Inside and out
It is so easy to miss some of the perfection and detail connected with the cross when faced with the onslaught of emotion and horror of Christ’s death. There is one piece of scripture which simply describes the sacrifice of Jesus, written over 700 years before the event, but the perfection of the detail, could so easily be missed.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed
– Isaiah 53:5
You can tell how important something is to any given culture, by the amount of words they have to describe it. The bible has many different words to describe sin.
In this verse we see two of the words used for sin in the Old Testament. Transgressions and iniquities. They both describe sin, but in a different and specific way.
A transgression happens on the outside. Its when you take that inward thought and make it an outward action. It is connected to the word trespass and means to step over a known boundary. So goes from thinking about it, to actually physically doing something outwardly.
An iniquity is the inward sin which drives the outward action. It can be seen as a twisted perversion within and speaks more of the sin which is resident within us, guiding our thoughts, desires and habits.
The pharisees would say ‘we have not sinned, we have never killed or committed adultery’. But Jesus didn’t let them off that lightly during His sermon on the mount. Jesus points out that murder and adultery have a judgment, but so does our heart condition toward our brothers and sisters.
But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. – Matthew 5:22
But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. – Matthew 5:28
Jesus wasn’t making light of those sins, He was pointing out the hypocrisy within us all. We cannot point the finger at someone transgressing by doing that sin, when we are harbouring the same iniquity and desire in our heart.
You may not have transgressed and done the actual murder, but inside you are full of hate or anger toward someone and are guilty of the sin of iniquity. Jesus forced them to take a good look at themselves and we must take a good look at our lives too.
Thankfully, Jesus was so exact in His death and fulfilled what Isaiah says, that He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.
A wound is generally something that can be seen on the outside of our body and I link that with our transgressions which are those outward actions of sin. He was wounded outwardly, for our outward sin.
A bruise is internal bleeding, it causes pain on the inside, before it shows on the outside. He was bruised, hurt inwardly for the inward sins we hide away and think we are getting away with.
On the cross He completely cleansed you both inside and out, bringing forgiveness. He removed your transgressions and your iniquities.
When God the father looks your way, if you have received Christ as your saviour, He sees the sacrifice of the son and says your transgressions are taken away and he will remember them no more
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” – Hebrews 8:12
It doesn’t say that God is forgetful, in fact it doesn’t say He forgets sin, just that He chooses not to bring it up in remembrance against you. God the father says I see your wrongdoings and sin, but I will not allow it to be brought up against you because of what my son Jesus did on the cross.
In one brilliant act, our transgressions have been removed never to be remembered and we have been released from our iniquities. We no longer need to be held by habits or addictions, but can turn to Christ Jesus and His sacrifice. God offers forgiveness and cleansing for you as a whole person, inside and out because He loves you as a whole person, inside and out. His death on the cross brought about our forgiveness and salvation and His resurrection gave us our justification.
So today, walk as the new person God has made you to be, fully cleansed, fully forgiven and fully loved, inside and out.