Classic Christianity – A Closer Look at Jesus Christ P11 (10-27-20)
Jesus Christ is the criteria for truth, for He even identified Himself as the way, the truth and the life. And the most reliable information we have of what He said has been written down for us through those who were eyewitnesses, who walked and talked with Him when Jesus walked this earth. This is the bible, composed of 66 individual books, that we can hold in our hands. As you ponder the pages of scripture, relying on the Spirit to teach you, that is how you come to know what truth is.
But if you want to know what truth is, you first need to know who Jesus Christ is, not just about Him, but receive what He came to give. He came to give you the Holy Spirit, who He is, to come to live inside you. Who can understand the things of God, the things Jesus said that only He would know about since He came from heaven? Unless you are born again you cannot discern the things of God. The Holy Spirit has come to make Christ Jesus known to you. Jesus came, full of grace and truth, to make God known to us.
And once you and I are born again, we are to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Since the god of this air, Satan, has people bound in sin and error, then how can you trust what men say. For even Satan appears as an angel of light. Jesus warned us about the time near the end, where deception will increase. He told us to not let anyone deceive you. So how do you keep yourself from being deceived? You study His word, relying on the Holy Spirit to teach you. You become like the Bereans, whom the apostle Paul commended, because they diligently studied the scriptures to see what the apostle Paul said was true. The attitude of their heart was to want to know the truth. Jesus even said the truth shall set you free.
Who is the truth? Jesus. Who is the way? Jesus. Who is the life? Jesus. What way, what truth, and what life is Jesus talking about? Most people think of salvation as the way to get to heaven when you die, but it is more than that. It is being saved from the consequence of sin, which is death, by the gift of God, which is life in Christ Jesus. As Jesus said, He is the only way to the Father. But the way to the Father through Jesus Christ results in knowing God as an intimate friend, as your Lord whom you can depend and rely and trust while you are still alive on this earth. You have the same Spirit of God living in you that is living in Jesus when He walked the earth. You become one of Jesus’ sheep, who can hear His voice, understand and respond to His call and counsel. Indeed, Jesus is called the Counselor.
Many religious people think there are many ways to God, and that we should just love and be tolerant of one another. They have a shallow or even false understanding of what true life is and what true living is. Jesus did not say He is a way to God, but that He is the only way to God. This is not dogmatic, but the truth just as 2 + 2 = 4 is true. Jesus is the truth, the only one who came from heaven, who knows the Father, who was at His Father’s side in creating all that we see and do not see. He is truth because He created mankind and knows how man is designed to function, with the Spirit of God living in him. He is the only truth because only He was sent from God to rescue and restore all of mankind to Himself. Jesus, being God, who is eternal, not a created being, is the only life available to mankind, for Jesus is God in the flesh. Therefore, He is the only way to God, the only truth there is that came from heaven, and the only one who has life to give to mankind, His life, eternal life.
Now, God did provide a law to the Jews under an Old Covenant, but that was only meant to last until the time of Christ, until Christ came to complete the work He came to do, which is to reconcile man unto Himself. If there was a law that could impart life, then such a way would have been provided, otherwise why would Jesus go through that agonizing experience in the garden of Gethsemane to an eventual death on a cross? Why would He go through this life on earth and be known as a man of sorrows and become well acquainted with grief? Jesus shed blood on a cross is what reconciled mankind to Himself. Being God in the flesh, and having been raised from the dead for us, Jesus is also the only life available to mankind.
So, do you recognize that you are a sinner? The law testifies to us that we are a sinner. Then have you noticed why you are empty inside and why you ask questions like, “What is the meaning and purpose of life?” Then you recognize your condition of utter wretchedness, as Saul of Tarsus, later to be known as the apostle Paul, came to understand in order to receive new life. He said he once thought he could obey the law, and the more he tried not to covet, he coveted all the more. The law stirs up sin because we are weakened by the sinful flesh. The law can only condemn, and that is what it is designed for, so we can recognize what sin really is in the eyes of God and know our wretched state, so that we might seek a Savior in Jesus Christ.
To understand this problem of mankind, let us review what caused our death and the solution to sin and death. Sin caused our death, so death is a much more serious problem than sins are. We are like a walking corpse, or a zombie, since the fall of mankind in the garden of Eden. Satan had so deceived Adam and Eve, and they believed the lie, sinned and so the Spirit of God left them due to sin. Sin and death entered this world through Adam so that God’s original design for mankind was destroyed. We were all born without the Spirit of God living in us, without eternal life in us to intimately know God. The problem of sin is solved by the cross. The problem of death is solved by the life of Christ.
We would remain dead spiritually unless a solution was provided. Jesus is that only solution to the problem of sin and death, and the only one who can offer eternal life as a gift to mankind. No man could ever do enough for God so He would accept them into heaven. As we read in the scriptures, anything that does not come from faith is sin, and God cannot allow sin into His kingdom. Perfection is required to enter heaven, and we are imperfect. How can man be made perfect?
By Jesus shed blood on a cross, where he died, the wrath of God against all sin was completely satisfied, the just requirements of the law being fully met in Christ. An accounting occurred where He reconciled mankind unto Himself. Reconciliation is an accounting term. It means your sins were all taken off your accounts payable and put on his accounts receivable, and in so doing, He cleared the deck, He took them away as if they had never occurred. That was done for all men. Sin and death are no longer a barrier between us and God. Why? He took the sins of the entire world away forever from the eyes of God. When you recognize your condition of spiritual death, that sin caused your death and you are a wretched sinner, now you can appreciate and understand the meaning of Jesus death on a cross.
When you recognize that you are empty inside, without the Spirit of God living in you, without the life of God in you, then you can appreciate that Jesus was raised from the dead for you. His resurrection is not only for you to be able to go to heaven some day, but to get to know God and His Son Jesus Christ, which is what eternal life is, to know God now while you are alive on this earth, and forever when you do pass from this earth. This is eternal life, to know God and His Son, Jesus Christ.
You too can be raised to new life in Christ Jesus, when you recognize your total unrighteousness and need of new life, and so you accept the only one who has that life to give to you. As it is written, he who has the Son has the life, and he who does not have the Son, does not have the life. So you receive the life of Christ Jesus by faith as a gift from God. Jesus is the gift from God. You are said to be born again, where the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus is breathed in you, and you become a new creation, a child of God, made complete in Christ, having Christ’s perfection, His righteousness, or right standing with God. The cause of our death, sin, was already taken away, and you have received what God has offered, Himself, with His forgiveness, His righteousness, His perfection and all that is Christ.
It is like you accepted a check with the words “eternal life” on it, signed by the name Christ Jesus, and you deposited it into the bank of God. The payment of death required of sin was already paid before you knew about it. Your debts were paid in full. You were bought with the precious blood of Christ before you were even born. Now this check is offered to you by God, and there was an offer on this check. You accepted that gift by signing your name to the check, and so you received the gift of life. Your name has now been written in the Lamb’s book of life. You became a child of God. You received the most precious gift of all, the eternal life of God, to take up residence in you. What you really received is Christ Jesus Himself.
Turn to chapter 4 in our book, A Closer Look at Jesus Christ. For those listening, feel free to pick up the study guide. It is a personal study that will deepen your understanding of who Jesus Christ is. There are other studies in this Closer Look series as well, covering The Finality of The Cross, Reality of the Resurrection, Word of God, New Covenant, Law & Grace, Faith, Hope, and Love, Your Identity in Christ and Prayer. This gives you the opportunity to look at the word of God on your own and check it out what it says on these things.
The validity and truth of the word of God is not dependent on some teacher, whether me or someone else. We are not the criteria for truth. Christ is the criteria for truth. The way you confirm is to study the scriptures and ask the Spirit of God to reveal truth of God to you, for in the final analysis that is where truth is found.
1 Corinthians 2:9
9 However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”[Isaiah 64:4] –
the things God has prepared for those who love him –
10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.
Unless the Spirit of God reveals to you what something means, there is absolutely no way you are going to understand what it means. You cannot understand what scripture means through intellectual study, although study can help you know what it says, but unless the Spirit reveals to you what it means you will be devoid of that revelation. That is why it is vitally important to go through the word of God on your own, to allow Him to speak to you. You allow the Spirit of God to teach you the meaning of it.
Today we are going to talk about a very important subject, the life of Christ, as that reflects upon what that means of Christ living in you, as it relates to really the security that you can have in regard to the salvation that God has given us. So we are talking about receiving the offer of life. We have talked about receiving the provision of forgiveness and now the area of the gospel, which is where salvation comes from. You are not saved merely by the death of Christ but you are saved by the life of Christ.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
This is talking about coming to Christ, not only who He is, but what he is, God, and receiving what He made to give you and me and that is His life. So we are going to begin with 1 John 5:11-13.
1 John 5:11-13
11 And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
It is obvious that God not only provided something for you, but wants you to know about it. In other words, it is not just a provision. “I want you to know that you have what I have given you.” If you do not know what you have, you are going to spend the rest of your life trying to get what you already have. “If you are trying to get what I already have given you, then you will be striving for something you already have. So it is important to Me for you to know you have eternal life.” If God did not think it was important for you to know that, He would not go to the extreme length for you to know what you have. It is vitally important, as a child of the living God, to know that you have a life called eternal life.
There are a lot of things you could come up with. What is eternal life? People have said, “That is the thing you get after you die.” There are some people who live with that type of a mentality, that “I will not know I have eternal life until I die. After I die, then I will know whether I have it or whether I don’t.” What a sad way to live, to realize God has given an offer of eternal life but you are not going to know whether you have that until you die.
When you stop to think about it, if that is the only thing, then why would you even need to know about God when you are alive? In other words, I am going to have to wait to die to find out about all of it. So why would He even reveal to you that you are forgiven. You find that out when you die whether you are forgiven or not? Then God would not have to come to this earth physically and would not have needed to walk on the earth to die on a cross, suffer and die and shed his blood for you and me. He would have never needed to be raised from the dead. He would not need to do any of those things. Just wait until you die. It would not make any difference.
What that does is literally robs you of the life He came to give you today. Unfortunately, many Christians spend their life either talking about when they were saved forty years ago, and after talking about that, they talk about Christ who is going to come some day. We talk about when I was born again way back then and then when Christ is coming again way up yonder and in between it is absolutely a vacuum with no reality to anything. So you are talking about when born again and coming again and nothing in between, preoccupied when I was saved or the prophecy when He is going to return and absolutely with the mindset that in the meantime, I am going to grunt it for God.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. God is not wanting us living that kind of life. Did God come to save us in a particular time in your life? Was there a crucial point in your life when by faith you accepted the substitutionary death for you and His life in you, if you are born again? Yes, it was. Was it absolutely true that one of these days He is going to come again? Yes, that is true. Is it also true that probably it is very likely that in between those two events you are going to die anyway? Yes, probably true, although even less likely today as we see the end of times quickly approaching. People for over 2000 years were waiting for His return and many have died in the meantime. At that point, you are absent from the body and present with the Lord and you will see Him as He is and become like Him. But is that all there is to salvation? If that is all there is, I think we are to be pitied of all people.
The witness is this, God has given us eternal life and that life is in His Son. So let us look at the first part of that. This is the witness. Before that you are more than able and just ready to believe the testimony about other people. We just cannot wait to hear the testimony about other people. You hear a little gossip and your ears just light up and so you believe anything you hear. But this is the witness about God. You are very anxious to believe what man has to say. Are you willing now to listen to what God has to say? For people listening, I ask you to listen to this. This is a witness from God, not man. This is the witness that God has given us, or given you eternal life. That is His gift to you, a life that is called eternal life.
Now this eternal life, it says, is in His Son. So in His Son is eternal life. Why is that so? Because Christ’s life is the life eternal. So when Christ came to live here on this earth, He came as God and God’s life is eternal and He came to give us His resurrected life. He did not come to give us His body. He came to give us His life, His resurrected life. Your body is merely a housing mechanism for the reality of your life. It is what keeps pumping and enables the real you to move and express yourself while you are here on this earth. But your real life is the invisible part of you. Christ came to give us eternal life, a life that lasts forever. Eternal life is longevity, but it is also a quality of life. There is no life called eternal apart from His Son. So if someone is looking for the eternal, you better look for Jesus, for Jesus alone is the eternal. That is what He is, the one who is and was, the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega. He is life itself.
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
We have to realize all of this life is in His Son. Who is that? That is Jesus. The witness is this. That God has given us eternal life. God the Father has given us eternal life and this life is in God the Son, in His Son. He who has the Son has the life, not a life, but the life. We will study in a moment what Jesus said.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Jesus did not claim to be a life. He claimed to be the life. So, this is the record. God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life. That is Christ’s life. If you have the Son of God living in you, you have His life living in you. The Holy Spirit of God came to live in you, bringing Christ to your very being.
Colossians 1:27 (TLB)
27 Christ in your hearts is your only hope of glory.
When you have Christ Jesus, you have the life. What kind of life? Eternal life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
What do you have when you do not have the Son? You do not have the life. You do not have the truth. You do not have the way to God. People are trying to find the way to God through the eternal or through some other name. There is no other way to God except through His Son, who is the life, Jeus Christ. It is not being dogmatic. It is truth just as 2 + 2 = 4. You can say that is dogmatic. That may be, but it is true. So we have to realize from God’s vantage point, seeing our predicament. It was not a man sitting down here,saying, “God, I have this need. So I think I will develop you. So you start making God out as you want Him to be. So I got you the way I want you to be.” That is ludicrous. God is the one who is eternal. He is the one who looked down on us and saw us in our condition and seeing our condition, provided our provision, His provision for our problem in His Son. The problem with man is he is dead and needs life and so God provided for us life. What kind of life? Eternal life.
What kind of life is that? That is the life of the Son. Therefore, when you have the Son you have the life. And he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. So, folks, when you have the Son of God, when you have by faith accepted Christ Jesus into your heart, believing by faith in what He did for you at the cross, believing that He was raised from the dead, not just as a historical fact, but He was raised from the dead so by the Holy Spirit He can raise you from the dead, and you accept that by faith in your heart. All that provision that was provided for you by the Son, Jesus Christ, what do you have? Life. What kind of life? Eternal life. Why do you have that? Because you have the Son. So when you have the Son, you have His life. What do you have in there? A corpse? No, when you have something in you, you have something living in you. You have the eternal God living inside you, which is your only hope of glory.
Could you have one without the other? No. If you have the Son, you have life. So how can you say I have Jesus living in me but I do not have eternal life living in me? You could not say that. Why? Because Jesus is eternal life. Nor could you say I have eternal life but I do not have the Son. Someone says, “I have eternal life by some mystical concept of who God is.” I am sorry. It does not work that way any more than 2 + 2 = 5. It does not work that way. You could not have one without the other. If scripture says Jesus is eternal life and when you have the Son, you have the life and when you do not have the Son you do not have that life, it makes sense because if Jesus is eternal life, how could you have eternal life without Jesus? How could you have Jesus without eternal life?
It also goes ahead to say to those who believe in the name of the Son of God, that is believing in all that He is, I have written these things. Why then did He write those verses to you? In order that you may know you have eternal life. My friends, think about this for a moment. When does eternal life begin? It says when you have the Son. Do you have the Son after you die in the sweet bye and bye? No. Do you have the Son before you received the Son? No. When do you have the Son? At a moment in time when I accept the truth about his death, burial and resurrection. I accept the truth about my condition, lost, dead in my trespasses and sins. I accept His provision. I invite the living Christ to come into my heart to be my Lord, my Savior, thanking Him for His substitutionary death for me and thanking Him for His offer of life in me. And you accept that by faith.
What do you have when you do that? The Son. What else do you have? His life. What kind of life is that? Eternal. When does that begin? The very moment you have the Son. What does eternal mean? Does it mean temporal? No. What does it mean? It means eternal. What does that mean? It lasts forever. Could you lose something that was eternal? If you have eternal life and that life is in His Son, how can you lose eternal life? Well, you would have to lose the Son, wouldn’t you? Can you lose the Son? What did Jesus say about that?
5 God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
How could you lose the Son? You walk away from Him? Well, he follows you wherever you are going. That is as ludicrous as Jonah walking from God. He just got swallowed by a whale and God just followed him in there, if you truly have the Son of God. I am not talking about playing church or having church membership, but truly having the Son of God in the first place. Why would you ever walk away from life? Why would you want to walk away from someone who loves you perfectly? Why would you walk away from someone who loves you the best and knows you the most? Why would you walk away from someone who says, “I reconciled you unto myself, never counting sins against you”? Why walk away from someone who says “I love you perfectly, Bob. I will never leave you or forsake you”? Why would you want to walk away from someone who says “nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus”?.
2 Corinthians 5:19
God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s sins against them.
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
Who, in their right mind, would say, “Oh, I want to walk away from that?” No! Get a life. Get real. No man would ever want to walk away from that if he truly had it. If you are talking about walking away from religion? Yes. If you are talking about walking away from legalism? Yes. If you are talking about walking away from Christians who are mean as hornets? Yes. If you are talking about walking away from someone who says “I love you perfectly”? Absolutely not.
Folks, therefore, if you could lose eternal life, you would, therefore, have to lose who? The Son. The Son would have to depart from you, would He not?
Let me explain reasons as to why that not only will not happen but why it cannot happen. Look at Romans 5:10.
10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were [past tense] reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled [already occurred], shall we be saved through his life!
What kind of life? Eternal life. Now, the sin issue had to be settled forever. Therefore, two things having settled the sin issue that God had to do for man that man could never do for himself. God having settled the sin issue, when you were his enemies, lost, dead in trespasses and sins, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son. Reconciliation is an accounting term. It means your sins were all taken off your accounts payable and put on his accounts receivable, and in so doing, He cleared the deck, He took them away as if they had never occurred. That was done for all men.
If salvation was merely getting your sins forgiven, then everyone would be saved through reconciliation. But that is not what salvation is. Reconciliation had to be involved in the process of salvation but it is merely the beginning step of clearing the deck for the divine action of restoring man to true humanity, and that is making a dead man alive. Salvation is being saved from the wages of sin, which is death. So you have sins and those are bad but the wages of sin is worse. It is death. So God had to take care of the sins issue which He did at the cross and then take care of the wages of sin issue, which took place at the resurrection. You cannot have one without the other but do not mistake one for the other. Reconciliation had to occur in order to bring about salvation. Reconciliation is included in salvation but it is not salvation. It is just a part of it. It is the way in which God cleared the deck, dealing with sins once and for all, reconciling all men to Himself, clearing the deck, sins paid in full, once and for all, for who? The sins of the entire world.
1 John 2:2 (KJV)
2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Does that mean you have universal salvation? No. That means sins were reconciled to God. God reconciled man unto Himself, not counting sins against us, in order to offer us His resurrected life to all people who because of the cross could have been cleansed of all unrighteousness so they might receive His righteousness. So now that the sin issue is settled forever, two things God had to do for man that man could never do for himself. First life, then righteousness.
21 For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.
What is the problem with law? It could not impute life. The law brought death. The man who sins shall surely die. He did not say the man who lived according to law will certainly live. It merely said the man who sins will surely die. The law could not impart life. If it could have then righteousness, life, right standing before God, and God is a living God and you and I are dead. Then what is right standing before God? When you are alive. It is hard to have right standing when you are a corpse. It is hard to go into a graveyard and say we have right standing. A corpse is dead and you are alive. God is alive and you are dead. To have right standing before God, I had to be made alive. A living God cannot be righteous to a dead corpse. If a law could have been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The contrast to that is eternal life, through who? Christ Jesus our Lord. He who has the Son has life. The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Where does eternal life come from? Christ Jesus. That is why when you have the Son, what do you have? Eternal life. What kind of life is that? A life that is eternal. Can you lose something that is eternal? No. You would have to call it temporal. God’s life is not temporal. He did not give you His life on a temporal basis. He gave His life on an eternal basis. He restored us to true humanity by imparting to us His very life. There are two things God had to do for man that man could not do for himself after the cross was settled. Provide life and provide righteousness. Righteousness could not come through the law so it had to come as a gift.
21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
21 For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.
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