The crucifixion of the LORD JESUS CHRIST is the central work which HE accomplished for the redemption of HIS people. Mel Gibson, in his film "The Passion", depicted somewhat realistically the physical torment that HE underwent. However, he was unable to depict the greatest suffering which the SAVIOR endured; which was the spiritual agony that HE experienced as HE took upon HIMSELF our sin. The scripture says, "For HE hath made HIM to be sin for us." (2 Cor 5:21) In essence HE became a condemned sinner. Having no sin of HIS own, HE took upon HIMSELF the sin debt of those which were given to HIM before the foundation of the world and cancelled that debt with HIS own blood. In the process of bearing their sin, HE became hated by the very FATHER that HE loved. HE endured that rejection as a surrogate or substitute for sinners. HE who was worthy of the FATHER's love tasted the FATHER's wrath in their place. HE who committed no sin tasted sin's awful curse for those who were worthy of death.
Only the LORD JESUS could have accomplished such a feat. Since HE was without any sin of HIS own HE had no sin for which HE had to atone, therefore HE was able by the sacrifice of HIMSELF to pay for the sins of every sinner which HE intended to save. The scripture demands that any man who sins must pay the awful price of sin, which is eternal death and separation from the FATHER. But the LORD JESUS CHRIST paid that fee with the sacrifice of HIMSELF, an offering of infinite value because HE is in HIS very nature eternal.
The shedding of HIS blood is evidence of the giving of HIS life for HIS people. The scripture says, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." (Lev 17:11) The offering of blood was done to show that the life of the sacrifice was taken. When we read that HE shed HIS blood for us we understand that HE gave not just HIS blood but HIS very life. HE who was righteous died for the unrighteous and made full atonement for their sin.
When the spear pierced HIS side, we read that blood and water poured out. The spear was not the means of HIS death since HE had already given up HIS life. The spear is like the preaching of the gospel which bears witness to the world that HE died. But the blood and water are like the glory of that message which brings comfort and peace to those who rejoice as they hear it preached.
The blood which came forth testifies that the sins of GOD's people are taken away and remembered no more, as William Cowper (1731-1800) wrote:
"There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from IMMANUEL's veins,
And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.
The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day,
And there have I though vile as he washed all my sins away.
Dear dying LAMB thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed church of GOD be saved to sin no more"
The water which came forth from HIS wounded side is the same as that river of life which flows out from the throne of GOD. It is a healing stream which waters the pastures wherein the sheep of GOD's flock feed day and night. The LORD told the woman at the well that if she had asked HIM, HE would have given her water to drink that would satisfy her thirst forever. Such is the power of this healing stream that all who drink of its life-giving waters shall be filled and never thirst again. "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit." (Jer 17:7-8)
Hark the voice of love and mercy
Sounds aloud from Calvary-
See it rends the rocks asunder,
Shakes the earth, and veils the sky!
It is finished, it is finished,
Hear the dying SAVIOR cry.
It is finished, O what pleasure
Do these charming words afford!
Heavenly blessings without measure,
Flow to us from CHRIST the LORD;
It is finshed, it is finished,
Saints the dying words record
(Hymn #49, Lloyd's Hymnal)
"But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." (Hebrews 10:39)
It is quite common to hear "salvation" described as a state man enters into by an act of his self-determining free will. We often grow weary of the testimonies of people who say they "got saved" as if they filled their shopping bag at a big sale at Wal Mart. Many preachers end their sermons and tell their listeners that they are about to give them an "opportunity " to "be saved". I've even heard some say that "GOD has done everything HE can do, and now it's all up to you." My reaction to that is that if GOD has done everything HE can do, and a man is not saved, there remaineth no more help for the man.
The error of believing that "getting saved" is the result of something a man does begins with the error of believing that a man can be regenerated (made alive from the deadness of sin) by an act of his own. That a man must be born again to enter the kingdom of GOD cannot be denied. (see John 3:3,5) But it seems quite clear that just as men have no control over their physical birth they have none over their spiritual awakening. The LORD said, "The wind bloweth where it listeth, (i.e.; wants to go) and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the SPIRIT." (John 3:8)
The beginning of a man's salvation just as the end of it, is all the result and action of the sovereign mercy of Almighty GOD. Unless the LORD awakens (i.e.; quickens, see Eph.2:1) a man he will remain dead in trespasses and sin without any desire after the things of GOD. "No man can come to ME, except the FATHER which hath sent ME draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. " (John 6:44)
The next stage of error is in believing that salvation is simply a present state into which a man enters, much like membership in a celestial club. But the salvation of the LORD's people is a process which begins with the FATHER's eternal election and has its crowning work in their bodily resurrection. There are many manifestations of this salvation during time. It begins with the new birth, and continues with the effectual calling of the SPIRIT, the gift of faith to those called, the confession and obedience of faith by those so gifted, the deliverance from the dominion of the old man (i.e.; sinful flesh) which results in a lifelong battle for those "being" saved. Paul said, "now is our salvation nearer than when we (first) believed." (Romans 13:11) Finally we shall stand in CHRIST in the day of judgment and be saved from the perdition (i.e.; destruction) which awaits the ungodly and unbelieving. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3-5)