Acts 13:39 “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”
There are certain lines we hold to in our life.
For some, it is language. The level of toleration for cursing in the workplace has grown with those who remain silent. When it comes to taking the Lord’s name in vain, I have had to step forward and say something.
For others, it is lying. Still others, it is immoral behavior or laziness.
Everyone has some set lines in their life. Some will not allow bullying while others wink at it. Verbal abuses are laughed at and seen as sport except for those who are the object of their barbs.
Some lines are cultural, and others political. Religion has had its share of splits and splinters. Even the debate over which bible version is correct.
When God; in the Word of God, lays down a line in the sand, we must take heed. When He says; “Thus saith the Lord…” we must believe that it it true.
In our text today, the Apostle Paul speaks to those Jews at synagogue in Antioch and measures out a line using things they could fully understand. The Jews; who today, still hold to this doctrine, believe that they must keep the law of Moses to be justified before God.
Justification simply defined is standing before God just as if you and I had never sinned. Sinless. Righteous. Holy. The Bible clearly states that without the cleansing that the blood of Jesus Christ gives, no man can be justified.
Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”
Ephesians 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
There exists a biblical line that no soul will be justified without the shedding of blood. The Old Testament depicted the forthcoming of the Messiah as that spotless Lamb through the sacrifice on the Day of Atonement – Yom Kippur.
Just as John the Baptist had declared:
John 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.“
Jesus was that pure, perfect Lamb of God as foretold in the Old Testament. He fulfilled the prophecies that God would redeem man unto Himself.
Again, in our text, Paul emphasizes that line; revealing that there is no justification with God through the keeping of the Old Testament law – only through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Hebrews 9:13-14 “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
It is believed that the Apostle Paul is the writer of the Book of Hebrews. In it, he makes the case for Christ for those clinging to Judaism to clearly see that Jesus Christ was the One, True Messiah; the Son of God – Moshiach, or Yeshua HaMashiach.
Battle lines have been drawn through the ages over many a differing opinion and belief. Far more personal today, are the lines we draw with the people in our lives. When we feel our personal belief has been breached and we are challenged to defend or embrace that one who crossed the line – it can become a very scary event in our life.
Some lines are drawn with a firm resolve and belief as solid as the rock of Gibraltar. Some lines are drawn in defense of those we love and desire to protect. Some lines are drawn in fear. Fear of being found out; fear of revealing who we really are or just fear spawned by ignorance.
In studying any religion, you can use what they believe about Jesus Christ as the dividing line – the line of demarcation, if you will.
Did He truly exist here on this earth? Is He the Son of God? Is/was He divine? Was He born of a virgin? Was His sacrifice sufficient to redeem all of mankind? All of these questions and so many more have been asked throughout the ages. Two notable authors have written about their personal journey from atheism to belief in Jesus Christ.
Many of us fear confrontation because we lack the knowledge of our own beliefs. Trusting by faith does not have to be ‘blind faith’. God and His Word have withstood the scrutiny of man throughout the ages.
Those who have sought to expose Christ as fake or phony have either walked away believers or were convicted that they were clearly in opposition to a power far greater than themselves.
Lee Strobel was a legal journalist for the Chicago Tribune. At the time his wife professed Jesus Christ as Savior, he set out to debunk what he believed to be a religious sham. Approaching it from a legal journalist’s viewpoint, he began a fact-finding mission to disprove this”Christ” as nothing more than a fake or phony. His journey and coming to a saving knowledge in Jesus Christ is chronicled in the book made movie; “The Case for Christ”.
Josh McDowell had planned to be a lawyer. But while attending college, he was challenged to intellectually examine the claims of christianity, he found compelling, overwhelming evidence to the claims that Jesus is who He says He is. His journey was written in “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” which now has two volumes currently.
Dear reader, on which side of the line do you stand today? Do you stand with those who boldly proclaim Jesus as their personal Savior? Do others know you to be a Christian (Christ-like)? Many have come out of hiding to boldly declaring their wicked lifestyle; demanding tolerance and acceptance.
We know and our Savior told us that to stand for Him will mean persecution. But He led the way suffering far more than any one of us ever will. Just as Joshua challenged the children of Israel that day, we too must choose.
Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”