Friday, November 28, 2008

#18 Vicarious Atonement

"And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the
source of eternal salvation" Hebrews 5:9

I read a story once of two brothers that went to war together. They served
during World War II in the European theater of operations. While on a march
in southern France their company came upon a regiment of German tanks. The
Germans were know for their fierce tactics and the Panzer tanks were at the
very heart of Germany's ability to move like lightning across Europe in
their Blitzkrieg attacks.

The day that the two brothers came face-to-face with their armored German
foes did not go well at all. Most of their company of 220 Soldiers were
killed in the battle. Men against tanks is never odds that you want in
battle. After the initial battle settled down the German soldiers
dismounted their armored vehicles and began a house to house search for
stragglers. The American Soldiers tried to retreat but only a few made it
out of range of the 20mm guns. The two brothers had fought together in some
of the fiercest battles experienced in WWII and each time they had come out
with little more than some scratches. This time would be different. When
the fighting began they tried to take cover behind an abandoned church
building. It had been built with heavy stones and held up much better to
the tank fire than the homes that surrounded it. Despite the heavier cover
one of the tank blasts sent pieces of shattered stone flying through the air
and one of those pieces struck the eldest brother in the right side of his
chest. The bleeding was profuse and the younger brother was unable to get
it under control. As the dust settled and the Germans neared, the younger
brother grew frantic. He desperately wanted to carry his injured brother to
safety and medical aid, but there simply was not time to make it happen.
The medic in their platoon was killed in the attack and he had no idea where
to find another one. Even if he had, time was not on his side. He could
hear the German tongue being spoken just a few feet away. His brother
whispered in his ear, "Just lay still. I am bleeding bad enough that they
will think that we are both dead if I lay on top of you." The younger
brother did not like the option but he had no choice but to go along with
it. He quickly pulled his wounded brother on top of him and laid as still
as humanly possible. In a matter of seconds his elder brother's blood
soaked into his uniform as well. He held onto his brother as tightly as he
could without appearing to be doing so. As the German soldiers made their
way through their location they did not even stop to bother them. While the
Germans were moving on to the next location he could feel his brother
breathe his last. There on the battlefield in southern France he lost his
big brother, but in dying his brother saved his life.

I do not share this story with you tonight to make you sad; quite the
contrary. My desire in telling you this story tonight is to help you
understand just how blessed each of us are. We just celebrated Thanksgiving
yesterday and with the economy doing what it is many of us may think that we
do not have a lot for which to be thankful. I beg to differ with you if
that is your mindset. I am of the mindset that this world is but a
temporary place for us to pass through. Those of us who have accepted
Christ as our Savior will have a better place to live when Jesus comes to
take us to be with Him. He promised in John 14:3 that He would come again
that we can be where He is. But in order for us to be there we have to have
an experience that is somewhat like that of the two brothers from the story
above. Friends, I hope you realize that we-Christians-are in a spiritual
battle against the powers of darkness in this world (Ephesians 6:12). The
only way that we will survive this battle against the enemy of our souls is
to be covered by the blood of our Elder Brother; Jesus Christ. If His
innocent blood is not poured out on our behalf then we must pay the penalty
of our sins with our own blood. The only problem with that is that our
blood is not innocent. Our blood is the blood of the guilty and guilty
blood cannot redeem us to God. Only the guiltless, innocent blood of Jesus
Christ can clear our record with heaven. It is only by accepting the death
of Jesus on our behalf that we can be made at one with God the Father. The
Lamb of God that takes away our sins must use His precious blood to wash
away our guilt.

There are those in this world who would have us believe that Jesus did not
have to die for our sins. There are even some that say that Jesus did not
die for us but with us. Friends, I don't know if you have looked at your
hands lately, but I do not have any nail prints in my hands and I dare say
that none of you do either. The beauty of God's plan of redemption is that
Jesus who knew no sin became sin on our behalf and died in our place ( 2
Corinthians 5:21). We are told that He was tempted in all ways just like
us, but He did not sin in the process ( Hebrews 4:15). In other words,
because of our sin we are worthy of death (Romans 3:23, 6:23) and if we do
not accept Jesus as our Savior we will be destroyed with the wicked (Rev
20:9). However, Jesus lived a perfect life for the sole purpose of dying a
perfect death. Because of His perfect life, He and He alone was worthy to
satisfy the sin debt that all of humanity has. But your sin debt is not
cancelled out until you humble yourself and accept Jesus as your personal
Savior. It is my sincere prayer tonight friends that each one of us will
make the decision that the younger brother did on that French battlefield;
allow the blood of our Elder Brother Jesus Christ to cover us and bring
about our salvation in terms of eternity.

Dear Father,
Tonight as we come to You we realize our great need of a Savior. We realize
that we are in a spiritual battle and we desperately need the blood of Jesus
to cover us. Father we know that the blood of Jesus does not cover up our
sin, it washes it away completely and then we are covered with the
righteousness of Christ. So tonight we pray that You will forgive us of our
sins. Please take away the wrongs that we have wrought and the evil that we
have done in Your sight Lord. We ask for a clean, fresh start tonight so
that we can truly walk through this life with a thankful spirit. Thankful
that the blood of our Elder Brother has taken away our sins and saved us
from destruction. We give our hearts to You afresh this evening dear Lord,

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