From July 2015, while I was in Seminary
The Gospel is often stated: “We are sinners, so Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins. All you have to do is believe on him, and have a relationship with him, and you’re saved to go to heaven when you die.” That’s true.
But what about when you’ve lost a loved one? What about when you don’t know what to do with your life? What about when you feel like you’ve blown it and can never get back? What about when I am tempted to sin again? What about when I am alone, and burdened, and filled with anxiety about distressing circumstances in the present and the future? What about when I want to avenge my friend who has been abused? What about when I can’t sleep at night? How does Jesus dying on the cross to pay for my sins really help me deal with all of this?
The answer is not forced: there is a lot more to what Jesus did than his dying for our sins. Tonight in class, my professor showed us the whole work of Christ which impacts every aspect of our lives, our guilt, our wounds, our hurts, our lost-ness, our groaning, our purposelessness, our burdens, our vengeance. Here’s the Hope and Comfort of the Gospel revisited in the Seven things Jesus did for us, per Justin Holcomb and Ridderbos.
1. Pre-existed– Jesus always existed with the Father, as the Word of God. Everything good in this world was made through Jesus, so he is worth thanking for every good thing we have. Jesus was the Father’s plan all along.
Because of this, we can have confidence that God is up to something good in the world, something bigger than we can see at any given moment. And to know Jesus personally is to know His wisdom, His plan, His will, and His very thought.
Pretty cool huh? Just wait. It get’s better!
2. Incarnated– God became flesh, and dwelt among us. That means, He knows how to hunger, He knows how to be tired, and to hurt, to be marred, to thirst, to be alone, to be hugged, to sleep, to poop, to eat, taste, smell, hear, touch, see, have a family, speak, communicate, listen, to work, to play, to dance, to run, to walk, to jump, to create, to craft, to shape, to figure things out mathematically, to sing, to laugh! Jesus was completely Human!
Because of this, we can have full assurance that as a little Christ, He has actually showed that all the facets of humanity you were originally created with, are good. He knows how you physically feel, because He has physically felt. He knows how you intellectually think, because He mentally thought. He knows how you emotionally feel, because He emotionally felt. Jesus being incarnated shows that to be human is actually a good thing!
Now before you start thinking I’m un-God-ing Jesus, just wait for the rest. It get’s better!
3. Lived– Jesus lived a sinless life. He was faced with every type of temptation that we are, and he did not sin. So doing, He himself established an eternal reservoir of Righteousness.
Because of this we who are sinful human beings, are given the eternal reservoir of His righteousness to live out in our own daily lives. It is possible, to live as Christ did, by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is only made possible, because Christ did this on our behalf, and called us forth to the same love and truth He lived out.
Now, really, is this heresy? This sounds too good to be true.
4. Died– Jesus by his death paid the penalty of every human being who ever lived and would live, and by being the second Adam, by his death, he made complete substitutionary atonement for anyone who believed in Him. How could he do that? Because this was God’s plan from the beginning. To redeem the world, by himself paying for it with his own blood.
Because of this, all guilt of the past has no weight. All regrets lose their sting, because Jesus bore upon himself our shame, and our sickness, and death. It is paid for, and you are now free to live fully as what a human being was always created to be: God’s representative on earth, and Earth’s representative before God.
This is the part we always hear. But now we’re getting into the GOOD STUFF!
5. Resurrected– Jesus was proven to be good by being raised from the Dead. Jesus rose and gave us a hope of a life that we live right now that is eternal.
And because he was raised, we have hope after death. But we also have hope for life right now! Because Jesus was resurrected, we have a whole new life right now to walk out of, in the regenerative power of the Holy Spirit. Because He was raised, the sick can be healed. Because he was raised, we are raised. We have a sure hope!
6. Ascended– He ascended to the right hand of the father. He is interceding on behalf of his people RIGHT NOW! He is interceding for you! He is drawing all men to himself. He has all authority on earth and in heaven. He is at the hand of all power in the universe. He is ruling from his throne over all the course of world events. He is at work in the world doing something Awesome! He is refashioning the image of God in the world, for the Father’s glory. He is making the church, and He is making a mature man out of many imperfect creatures, made into new creatures.
Because of this, we needn’t worry. God is perfecting His body on earth, and we who believe in Him are that body. He is ruling now, so we get to follow His rule, and See His work first hand through our own hands.
7. Returned– when he returns, and all time is completed, he will exact vengeance upon the earth in the fierceness of His wrath. And once all evil is purged, He will restore all things into a new heaven and new earth.
Because of this, we needn’t avenge ourselves. Instead let us keep cultivating the good that God has given us, which will last forever to the praise of the glory of His grace.
Wow! Jesus really *DID* do everything!
Therefore, what should I do? Sleep! because it’s 11:49 p.m. and I gotta go back to class tomorrow.