The Bible Answers Short Questions From Our Readers
Plain Truth Staff
Why did Jesus cry out: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mat. 27:46.) Did the Father really forsake Him?
God's Word means what it says — that God DID actually turn His back, as it were, on Christ as He was nailed to the accursed tree. You need to understand why! The Bible reveals that ALL have sinned (Rom. 3:23). No human being — except Jesus Christ who was God and man — has lived a perfect life. Sin, the breaking of God's law, requires a penalty. That penalty is death: "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). Sin also cuts one off from God: "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he [God] heareth" (John 9:31). Isaiah wrote: "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: but your INIQUITIES have separated between you and your God, and your SINS have hid his face from you, that he will not hear" (Isa. 59:1-2). Yes, sin cuts the sinner off from God. But, when one does repent — change, turn around and go the right way, overcome — God will hear and answer that man's request. Did Christ sin? Is that the reason God the Father cut Himself off from His only begotten Son who poured out His blood and finally died on the stake? No, not at all! Christ was PERFECT. He never sinned! Notice I Peter 2:21-22: "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: WHO DID NO SIN, neither was guile found in his mouth." Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, willingly took OUR sins and by His shed blood and death suffered the penalty of sin FOR us! Mark this! Jesus Christ was cut off from God while on the stake because of our sins, the sins of the whole world! If God the Father were going to accept Christ's one supreme sacrifice as payment for the sins of all mankind, He HAD to turn His back on the sinbearer — Christ! He had to forsake Christ — give Him no help — and let Him pay the full penalty of our sins! Do you comprehend what this means? God so loved this world that He was willing to cut Himself off from His perfect, loving and obedient Son so the entire world could have its sins forgiven. How great and wonderful God's love is toward us! But, remember, God only applies Christ's sacrifice and forgives those who have truly REPENTED. Those who are willing to '"m from their evil ways. The very ways which made Christ's supreme sacrifice necessary! Christ came to save man FROM his sins — not IN his sins. If you do not have the important free booklet entitled, What Do You Mean... Salvation? you should write for it immediately. It explains what salvation really is and how one is saved from the penalty of sin! Why did Christ put His statement in the form of a question? Didn't Christ know that God must turn His back on Him and forsake Him while He was carrying the sins of the world? Yes, Christ fully realized why God had to forsake Him if the world were going to receive an atonement for its sins. This was one of the reasons Christ came into the world (John 3:16-17). Why, then, did Christ ask the question? It is important to understand in asking this question He fulfilled a prophecy contained in Psalm 22:1. This verse says: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?" These words, spoken by David hundreds of years before Christ's death, prophetically applied to Christ. They prophesied the utter anguish Christ felt when God the Father forsook Him. Christ, God's beloved Son, was willing to offer Himself in our stead. Psalm 22:1 was written in the form of a quest ion for a reason. Christ asked this question for a reason. He did it to make you and me think. Why did God forsake Him? And the answer? — because of our wickedness, our rebelliousness, our rotten, filthy habits that are contrary to God's holy and just and good laws. That's WHY Christ was forsaken by the Father! The Messiah so loved us that He was willing to have all our vile sins heaped upon Him with the full knowledge that they would cut Him off from God! As a reminder to keep us ever aware of the terrible penalty Christ paid for sin, He therefore asked the question: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" The question now is, are you going to continue breaking God's laws? Or, are you going to abhor yourself, repent, claim Christ's perfect sacrifice, and begin living a new life through the power of God's Holy Spirit? The decision is up to you!
Why does the Bible speak so sharply against vanity? Is vanity such a terrible aspect of human nature?
Many associate "vanity" with being proud and haughty. False pride, haughtiness, the SELF are vanity. But vanity is much more. It is any thing or act that is false, worthless, futile, or serves no purpose — in other words, human nature! SELF, SELF-WILL — this world and its civilization, its false religions — all of which are soon to vanish! Vanity includes everything that will ultimately come to nothing — anything that will eventually cease to exist. Vanity is SIN. The whole book of Ecclesiastes was given to expound this subject — to teach us that all physical things "under the sun" are very temporary. That only godly character and spirit exist permanently (Eccl. 1:2-3). All that is not of God, and/or changed to spirit and made eternal is vanity. Anything in this physical world that hinders development of God's character is therefore vanity and will pass away with this material world. Ecclesiastes continually stresses that our physical surroundings — and especially the SELF — are vain and transitory — here today, gone tomorrow! We humans are physical, mortal, temporary. We are vanity. We must crush out the self — and self-will. Put your mind on the needs of others. That is the spirit of Love which fulfills God's Law. The very purpose of God's Law is to point out the vanity of human nature — to point you, instead, to the character of the God who is Love, who is Eternal.