Salvation: The life of the Lord Jesus
This is the second in a series of studies on our salvation. When we first come to the Lord Jesus and ask Him to save us we will have begun to appreciate the uniqueness of the life of the Lord Jesus. His Person was always precious to God, but His perfect life was the basis of His sacrifice being so acceptable to God. This study looks, very briefly, at the reason why our Lord Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection could be accepted to remove our sins.
The uniqueness of the life of the Lord Jesus
Having understood the depravity of our state before God as a result of our being descended from Adam we must then understand the value of the sacrifice that has cleansed us from our sins and sinful condition. We are given a number of scriptures where the uniqueness of the Lord’s life and person is proclaimed:
“And the angel answering said to her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and power of the Highest overshadow thee, wherefore the holy thing also which shall be born shall be called Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
“For to this have ye been called; for Christ also has suffered for you, leaving you a model that ye should follow in his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who, when reviled, reviled not again; when suffering, threatened not; but gave himself over into the hands of him who judges righteously; who himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, in order that, being dead to sins, we may live to righteousness: by whose stripes ye have been healed” (1 Peter 2:21-24).
“Behold, a voice out of the heavens saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight” (Matthew 3:17).
“And there came a voice out of the heavens: Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I have found my delight” (Mark 1:11).
“And there was a voice out of the cloud saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him” (Luke 9:36).
“For he received from God the Father honour and glory, such a voice being uttered to him by the excellent glory: This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight” (2 Peter 1:17).
“For such a high priest became us, holy, harmless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and become higher than the heavens: who has not day by day need, as the high priests, first to offer up sacrifices for his own sins, then for those of the people; for this he did once for all in having offered up himself. For the law constitutes men high priests, having infirmity; but the word of the swearing of the oath which is after the law, a Son perfected for ever” (Hebrews 7:26-28).
“Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and has washed us from our sins in his blood, and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father: to him be the glory and the might to the ages of ages. Amen” (Revelation 1:5-6).
These are only a few verses that speak of the uniqueness of the Lord’s person and life. The first thing we have to consider is that the Lord Jesus was not of Adam’s race. He was not descended from Adam and therefore was not tainted by the sinful disobedience that has marked Adam’s descendants. The angel said to Mary that the Holy Spirit of God would overshadow her and therefore the child that would be born is described as a “holy thing”. We are told in Hebrews 10 that the Lord’s body was one that had been prepared for Him and therefore it was never the result of any action of Mankind. He was the Son of God and yet He was, in fact, God manifest in flesh and walking amongst mankind in a form that we can approach without terror.
The second thing to appreciate about the Lord’s life is that it was perfect. Satan in all his attempts to tempt the Lord in forty days in the wilderness could find no sin or mark of sin that he could appeal to. At the end of the forty days God had demonstrated to us the perfection of the one who was going to be our sacrifice. It says there was no sin in Him and no guile (or deception) in His mouth. He was the only one who could say that He was “Altogether that which I also say to you” (John 8:25). In other words, we can look at Him and know that He is consistent with every one of His words and actions. He never did anything out of a false motive.
The third thing (and perhaps the most important thing for our salvation) is that God was and is absolutely delighted with the life of Jesus. It wasn’t just that He did the right actions and said the right words, but He completely fulfilled the first commandment as well. He loved God and worshipped Him with all His soul, all His strength and all His understanding. He demonstrated to us what Mankind should really have been before God and we can see the joy and peace that He had which is available to everyone. He enjoyed an intensely loving and holy relationship with His God and Father which God wants mankind to enjoy with Him also. God the Father was so delighted with every thought, desire, action and word that He proclaimed publically His delight in His Son:
- At His baptism: demonstrating that He was supremely happy with all of the Lord’s life from birth to about thirty years old and starting His public ministry.
- On the Mount of Transfiguration: demonstrating to us that He was supremely happy with all that the Lord had said and done during the three and a half years of His public teaching and service. He even tells the disciples to “hear him” for the Lord was the one whose words were life.
- The Lord Jesus’ life was unique in its perfection and delight to God the Father. All the offerings (discussed in the studies on ‘The Offerings’) pointed to the fact that the ultimate sacrifice would be perfect. Prophecy spoke of Emmanuel which means “God with us” indicating that the Messiah (meaning ‘the sent one’) would be God Himself. Thus it was, that God could accept the perfect sacrifice for sins. “How much rather shall the blood of the Christ, who by the eternal Spirit offered himself spotless to God, purify your conscience from dead works to worship the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14). The blood of the perfect and only sin-free sacrifice was the only price that God could possibly accept to remove sin. The blood that was shed proved that one who was absolutely innocent and the greatest delight to God had died and taken the punishment for sin on our behalf. God valued, with immeasurable value, the love and submission that the Lord’s sacrifice demonstrated and so He has accepted the value of that blood as sufficient to remove all sin.
The significance of the Lord’s perfect life
The righteousness and perfection of the Lord’s life has another significance for us. “So if any one be in Christ, there is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold all things have become new: and all things are of the God who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and given to us the ministry of that reconciliation: how that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their offences; and putting in us the word of that reconciliation. We are ambassadors therefore for Christ, God as it were beseeching by us, we entreat for Christ, Be reconciled to God. Him who knew not sin he has made sin for us, that we might become God's righteousness in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). God has not only accepted the Lord’s sacrifice as being enough to remove our sins but has, in putting our sins on Christ, transferred Christ’s righteousness (which is God’s righteousness seeing as the Lord Jesus was God manifest in flesh) to us. When He looks at us He no longer sees our sins and failings but instead sees His own glorious righteousness. We have been made, in Christ, as perfect and as righteous as God Himself with our sins so completely washed away as to enable us to stand before God as though we had never sinned.
The Lord’s life is the constant study of the Christian. In no-one else but the one who calls Himself ‘the Sent One” do we see God so wonderfully revealing Himself. The Lord’s wisdom, faith and perfection is so amazing to see and consider. No wonder God found such delight in His life.
The Lord’s Person and life is the stumbling block of many ...
“To whom coming, a living stone, cast away indeed as worthless by men, but with God chosen, precious, yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Because it is contained in the scripture: Behold, I lay in Zion a corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be put to shame. To you therefore who believe is the preciousness; but to the disobedient, the stone which the builders cast away as worthless, this is become head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling and rock of offence; who stumble at the word, being disobedient to which also they have been appointed” (1 Peter 2:4-8).
Yet, this is the fundamental stumbling stone. The Pharisees and mankind generally, refuse to accept who the Lord Jesus really is and therefore they do not understand that He was the delight of God, nor the value of His sacrifice to God. Many sects have been formed refusing to accept the Person of the Lord Jesus and so cannot see the greatness of the salvation offered to us. They cast away the Lord as a worthless stone and yet it is upon the Lord that God is building all His plans. Many stumble at this stone because they refuse to accept the Lord Jesus and because of this refusal to trust in the Lord Jesus they have stumbled.
“For the Father himself has affection for you, because ye have had affection for me, and have believed that I came out from God” (John 16:27).
“And this is the witness, that God has given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. He that has the Son has life: he that has not the Son of God has not life. These things have I written to you that ye may know that ye have eternal life who believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:11-13).
“Jesus says to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father unless by me” (John 14:6).
It is on the basis of God’s delight in His Son that He saves everyone who believes on His Son’s name. We will spend our whole lives and all eternity fathoming the preciousness of Christ to God and we, as Christians, have begun to find the Lord Jesus to be precious to us too. We are precious to God because we also value His Son as He does.