Complete Salvation and How To Receive It - Part 1

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Part 1 of 2: Complete Salvation and How to Receive It

By Derek Prince

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Our salvation through Christ and His sacrifice on the Cross is totally complete, and yet many Christians have a limited understanding of what this means. They are living in a tiny portion of a house when there is a great mansion God has prepared for them. Expand your knowledge and embrace the all-encompassing totality of the Cross and its tremendous gift to people everywhere.

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My theme this evening is “Complete Salvation and How To Receive It.” I want to emphasize the word complete because I believe so many Christians who’ve experienced salvation have experienced only an incomplete salvation. They’re living in a little corner of a house somewhere whereas there’s a great, big, wonderful mansion which God has prepared for them. In fact, I don’t believe that there’s any Christian on earth today who has experienced the completeness of all that God has provided for salvation—and I include myself. I thank God that I have a lot more than I had when I was saved in 1941 but I think there’s much, much more for all of us in salvation.

In Hebrews 2:3, the writer says:

“How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?”

This is not a little salvation that God has provided for us through Jesus Christ, it is a great salvation. And one of our great dangers is that which is stated here in Hebrews that we would neglect it. Not reject it, not refuse it but just not really enter into it. Just accept it as a theological fact, a doctrine but not embrace it in its fullness in our experience.

In Ephesians 3:18, the apostle Paul is praying for the people of God. And remember, that includes you and me here, all these wonderful prayers of Paul for the church, let’s make them personal, let’s not just accept them as general prayers but let’s make them very specific. And Paul prays there in verses 17–18 of Ephesians 3:

“That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width, and length, and depth, and height...”

Paul is saying this is not a little salvation that we’ve come into. To me it’s a picture of somebody that walks into a tremendous mansion with many corridors, different types of rooms prepared; and we look, first of all, at the width and it stretches out as far as our eye can see in every direction. Then we look ahead at the length and again, we can’t see to the end of it. And then imagine yourself standing on some grand staircase in some wonderful mansion and you look down and you can’t see all that’s beneath you. And finally, you look up and again, it stretches beyond what you can actually take in with your eyes.

So Paul prays that we’ll not just get isolated in some little corner but that we will be able to comprehend, to embrace, to take in all the scope of this salvation. Its width, its length, its depth and its height.

In the Old Testament—in fact, throughout the Bible—the word salvation has a very wide application. For many people it just means having your sins forgiven and being, as somebody said, a prepackaged soul for heaven. But there’s a lot more to salvation than that. It’s interesting if you read through the Bible in almost any English translation, if you’re looking for the word religion you have to read and read and read. In fact, in most translations you don’t come to it until the epistle of James. There is says “pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the orphans and the widows, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” Which is a different definition of religion from what many Christians would offer today. How many Christians are actually visiting the orphans and the widows? But that’s just a side thought.

When you look for the word save and salvation, it’s all through the Bible. I just want to turn to one passage in the book of Psalms, Psalm 78:21–22. This is describing the Lord’s dealings with Israel in bringing them out of Egypt and then taking them through the wilderness. It states why the Lord got angry with His people. If I were to put it in my language, He was angry because they had such a small picture of God and His salvation. I believe sometimes we anger God by the littleness of our comprehension of His salvation. So it says:

“Therefore, the Lord heard this and was furious. So a fire was kindled against Jacob, and anger also came up against Israel because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in his salvation.”

What angered Him? The lack of faith in God’s salvation. And if you analyze that passage, salvation is the all inclusive word for every blessing and every grace and every provision of God from the time that they sacrificed the Passover lamb until they entered their inheritance. It includes protection through the blood of the lamb from God’s judgment, it includes supernatural passing through the waters of the Red Sea, it includes the supernatural presence of God coming down upon them in the form of a cloud, it includes being fed every day with manna from heaven, it includes God opening those rocks and living streams of water gushing out.

I wonder if you’ve ever considered what it takes to feed three million people every day. It’s not a little. I saw a picture years ago of a freight train that would be required to carry the water and the food for three million people in one day. It was a long, long freight train. And that was just for one day and they were there for forty years. But all that is included in salvation. Included in salvation is the fact their shoes never wore out, their clothes never got old. When they were sick God provided healing. At night when it was cold and, believe me, I’ve traveled through the Sinai desert, it gets cold at night. It’s hot in the day and cold at night. But God had provision for both. Because in the heat of the day He covered them with a cloud and in the cold of the night He provided the warmth and the light of a fire. And all that total provision is summed up in this one word salvation. God was grieved because they didn’t comprehend the extent of His salvation.

Then a little further on in the same psalm it says in verse 41:

“Yes, again and again they tempted God and limited the Holy One of Israel.”

I have to confess many times I myself have limited God in my concept of salvation. I’ve had a need and I thought to myself can I really trust God for that need? I think most Christians today set limits to what they think God will do—which are not scriptural limits, they’re just the limits of how big we can imagine God’s salvation to be. But we need to bear in mind that this grieves the Lord. When His people did not trust in His salvation and when they set limits to what He could do, it grieved the Lord. So let’s make a resolve in our hearts that we will not set limits to what God can do, that we will believe in this all inclusive, comprehensive salvation which God has provided.

Turning on to the New Testament, to the New Covenant, in the epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 10 and verse 14, we have a statement of what was accomplished by the death of Jesus on the cross. And we must remember that Jesus offered Himself as a sacrifice. His death was a sacrifice foreordained by God, a sacrifice on behalf of the whole Adamic race. And it says here, Hebrews 10:14:

“For by one sacrifice he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”

Now, at one time I was a teacher of English as a second language to African students. One of the things that I discovered was you have to teach people the significance of the English tenses. Maybe some of you are not even quite clear what a tense is. But a tense is the form of the verb that shows the time of the action, you see. And in this we have two tenses and they’re very significant. The first one is called the perfect tense and it says “for by one sacrifice He has perfected forever.” You can say it’s perfectly perfect. It’s completely complete. By one sacrifice. Just before this, as a matter of fact, the writer of Hebrews says “the Old Testament priests always stood offering again and again the same sacrifices which could never take away sin.” Then, speaking about Jesus, he says but this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sin forever, sat down at the right hand of God. You see, the contrast is between the Old Testament priests who stood and Jesus who offered His sacrifice and sat down. Why did He sit down? Because He was never going to have to do any more, He had done it all. Whereas the Old Testament priests, their job was never finished because their sacrifices were not adequate to deal with the real problem.

And so, going back to verse 14:

“By one sacrifice, Jesus has perfected forever...”

As far as what Jesus has done, it’s complete, it’s perfect, it never has to be added to, nothing can ever be taken away from it—it’s forever. That’s the perfect tense.

But then, speaking about those of us who are appropriating it, it says “he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” That’s what we call a continuing present tense. What Jesus has done is perfect, our appropriation of it is continuing, it’s ongoing. As we are sanctified, as we are more and more set apart to God, as we draw closer to God and appropriate more of God’s provision and promises we are entering more and more into the provision of the sacrifice.

This is a scripture which Ruth and I—I think never a week passes without our quoting this. In fact, why should we keep the blessing. Come on, sweetheart, just a moment. We want to show you how it’s done and then we’ll invite you to join it with us.

“For by one sacrifice he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”

Would you like to say that? Do you think you can say it with us?

“For by one sacrifice he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.”

And then you include yourself in that. Thank you so much.

So there’s one all inclusive sacrifice which is the basis of our whole salvation. You see, this interests me because I was a philosopher before I was a preacher. And I observe that the Bible is the only book that accurately diagnoses the cause of human problems—or any other book based on the Bible. And the cause of human problems is stated in one very short word: sin. But no other book except the Bible diagnoses the nature and the effects of sin. No other book tells us the remedy except the Bible. So if we had to deal with the problem in our own wisdom or strength it would defeat us. And the remedy for sin is a sacrifice. This is the message of the whole Bible from the beginning to end. Wherever there has been sin there has to be a sacrifice. But all the previous sacrifices were just prefigurings, they were shadows and types of this one glorious, final, all sufficient sacrifice which Jesus made on our behalf on the cross. And you remember that before He died His last triumphant cry was, “It is finished.” In the Greek of the New Testament that’s one word, tetelestai. And it’s the perfect tense of a verb that means to do something perfectly. So my interpretation is it is perfectly perfect, it is completely complete. That’s the sacrifice.

Now, our appropriating the benefits of the sacrifice is progressive. I don’t believe there’s one person here this evening, myself included, who has appropriated as yet all that’s been made available to us through the sacrifice of Jesus. And we need at this point to make a rather important distinction between the new birth and salvation. Let’s look for a moment in John 1 about the new birth. John 1:11–13. Speaking about Jesus:

“He came to his own place [or his own home] and his people did not receive him...”

Thank God for the word but, you know. Thank God that that’s not the end. There’s some wonderful but’s in the Bible. What about Romans 6:22:

“The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life.”

And here His own did not receive Him. Thank God that’s not the last word.

“...but as many as received him, to them gave he the right [I prefer to say the authority which is the word] to become children of God, even to those who believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, not of the will of the flesh, not of the will of man, but of God.”

Born of God, that’s the new birth. What’s the key to the new birth? It’s important that we all know this. I’m able to state is simply. In my life, thank God, particularly in street meetings in the city of London and other similar places I’ve had the privilege of leading hundreds of people into the new birth. And I say to them if you want to be born again, there’s one thing you have to do. You have to receive Him. As many as received Him. You’ve got to open your heart personally and welcome the Lord in. He says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man heard my voice and opens the door, I will come in.” What a blessing it is to assure people if you’ve invited Him in, He’s kept His promise. He has come in.

But, the new birth is just a one time experience. In a certain sense, much of it is potential. We receive authority to become children of God. Now, authority is useless if you don’t use it. So what we will become depends on how much we use the authority that we’ve received. But receiving Jesus, being born again in itself is a one time experience. I don’t believe a person ever needs to be born again twice.

When I ministered in Africa to the Africans, an African’s attitude is there’s no harm in asking for it. I love the African people but if you give an African a pair of shoes he’ll say, “Thank you, Bwana, but where are the socks?” So, if they know there’s something to be received by asking for it, they’ll come and ask. It’s not difficult to get people to come forward in sub Sahara in Africa on an appeal, it’s difficult to stop them coming forward. And what I struggled with with my students I was teaching was once you’ve asked you don’t have to keep asking. He’s come. You don’t have to keep repeating it. He’s there. In fact, the real victory was when they didn’t come forward, you see? Because then they really grasped the fact that they’d received Him. But what I’m saying is that’s a one time experience.

On the other hand, salvation is an ongoing process. It’s not a one time experience. And when you grasp that fact it will give you clarity in your thinking. Yes you are born again. Thank God. But as for salvation, how far have you come? Maybe not very far.

Salvation is an ongoing process and let me come back to tenses. It’s in three tenses. We’ve got examples of each in the New Testament. It’s in the perfect tense, it’s in the simple past, and in the continuing present. The perfect tense, look for a moment in Ephesians 2:8.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith.”

That’s the perfect tense. Actually, if you were to translate it literally:

“By grace you are having been saved.”

It’s perfect. You’ve never got to add to it.

But that’s not the only tense. You turn to Titus 3:5. Once I talk about Africa my mind tends to stay there. This is one of the verses I used to teach my students. IN Swahili, the language of East Africa, the word for Titus is Tito. The word for three is tatu, and the word for five is tanu. So see, Tito tatu tanu. It becomes pretty easy to remember. This is what Titus 3:5 says:

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy, he [God] saved us.”

That’s the simple past. At a specific moment in time God saved me. About midnight on a Friday evening late in July l941 God saved me. And every one of us has got to have more than just the perfect. We’ve got to have the moment when we entered into salvation. See?

And then in 1 Corinthians 1:18 we have the continuing present.

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

That’s the continuing present tense. To us who are continually being saved. So, we have an experience, a one time experience in which we say God saved me. Through that experience we entered into a perfect salvation which is already complete, we are having been saved. But at the same time that salvation continues to work in us, we are continually being saved.

I found a very simple vivid way to illustrate this was Noah’s ark. Every ark in the Old Testament is a picture of Christ, really. There are two main arks, the big ark of Noah and the little ark of Moses. The big ark speaks of me in Christ. The little ark speaks of Christ in me. But each of them speaks of Christ. Well, let’s take the ark of Noah, the big ark. Salvation came through entering into that ark. At a certain point Noah and his family entered into the ark. They were saved. But the ark was already complete and perfect. It was built exactly according to God’s instructions, it never had to be repaired, it never had to be adjusted or improved or recalled. It worked—thank God it did because it would have been too bad if it hadn’t! That’s perfect salvation, you understand? So the single moment they entered into the ark, they entered into a perfect salvation. But all the time they were in the ark the ark was continually saving them from the water that raged all around them. So if you have difficulty in distinguishing between the three tenses, each of which applies, think in terms of the ark. The one time experience is entering into the ark. The ongoing experience is being continually saved by the ark from the flood. But the complete salvation is the perfect ark in which you already enter.

It’s interesting that both Noah and Jesus were carpenters and each of them provided a vessel of salvation. Noah’s was physical, Jesus’ spiritual but it’s perfect.

I want to draw your attention to something which probably is not familiar to most of you because it does not come out in any translation of the Bible that I know. But there is in Greek—and remember, the New Testament came to us in Greek. There is one word which is the word for “to save.” And putting it in English letters it’s S-O-Z-O, sozo. That’s not exactly right but it’s near enough.

In some places in the New Testament, this word is translated saved, most often. But there are many other passages where it’s translated heal, make well, make whole, preserve and so on. So, these other translations conceal from us the fact that all of this is salvation, you understand? It’s not a little salvation.

I think to make it very vivid for you I’ll give you eight examples from the New Testament of the use of this word sozo where, if you didn’t have access to the Greek, you would have no way of knowing that that’s the word that’s used. Let’s turn, first of all, to Matthew 14:35–36. This is part of the ministry of Jesus.

“And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent out into all their surrounding regions, brought to him all who were sick and begged him that they might only touch of the hem of his garment. And as many as touched were made perfectly well.”

That’s the translation I’m reading. But what the Greek says is they were thoroughly saved. It’s the word sozo with a preposition in front which means to do something thoroughly. So, every person who was miraculously healed, according to the text, was thoroughly saved. You understand? In other words, healing is not an addition to salvation, it’s one part of salvation. It’s salvation applied to the physical body.

Then in Luke 8:35 and following we have the record of what is known as the Gadarene demoniac, this man who was totally possessed of demons. He wouldn’t wear any clothes, he was always in the tombs naked, cutting himself, shouting out day and night. When Jesus came he did one tremendously significant thing, he came and worshiped Jesus. Now, my experience in deliverance in helping people get delivered from evil spirits is that they have to be willing to submit to Jesus. Otherwise they don’t qualify. He did all he could, that was absolutely all he could do. After that the demons took over. But he had come to Jesus and Jesus saw that in that man’s heart was a desire for himself. And so, Jesus began to speak to the demons and they said, “We are Legion, because many of us have entered in.” Do you remember that? And then they pled with Jesus, “Don’t send us into the abyss, let us go out into this herd of swine here.” And Jesus permitted it. There have been a lot of interesting speculations as to why He did.

Let me give you my opinion because we don’t have to dwell on it. I think it would have been terribly hard for the man if the demons had gone out unwillingly. So Jesus gave them an option that they were prepared to accept, to go into the swine. You remember what happened to the swine? They immediately ran down a steep slope and plunged into the sea and were drowned. It’s interesting that one man could contain enough demon power and keep it under control, the same demon power that could destroy a herd of 2,000 pigs. That gives you some idea the power of human personality. Many times in deliverance when I’ve heard a person’s story I’ve been overwhelmed by the fact that a person could live with what they had to fight inside them.

Anyhow, the man came, Jesus cast out the spirits and we read this—well, the people who kept the swine went and told it in the city so everybody came out to see what had happened. And this is what it says in verse 35:

“Then they went out to see what had happened and came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had departed sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. They also who had seen it told them by what means he who had been demon possessed was healed.”

Here’s what the word is, saved. So, deliverance from demons is not an addition to salvation, it’s a part of salvation.

And then this 8th chapter of Luke contains a wonderful example. Going on a little further Jesus returned to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and He was in the crowd and the little woman with chronic bleeding, or an issue of blood, came up behind Him and touched Him. And Jesus knew somebody had touched Him and He said, “Who touched me?” She was afraid, she didn’t want to admit it. Do you know why? Because according to the law of Moses, a woman with an issue of blood was ceremonial unclean and she was not permitted to touch anybody. But she was so desperate she went against the law. So then it says when she realized Jesus knew what had happened she came trembling and fell down before Him and confessed what she’d done. And in verse 48, Jesus said to her:

“Daughter, be of good cheer, your faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

Guess what that is “has made you well”? Your faith has saved you, that’s right. So deliverance from chronic bleeding is just a part of salvation.

And then Luke 8:50, Jesus was at that time on His way to pray for the daughter of Jairus who was at death’s door. Well, because He got delayed with the woman, Jairus’ daughter died. So, these well meaning negative people sent a message to Jesus—be careful of the well meaning negative people—they said, “Don’t trouble the master. She’s dead.” But this was Jesus’ response, verse 50:

“Jesus heard it, he answered it, saying, ‘Do not be afraid. Only believe and she will be made well.’”

Guess what the word is? She will be saved. What happened to her? Brought back from death to life. What’s that? Part of salvation, see?

Okay. Then in Acts 4:9, this is the aftermath of the situation in which Peter and John had brought miraculous healing to the lame cripple who sat at the gate of the temple begging for alms. Typically of the religious leadership of the day, they had to have an inquiry, what had they done healing this man? I don’t know whether you’ve ever noticed, when Jesus healed people—and He usually did it on the sabbath day—they never bothered about the fact that people got healed, all they bothered about was the regulations for the sabbath which they had had not been observed. I have to say, in a way, that’s rather typical of religious people. We tend to get so absorbed with our little rules that we miss the really important things of God.

Anyhow, Peter and John are arraigned by the Sanhedrin. This is what Peter said in Acts 4:9:

“If we this day are judged for a good deed done to the helpless man, by what means he has been made well.”

Guess what the word is? Saved, that’s right. So the restoration of strength and life to the body of a cripple is called salvation.

And, just a little further on in verse 12 Peter says:

“It was through the name of Jesus of Nazareth that this happened...”

And then he says:

“...nor is there salvation in any other.”

So what was the healing of that man? Salvation. See?

And just two more examples. Acts 14:8, this is something that happened when Paul was preaching in Lystra. Acts 14:8:

“And in Lystra, a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speak. Paul, observing him intently, and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, `Stand up right on your feet.’ He leapt and walked.”

Paul saw that he had faith to be what? Saved, that’s right.

And then a completely different use of the word in 2 Timothy 4:18. Paul, right at the end of his life, in jail, facing probable execution says:

“And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and preserve me to his heavenly kingdom.”

Guess what the word preserve is? Saved.

So, salvation is also the ongoing process of being preserved in every situation. So there are eight examples where this basic word for saved or salvation is applied to things other than the forgiveness of sins. In other words, it’s the all inclusive benefit of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It covers every area of human personality, it covers every need in any human life in time or eternity. Whether it’s spiritual, mental, emotional, physical, financial; it’s all covered by the one sacrifice of Jesus.

I have spent years meditating on this because when I was sick in the land of Egypt in l943 in a British military hospital, God sent a precious sister, a lady brigadier in the Salvation Army age about 76, who was a warrior of the Lord. She came in and got permission for me to go out and sit in the car and they prayed together. God spoke to me through another sister in that car. He said, “Consider the work of Calvary. A perfect work. Perfect in every respect, perfect in every aspect.” Now, when I got out of the car I was just as sick as when I got in. But God had shown me where to find the answer. The work of Calvary. A perfect work. Perfect in every respect. It doesn’t matter what kind of need you have, it’s perfect. Perfect in every aspect. It doesn’t matter from what angle you view it, it’s perfect. I could say I think truthfully that for the last 46 years I have been considering the work of Calvary. I never get to the end of it, there’s always something new.

But in the course of time I made two discoveries or I found two ways of communicating this to people. There are two key words which I believe God has given me to explain what God took place when Jesus died on the cross. The first word is exchange, the second word is identification. Let me take a little while now to explain the nature of the exchange that took place. I think the key verse is Isaiah 53:6:

“All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way...”

That’s the problem of the whole human race. That’s the one thing of which we’re all guilty. We’ve all turned to our own way. We haven’t all robbed a bank or committed adultery, gotten drunk or stolen; but there’s one thing we have all done, we have turned to our own way. And God says your way is not my way. And then the latter part of the verse says:

“...and the Lord has laid on him [Jesus, or made to meet together on him] the iniquity of us all.”

So going our own way, turning our back on God is called iniquity. It’s a very strong word. But I’ve researched this word in Hebrew, gone through the Old Testament. The Hebrew word is avone, if anybody wants to know it. I’ve discovered that it means not just doing wrong but the penalties and the judgment that follow doing wrong. It’s one all inclusive word for iniquity and God’s judgment and punishment on iniquity. And so, the revelation is that God visited on Jesus the iniquity of us all and all the evil consequences of iniquity. They all came on Jesus on the cross. He took the evil by a divine exchange that in return God might make the good available to us. Do you see that?

I like to help people do this a little bit vividly with the left hand and the right hand. So be careful you don’t hit your neighbor on the nose. I’ll do it first and you say it.

“The evil came upon Jesus [that’s the left hand] that the good might be made available to us.”

Now, can you do that with your hand?

“The evil came upon Jesus that the good might be made available to us.”

Let’s do it once more.

“The evil came upon Jesus that the good might be made available to us.”

Now, there’s no reason for that. God didn’t owe it, we had no claims on it; it’s purely His measureless grace and His incomprehensible love.

You know what grace is? Grace is what you can never earn. Most Christians don’t really know what grace is because they’re always trying to earn it. But you cannot earn what Jesus did for you on the cross. If you try to be good enough you’ll never receive it. It is purely grace. And it’s received only by what? Faith, that’s right. By grace you have been saved through faith. This is God’s grace. I mean, I spend time sometimes just meditating on what Jesus did on my behalf and my mind can never fully comprehend it. The grace of the Lord that He came down, took our place, my place, and endured all the inexpressible evil that should have come upon me in my place. But He did it out of grace.

And then I’d like to just very quickly go through about eight aspects of this exchange. I often preach this as a complete message but I just want to do it briefly here this evening. Staying in Isaiah 53:4–5, it says:

“Surely he has borne our griefs...”

But the correct literal meaning is sicknesses.

“...and carried [or endured] our pains. Yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement [or punishment] for our peace was upon him, and by his stripes [or wounds] we are healed.”

It’s totally logical. There are two aspects of the exchange. First of all, Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven. Because He bore our punishment God’s justice is satisfied and we can have peace with God. Being justified by faith we have peace with God.

And then Jesus took our sicknesses, bore our pains and by the wounds inflicted on His body He procured physical healing for us.

Let’s do these. First of all we’ll do the spiritual, then we’ll do the physical. I’ll do it once and then you follow me.

“Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven.”

Are you ready?

“Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven.”

Now the physical:

“Jesus was wounded that we might be healed.”
“Jesus was wounded that we might be healed.”

Do you believe that? Then you know one thing you have to do? Say thank you. If you really believe it you have to say thank you. And thanking is the purest expression of faith. Many times we miss out because we don’t say thank you.

And then in Isaiah 53:10 we read these words:

“When you make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”

So on the cross the soul of Jesus was made the sin offering for the world. Now, according to the ceremonies of the Old Covenant, when an animal was brought as a sin offering, the man who brought the animal confessed his sin to the priest, the priest laid his hands on the head of the animal and symbolically transferred the sin of the man to the animal. Then the animal paid the penalty for the man’s sin. What’s the penalty of sin? Death. So the animal died as a substitute for the man.

Now the writer of Hebrews says it’s not possible for the blood of bulls or goats to take away sins, that was merely a prefiguring of what was to happen when Jesus died on the cross. But when Jesus died on the cross, His soul became the sin offering for the human race. Again, there is no way our minds can begin to comprehend what it meant for the Lord Jesus in all His purity and holiness to become identified with the awful sin of humanity.

I’m not an outstandingly priggish person but when I think of some of the sins that are being committed in our society today, some of the awful sexual abuses and abnormalities, I shudder to think what it would mean even to me to have my soul identified with those sins. And that’s just a tiny minute fraction of what happened when Jesus’ soul was made sin with all our sinfulness, yours and mine. But, it put away sin, you see.

The writer of Hebrews says in the sacrifices of the Old Testament there was a reminder again made every year of sin. They never put away sin, they just reminded the people you’re sinners, it will be covered for another year and then you’ll have to come with the sacrifice again. But Jesus, the writer says, by one sacrifice of Himself put away sin forever. He dealt with sin by that sacrifice.

So Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteous with His righteousness. Paul is quoting Isaiah 53:10 in 2 Corinthians 5:21. A lot of people don’t realize that because of the fact that it’s hidden in the language. 2 Corinthians 5:21:

“For God made him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

You see the exchange?

“Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness that we might be made righteous with His righteousness.”

Not our righteousness, not the best we can do because Isaiah says all our righteousness are filthy rags. Isaiah 61;10, one of my favorite verses says:

“He has given me a garment of salvation and wrapped me around with a robe of righteousness.”

Now, never stop short at your garment of salvation. It’s wonderful to have that but once you have the garment of salvation you can be wrapped around with the sinless righteousness of the Son of God. And it doesn’t matter from what angle the devil looks at you, he’s got nothing to say against you.

The writer of Isaiah says, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord. My soul shall be joyful in my God, for he has given me a garment of salvation and covered me with a robe of righteousness.” I find that the majority of Christians have not even realized that. That we are covered with the righteousness of Jesus.

Going on with the exchange, in Hebrews 2:9 the writer says:

“That by the grace of God Jesus tasted death for every man.”

In other words, He tasted death in the place of every human being. I want to say human being. My understanding is every descendant of Adam. I don’t want to labor this point but as far as I understand it, the atonement of Jesus only covered Adam and his descendants, it didn’t cover angels. And if there were previous races on earth, it didn’t cover them. Jesus was the last Adam. God’s interest in the Adamic race is staggering. I mean, it’s another of the things you can never begin to comprehend why God should be so interested in Adam and his descendants is something that I believe it is all I can say. But when I start to think of reasons for it I come to an end.

God began the human race in an extraordinary way. As far as I understand, Adam was created in a different way than any other creature. It says by the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all their hosts by the breath of his mouth. But when it comes to creating Adam, God molded a figure of clay with His own fingers and then that divine being, the second person of the Godhead, the word of God by whom all things were made that were made—listen, He stooped and put His divine lips opposite the lips of clay and He breathed into him the breath of life. The Hebrew word there for breathed is so powerful, it’s viapach. The P sound is a plosive and the heh sound is an ongoing breath. God exploded Himself into Adam, He imparted His life to Adam.

Think of the physical consequences. A body of clay became a living human soul with eyes, ears, organs and functions. What did that? The Spirit of God. So you see, really to believe in divine healing is very logical. Because, if your watch goes wrong you don’t take it to the boot maker. If your body goes wrong, at least it’s reasonable to take it to the body maker. Who is the body maker? The Lord and especially the Holy Spirit. See, because it was the Spirit of God that did that.

But when God came to redeem man—listen, He stooped a lot lower. He stooped to the death at the cross. And when He’d risen up again on resurrection Sunday evening, He reenacted the first creation in the new creation. And it says Jesus breathed into them, He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” The word for breathed there in Greek is the word used for a flute player breathing into the mouth of his instrument. This is just a personal opinion. I don’t myself envisage Jesus breathing collectively on all of them. I envisage Him coming up to each of them individually and breathing in the breath not just of divine life but, listen, resurrection life. Life that had conquered sin and death, hell and the grave, Satan. A totally victorious life.

I was teaching on this recently somewhere and God gave me these words, I hope I can get them right because they just came to me. “Eternal life, divine life, incorruptible life, undefeatable life, and indestructible life.” What’s that? That’s the new birth. They were born again, they were saved, they passed out of Old Testament salvation which merely looks forward to New Testament salvation that looks back to an accomplished historical fact. You see, to be saved New Testament-wise you have to do two things. You have to confess Jesus as Lord and what else do you have to do? Believe that God raised Him from the dead. That was the fist time they believed. That’s New Testament salvation.

So Jesus tasted death for us that we might share—what’s the opposite of death? You don’t have to be a theologian to say that, do you? Let’s do it then.

“Jesus died our death that we might share His life.”

Let’s say it again.

“Jesus died our death that we might share His life.”

All right. Let’s go on. Galatians 3:13–14. Here’s one of the most neglected aspects of the exchange. But God is bringing it out into the open these days.

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us: for it is written, ‘Cursed is every one who hangs on the tree...’”

And, the cross was a tree.

“...that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

So what’s the exchange? What’s the bad thing? The curse. What’s the good thing? The blessing. All right.

“Jesus endured the curse that we might enjoy the blessing.”

Can you say that?

“Jesus endured the curse that we might enjoy the blessing.”

Now, many of you have heard me teach for an hour or two on this. I can’t afford that now but it opens a whole new door of deliverance and healing and peace. We can’t dwell on it, we just have to observe it.

If you want a picture of a curse, look at Jesus on the cross. Rejected by man, forsaken by God, under darkness, in agony, not on earth, not in heaven. Totally rejected. Totally unaccepted. Total darkness, that’s the curse. But thank God He was made a curse that we might enjoy the blessing.

Then going on very quickly now in 2 Corinthians 8:9:

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor that ye, through his poverty might become rich.”

Now again, you don’t have to be a theologian to see the exchange. What is the bad thing? Are you sure poverty is the bad thing? You better be sure. What’s the good thing? Rich. I don’t use rich when I do this because it’s been abused by wrong teaching. I use the word abundance. Because abundance means you’ve got enough for yourself and more to give to somebody else. Let’s do it quickly.

“Jesus endured our poverty that we might share His abundance.”

There are two other aspects which I won’t go into the scripture because our time is almost gone. But there are aspects of emotional healing which are also provided by the cross. I’ll just say them briefly.

“Jesus endured our shame that we might share His glory.”

I don’t know whether you’ve ever pictured Jesus hanging naked on the cross with people walking by and laughing at Him. It was shame. It says He endured the cross, despising the shame. But it was shame. And oh, how many people today are tormented by shame. I have good news for you. Jesus endured your shame. One main source of shame, to be very frank, is that children have been sexually abused in their early years. But praise God there is an answer. Jesus took the shame that we might share His glory.

And then finally, and this is the ultimate:

“Jesus endured our rejection that we might share his acceptance.”

Let’s say that.

“Jesus endured our rejection that we might share His acceptance.”

You see, on the cross the Father rejected Him. Because, He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” and there came no answer. The first time that the Son of God had ever prayed and got no answer. And He died a few moments later of a broken heart. It says in Psalm 69, “reproach has broken my heart.” Jesus did not die of the effects of crucifixion. He could have lived quite a while longer. He died of a broken heart. What broke His heart? Rejection. Why did He endure rejection? That we might have His acceptance. We are accepted with God as members of His family. And God has no second class children.

There again, in our contemporary culture I think at least 50% of the people around us are struggling with rejection because of the failure of parents, because of divorce, because of the general cruelty of human beings to one another. But we can walk out into that world and say we have the answer. It’s provided by the death of Jesus on the cross. This salvation that we are enjoying covers all your emotional needs. It’s perfectly perfect, it’s completely complete.

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