We have now established that the Bibles we hold in our hands are the Word of God in written form. We have an accurate account of God’s mighty acts in history, and we have all the truth we need for faith and life on the pages of holy Scripture. The Bible is divided into two major sections: the Old and New Testaments. The First Testament was leading us to Christ, our Savior and Lord, the Second looks back and explains the person and work of Christ. We can learn magnificent things from both, but our main concern is in the New Testament. It tells us most clearly about Jesus Christ. It has been said that the biblical teaching concerning Christ can be summarized in this statement, “Jesus Christ was fully God and fully man in one person, and will be so forever” (Grudem, 529). This morning we will discuss the person and accomplishments of Jesus Christ in chronological order beginning with His preexistence and deity, then His incarnation, next the substitutionary atonement that He made for humanity, and finally we will discuss His exalted state.
The Preexistence and Deity of Christ
In John’s Revelation he heard, “‘I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,’ says the Lord, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’” The New Testament affirms again and again that Jesus, who is divine, has always been. Jesus existed before the world was created. Actually, the New Testament affirms that God, through Christ, created the world and all things. A great passage to look to about Christ’s preexistence is (John 1:1-4). The Apostle John begins his Gospel account with some of the deepest parts of theology. Christ is called the Word, and He was in the beginning.
The fact of Christ’s preexistence and His creative work leads us to a closely related point. Jesus is God. He is divine. John says, “The Word was God.” He also affirms that, “In Him was life.” Throughout the Bible, especially the New Testament, there are Scriptures that explicitly state that Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God, is in fact fully divine. We have seen in John one that Christ is called God; Thomas declared of Christ in John 20:28, “My Lord and my God;” in Romans 9:5 the Apostle Paul calls Christ “the eternally blessed God;” the Apostle calls Christ “our great God and Savior” in Titus 2:13; in his second epistle 1:1 the Apostle Peter calls Christ “our God and Savior.” There is an overwhelming amount of explicit evidence affirming that Jesus Christ is God.
The greatest miracle in all of history is that God put on flesh and blood and moved in among us. On this subject, we must first start with the miraculous virginal conception (Luke 1:35). That miracle demonstrates that salvation is of the Lord, and God fulfilled the promise He made in Genesis that it would be the woman’s seed that crushed the head of the serpent. One of the premier Scriptures in all of the New Testament on the incarnation of Christ is (Philippians 2:5-8). The other verse that we all know is found in (John 1:14) which says, “And the word became flesh and dwelt among us. . . .” The Bible is clear that Jesus had: a human body, a human mind, and human emotions. The Bible also affirms that Jesus Christ was fully God and fully human at the same time. A classic statement on the incarnation that I think summarizes the biblical very well says, “Remaining what He was, He became what He was not.”
He Became Sin for Us
In His humanity, the God-Man was sinless. This is the one distinction that must be upheld of Christ from the rest of humanity. Yes, He fully immersed Himself into humanity; He was fully human like you and me, yet without sin. Christ asked the Jews who opposed Him if any of them could convict Him of sin, and they had no answer to respond with. Christ Himself said that He was the light of the world. He said, “I, I AM, (as opposed to all else) the light of the world.” What was it that Pilate declared concerning the Lord? He said, “I find no crime in Him.” Only God could pay for the sins of the world, only a sinless sacrifice would do. Christ was both.
If you want to know the Gospel in one verse, you need to memorize (2 Corinthians 5:21). This is a verse that you can memorize, and have a good grasp of, to use when telling others the good news of Christ. Christ was made sin for us. Do you know how profound that is? This doctrine of the atonement has been called “penal substitution” because Christ bore our penalty as our substitute. This is the message that the Apostle Paul deemed offensive, and it is the message that many have stumbled on when considering the faith. This is Christian doctrine at its core. Salvation is by grace through faith, meaning, we cannot save ourselves. We need someone, something outside of us to save us. We cannot earn it. We cannot attain it. We do not deserve it, but it is given to us freely if we simply trust in Christ.
His Exalted State and Heavenly Work
Well, Christ’s life and work do not end with the incarnation and substitutionary atonement. He is the One who was and is and is to come. He has been raised from the dead, and has ascended to an even greater place in glory. How can we affirm that He has gone to an even greater height? Because He can be seen now as our only hope for salvation, eternal life, and complete joy. Let us go back to (Philippians 2:9-11) to read about His exaltation.
One amazing note from the New Testament is that not only has Christ been exalted, but He is still at work (Hebrews 7:25). By His sacrifice, Christ continues to plead for grace on our behalf.
“The New Testament, in hundreds of explicit verses that call Jesus ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ . . . affirms again and again the full, absolute deity of Jesus Christ” (Grudem, 552). The greatest miracle in all of history is that our God put on flesh and blood to become a man. He humbled Himself in order to completely associate Himself with you and me. He lived a sinless life; the sinless God-Man bore our penalty in our place. This was and is the plan of God. There is no other way. And Christ has been raised from the dead to never die again. He has been exalted far above the heavens. There is no greater name than the name of Jesus and it is not the letters of the name, but what that name represents- His person and accomplishments. He is both Savior and Lord. We know that He will return one day when the Father sees fit to judge the living and the dead. We will talk about that in a future sermon.
There was a time when God overlooked the sins of men and women, He knew that Christ was to be sent to make atonement, but now he calls all people everywhere to repent. I appeal to you today to count the cost of following Christ. You must forsake this world and yourself to turn to Him, but you will be given eternal life and joy forevermore. The Bible affirms that today is the day of salvation. Stop waiting to commit to Him. Call on Him while He is near.
There are two things that we need to dispose of in American Christianity:
1) Lukewark Commitment
2) Inarticulacy of Our Beliefs