"It Is Written"
Jesus said: "Man does not live on bread alone,
It would do everyone well to heed the words that Jesus spoke in the desert when He was tempted by the devil, because all of Jesus' words are all-important; they are more important than the daily bread we consume for our bodies. The words that Jesus spoke in the desert are the same words spoken previously through Moses many years before. (Deut. 8:3).
Jesus said: "I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty." John 6:35.
The words that Jesus spoke are eternal in nature, as Jesus said: "Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." Mark 13:31.
Jesus' words have lasting meaning when He said: "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." John 6:63.
The New Testament contains 2,064 verses that quote Jesus. These verses are the words that Jesus spoke. Matthew records 650, Mark has 281, Luke has 618, John has 420, Acts has 27, Corinthians have 3, and Revelation has 65. Jesus, of course, spoke many more words than those recorded in the Bible, but the Bible we read contains sufficient evidence pertaining to God that we can know and understand what God is all about. John the Gospel writer states: "Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written." John 21:25. It seems it would be beneficial for us all to study and concentrate on Jesus' words, words that are eternal in nature.
What sayeth the Scriptures?
The answer to those questions is: YES, absolutely!
If that is true, then Why did Jesus have to die?
1. Can a person receive Eternal Life without Jesus dying on the Cross? According to John 17:3, Jesus said the following words when praying to His Father: "Now this is Eternal Life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." In other words, Eternal Life is the true knowledge of God as He is represented by Jesus, and Eternal Life has been given and accomplished in the past before Jesus died on the Cross.
The Woman at the Well near Sychar (John 4:1-42) is a prime example of Eternal Life being given by Jesus to those people who were willing to listen to Him, ... for two days, no less. Those Samaritan people, because of Jesus' words, became believers! They knew Jesus was the Savior of the world (vs. 42), not because of the Woman's testimony, but because they heard it for themselves! [I am very envious of those people from the town of Sychar who listened first-hand to Jesus as He spoke to them. What a marvelous time that must have been].
Jesus the Bread of Life (John 6:25-59) depicts Jesus as "the bread that came down from Heaven." (vs. 41). Jesus said "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the Bread of Life." (vs. 47, 48). He also said "I am the living Bread that came down from Heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever." (vs. 51). Jesus stated to the disciples "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life." (vs.63). And so it is. To study, concentrate, and believe the words that Jesus revealed about His Father, this is the true "food-for-thought" sent from Heaven itself.
The Shepherd and His Flock (John 10:1-30) describes Jesus as the Good Shepherd and His created beings as His Sheep. Jesus said: "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them Eternal Life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand." (vs. 27, 28). The Shepherd takes care of His Sheep. The Sheep know the Shepherd's voice, and follow Him.
Eternal Life is Knowing God and His Son Jesus Christ as Jesus explained in John 17:3 when He prayed to His Father. Eternal Life is a gift from God. Like Jesus told the Woman at the Well: "If you knew the Gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you Living Water." (John 4:10). Ah, Living Water - a real thirst-quencher! So, how does anyone who is thirsty receive this Living Water, Eternal Life, this information and knowledge about God? The simple answer is: Ask for it!
2. Can a person receive forgiveness of sins without Jesus dying on the Cross? Paul, the Apostle in Hebrews 9:22 states: "...without the shedding of the blood there is no forgiveness." Does that mean God has never forgiven anyone before Jesus died on the Cross? Many are the examples of forgiveness prior to Jesus being crucified.
Old Testament examples:
A. Exodus 34:7 "The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin."
B. Nehemiah 9:17 "You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love."
C. Psalm 65:2 "When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions."
D. Psalm 86:5 "You are forgiving and good, O Lord..."
E. Psalm 130:4 "But with you there is forgiveness."
F. Jeremiah 31:34 " I, the Lord, will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
G. Jeremiah 33:8 "I will cleanse them from all their sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me."
New Testament examples:
Jesus Heals a Paralytic (Luke 5:17-26). The paralytic man depended on others to bring him to Jesus, through the roof of the house, no less. When Jesus saw their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, "Friend, your sins are forgiven."
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman (Luke 7:36-50). Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
The Crucifixion of Jesus (Luke 23:34). Jesus said "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing." With this last breath, Jesus forgives those whose hatred is visibly seen at the Cross. "They hated me without reason," said Jesus. (John 15:25). No one asked to be forgiven, but Jesus forgave them anyway.
Forgiveness from God does not transform sinners into saints.
3. Can a person be redeemed without Jesus dying on the Cross?
King David's Prayer (2 Sam. 7:22-24)
A. Job 19:25 "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand upon the Earth."
B. Psalm 49:15 "God will redeem my life from the grave; He will surely take me to Himself."
C. Psalm 130:7, 8 "...with Him there is full redemption. The Lord himself will redeem Israel from all their sins."
D. Isaiah 29:22 "Therefore this is what the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, says to the house of Jacob, ..."
1 Peter 1:18, 19 says: "You were redeemed...with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect."
Galatians 3:13, 14 says: "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."
4. Can a person be reconciled to God without Jesus dying on the Cross?
2 Cor. 5:14-21 says: "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for him who died for them and was raised again.
Romans 5:8-11 says: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation."
Reconciliation: To restore to friendship, harmony, unity, oneness, at-one-ment, peace.
Ever since the Garden of Eden, God has called mankind to be His friends, to a restored relationship with Him. This relationship cannot be effective unless mutual trust exists and grows within its boundaries. Reconciliation cannot be over-emphasized either as it is God's theme since the time of Creation where God will stop at nothing to win everyone back to friendship with Him. As created beings, we have the privilege to love and know God as He truly is. He will provide sufficient evidence from which we can choose whether to accept Him or reject Him. It's our choice. God wants everyone to be His Understanding Friend.
God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. (2 Cor. 5:19).
5. Can a person enter Heaven without Jesus dying on the Cross?
Two great examples exist in the Old Testament:
Enoch, the 7th from Adam. Genesis 5:21-24 states: "When Enoch had lived 65 years, he became the father of Methuselah. And after he became the father of Methuselah, Enoch walked with God 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Altogether, Enoch lived 365 years. Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."
Elijah, the Prophet. 2 Kings 2:11, 12 states: "As they (Elijah and Elisha) were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to Heaven in a whirlwind."
6. Can a person be "born again" without Jesus dying on the Cross?
7. Can a person know God without Jesus dying on the Cross?
Can there be any separation between being "born again" and knowing God? Receiving and accepting information about God makes it possible for a person to know God as He truly is, regardless of when a person has lived. The Prophets of the Old Testament as well as important persons such as Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and many others, they all qualify as being acquainted with God, long before the crucifixion of Jesus. They understood what God was all about.
8. Can a person be Jesus' friend without Jesus dying on the Cross?
Friendship is the goal that Jesus wants with every person. Jesus emphasized this by saying to his disciples: "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you." John 15:13-15.
To Know God is Life Eternal. It is a gift from God.
If a person can receive Eternal Life; If a person can receive forgiveness of sin;
Why did Jesus have to die?
Freedom of Choice is the foundation of God's government and the way He runs His Universe.
If we choose to love and admire God, we like Him and want to become His understanding friend.
The death of Jesus on the Cross reveals the insanity of sin,
There are those who believe that Eternal Life is the reward believers receive when they die, or at least receive when Jesus returns. But the words of Jesus Himself declare Eternal Life is the knowledge and belief of the truth about God, His Heavenly Father.
There are those who believe that forgiveness of sin can be received only after Jesus has shed His blood on the Cross, but examples of forgiveness were demonstrated by Jesus many times prior to the Cross, and certainly many times during the years of Old Testament history.
Many are those who believe that redemption could take place only after Jesus died, but Biblical history records events from many years prior to the Cross that redemption had already taken place.
There are those who believe that reconciliation between God and man can take place only after the death of Jesus on the Cross, but what do you do with those, who at one time were alienated from God, who later became followers? Reconciliation is found throughout the Bible. Be reconciled to God!
There are those who believe that no one can enter Heaven until Jesus' death on the Cross and His Resurrection have taken place, but such is not the case as indicated by the examples of Enoch and Elijah who never experienced death. Moses experienced death, yet he was resurrected and was with Elijah at the Transfiguration of Christ before Jesus died on the Cross.
Jesus - the Word
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
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