“For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.” Matt. 12:40 HCSB – Jesus
The law states: “The Wages of Sin is Death”
We read that the wages of Sin is death: Romans 6:23 This is the universal law of Sin. Death is eternal separation from God. Humans are born dead spiritually. (See John 3:16 – 18).
Jesus came here to fulfill the requirement of the Law. He died on the cross. He said of Himself: “Don’t assume that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” Matt. 5:17 – HCSB
The Old Testament Law was given to prove that no effort of Man (Humans) can satisfy the law. We are born into a sin nature. We inherited that nature from first man, Adam: “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man,and death through sin, in this way death spread to all men,because all sinned. In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression.” Romans 5:12 – 14 HCSB
What the Law did was amplify the fact that there is sin. The Law was nailed to the cross when He was nailed to the cross because He is the fulfillment of that law. The law created a debt that no human could pay. We couldn’t pay it because the Law proscribed that the sacrificial offering must be pure and blameless. Jesus was pure and blameless. He was tempted in all ways, like we are, but did not sin.
Paul says this of Jesus being nailed to the cross: “He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:14 HCSB
What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions ? EPH 4:9
Jesus told the disciples that, like Jonah, who was in the belly of the fish for 3 days, He will be in the belly of the Earth for 3 days. We are taught that Jesus, who was without sin, BECAME sin for our sake: “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” II Corinthians 5:21 HCSB
This is not a trivial point. This is, in fact, the WHOLE POINT, isn’t it?
We are sinful by nature. Look at the world around you, and try to convince me that sin does not exist. If the only sin you ever committed was to tell a little white lie, then, there is sin. There are no degrees of rebellion against God. ALL sin is rebellion.
We inherited this sin nature from Adam.
Here is what gives Jesus His street creds. He was blameless before God. He was not guilty of any sin. He CHOSE to come here, in the form of a human, and assume the burden of our sin because we were eternally damned unless the sin debt was paid. Jesus, who IS life itself, took on the burden of death, so we, who are dead at birth, may have life in Him.
Jesus became sin. He didn’t just accept the responsibility for our sin, although that is what He did; Jesus BECAME sin itself.
Think about this. Think a long time, if you need to. This is not trivial. This is the center point around which all our hope and claim of Salvation rests.
Jesus became every sin. He became the ugly things we do and say. He became all the hate. He became every rapist, every murderer, every evil thing that has ever existed and will exist. He became the very engine that drives evil to do what evil does. Every vile thought, every adultery, every greed, avarice, every sickness we have ever had or can imagine. Jesus BECAME these things.
Jesus shouted out on the cross, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”. God will not look on sin. God has no fellowship with evil. The only place evil has to go from there is hell. And that is where Jesus went.
Having become all sin, all evil, all that is vile and full of reproach, Jesus descended into Hell. He took on the full and complete wrath of God, and suffered the total separation of God. There was no longer that sweet communion between Jesus and His Heavenly Father. He was cut off.
Jesus became sin and absorbed and endured the complete wrath and torment of God’s judgement. There were no angels there to help him. The Holy Spirit was not there in Hell. God was not there. It was just Jesus.
Psalm 88 describes this event:
I am counted among those going down to the Pit.
I am like a man without strength,
abandoned among the dead.
I am like the slain lying in the grave,
whom You no longer remember,
and who are cut off from Your care.
You have put me in the lowest part of the Pit,
in the darkest places, in the depths.
Your wrath weighs heavily on me;
You have overwhelmed me with all Your waves.
Jesus was alone in Hell. He was dead. He gave up His purity to become a complete abomination to God and Man. And Satan had a short-lived party. This was the goal of Satan. That the King of Glory should fail and die. Jesus’ torment was complete. He had completely emptied the cup of God’s wrath. Sin had brought Him to death and Hell.
Psalm 88 says:
Lord, why do You reject me?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
From my youth,
I have been afflicted and near death.
I suffer Your horrors; I am desperate.
Your wrath sweeps over me;
Your terrors destroy me.
They surround me like water all day long;
they close in on me from every side.
You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me;
darkness is my only friend.
While Jesus was there, He remembered the promises of God…just as Jonas prayed in the belly of the whale, Jesus remembered God’s eternal promise. If Jesus would become sin, and bear the wrath of God, for the sake of all humanity, then God will raise Him from the dead, and seat Him on the Right Hand of the Father.
On His own, clinging to the promises, in the face of the unmitigated wrath of God, Jesus remembered…
“…the Lord…He heard me, …thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:2), “…I will look again to the Holy Temple.” (2:4), “…THOU BROUGHT UP MY LIFE…”(2:6)
And in the Psalm 16:10 – “For You will not abandon me to Sheol; You will not allow Your Faithful One to see decay.”
While Jesus was remembering the promise, and praying, and crying out, the Spirit of God came to Him and brought Him back to life. His soul had died for our sakes. He was condemned and died. But the Spirit of God came to Him in Hell and brought Him back.
While Jesus was there, He accomplished several things.
Jesus preached to the prisoners in Hell:
“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring you to God, after being put to death in the fleshly realm but made alive in the spiritual realm. In that state He also went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison who in the past were disobedient, when God patiently waited in the days of Noah while an ark was being prepared.”
Then He took the keys of Hell from Satan, and in proving He has all authority over life and death, and owns the keys of Hell, He took the captives from Hell and set them free, all who believed.
Satan no longer has any authority over anything. Any thing he does have, he takes from humans who are willing to give it to him.
When Jesus came out of Hell, He proved that He is the King of Glory and the owner of all life and death.
Jesus proved that He alone is the Lord of the Universe and rules over all things.
Jesus gave us all this free gift of His grace, this life, if we accept it. We are not alive spiritually unless we accept this gift:
“Now grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the Messiah’s gift. For it says: ‘When He ascended on high, He took prisoners into captivity; He gave gifts to people.’
“But what does “He ascended” mean except that He descended to the lower parts of the earth? The One who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things. ” EPHESIANS 4:7-10 HCSB
Our first free gift is LIFE. We are brought from death into life when we accept this free gift of Jesus’ sacrifice. He proved He has this authority.
If you have accepted this free gift, then you are saved. Salvation is yours.
Jesus gave us all manner of gifts on His ascension. If you have accepted this gift of salvation, Jesus wants to walk you into His lordship. This is where we walk in many more gifts.
He turned us from the unrighteous to the righteous. We have gone from being lost to being found. This King of the Universe came here to do this for us, since we can not do this for ourselves.
The hardest thing for me to overcome, having received this new life, was the idea that I am no longer a slave. I am not a slave to sin and death. I am free from eternal damnation. My guilt has been replaced with His love. My shame has been replaced with His grace. I have received His mercy. And he has taken me by the hand and lifted me up and no longer calls me a slave. I am His brother. God is my Father.
THE CALLING OUT
When we accept this gift, we are immediately separated from the values of this world. The Spirit of God will walk with us to teach us, convict us, and guide us into Christ likeness.
When you are saved, you are called. The rest of this series will look at several of the gifts you have received from Him, so that you can answer this call.
The goal is that you will be made into the image and likeness of Christ. You are called to bring others to the same saving knowledge of Christ as you have been given. God equips whom He calls.
We are saved. In God’s eyes, we are complete. While we are still here on this earth, God intends to make manifest to the world, the completeness you have in Christ.
This series will look at the promises of your walk.
Let’s be about it.
I love you
David G. Perkins