ‘hole’ man had got himself into? He had tried to set up on his own, to behave as if he belonged to himself. In other words, fallen man is not simply an imperfect creature who needs improvement: he is a rebel who must lay down his arms. Laying down your arms, surrendering, saying you are sorry, realizing that you have been on the wrong track and getting ready to start life over again from the ground floor—that is the only way out of our ‘hole’. This process of surrender—this movement full speed astern—is what Christians call repentance. 

Now repentance is no fun at all. It is something much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person—and he would not need it.”

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Right and Wrong Doesn’t Matter — Faultless Inside

This is a post by Colin Pickering. I think he says some things here that are important for Christians of the United States and Canada.

Right and Wrong Doesn’t Matter.

Without God, morality is just an arbitrary rule destined to change on whim and convenience. This doesn’t mean that Christians and other religious individuals don’t make the same moral concessions, but there are some among us who hold to doing what God has instructed us to do. Some probably thought that we could hold each other to a high moral standard. Considering the current state of our country’s political system, our ability to hold such a standard is incredibly limited. Morality does not overrule our fears and instincts to survive without a respect for a higher power and belief of consequences worse than what we expect through our actions or inactions. Humans naturally want control over their own future, so we make decisions to concede defeat on morale grounds if it improves our prospective futures. True Christianity is about giving up control. It is about trusting completely in God and not being afraid. The world, the United States, and the greater Christian community is full

via Right and Wrong Doesn’t Matter — Faultless Inside

The Pride of Satan. The Humility of God.

Many Bible scholars believe Isaiah 14 is written about Satan and his fall from heaven. Some don’t. Personally, I do think it is about him.

I was listening to a sermon last night and the preacher said we should notice how Lucifer keeps saying, “I Will,” and wants to rise higher and higher.


“How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! (Lucifer)

You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!

You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens;

I will raise my throne above the stars of God;

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.

I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”

But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.

Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate:

“Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble,

the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities

and would not let his captives go home?”    Isaiah 14:12-17

 In Ezekiel 28, there is more written about Satan. There is no one else who is like the person in these verses:

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

“ ‘You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

You were in Eden, the garden of God;

every precious stone adorned you: carnelian, chrysolite and emerald,

topaz, onyx and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and beryl.

Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.

You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.

You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.

Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.

So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, guardian cherub,from among the fiery stones.

Your heart became proud on account of your beauty,

and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.

So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.

By your many sins and dishonest trade you have desecrated your sanctuaries.”

This part speaks of his death:

“So I made a fire come out from you, and it consumed you,

and I reduced you to ashes on the ground in the sight of all who were watching.

All the nations who knew you are appalled at you;

you have come to a horrible end and will be no more. ”

If we contrast the words of Jesus with the words of Satan, we can see how Satan wanted his own will. He wanted to rise higher, be in God’s place and rule the universe. Whereas Jesus came down from heaven, became a man and did his Father’s will.   Ezekiel 28:11-19

Jesus came down.


Painting by Uber User: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=User:Uber_painter&action=edit&redlink=1

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”   John 6:38

“The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

“Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.” 

“…and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”   Philippians 2:6-11

Living with Cranky People.


Photo by:  https://www.flickr.com/people/78428166@N00

I’m reading, The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas A. Kempis (1380-1471). It is a book famous for its depth of spirituality. I just wanted to share parts of this book. The edition I am reading was published in old-fashioned English, so I am going to paraphrase.

It is not hard to associate with kind and gentle people. This is pleasing to all, and everyone enjoys peace and loves those who agree with them. 

But to be able to live peacefully with hard-hearted, irritable persons, disorderly persons, or those who argue with us, is a great grace, and a most commendable and brave thing.

Our whole peace in this world consists in this kind of humble suffering, not so much in experiencing troubles. He that knows how to suffer (being with these kind of people) in peace, is conqueror of himself, lord of the world, the friend of Christ and heir of heaven.

Kempis goes on to describe these two kinds of people, one of peace the other of passions.

A peaceful man does good and turns all things into good. A passionate man turns even good into evil, and easily believes evil. He who is discontented and troubled, is tossed with many suspicions; he is neither at rest himself nor will let others be at rest.

He often says what he should not say and does not say what he should. He judges what others do without judging himself. He will excuse his own deeds, but will not accept the excuses of others.

If you want to be forgiven and understood, learn to forgive and understand others.

Since there are quite a few cranky people in my family, I have realized a few things:

1. Don’t take what they say personally. If they are mad at the world, that is their problem. If you can in any way ignore politely what is said or have a “soft answer” that turns away wrath –  do it. If you need to talk with them about their treatment of you, wait for a calm time, sit down with them and say, “Do not speak until I am finished saying what I want to say.” Explain how you feel. Probably nothing will change, but at least you tried.  (However, after 40 years of this they just might!)

2. Don’t have expectations of people. They don’t know what you expect, for one thing, and even when you tell them, they usually won’t change.

3. This is the most important thing to do. Ask God to help you to accept and love this person just as they are. Ask God when you get angry, ask him in the morning, noon and night. God will do this for you. You will be at peace.

4. This may take 20 – 45 years to learn and even then you will goof up.

Words from the Cross.


photo by: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:AntanO

I’ve been reading, “The Forgotten Jesus,” by Robby Gallaty. It is a very good book that explains the Jewish customs of Jesus’ time. He explains why Jesus spoke in parables and what these parables would mean to first century Jews. His last chapter deals with the death of Jesus and the meaning of why he recited the first line of Psalm 22,  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This is what he writes:

“Jesus encourages his listeners to develop a deeper understanding of what is happening to him as he hangs dying on the cross. Although the passage begins with agony and despair, it ultimately ends with triumph and victory. Listen to the final verses:

‘All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord. All the families of the nations will bow down before you, for kingship belongs to the Lord; he rules over the nations. All who prosper on earth will eat and bow down; all those who go down to the dust will kneel before him – even the one who cannot preserve his life. Their descendants will serve him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. They will come and declare his righteousness to a people yet to be born. They will declare what he has done.’

With Psalm 22 in mind, Jesus is exclaiming from the cross, ‘We will win in the end. I know it looks bleak now, but God is going to use this for victory.'” 

The last verse of Psalm 22 says, in the Christian Standard Bible, “They will declare what he has done.” In other translations this sentence could read, “He has done it!”  “He has accomplished it!” “He has performed it!”  and  “He has finished it.”

I was amazed to see this verse, as if it was the first time, because I realized this was another thing Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished.” 

Yes and Amen! It is finished. Our salvation is made sure. His great sacrifice was accepted! Hallelujah!



Know Thyself.


Many times I have not known myself. When I was in my twenties and divorced, my ex-husband had a girlfriend and lived with her. My daughters would go visit and I hated the fact my ex wasn’t married and living like that. I thought, “I would never have someone come sleep with me with  my daughters in the house!”  Two years later, I did just that.

After a few incidents like that, I was finally humbled to realize I was capable of any sin, no matter what I thought. One day at church we were singing, “I Will Not be Shaken,” and I turned to my mother and said, “On the other hand, who knows WHAT I will do?”

Jesus told Peter, “You will deny me.”  Peter was horrified and said he would never do that. He said he was willing to die with him. The other disciples said the same. We know how that turned out. 

I wondered if God sometimes lets us fall flat on our face so we can see how weak and sinful we are. It humbles us and we realize how we must have Jesus do everything for us. He can keep us from falling, if we acknowledge we have no strength to do it ourselves.

I came across the story of Hezkekiah the other day. It says that God left Hezekiah to show him what was truly in his heart. Verse 26 says his heart was full of pride. The commentaries I read were good and I’m including them.

“And so in the matter of the envoys of the princes of Babylon, who had been sent to him to inquire about the sign that had been done in the land, God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.”   2 Chronicles 32:31

Matthew Poole’s Commentary

God left him, to wit, to himself, and his own impotency and corruption. God withdrew from him those supplies and assistance of his Spirit which would certainly and effectually have kept him from that sin, and suffered Satan to tempt him, and him to fall into the sin of pride and ostentation. 

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.

 God left Hezekiah to himself, that, by this trial and his weakness in it, what was in his heart might be known; that he was not so perfect in grace as he thought he was. It is good for us to know ourselves, and our own weakness and sinfulness, that we may not be conceited, or self-confident, but may always live in dependence upon Divine grace. We know not the corruption of our own hearts, nor what we shall do if God leaves us to ourselves. His sin was, that his heart was lifted up. What need have great men, and good men, and useful men, to study their own infirmities and follies, and their obligations to free grace, that they may never think highly of themselves; but beg earnestly of God, that he will always keep them humble! Hezekiah made a bad return to God for his favors, by making even those favors the food and fuel of his pride.

Are Christians Allowed to Fight?

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.   Matthew 5:39
I have had trouble with this verse all my life. I thought it meant to never fight anyone for any reason. One day, the woman who lived next door to us was out on our lawn screaming. We looked out and saw her ex-husband was beating her. I called 911 while my husband ran outside. He tackled the man and threw him on the ground. He put his foot on his chest and told him to lie there until the police came. (Before he was a Christian, my husband was in a lot of fights.)
I believe we did what was right to do. But then I would come to this verse about not resisting evil and not understand. I used to wonder if we were supposed to fight Hitler. That seemed right to me too. Last night, I thought I would see what Bible commentators said about it. This has helped me understand what Jesus meant. So, if you are interested in this subject, here are two commentaries I found on Bible Hub, which is a wonderful sight for studying the Bible.
Barne’s Notes on the Bible.
An eye for an eye … – This command is found in Exodus 21:24Leviticus 24:20, and Deuteronomy 19:21. In these places it was given as a rule to regulate the decisions of judges. They were to take eye for eye, and tooth for tooth, and to inflict burning for burning. As a judicial rule it is not unjust. Christ finds no fault with the rule as applied to magistrates, and does not take upon himself to repeal it. But instead of confining it to magistrates, the Jews had extended it to private conduct, and made it the rule by which to take revenge. They considered themselves justified by this rule to inflict the same injury on others that they had received. Our Saviour remonstrates against this. He declares that the law had no reference to private revenge, that it was given only to regulate the magistrate, and that their private conduct was to be governed by different principles.


The general principle which he laid down was, that we are not to resist evil; that is, as it is in the Greek, nor to set ourselves against an evil person who is injuring us. But even this general direction is not to be pressed too strictly. Christ did not intend to teach that we are to see our families murdered, or be murdered ourselves; rather than to make resistance. The law of nature, and all laws, human and divine, justify self-defense when life is in danger. It cannot surely be the intention to teach that a father should sit by coolly and see his family butchered by savages, and not be allowed to defend them. Neither natural nor revealed religion ever did, or ever can, inculcate this doctrine. Our Saviour immediately explains what he means by it. Had he intended to refer it to a case where life is in danger, he would most surely have mentioned it. Such a case was far more worthy of statement than those which he did mention.

A doctrine so unusual, so unlike all that the world had believed. and that the best people had acted on, deserved to be formally stated. Instead of doing this, however, he confines himself to smaller matters, to things of comparatively trivial interest, and says that in these we had better take wrong than to enter into strife and lawsuits. The first case is where we are smitten on the cheek. Rather than contend and fight, we should take it patiently, and turn the other cheek. This does not, however, prevent our remonstrating firmly yet mildly on the injustice of the thing, and insisting that justice should be done us, as is evident from the example of the Saviour himself. See John 18:23. The second evil mentioned is where a man is litigious and determined to take all the advantage the law can give him, following us with vexatious and expensive lawsuits. Our Saviour directs us, rather than to imitate him rather than to contend with a revengeful spirit in courts of justice to take a trifling injury, and yield to him. This is merely a question about property, and not about conscience and life.

Elliott’s Commentary for English Readers.

Resist not evil.—The Greek, as before in Matthew 5:37, may be either masculine or neuter, and followed as it is by “whosoever,” the former seems preferable; only here it is not “the evil one,” with the emphasis of pre-eminence, but, as in 1Corinthians 5:13, the human evil-doer. Of that mightier “evil one” we are emphatically told that it is our duty to resist him (James 4:7).

Shall smite.—The word was used of blows with the hand or with a stick, and for such blows fines from a shekel upwards were imposed by Jewish courts.

Turn to him the other also.—We all quote and admire the words as painting an ideal meekness. But most men feel also that they cannot act on them literally; that to make the attempt, as has been done by some whom the world calls dreamers or fanatics, would throw society into confusion and make the meek the victims. The question meets us, therefore, Were they meant to be obeyed in the letter; and if not, what do they command? And the answer is found (l) in remembering that our Lord Himself, when smitten by the servant of the high priest, protested, though He did not resist (John 18:22-23), and that St. Paul, under like outrage, was vehement in his rebuke (Acts 23:3); and (2) in the fact that the whole context shows that the Sermon on the Mount is not a code of laws, but the assertion of principles.

And the principle in this matter is clearly and simply this, that the disciple of Christ, when he has suffered wrong, is to eliminate altogether from his motives the natural desire to retaliate or accuse. As far as he himself is concerned, he must be prepared, in language which, because it is above our common human strain, has stamped itself on the hearts and memories of men, to turn the left cheek when the right has been smitten. But the man who has been wronged has other duties which he cannot rightly ignore. The law of the Eternal has to be asserted, society to be protected, the offender to be reclaimed, and these may well justify—though personal animosity does not—protest, prosecution, punishment.