Saturday, April 3, 2010

Redemption, a Work Accomplished by Christ’s Body

As I write this post, it is Saturday evening before Resurrection Day.

My thoughts turn towards our Savior and the salvation He purchased for us by His death, burial, and resurrection. There is no greater work in all of History. There is no more significant event that we celebrate in the Christian year. There is no more personal and life-changing act that has ever been performed by one person on behalf of another. There is no truth more central to our faith than the fact that Jesus died for us, taking our sin away; and physically rose again, Victor over death, and Lord of all Creation.

For this reason, I love holy week, and especially Resurrection Day.

A truth that has captured my attention in recent years has been the fact that in God’s eternal plan, a human body was required to secure our redemption.

Think about it…

  • Incarnation:
    Couldn’t God have made a way for salvation without taking on a human body?
    Evidently not, since Jesus came to us, “born of a woman” (Gal. 4:4) just like every one of us. God with us. Wow!
  • Anticipation:
    Couldn’t Jesus have simply declared that we were forgiven?
    Well, He did declare some people “forgiven” during His ministry on earth, but we know from Heb. 9:22 that “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” Even those declarations must have been given in anticipation of His sacrifice of Himself
  • Substitution:
    Couldn’t Jesus have cleansed us of our sins by allowing an animal to die?
    Here again, Heb. 10:4 states clearly that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.” It required a human sacrifice.
  • Propitiation:
    But didn’t Jesus bear our sins in His Spirit?
    No, he actually bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24 & 1 John 2:2). If Jesus had not had a literal human body, we would not have salvation! For this reason He broke the bread and said, “This is my body, given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19)
  • Intercession:
    But Did Jesus really give His blood to redeem us?
    Yes, Jesus entered the Holy Place in heaven as our High Priest and obtained an “eternal redemption” for us “through His own blood.” (Heb. 9:12
  • Resurrection:
    Was Jesus’ death sufficient to purchase our salvation? 
    Well, as odd as it may sound to say, evidently not. Paul made it clear in 1 Cor. 15:17 that if Jesus had not risen bodily back to life, then we would not have any hope for salvation, and we would still be in our sins!
  • Ascension:
    Does Jesus still have his human body even today?
    He sure didn’t leave it behind! In Acts 1:9-11, we read that Jesus ascended bodily into Heaven. What’s more, the disciples are told that Jesus would someday return in the same way they saw Him go. Jesus will also return bodily to this earth when He comes to reign forever.

This is what Jesus did for you and for me. Thanks be to God!

…Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Phil. 2:5-11)

Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

2 comments:

Boyd Allen said...

That is correct Matt! I appreciate this.

I would like to add some comments as well if you don't mind.

We ask, would it be possible to be forgiven if Jesus had not become flesh? I think the real question should be, why bother?

The reason Jesus became flesh is not just so he can die for our sins. He became flesh to unite humanity with God. Emmanuel: God with us. It was God's purpose, which will not be thwarted, to bring humanity to Himself by becoming flesh. The created cannot become uncreated. But the Uncreated, God, can be a part of his own creation. He became flesh, and he came down into our darkness.

In our blindness and darkness, though we saw a light, like Adam, who failed to recognize God's love, hid and lashed out against that Light. We killed our very own creator.

I wrote a blog during Christmas that is in line and light of what you are saying here.

The Ultimate Sacrifice.
http://christiannaturism.blogspot.com/2009/12/ultimate-sacrifice.html

Check it out.

Boyd

Eric S. said...

I think we should take it even a step further than Boyd did. Christ MUST have been of flesh. Because He must have been subject to all of the trials and temptation that we ourselves face. If not, then there really is no reason for Him to have suffered, died and risen. Just tell us 'hey, I'm not going to degrade myself by becoming one of you, just believe in me and it'll all be O.K.". If THAT was the case, where is absolute right/wrong? Where is justice? Where is truth? For these to exist there must be consequenses, and f the wages of sin ARE death (Rom. 6:23) there must be a physical punishment of death.

No, God cannot lie, and anything other than a physical, completely human manifestation leads to a whole LOT of lying.