The Effectiveness of Jesus’ Sacrifice

Great Days in History: The Unfolding of the Scheme of Redemption

Unlike the sacrifices that were offered under the Law of Moses, Jesus’ sacrifice was perfectly able to take away sins. Again, the sacrifices under the old law that were offered “continually” could never “take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1, 4). Yet Jesus’ sacrifice was just “one offering” that “perfected for all time those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). John wrote, “The blood of Jesus… cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

The effectiveness of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for everyone. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This is different from what is taught in the Calvinist doctrine of “limited atonement” – the idea that Jesus did not die for the world, but only for the elect. Yet Paul wrote, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men” (Titus 2:11). The salvation that was made possible by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is open to everyone.

However, this salvation is conditional. Though God’s grace has “appeared…to all men” (Titus 2:11), we know that not all will be saved (Matthew 7:13-14). How can this be? The only way to harmonize these passages is by concluding that God offers salvation to everyone but will only save those who meet His conditions. Jesus said, “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:16). He is “to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation” (Hebrews 5:9). Jesus’ crucifixion has made salvation available, but we must take advantage of this offer.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, Great Days in History: The Unfolding of the Scheme of Redemption by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Putting On Christ

Why Am I Here?

In Romans 8:1, Paul stated, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” In Ephesians 1:7 we read that “in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” In Christ we have forgiveness of our sins. In Christ we are no longer under condemnation. In Christ we are created anew. We also find that in Christ is salvation and eternal life (2 Timothy 2:10; 1 John 5:11)! Obviously, to be “in Christ” is synonymous with having obeyed the gospel, given what we have noticed about the result of gospel obedience. How then does one put on Christ? Read the following passages: Galatians 3:26-27 and Romans 6:1-13.

According to these passages, what transfers an individual into Christ?

Romans 6:17 states, “Though you were slaves of sin, …you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.” This verse helps us to understand the purpose of the instructions we are given to obey the gospel/put on Christ. Do you recall the facts upon which the gospel is founded (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)? The chart below shows us how repentance and baptism are a form of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ:

Romans 6:17


The above post is an excerpt from the book, Why Am I Here? by Devin Roush. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Pharisees Honored God’s Spokesmen

The Real Pharisees

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ So you testify against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets” (Matthew 23:29-31).

We might wonder why Jesus said what He did on this occasion. He condemned the Pharisees as hypocrites for building monuments to honor the prophets that had been killed by their forefathers. Consider a couple of points:

  1. It is good to recognize and respect those who faithfully proclaim God’s word (cf. Hebrews 13:7).
  2. It is also unfair to hold people guilty for the sins of their fathers (Ezekiel 18:20).

With these two points in mind, how could Jesus condemn the Pharisees and associate them with the sins of those who lived generations before them, especially when it appeared as though they were honoring the prophets instead of opposing them?

First of all, Jesus was not condemning them because of their father’s sin; rather, he was condemning them because they were guilty of the same type of sin. Second, Jesus knew their hearts. Though they were honoring God’s spokesmen from previous generations, they were rejecting Jesus – God’s spokesman for the “last days” (Hebrews 1:2). Even though they claimed to be different from their fathers who killed the prophets, they were the same and would prove this by plotting together to put Jesus to death.

Stephen also connected their actions with those of their fathers: “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did. Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become” (Acts 7:51-52). The old law pointed to Christ (Galatians 3:24). The prophets spoke about Him (Luke 24:44). But despite this, the Pharisees rejected Jesus and His gospel, even to the point of putting Jesus – and later His servant Stephen (Acts 7:54-60) – to death.

It is meaningless to pay lip service to God, to His word, and to those who teach it. Our words must be supported by our actions. We may declare our love for the Lord; but John wrote, “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth” (1 John 3:18). We may claim to have faith in God; but James said, “But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works’” (James 2:18). It does not matter what we say if we do not do what is pleasing to the Lord. We cannot claim to be different from those who “murdered the prophets” (Matthew 23:31) or those who “nailed [Jesus] to the cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (Acts 2:23) if we refuse to believe and obey His word today.

So who are the real Pharisees today? They are those who claim to be following in the footsteps of God’s faithful servants from the past while opposing those who are actually serving God and faithfully teaching His word today.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Real Pharisees by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Pharisees Rejected God’s Purpose for Themselves

The Real Pharisees

But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John” (Luke 7:30).

People often wonder if they have some special purpose in life. Of course, we all have the same general purpose – to “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). But there are few in history that have had a specific purpose from God.

One individual with this type of specific purpose was John the Baptist. Jesus mentioned him in the context of His discussion of the Pharisees rejecting God’s purpose for themselves. Jesus said, “This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who will prepare Your way before You’” (Luke 7:27; cf. Malachi 3:1). When John came, he had a specific purpose – to prepare the way for Christ.

However, when Jesus talked about the purpose for the Pharisees, He was speaking of the Pharisees (and others) in general terms. What was the purpose to which Jesus referred? God’s purpose for them was to save them.

The Pharisees “rejected God’s purpose for themselves” by not being “baptized by John” (Luke 7:30). This baptism was tied to forgiveness: “John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). When Zacharias prophesied of John’s mission, he said, “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77). John’s baptism was for forgiveness which led to salvation. This was God’s plan. The Pharisees rejected this.

John’s baptism was later replaced by the baptism of Christ. This was made clear in Paul’s visit to Ephesus. When he found some disciples who had been baptized “into John’s baptism,” he instructed them to be “baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:3-5). This baptism began at Pentecost when Peter declared, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins” (Acts 2:38). Yet many of the same ones who rejected John’s baptism also rejected the baptism of Christ.

God’s purpose for all people is salvation. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17). He wants all to be saved and has given the plan by which we can be saved. Jesus told His apostles, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). Many people spend time wondering if God has some specific purpose for their lives while rejecting God’s purpose for them that He has revealed – to save them from their sins. Let us not reject God’s purpose for us the way that the Pharisees did.

So who are the real Pharisees today? They are not the ones who seek to obey the Lord to receive the forgiveness of sins. Instead, they are those who reject God’s plan of salvation.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Real Pharisees by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

The Pharisees Disobeyed God’s Law

The Real Pharisees

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel” (Matthew 23:23-24).

This passage is often misunderstood and misapplied. The common idea is that Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for focusing too much on details when they should have focused on other matters instead. Those who allege this will argue that we must follow the “weightier provisions” and that the smaller details are, therefore, unimportant.

However, Jesus did not rebuke the Pharisees for doing something that was unnecessary while neglecting what was necessary. Instead, He said they should have done all that He mentioned – applying the “weightier provisions of the law” while also being careful to keep even the smaller details.

Jesus did not tell the Pharisees that they should have ignored the details so they could focus on the weightier matters. He said, “These are the things you should have done without neglecting the others” (Matthew 23:23). Because they failed to carry out part of the law (the provisions of justice, mercy, and faithfulness), they were disobedient to the law of God.

Furthermore, since Jesus said they “should have done [these things] without neglecting the others” (Matthew 23:23), we know that if they failed to tithe as they should, they also would have been guilty of disobedience to the law of God.

When Jesus gave His apostles the Great Commission, He told them, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). This means that the Lord expects His disciples to do “all that [He] commanded” (Matthew 28:20). We are not at liberty to do as the Pharisees did with regard to the Law of Moses – keep some of the commandments and neglect others. We must strive to follow all of the instructions that have been given for Christians to keep in the New Testament. We must remember that Christ has been given “all authority” (Matthew 28:18); therefore, we are obligated to obey His word.

Furthermore, the carefulness of the Pharisees in keeping certain details was not condemned. In fact, carefulness is commended to us elsewhere in the New Testament. Paul told Titus, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men” (Titus 3:8). The word translated careful means “to be thoughtful” (Thayer). In other words, we are not to be careless in following God’s word or have a casual attitude about our obedience to Him. We must be deliberate in our efforts to do what is taught in the word of God.

So who are the real Pharisees today? They are not the ones who emphasize careful obedience to the word of God. Instead, they are those who fail to do what has been instructed in His word.


The above post is an excerpt from the book, The Real Pharisees by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!