Who is Jesus?
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Today we like to think we’re very enlightened, so much more educated than the ancients. We think we’re bright enough to pick and choose aspects of different religions, tailoring our belief system, and we think this is some new thought. Actually, the Pagans of centuries ago saw no problem with pledging allegiance to multiple deities from different backgrounds until they found what suited them.
Jesus was clear though when He spoke of the way to God. Only He can serve as that bridge. Only through belief on Him can we see heaven. He is the only way. We can try out custom-made religions, but in the end they’re empty, devoid of any true meaning. Christ has the answer.
By God’s grace we’re saved; we can’t do anything to earn our way to Him. But He extended this grace in the offering of His Son on our behalf for the forgiveness of sins. This action by God just shows how He expects us to be reconciled to Him. Only through Jesus. And only means only.
Look for this and other devotions about Jesus in the upcoming Exagorazo Press book entitled “Devotions for Disciples: Who is Jesus?” due out in October 2011.
Who is Jesus?
Romans 5:18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.
Adam, the first created man, was made to glorify God. In everything he did from having dominion over the earth to naming every animal created, Adam was meant to be an image-bearer of God. He was created in the image of God.
As you know, the story goes that Adam didn’t succeed at being perfect, holy, or righteous. He, along with the first woman, Eve, introduced sin into the world. They changed the whole story. No longer could mankind live in harmony, in perfect communion with God. The direct link between God and man was broken.
But Jesus also bears the image of God. He wasn’t created, like Adam, He’s always been. But where Adam fell short , Jesus succeeded perfectly. Death came through Adam because he brought sin to humanity, but life came through Christ because He defeated sin and brought righteousness to humanity.
We needed one who had lived a perfect life free from sin to be our perfect sacrificial atonement for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus is that one, the one perfect image-bearer of God. Because of Him, the image of God is us has been restored. He is the fulfillment of Adam’s calling – the perfect Adam.
Who is Jesus?
Colossians 1:13-14 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
You and I were once under the wrath of God, helpless to free ourselves from the state we found ourselves in. We were enemies of God and we never could have done anything to appease Him. It was beyond our ability to reach out to Him.
But God, in an act of amazing grace, reached out to us. He extended His hand in peace by offering His Son to die in our place. His perfect, sinless Son became our sin and paid the price we owed. And He set us free. He redeemed us. Do you understand the term redeemer? Do you realize the weight it carries?
A redeemer is one who buys something or someone back, say out of slavery or bondage for example. An Old Testament picture of the redeemer concept is given in the book of Ruth when Boaz redeems Ruth out of her widowhood. Jesus became our Redeemer which means He purchased us at a price. Now we belong to Him. We’re His. But belonging to Christ is where true freedom is found. It’s in Him that we really find life.
No one can ever take us away from our Redeemer. Once Jesus has paid the price for you, you’re His, once and for all. We can never lose Him and He’ll never leave us.
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace
If someone asked you what it means that we have redemption in Christ through His blood, how would you answer? Dating back to the Old Testament, the understanding of a redeemer was one who ransomed someone else, freed them from slavery or captivity. God was the Redeemer of Israel when He led them out of captivity in Egypt.
You and I have been redeemed too. When we accepted Christ we were freed from the slavery and bondage of sin. We’re no longer guilty. Christ’s finished work of atonement on the cross through His shed blood ransomed us from sin and we are no longer under its control.
Sometimes we still sin, but it’s not because we’re under the bondage of sin. We’ve been redeemed, we’re bought and paid for with a price. We belong to Christ. His blood paid our ransom.
I Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
Many and varied are the ways that man tries to get closer to God. New religions spring up all the time, each seeking to find the right way to become whole. Hundreds of self-help books are shelved at each book store, none quite adequately fulfilling our quest. None quite bringing us into that place where we stand in right relationship with our Creator.
It’s sad that we spend so much time searching when the answer our souls seek has already been given. We don’t attain enlightenment by searching within ourselves. We don’t achieve entrance into heaven through doing enough good deeds. There is one way to God and He is Christ Jesus. He is our Savior, our King, our friend. From Him and through Him and to Him are all things (Romans 11:36) and not one thing was created that was not created by Him (John 1:3). He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15) and only He qualifies to mediate between God and man (John 14:6).We can try to fix ourselves, try to gain knowledge, or try to work our way to righteousness, but in the end it’s all in vain. Only Christ can save us. Only He can set us free (John 8:32).
Ephesians 2:1-2 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
What did you do to make yourself be born into the world? Most of us would not argue against the truth that we had nothing to do with our physical birth. It was as out of our control as anything can be. Why do so many of us, then, think that we had anything to do with our own spiritual birth?
When you’re dead, you’re just dead. There’s nothing that a dead thing can do to make itself come to life; that can only be done supernaturally. We were all once dead, even though we walked as someone who was living. We lived and breathed physical life, but spiritually we had no pulse. We could only follow the course of this world, led around by the rest of the walking dead. We were slaves to sin.
That is, until God made us alive. Yes, He made us alive together with Christ, that we might be His people. This is true if we’ve put our trust in Christ and we’ve been adopted into God’s family. Notice all the passive language. We’ve been made alive – passive. We’ve been adopted into the family of God – passive. We were chosen – again, passive.
The dead can’t raise themselves, physically or spiritually. We can no more choose to wake up from spiritual death than we can choose to be born from our mother’s womb. We have ever so much to be thankful for, and spiritual birth is among the greatest gifts we could ever receive. God’s grace is unfathomable.
Ephesians 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
The thing about the gifts of God is that they’re free. Completely and totally free. Our Father wants us to know that there’s nothing we could ever do to earn His redemption, His forgiveness, His deliverance, or His love. They’re free — for us.
There was a price for all of these blessings and we’d do well to remember that because it causes us to give thanks constantly. When we remember that our redemption was purchased by the blood of Christ, shed on the cross in our place, we can’t help but thank God for His grace. It’s a natural response to being given so much.
The cost of our freedom was expensive for the Son of God. He had to suffer and even die in order for us to be reconciled back to God. But the beautiful thing about it all is that He wasn’t forced to do it. He willingly gave His life for all of us and He’d do it all over again if He had to. But he doesn’t. It is finished, once and for all. It’d done. Paid for in full.
We mustn’t pass over the phrase “according to the riches of His grace” as though ti was not an important part of this passage. It may seem like just an ending to the statement, but in this lies one of the most important things we can understand about God. He’s not limited in how much He has to give. He has all things under His control. He has every blessing to give. He has everything we could ever need. And He offers to us from that abundance. We can trust in Him to deliver on His promises because He lacks nothing.
What do you need right now that you’re trusting God for? He’s able to deliver.
Romans 8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last! The work of Jesus Christ on the cross accomplished what you and I could never achieved for ourselves. Under the Law, we could never reach the expectations of a holy God who requires perfection. The Law is restrictive, Christ is freeing.
Though we had the Law, in being unable to keep it we earned death. Because of our sinful nature, into which we were born, we never stood a chance at anything other than bondage and suffering. But in His love, God made a way for us to know freedom and life. In freeing us from the bondage of the Law, Jesus gave us true life and true freedom.
There is no reason to keep living as though we’re under the restraints of the Law. This is not license to sin, but rather freedom to obey God. True freedom is a life submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ, and in this freedom there is life, peace, joy, and real fellowship with God. This abundant life is bought and paid for by Christ, our Redeemer, Savior, and friend.