Substitutionary atonement of Jesus leads us to Grace away from religious fundamentalism

John 20:10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.  Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord 11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.” 14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to Him,“Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

During this Easter, in Singapore, there are about 380,000 Protestant Christians (10% of 3.8 million Citizens & PRs). If 5% are gays, there should be about 19,000 Gay protestant Christian.

But there are few God’s children left. We have gone Home and departed from the empty tomb. Without Jesus' substitutionary atonement, our ministry to the GLBT community to bring God's Grace, mercy, and love is Christless and in vain.

Two thousand years ago it was anguish and sorrow when they could not find the body of Jesus for the final farewell and closure. In hindsight, they did not understand that Jesus had to die, and to be resurrected.

The disciples left Mary and went Home. Many churches are empty and dry like the empty tomb. Without Christ atonement substitution, we are left empty. We play religion, as if Jesus was still there with us. Visitors come and go but presence and power of God has left us. This is all vanity.

We live in a tension of Christian faith – between judgement of a righteous God, and a God full of love, grace and mercy. Without Jesus atonement substitution for our sins, we become religious fundamentalist of the vilest kind whether to the left or right. This is not freedom but bondage to the yoke of the law.

It takes humility and faith to receive God’s grace and gift of salvation for which many learned has considered foolish. Without God’s grace, we become either the conservatives who condemned Gay marriages or the humanistic Christians with a social Gospel with an earthly heaven and no hope of eternity.

There are learned clergy who provocatively compare Jesus dying on the Cross as a substitution for our sins to bad theology akin to violent terrorism in view of God’s judgement. The opposite is true. 

There can be no peace, no rest, without Christ’ Substitutionary atonement. What can religion boast, if it is all of God! Jesus didn’t call us to be extremist and to die for our own sins, for He already died for us that we may not strive and be extremist, but instead be at rest.

There is nothing to boast of at the Cross, an empty Cross for Christ has risen. He has took our place that we may not be the religious extremist, whether striving to be sinless, or striving to do good works of love.

If we err to the left, love without judgement, there is no justice and no punishment for sins until there is only lawlessness and without law to abide by. If we err to the right, there is only judgement, no love, mercy nor grace and we become like the Pharisees. 

The Cross of Calvary achieved God’s righteous demands for the punishment of our sins yet fulfilled God’s love. Jesus’ empty tomb marks His complete works to redeem us. Jesus had survived many attempts to kill Him.

Yet, they couldn’t kill Him for He was God. He chose to lay down His life for our sake, to substitute for our sins if we indeed believe in Him as Lord and Saviour. We too have a choice and a freedom. Abiding by the Law by doing good works of love or abstaining from sins would not us bring any greater assurance of salvation.

Alas, our righteousness is insufficient.  Jesus atonement was so perfect that only once suffice for even lambs and bulls was a yearly affair covering all our sins for the year. But His death would not bring us Home if we do not believe that it substituted for our sins.

The Cross is now empty. It had satisfied God’s Holy and righteousness demands, for justice and righteousness. Our sins demand a judgement. Jesus became our righteousness displaying God’s grace, mercy and love.

At the Cross, the requirement and penalty for our sins was paid in full if we indeed believe and enter into this gift of salvation.  If Jesus had not died for our sins, the Cross would be foolishness, we would still be in our sins.

If Jesus had not risen, His death would again be meaningless like a mortal man unable to conquer death and enter into heaven. Because Christ has risen, He is residing in us and we could call on Him. 

Jesus told Mary not to hold on to Him, not because worshiping Jesus is idol worship because heaven is now in our hearts. We don’t need to hold on to Jesus. He abides with us if we belong to Him.

Without resting in the Ark, the finished work of Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection being justified fully for our sins, and we being the righteousness of Christ, and becoming a child of God.

We enter into God’s righteousness, holiness, and blessings, by faith in the finished work of the Cross. The alternative is unbelief disguised as Christianity. The disciples went Home, and Mary was left crying. Her faith and love for Jesus kept her there.

Love is not only about loving others. It starts by loving God, by loving Jesus. Mary loved Jesus that she refused to leave Him at the tomb not wanting to believe that Jesus was dead. She never gave up on God, she never gave up on Jesus even though the tomb was empty.

The journey of Gay Christians have been tough. Many have left the church and have gone home. We too can be Mary crying at the empty tomb of lost lives waiting for Jesus to resurrect us. Jesus appeared to Mary and He will appear to us as well if we seek Him first and love Him  

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