God Is Almighty, but Why Did Jesus Redeem Us by Crucifixion?
Since accepting the Lord Jesus’ gospel, I often heard the pastor expound this verse to us: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, shed all His blood, and redeemed all mankind, so we can get a chance to come before God, be qualified to pray to Him, and enjoy the abundant grace and blessings He bestows on us. Every time thinking of the Lord’s selfless love for us, I would be greatly moved, feeling that the Lord endured so much humiliation and pain for saving us, and that He loves us so much. Besides being moved, I also had some confusion in my mind: Since God is almighty, there is nothing difficult for Him to accomplish. And He can change the heaven and earth tremendously with one word. Thus, He can save mankind from the influence of Satan with only one word. But why did He redeem mankind by the crucifixion? I felt very puzzled about it and also asked many brothers and sisters, and even the pastors and elders to resolve it, but none of them could give me an answer.
One day, I shared my experiences and knowledge with a sister in the Lord. In our conversation, I spoke about my confusion, hoping to discuss and seek this together with her.
After hearing my question, she told me: “There is truth and mystery implied in God’s work. In the past, I had such confusion like yours. Later, I understood this aspect of the truth from a book, and only then was my confusion resolved. Now let’s figure out the reason why the Lord Jesus redeemed mankind by the crucifixion together.” With that she opened a book and read: “The crucifixion was endured so that man could be redeemed, yet man does not understand God and always harbors some conceptions about God, saying: ‘To redeem all mankind God had only to say to Satan, “I am almighty. You dare to withhold mankind from Me? You must give them to Me.” With these few words everything could have been resolved — did God not have authority? All that was needed was for God to say that mankind is redeemed and that man’s sins are pardoned, then man would have been without sin. Were these things not decided by God’s words? If the heaven and earth and all things came into being with words from God, how then could God not resolve this issue? Why did He Himself need to be crucified?’ Both God’s almighty side and His practical side are at work here. With regard to His practical side, God incarnate endured much suffering in His thirty-three and a half years on earth, in the end being crucified until His blood ran dry. He endured the most terrible suffering but then was resurrected from death. His resurrection was God’s aspect of almightiness at work. He did not make any indication, or shed any blood or make it rain and say this was a sin offering. He didn’t do anything like that, but instead He personally became flesh to make contact with the whole of mankind and was nailed to the cross, so that mankind would know of this deed. By means of this deed, mankind came to know that God had redeemed them and this was proof that God had indeed saved man. … The Spirit cannot bleed; only the flesh can bleed and His precious blood was the proof of a sin offering. His flesh became in the likeness of sinful flesh and He suffered pain on behalf of mankind. The Spirit could not have been nailed to the cross, so the Spirit cannot suffer pain on behalf of mankind and cannot redeem man’s sins. This was done for mankind and this is God’s practical side. But that God could do this, that He could love man, was something unachievable by man himself, so this was God’s almightiness at work. Why is it said that He is God and that He has the aspect of almightiness? Every deed God does contains within it His aspect of almightiness, and it also contains His aspect of practicality. God’s almightiness is His essence, but His practicality also embodies one side of His essence; these two aspects are inseparable” (“How to Understand God’s Almightiness and Practicality”).
After reading this passage of word, she fellowshiped: “That we have such confusion is totally because we lack the knowledge of God’s almightiness and practicality. God is almighty, and the heavens and earth and all things were complete through His words. So we don’t have any conceptions about God’s almightiness, but have conceptions about His practicality. Actually, in His actions, both His almightiness and practicality are always revealed to us. For example, to save Israelites, God called Moses to lead them out of Egypt. This is the practical aspect of God’s work. When the Pharaoh of Egypt hindered them from leaving, God descended ten plagues on Egypt. This is God’s almightiness. We also remember that, to save the people of Nineveh, God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to convey God’s will. This is the real side of God’s work. But Jonah didn’t listen and fled to Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah God. When he was in the ship, God made a mighty tempest in the sea, and Jonah was cast forth into it. But he survived being in the whale’s stomach for three days. This is God’s almighty side. At the end of the Age of Law, because the Israelites couldn’t keep the law and lived in sins every day, they faced the danger of being condemned and executed under the law, and they needed a sin offering forever. Therefore, God became flesh and endured actual suffering and crucifixion to redeem people from sin and complete His work of redemption. This is God’s practical side. Three days after being crucified, the Lord Jesus was resurrected and then appeared to His disciples for forty days. This is God’s almighty side. In God’s actions, we can see every step of God’s work contains within it His aspect of almightiness, and also His aspect of practicality. This is a factual evidence of God’s saving mankind and a powerful evidence of His victory over Satan. It makes Satan have no choice but to be convinced.”
Hearing this passage of word and her fellowship, my heart was instantly enlightened: In every action of God it contains not only His aspect of almightiness, but also His aspect of practicality. I happily said, “It seems that I don’t have any true knowledge of God. I used to think that since God is almighty, He needn’t become flesh to be nailed to the cross for mankind. Now I understand that in God’s work His almightiness and practicality cohere with each other, and they are inseparable. After hearing these words, I really feel that God’s actions are so miraculously unfathomable. Sister, I have another question to ask you: Today we live in the condition of committing and confessing sins, and we are unable to extricate ourselves from it. So, can we be taken into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord comes back?”
She replied, “Many brothers and sisters think: ‘The Lord Jesus has forgiven all of our sins, including our sins of the past and those of the future. So when the Lord returns, He will directly take us up into the kingdom of heaven.’ Is this viewpoint in accord with the Lord’s word? Will the Lord work according to our notions? Let’s see what the Bible says. In 1 Peter 1:16 it says: ‘Be you holy; for I am holy.’ And the Lord Jesus says: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever’ (John 8:34–35). The Lord is holy. Although our sins were forgiven by our faith in the Lord, our internal sinful nature is still ingrained in us. We still often sin and resist God, living in a cycle of sinning and confessing. If we want to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven, we must cast away our corrupt disposition, resolve our sinful nature, and achieve compatibility with the Lord; otherwise, ultimately we will be able only to be abandoned and eliminated by the Lord. So, measuring according to the Lord’s word, whoever sins is not allowed to enter the kingdom of heaven. Then, when the Lord comes back, how will He work to purify and save us? The Lord Jesus says: ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:27). ‘For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation’ (Luke 17:24–25). ‘And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (Joh 12:47–48). ‘For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son’ (Joh 5:22). ‘And has given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man’ (Joh 5:27). The Lord Jesus clearly prophesied that He would come again in the last days as the incarnate Son of man to speak and do the work of judgment. The words ‘Son’ and ‘Son of man’ refer to God in the flesh, because the Spirit can’t be called the ‘Son’ or the ‘Son of man.’ Thus, God incarnate is the Son of man, Christ; there’s no doubt about this. From this, we can see God’s work is practical, not so supernatural as we imagine.”
She continued: “Let’s see what the book says: ‘Satan corrupted the flesh of man, and man became the embodiment of Satan, and became the object to be defeated by God. In this way, the work of doing battle with Satan and saving mankind occurs on earth, and God must become human in order to do battle with Satan. This is work of the utmost practicality. When God is working in the flesh, He is actually doing battle with Satan in the flesh. When He works in the flesh, He is doing His work in the spiritual realm, and makes the whole of His work in the spiritual realm real on earth. The one who is conquered is man, who is disobedient to Him, the one who is defeated is the embodiment of Satan (of course, this is also man), who is in enmity of Him, and the one who is ultimately saved is also man. In this way, it is even more necessary for Him to become a man who has the outer shell of a creature, so that He is able to do real battle with Satan, conquering man, who is disobedient to Him and possessed of the same outer shell as Him, and saving man, who is of the same outer shell as Him and has been harmed by Satan. His enemy is man, the object of His conquest is man, and the object of His salvation is man, who was created by Him. So He must become man, and in this way, His work becomes much easier. He is able to defeat Satan and conquer mankind, and, moreover, is able to save mankind’ (“Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh”). From the reality we see that Satan’s corruption has already left us without any human likeness. All of what we reveal daily is the corrupt disposition of Satan, for example, our arrogance, tortuous deceit, despicable selfishness, and so forth. In short, we have long become the embodiment of Satan. To save us from Satan’s domain, God must become flesh on earth to express the truth and do the judgment work. And only in this way can our corrupt disposition be cleansed and transformed. God doing the work of saving man is not using His transcendent authority and power to defeat Satan, but expressing the truth to awaken our hearts and spirits, to judge and purify our corrupt disposition. So that we can clearly see the wickedness, ugliness, and contemptibility of Satan, and we also know God’s righteousness, holiness, and goodness at the same time. And only then can we betray and reject Satan, and sincerely turn to God. In this way, we will be saved by God, while Satan will be left humiliated in defeat. This is God’s practical work to save man.”
After hearing her fellowship, I said excitedly, “Thanks be to God! Today’s fellowship is so enlightening. It not only resolves the confusion I have had during all these years, but also makes me have a completely new knowledge of God’s almightiness and practicality.” The sister replied with smiles, “All the glory be to God!”
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