In our last post we looked at how God could not abolish the law without being himself unrighteous. He therefore had to find a better way. This he did through the person of Jesus Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. Today we’ll look into this very important topic of exactly how God accomplishes our salvation.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” – Galatians 3:13-14
We’ve previously talked about how we were naturally under God’s curse or wrath of God without Christ due to Adam’s sin. We also saw in the same article that we have been redeemed by the second Adam, Jesus Christ.
“But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. If, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men.” – Romans 5:15-18
Jesus Christ is the second Adam. The whole world has access to a full pardon through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Each human being must accept this free gift otherwise the pardon is null and void and they remain under the wrath of God and the curse of Adam (See John 3:36). Please understand that God never forces our will. He will never take anyone to heaven who doesn’t want to be there. He will never take anyone to heaven who doesn’t trust / believe in him. Heaven wouldn’t be a happy place to someone like that. It would in fact be hell.
So how does Jesus save us?
Take a look at this passage in Romans 6:5-8…
“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
Notice the language here. “We have been united with him in a death like his”, “we know that our old self was crucified with him…”, “Now if we have died with Christ…” The Bible teaches us that when we believe in Jesus something supernatural happens in the spiritual world. The Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us (see Revelation 3:20; 2 Corinthians 5:17). We become a new creation. We are reborn (John 3:3, 5). Our sin nature is considered crucified with Jesus on His cross… (look at the verse above, “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing”). Another passage in Galatians 2:20 states that, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
Did Jesus die in my place?
So we can then ask, “Did Jesus die instead of me?” Can you see the answer to that question now? The answer is no he didn’t. We died with him. When we accept him as our Lord and Saviour, His cross becomes our cross. His death becomes our death. He comes to live inside of us through the Holy Spirit and our sinful nature, the one guilty of sin and which causes us all our grief and the same nature that naturally makes us rebellious against God dies. The demands of God’s law that states that a sinner must die (Romans 3:23) are fulfilled because through the death of Jesus Christ and the subsequent infilling of the Holy Spirit we do die.
Some may think I’m trying to minimize what Jesus has done for us. Please understand this isn’t the case. The work from beginning to end is all God’s work. We couldn’t pay for sin ourselves without Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. We can’t live a righteous life today without his living in us through the Holy Spirit. Our salvation is still all God’s work. The only thing we do is give him to ok to do it in us. “For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” – Philippians 2:13. This is all about God.
God preserves His justice AND His law
Through the work of Jesus Christ we have salvation. We see the love of God made flesh and we also do not compromise in the least God’s justice. God gets the glory!