By: Nathaniel Urshan
“And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me…. This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye
drink it, in remembrance of me” (I Corinthians 11:24-25).
As I think about this text, knowing that we are celebrating fifty General years of God’s blessings since the merger that formed the United Pentecostal Church in 1945, the thing that struck me with real strength of meaning is that the One who has blessed us is the crucified Christ.
As I searched the Scriptures, I became aware of some remarkable things that the apostle Paul had to say about Jesus being crucified. I noticed that more than other writers of the New Testament, Paul made the crucified Christ the focus of his ministry.
In I Corinthians 11:2425 the word “remembrance” is translated from a Greek word that indicates an intense memory of the price Jesus paid to redeem us. We must never forget where we came from. We must never forget what was accomplished in our behalf by the Lord.
From the time that He came into this earth as Lord and Savior, the greatest hope that all mankind will ever know opened to us. His ministry was filled with not only miracles but also great compassion.
When I think of Him I am not only amazed at His ministry but also absolutely humbled by His death on the cross for our salvation. Paul was not one of the original twelve apostles and therefore did not see Jesus in His earthly ministry from the standpoint of a disciple who walked by His side, listened to His words, and felt the inspired faith from His healings and miracles. Paul had another view of Jesus; He thought that Jesus had started a movement to destroy the law of Moses. Thus he opposed and fought the church, deter mined to do everything in his power to stop it and destroy it. But nobody will ever stop the
church of the living God. The Scriptures make that very clear for the Word tells us that Jesus will sanctify the church, preserve His church, and return to take the church from the earth to be with Him. There will be a church when He comes again. Instead of defeating the church, Paul was converted and became one of its most able and zealous apostles.
Paul’s Love for Jesus
Even though he was not one of the original apostles, Paul deeply loved Jesus Christ and was given great insight into what He accomplished for us on the cross. Paul confessed his unworthiness to be in the church, much less to be a minister. He had been a blasphemer, persecutor of the church, and injurious (violently arrogant). But by God’s grace in Jesus, he became chief example of the saving mission of Jesus Christ. (See I Timothy 1:13-15.)
It doesn’t matter what your disposition or nature or feelings are prior to your salvation, for when salvation comes to you there is a remarkable change. The preaching of the United Pentecostal Church
through these years has been predicated upon our belief that God is able to save to the uttermost. We believe there is no one so deep in sin that Jesus cannot reach him and deliver him from the power of
satanic influence; He is able to break the powers of Satan in anyone’s life. In fact, He is already the victor.
Romans 3:23-25 gives us a view of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” This word propitiation has always fascinated me. It is used in Scripture in connection with the Lord’s redemptive sacrifice. In the New Testament numerous words express what the Lord has done for us. For example, He is our redeemer, the sacrificed Lamb, high priest, advocate, and Savior. It is only through Him and by Him that we receive salvation.
The Word Propitiation
The word propitiation expresses a different aspect of what took place on Calvary. Webster’s Dictionary briefly defines it as “an atoning sacrifice,” but there is more to learn from the Greek words from which
it is translated: hilasterion (Romans 3:25) and hilasmus (I John 2:2; 4: 10). The Greek word hilasterion is used in the Greek Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word meaning mercy seat. (See Exodus 25:17-22.) The wings of the cherubims stretched over the mercy seat, the place where sins were remitted in the Tabernacle and Temple. When Adam and Eve sinned, the Lord drove them from the garden and put cherubims with flaming swords to guard the gates of Eden.
Nobody could reenter the garden. Why? Because the tree of life was there. If Adam and Eve had partaken of the tree of life without having their sins remitted, they would have remained sinners existing forever without any hope of salvation. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for the remission of our sins and opened the way for us to have our sins remitted so that we may have eternal life in Him.
The word propitiation points the way back to God’s forgiveness and our justification. Jesus said, “I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7). He also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Through faith in His blood we receive His righteousness. The word propitiation therefore means that through God’s mercy manifested through the crucified Christ, He passes over our sins.
This Greek word hilasterion is the same as the Hebrew word capporeth in Exodus 25:17, meaning mercy seat. It was the place where blood was sprinkled over the mercy seat and it was where the cloud of glory
hovered. It was a place between the judgment and mercy of God. The word propitiation therefore refers to God who became our propitiator when He died on the cross and shed His blood not only for our sins but for the sins of the whole world. People may be ignorant of it, but He made an arrangement of mercy so that all mankind can come into His divine presence and live. All of us were dead i trespasses and sins,
but the Bible states that He brought us resurrection or life from the deadness of our trespasses. When God with His glory came into the Tabernacle He came injustice, but when He came to the mercy seat the
sprinkling of blood stopped His judgment upon the people.
The Lord brought salvation for all mankind. This simple biblical truth must be in our thinking. Jesus is the One and the only One who can save us from our sins: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for
there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Under the mercy seat in the ark of the covenant were God’s judgments written on the tablets of the law. Moreover, under the mercy seat and in the ark was manna, God’s provision for us. Amazing as it is to us,
the rod of Moses which sprouted and by which miracles were performed was in the ark with God’s judgments and provisions. Thus under the mercy seat are justice, provision, and miracles. Between God and justice is the propitiator who gave His life that we might receive forgiveness of sins and enjoy the greatness of His provision, presence, and power. The Book of Galatians tells us something of the price Jesus paid for us: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:13-14).
We are a people joined together with a common cause with a great opportunity to spread the gospel to the whole world. Our propitiator became the mercy seat so that the judgment of God would pass over our sin.
Jesus destroyed sin’s power at Calvary.
When He arose from the grave He came forth the conqueror over death and hell. He has already conquered the devil, and He has the keys of hell and death in His hands.
Where Was Sin Defeated?
When Jesus gave the apostle Peter the great responsibility of opening the church, He said, “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). Four people are going to be baptized in this service, and the church has the power to loose them in the name of Jesus Christ. The church has the power to bind Satan. We are starting an international network of prayer because we want to bind Satan in every area of the world. Jesus will bind Satan and destroy his work in every nation when we pray and make intercession before God. If ever there was a time that the world needed to feel the delivering power of the living God, this is the hour. Jesus is our victory. When He gave Himself in our behalf as our propitiator, He opened the way for us to come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain help and strength in the time of our need. When He died, the veil that separated the mercy seat was rent from top to the bottom, opening the way for anyone to enter into the presence of the living God.
In connection with this truth, we need to exercise brotherly kindness in this world as well as in the church. As Jesus was dying on the cross He uttered, “It is finished!” He conquered the condemnation of
the law by giving His blood so that every sinner can be forgiven.
Do This as a Memorial
We have to remember Calvary. We have to remember the Crucifixion. We have to remember the shedding of blood. If you cannot forgive others of their sins against you, you will not receive forgiveness for your sins from God. Your unforgiving attitude closes the door on God’s mercy. If you think that you can hold grudges and still have a saving relationship with God, you are mistaken. We must forgive one another as our heavenly Father forgives us through the Cross.
People are being baptized tonight for the remission of their sins. This was made possible by the cross of Christ. The apostle Paul made man references to the crucified Christ, including I Corinthians 2:2: “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” He did not minister with words of men’s wisdom, but by preaching the crucified Christ. “For the Jews require a sign, and
the Greeks seek after wisdom: but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:22-24).
We need to go back to the Cross for the sake of cleansing and sanctifying our minds and our hearts anew. We need to go back and remember from where we came and how He saved us. We have got a big task to accomplish in evangelizing our world.
Where He Brought Us From When we pastored at Calvary Tabernacle in Indianapolis, Indiana, one Saturday night Brother T. J. Miller, who was a great man of prayer, and I walked out of the church building. We saw a man weeping as he bent over the fence in front of the church building. I asked, “Is there anything we can do to help you, sir?” He looked up and said, “Yes, there is, but I don’t think I can be helped.” I assured him that he could. He said, “I need God.” I told him that he had come to the right place and invited him to enter the church with us. He hesitated. “I don’t have the clothes to go into your church.” I told him that the clothes a person wears does not make any difference to us or to God. “You’re welcome to come in,” I assured him. And he protested, “Your people are so well dressed and they look nice. I don’t belong in that group.” I responded, “You should have seen us when we were in sin. What we have we have by the grace of God. What we have is because God has showered His blessings upon us.”
We entered the church and the man quickly made his way to the altar. As we were praying for him, T. J. Miller left without my noticing. I looked around but I did not see him anywhere. Then suddenly I heard a
cry that came from the depth of a man’s soul calling upon God. I went to Brother Miller, who was between pews in the back of the auditorium. I asked him, “Are you all right?” He said, “Yes. But I got a glimpse of myself. That man is the way I was when I came to God.”
I think we need to go back to the Cross to remember where we were when Jesus saved us. Some of us grew up in a Pentecostal home. Not everybody had that privilege. But we were as lost in sin as anybody.
Pride and arrogance will condemn us to hell. A haughty attitude will destroy a preacher as well as a saint. We need to remember the Cross and let the mind which was in Christ Jesus be in us. Jesus left the
regal splendors to walk with man along the dusty roads of life. He did not need to find out about us but He wanted us to know how He felt toward us. He became poor that we may become rich. He died on the
cross that we might have eternal life.
The apostle wrote that we are not our own since we were bought with a price-the precious blood of Jesus Christ. We cannot do as we please. We do not belong to ourselves anymore, but to God who saved us by the Cross. We are not our own. We do not have the right to any materialistic gain, to keep it for ourselves. We do not have the right to keep the blessings of God for ourselves. Our plans and hopes are
bound up in our remembrance of His death.
Paul wrote, “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may
win Christ” (Philippians 3:8). Everything that we have fades into insignificance in the light of the blessings of salvation in the crucified Christ.
Paul did not end at this point, but revealed his total dependency upon Jesus: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). Paul had a vision of a Christ who could do all things. When we deny ourselves and submit to the faith route in life, we will realize the strength of the Lord Jesus.
When it comes to the matter of serving the Lord and walking with Him, we must forget about our comfort, mortify our pride and arrogance, and conquer our fears. The crucified Christ gave us our example. All of us must be involved in telling the story of Jesus Christ, sharing the gospel of our salvation.
Where is the United Pentecostal Church headed? We are going into a great revival, perhaps the greatest in our generation. But to reach our countries, cities, and communities, we must have a humble attitude
and a committed faith in Jesus Christ. We must come to the place where it is not of us but of Him. It is not what we will do but what He will do. We only need to submit ourselves to the mighty hand of God for Him to use us in His kingdom. We need to recognize that humility is the road to the blessings of almighty God. The Word tells us that God dwells with the humble and the contrite and with those who tremble at His Word. Do you tremble at His Word? Do you tremble when the preacher preaches? Do you feel the power of the Spirit as you listen to preaching?
We stand among the redeemed. He paid the price for us, and now we must pay the price for revival. Someone has rightly said, “Salvation is free.” Yes, salvation is free on our part, but Jesus paid the greatest price that could be paid. The eternal God, the One who is beyond imagination of man, the One who now lives in us, came as a servant in the form of a man; He humbled Himself and was obedient unto death for our sake. His prayer must become our prayer: “Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). When He became our propitiator, He leaped over the barriers of time to restore us to a
state of innocence through His blood and through His name. Today, He is not looking at our acts of righteousness but looking at us through His precious blood that was shed on our behalf.
In this year of preparation for worldwide revival, we stand with the hope of God in our hearts and committed to the opportunity He has opened to us. We must kneel before Him, confess our sins, and ask for forgiveness. He alone is able to take us and cleanse us by His blood. May God grant to each of us a new vision of what God will do for His people. We have found the Christ, our propitiator. Jesus said, “This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me”
(I Corinthians 11:25). Don’t forget Calvary!
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED IN THE PENTECOSTAL HERALD, JANUARY 1996, BY NATHANIEL A. URSHAN, PP.4-6, 17-19. THIS MATERIAL MAY BE USED FOR STUDY AND RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.