Friday, December 28, 2007

The Most Important Choice

According to the Bible the decision to save man was done long before we ever existed. Three passages come to mind on this topic: Ephesians 1:3,4; 2 Timothy 1:8,9; Titus 1:2. Let us read all three verses.

Ephesians 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
Ephesians 1: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

2 Timothy 1: 8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
2 Timothy 1: 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

These verses all say that the plan of salvation was in existence before the world began. In other words, before this planet existed as man’s home, Christ made a choice that He would die for anyone who would sin. Knowing how God works all the particulars of the plan had been designed and decided long before. It was a contingency plan that was put in effect once man sinned. Christ would come as a baby in the likeness of Sinful flesh. Not only would He have to suffer Satan’s persecution and punishment, Christ also had to endure God’s wrath against Sin. The wages of Sin is eternal death, which meant eternal separation from God; hence the prayer, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Matthew 27:46.

Being that God is omniscient, Christ knew what He was getting into. However, in Gethsemane, we find Christ as if trying to find a way out. It is as if the sacrifice was unbearable. Mark describes it in these words,

Mark 14: 33And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;
Mark 14: 34And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
Mark 14: 35And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
Mark 14: 36And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Christ, in fact, prayed this three times. The Father seemed to be silent. It seems that although He made the decision to die for fallen man as God, now he had to make it as a man, because to save man he had to endure the wrath of God against transgression as a man (Desire of Ages p. 686). Sister White adds later in the same chapter

Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world's Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: "If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done." Desire of Ages p. 692-3

This should not discourage us. Christ, as a man, made the choice to finish the work. Christ successfully and effectively paid the penalty for Sin. Also, no one can say Christ cannot sympathize with suffering and feeling tempted. This makes Him a better High Priest, intercessor and helper.

What kind of a high priest was Jesus? One who was made like the ones he intercedes for, He was touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He was One which was tempted in all things as we are, yet never Sinned. He was One who suffered as we suffer - and perhaps even more. Because of this, He can make reconciliation for the Sins of people and is able to succor those who are also tempted. Because of this He can sympathize with us, save us to the uttermost when we come to Him, and live to make intercession for us (Hebrews 2:17, 18; 4:15; 7:25).

Christ made His choice; because of this we are able to make our choice. The choice is very simple; accept His work of intercession and help for you or reject it. I pray that you make the right choice.