By: Danny Wallace
If Jesus died for the sins of the entire world, which sins did He die for? If Jesus fulfilled the judgment of Law, for whom did He fulfill it? If Jesus set us free “indeed,” where are the boundary posts of such a freedom?
These are perplexing questions – especially if you have your ear to the ground of religious chatter. As we listen to the hoof prints of debate it would appear that Jesus died for mundane, and trivial sins, but not for the weightier matters of Law. Any novice observing religious life would surely determine that Jesus died for, and pardoned, certain violations of religious Law, while failing miserably at satisfying the Law for all infractions.
For instance, it is a no-brainer to observe how the average Ambassador of Religion feels about such violations as, eating pork, or shrimp. Depending on the region of the world each Ambassador hails from, the preferences of violation may drastically differ. Anyone born in the southern United States will quickly stipulate that Jesus died to fulfill the Law’s penalty over eating catfish, or the wearing of mixed fabrics.
Jesus pointed out this legal oxymoron to the Ambassador of Religion some 2000 years ago. He said that all they did was lower the ceiling on religious Law, making sure the new ceiling began just below those laws they had no intention of keeping. Then, they proceeded to beat the “hell” out of everyone guilty of those “certain,” sinful violations of Law that they believed they either had under control, or had hidden so well that no one would knew of their violation. Jesus knew. More importantly, they “knew” that He knew. For this reason alone, religion decided that Jesus had to die. Ironically, this is the same reason God offered Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the entire world.
The same is true today. We preach the very same message of Law as the Pharisees preached. We lower our own ceiling of Law, either hiding, or controlling some violations, and beating the hell out of others with those laws we believe we have mastered. Jesus knows – and we “know” that He knows. Therefore, religion has one again decided that Jesus, and His gift of Grace must die again. We crucify Him again by continuing to dilute His great sacrifice as we mix it with a Law that Jesus has long ago fulfilled.
Preachers around the world will joke openly from the pulpit about partaking in the sin of gluttony, working on the Sabbath, or eating unclean foods, while in the next breath condemning certain sins as beyond the city of limits of their definition of Grace. Though many are confused as to “why,” or even “what,” this message means – Jesus was not. He made it very clear in Matthew 23 both “why,” this message is proclaimed from religion’s Ambassadors, and He made it equally clear exactly “what” their true message is all about. Jesus said…
“You’re hopeless! What arrogant fools! Full of stupidity! You say, ‘If someone makes a promise with his fingers crossed, that’s nothing; but if he swears with his hand on the Bible, that’s serious.’ What ignorance! Does the leather on the Bible carry more weight than the skin on your hands? And what about this piece of trivia: ‘If you shake hands on a promise, that’s nothing; but if you raise your hand that God is your witness, that’s serious’? What ridiculous hairsplitting! What difference does it make whether you shake hands or raise hands? A promise is a promise. What difference does it make if you make your promise inside or outside a house of worship? A promise is a promise. God is present, watching and holding you to account regardless.”
There is no difference between the over-weight Ambassador of Religion who stands in the pulpit bragging about stuffing his face full of pulled pork barbeque, and the town whore who “knows” every man in her district. If you believe one violation of Law falls under Grace, while the other is excluded, please reference the Matthew proclamation of Jesus to the Pharisees as to His definition for arrogance, hopeless, or fool.
“ALL,” means all. “Fulfilled” means; I don’t need your help. “Free” means; free to fly today far above what I was struggling to overcome yesterday. The Law forbids the eating of catfish. They are fish without scales. It is unholy, sinful, and a direct violation of God’s Law to eat catfish. And yet, saved, spirit-filled, and anointed children of God eat them all the time with no fear of judgment, condemnation, or retribution from an angry, and righteous God.
Others will read this and say, “I had no idea!” Some may even repent, and raise their religion ceiling of Law a little higher to include the banning of catfish, and thereby proceed to beat the “hell” out of every friend, foe, and family member who may see nothing wrong with eating their fill.
Questions call for an answer. Wisdom isn’t found in the answer, since wisdom never answers foolish questions. Wisdom is found in asking the right question. The better question isn’t among those listed at the opening of this article. The better question is, “Knowing you were guilty, and knowing that Jesus stepped forward to serve your sentence – what does this fulfilled, finished, and boundless freedom inspire in you?”
Surely it doesn’t inspire you to return to a life of trying to overcome a growing list of sins for which the penalty is already paid. Since this false idea is the only thing that kept you from flying away from your bondage before – what is holding you back from flying in the freedom of Grace now?
Fly child – FLY! Fly high, and far away from the Land of foolish contradictions. Fly in the glory of what you did not deserve, and what you could not afford. Fly in the peace of knowing you were never needed to finish what you did not begin.