Church of God, New World Ministries

Christ’s Sacrifice Begins God’s Master Plan

You have probably heard the teaching that Jesus Christ did everything for you, that all you must do is accept His shed blood for your sins. And then you are “automatically saved”! Is the mere acceptance of Christ’s death all there is to salvation? Does the blood of Jesus Christ really “save” anyone?

The common teaching today is that Jesus Christ finished the plan of salvation on the cross. The world sees only a DEAD Christ hanging on a cross, not the living Christ at the right hand of the Father in Heaven, guiding and controlling the whole universe (Heb. 1:3)!

Just what was finished? Notice Jesus’ own words: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:31). Christ came to accomplish a specific job, the Father’s work. That job was two-fold. One, to preach the gospel and to commission apostles to carry on the Father’s work till Christ returns. The second was to offer his life for the sins of the world.

Of the first part of the Father’s commission Jesus said: “I have finished the work which thou gave me to do” (John 17:4).

At the climax of the second part of that commission, as Jesus was expiring His last, he said: “It is finished” (John 19:30). What was finished? The sacrificing of His life for the sins of the world! But did that finish the plan of salvation! Not at all!

Consider! If the death of Jesus Christ completed the plan of salvation, then why the need of a resurrection? Suppose Christ were not resurrected, would His shed blood be sufficient to save you? Have you never read I Cor. 15:17? “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, and you are yet in your sins”! Notice it! “Yet in your sins”! Without salvation!

Then Christ’s sacrifice alone is not all that is necessary for salvation. Christ had to be resurrected! Unless Jesus Christ is alive today, acting as your Advocate, making intercession as your Savior, your faith in His shed blood is in vain! You would yet be in your sins. You would be without a resurrected living Savior to plead forgiveness on your behalf in the presence of the Father in Heaven.

This is why the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” that’s the work Christ finished on the stake, the working of reconciliation, so we can be forgiven our past sins, “much more,” Paul continues, “being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life” (Rom. 5:10).

Do you comprehend this all important verse? The death of Jesus Christ, the shedding of His blood paid for our past guilt, but we shall be saved, that is, inherit eternal life, by his life, the power of the resurrection! If Christ is not living today, if he were yet dead, you never could be saved! You never could inherit the Kingdom of God and live forever! That takes the power of the Holy Spirit!

What people have not understood is that there are two meanings to the word “save”. We save or rescue someone from drowning. So Christ saved us from the penalty of past sins by paying that penalty Himself. But we also save, that is, keep or reserve, money in a bank. So the life of Christ, the Holy Spirit is what saves us, keeps or preserves us living forever. That part of Salvation is yet to be finished at the resurrection!

The truth is that God’s plan only began with Jesus Christ’s sacrifice! Christ’s death is in reality only the beginning, the very first step, in God’s great Master Plan of Salvation.

Former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, during World War II, told the American Congress: “There is a purpose being worked out here below.” He acknowledged a Higher Power above who is working out that purpose!

That great and wonderful purpose for human existence was first revealed in the Garden of Eden. God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). Man was made of the dust of the ground, of clay in the form and shape of God. But man was made incomplete. Man was made to need God, to need the Holy Spirit without which he has no hope of eternal life. God, on that 6th day of creation week, had only begun His master creation. God made man a perfect physical creation. He was not yet a perfect spiritual creation! God made mankind for the purpose of being fashioned into the very character or “Image of God” into very spirit-born sons in God’s Family! But that takes time. To accomplish this God has allotted 7,000 years, seven millennial days. (Send for our FREE DVD, “Millennial Sabbath”.)

The entire creation of God begins with Jesus Christ, and, when we fully understand, it is also finished in Him! God created all things by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9). Christ was the workman who created the physical Adam. But our spiritual creation also begins with Christ. It is He who became our living example to follow. He came into the world to lead the way. He came to shed His blood for our sins. He became, also, the firstborn from among the dead, the first completed, perfected spiritual man! Notice it in your own Bible:

“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man. For it became Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering” (Heb. 2:9-10).

There it is! The purpose of life is that in us God is re-creating His own kind, reproducing Himself after His very own character “Image”! God first revealed His purpose and plan to Adam in the Garden of Eden. But Adam didn’t really comprehend it.

Only rarely in Old Testament times did God intervene in human lives and call men to walk with Him and to talk with Him about the goal of life and how to achieve it. In the first 1656 years of human history, we have a record in the Bible of only three men, Abel, Enoch, and Noah who were called to really understand the purpose of life.

After the flood, God revealed His purpose and plan to Abraham, who was an outstanding example of faith and obedience in Old Testament times (Gen. 26:5). But it was not until the days of Moses that God began to call the descendants of righteous Abraham, the twelve tribes of Israel out of Egyptian captivity, that God began to reveal the details of His plan for working out His purpose for man here below.

When God, who is the author of time, set apart and made holy the 7th day Sabbath for man, He gave mankind a rest day carrying special significance. To His “Church in the wilderness”, the congregation of Israel (Acts 7:38) God said the Sabbath was a “Sign” between Him and His people (Ezk. 20:12). This sign is a supernatural proof of identity. It is the sign by which we know that He is God. It is a memorial of God’s creation, a weekly reminder of God’s creative power.

But the Sabbath is also a reminder to God’s people of the millennial rest from sin, when the entire world will be at peace for 1,000 years, then the knowledge of God’s purpose will fill the earth as the waters cover the depths of the seas (Isa. 11:9). No other day but the 7th day of the week could have such significance and meaning. It was designed to continually keep us in this true knowledge! But did you know God also set apart and made Holy certain other days of the year beside the weekly Sabbath?

God called Israel out of Egyptian slavery to perform the most important mission any nation has ever been given in all history of mankind. Israel was not God’s “favorite” people. They were not chosen for any goodness of their own (Deut. 7:6-9). Rather, God called them so He could, through them, reveal Himself as Creator and Ruler of the universe, so that through them, as His instruments, He could make known His plan, His laws, and His blessings to all nations (Deut. 4:5-9).

God has mapped out a definite plan, allowing 7 thousand years for the process. Seven is God’s number of perfection and completeness. And so God has given to His people seven annual festivals to keep them in the knowledge of His plan. Each festival pictures a vital step in the working out of that plan for mankind. Whenever the people of Israel forgot these festivals they also forgot the plan of God. These festivals are MEMORIALS OF GOD’S PLAN.

These memorials which God gave His congregation in the wilderness begin with the commemoration of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, a picture for His Church of the plan of God in delivering the world from sin.

Just as the weekly Sabbath is a sign between God and His people, so are these festivals (Ex. 31:13).They are not Canaanitish feasts, nor Jewish feasts, nor the feasts of Moses. Not once in all the Old Testament are those days called “Jewish” feasts or feasts of Moses. They are the “feasts of the Lord, My holy days,” says God (Lev. 23:2).

The whole story of God’s plan is to be re-enacted year after year by God’s people. The yearly observance of these days impresses God’s Plan on us and continually reminds us of our part in it. To keep His children constantly in the true understanding of His great plan of salvation, Christ, the Lord of the Old Testament, originally took the yearly agricultural harvests of Palestine as a type of God’s spiritual harvest of human beings.

In Palestine there are two annual grain harvests. First, produced by early rain, is the smaller spring harvest. Second, produced by the “latter rain,” comes the main harvest the much greater fall harvest.

In the 23rd chapter of Leviticus we find a summary of these annual holy days and festivals. Christ, not the Father, spoke them to Moses and the Levites who were the teachers and ministers in Israel, so they would know what to teach the people. The first three festival periods, beginning with the Passover, are memorials of the first part of God’s Plan. They picture only the firstfruits of Christ’s labors. The last four festivals look forward to the future and show how God will reap the latter great fall harvest of billions of human beings!

The One who became Jesus Christ chose ancient Israel for a special mission they have failed to perform. Israel was a carnal nation. They didn’t have any promise of receiving the Holy Spirit at that time (John 7:38-39).Therefore, they did not comprehend God’s great purpose for mankind or the true spiritual significance of the steps within God’s Plan as pictured by the Holy Days.

God didn’t reveal this spiritual understanding to them (Eph. 3:4-5) because it was not yet His time to give the Holy Spirit to “whomsoever will.” He knew they didn’t have the spiritual ability, the heart (Deut. 5:29) within them to believe and obey.

Then why did Christ give His laws and Holy Days to ancient Israel? The Bible tells us that the “oracles” the Old Testament Scriptures which include God’s weekly Sabbath and the Holy Days, besides the knowledge of the Sacred Calendar, were committed to Israel to be passed on from generation to generation. The Israelites “who received the lively oracles to give unto us (today)” (Acts 7:38.)

But the House of Israel went into captivity, beginning in 721 B.C., losing their identity and their knowledge of God. They did not preserve the Bible or God’s Sacred Calendar for us. Then who did? The Jews!

The House of Judah, the Jews which had split away from the nation Israel after the death of Solomon, went into captivity beginning 604 B.C. They returned 70 years later. Judah retained the knowledge of her identity and her God. Recognizing the fact that she had gone into captivity for breaking the Sabbath, Judah therefore, faithfully retained the true calendar for us to this very day!

Notice what the apostle Paul under inspiration of God, asks: “What advantage then hath the Jews?” Then he answers in part, “much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:1-2) The Jews alone were left to preserve the Scriptures, the weekly Sabbath, the Holy Days and the calendar by which we may know exactly when to keep these days each year! Of all the tribes of Israel, God entrusted the Jews to be the carriers of His revealed will for the New Testament spirit-begotten Church!

You often hear people say, “Christ died to save sinners.” Many suppose that is a Bible quotation, but it isn’t! Many firmly believe that Christ’s death, His shed blood is what actually saves us, imparts everlasting life!

You may be surprised to learn that the Bible says no such thing! What a self-contradictory, totally unscientific thing the Bible would be stating, if you could find that in God’s Word!

There is no more basic and firmly established law known to science than the law of Biogenesis, that only life can beget life! Death has no power to impart life; Life can’t spring from dead matter, or shed blood. The living does not come from the non-living. God Almighty created that law!

God says: “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). That involves you! Your transgression of God’s laws has cut you off from all contact with your Creator. The penalty now hanging over you is death, eternal death, for the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). That eternal death penalty must be removed before we can have any hope of receiving eternal life!

What is the only way God says that penalty can be removed? Notice Romans 5:8-10: “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath (the death penalty) through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be “saved by His Life.”

Do you see that we are forgiven, justified of past guilt, reconciled to the Father, by the death of Jesus Christ, but that we shall be saved, not by His death, but by His life. By His resurrection! So the blood of Christ does not finally save you! It only means that Christ has paid in full the penalty of your past sins for you! The barrier that has stood between you and God has now been removed and you are now, by Christ’s sacrifice, allowed contact with God, reconciled to Him!

In I Cor. 5:7-8, God inspired Paul to lay down this commandment for the Church: “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore, let us keep the feast”!

The original true Church which Jesus built kept annually the Passover, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, not Easter. The New Testament Passover is the memorial of the death of Christ, observed on its anniversary, picturing forgiveness of our past sins and being reconciled to God.

The Bible clearly reveals that the death of Jesus Christ is the very first event, or step, in God’s great plan of man’s spiritual creation! The Passover the first of God’s annual festivals, pictures that. Jesus commanded that it be observed year by year, with new symbols so that we would never forget His sacrifice (Luke 22:19-20).

The world, because of its rebellion against God and its observance of counterfeit pagan holidays, has lost sight of the real meaning of Christ’s sacrifice. It has, instead, substituted Easter, supposedly in honor of His resurrection, an event the Bible commands us nowhere to celebrate. And the world even has the resurrection on the wrong day Sunday!

God’s true Church, the Church Jesus Christ built and promised to preserve, has retained the precious knowledge of His truth for you! Today, God’ true Church composed of truly converted, spirit-begotten children of God, is faithfully observing all of God’s festivals. Yes, God’s scattered true Church has kept these Holy Days down through the centuries from the original twelve apostles until now.

Despite Satan’s efforts to suppress the truth of God’s plan for mankind, God has commissioned His True Church to reveal His Master Plan to you.

The false religions of this world want you to believe that Christ’s sacrifice completed the plan of salvation, that there is nothing more for you to do but believe! Nothing could be further from the truth! It is the same lie Satan has promulgated from the beginning! Christ’s Passover sacrifice only begins God’s Master Plan.

(Send for our FREE reprint article, “God’s Master Plan of Salvation”)

 
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