What is a Christian? part 6
The Christian not only believes that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh, he also believes that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh for the purpose of saving unworthy hell deserving sinners. The very heart of the Bible is found in the words, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15). Jesus Christ himself explained his coming when he said, “The son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The angels of God explained the purpose for his entrance into this world when they said, “Thou shall call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins. Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which, shall be to all the people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Matthew 1:21 and Luke 2:10, 11). The Christian believes that Jesus Christ is the only Savior of sinners. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life;no man cometh unto the father but by me.” The Bible declares, “He that believeth on him is not condemned but he that believeth not is condemned already; because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” “Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (John 14:6; 3:18; 3:36; Acts 4:12). The Christian believes that for Jesus Christ to save sinners he became their substitute. He believes that Jesus Christ took the place of sinners before the law of God and obeyed for sinners the law that they were unable to obey. In part, the atoning work of Christ consists in fulfilling the exacting requirements of God’s law which Adam and then we as his descendants failed to obey. Jesus Christ said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). Romans 5:19 declares that “by the obedience of one (Jesus Christ) many shall be made righteous.” Philippians 2:8 declares that Jesus Christ became obedient unto death even the death of the cross. Hebrews 5:8, 9 tells us that Jesus Christ was perfect in obedience to the Father. Romans 10:4 asserts that “Christ is the end (fulfillment) or goal of the law of righteousness to everyone who believes.” The Christian then believes that Jesus Christ became man that he might perfectly keep in the stead of sinners the law of God. Jesus said, “I do always those things which please my Father” (John 8:29).
The Christian also believes that Christ made atonement for the law that sinners had broken. The Bible asserts that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures;” that “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” “He (Christ) who knew no sin was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness in him.” “He (Christ) redeemed us from the curse of the law being made a curse for us” (I Corinthians 15:3; Isaiah 53:5, 6; II Corinthians 5:19, 21; I Peter 2:24; 3:18; Romans 3:24-26; 5:6-11; Ephesians 1:6, 7; Galatians 3:13).
All have sinned and come short of the glory of God, all are transgressors of God’s law, and according to eternal justice all deserve to die, all deserve God’s wrath and curse “for it is written, cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things that are written in the law” (Galatians 3:10; Romans 3:9, 19; James 2:10). But Jesus Christ came and in the stead of his people he satisfied every charge that the law of God had against them. He paid their penalty by his death upon the cross and fully satisfied every claim that divine justice might have against his people.
One Christian has said:
When one day we shall come before the throne of judgment— and we shall come before the throne of judgment, make no mistake about that—the law may point a finger at us. ‘Have you sinned?’, it will ask. To which we must reply that we have sinned, daily, constantly, in all our actions and words and even our thoughts. Then the law may reply, ‘What have you to say for yourself?’ Blessed are we if then we may say, ‘I have sinned, I have broken all thy demands, and I cannot pay the terrible debt that I owe. My Savior, however, Jesus Christ, saw my lost condition and took pity upon me. In love He came and paid the debt of my sin. I cannot atone for my sin; I cannot pay the debt. But Jesus Christ has paid the debt; He has shed His blood for me.’ Then the law will answer, ‘I have nothing to say against those for whom Christ has died. He has fully satisfied all my claims.’ Oh blessed condition, if on that last day we may be found in Christ! Then it matters not how great is the guilt of our sin. Make it mountain high, yet Jesus Christ has atoned for all. If men reject this, yet God will not, for Christ has paid our debt. Blessed work of satisfaction! Satisfaction: it is precisely that which Christ has done. Upon the basis of His work God’s law will say, ‘I am satisfied. I have no claims against those for whom He died.’ If Jesus has thus removed the grounds for our condemnation, God may freely and honestly pardon and receive us to Himself. He no longer holds our sins against us, and even more than that He looks upon us as righteous. He tells us that we may stand in a right relationship with Him.
God accounts us as righteous, it is well to note, not because of any righteousness of our own, nor for anything at all within us or done by us. He accounts us as righteous for the sake of Christ alone. He lays unto our account all that Christ did for us. Just as the terrible guilt of our sin has been imputed to (that is reckoned or laid to the account of) Jesus Christ, so God’s perfect righteousness (His obedience and work of satisfaction on the cross) is imputed to the sinner. And upon the basis of this imputed righteousness, God tells the sinner that he is right with Him.
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