The Work of Christ
Out of his love for his children,
God promised salvation to us. But if God were to simply overlook all our sins
and bring us to heaven, he would be denying his inherent truth and justice.
God's law condemns sinners to death.
To deliver mankind out of sin, God
had to look for someone who fulfills all of God's commandments and has never
sinned. Only a sinless person could mediate for the sins of the world. But no
one born of Adam could be perfectly sinless because the whole world lies in
sin. "Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never
sins" (Ecclesiastes ).
Therefore, God himself had to become man to fulfill the righteous requirement
on behalf of humanity. This man is Jesus, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born
of a virgin.
As a human being, Jesus was also
tempted by the devil, but he was without sin (Hebrews NIV). He was subject to weakness, but he
overcame temptation. Through Adam, we were all sinners, but through Jesus
Christ, we can now be free from condemnation.
Whoever sins against God must pay
the penalty of his sins. According to God's law, a priest had to offer an
animal as sacrifice to God and sprinkle the blood of the animal on the sinner.
The animal would bear the transgressions of the sinner. But the blood of
animals cannot take away sins. It was only a foreshadow
of the true sacrificial lamb--Jesus Christ. Jesus is "the Lamb of God, who
takes away the sin of the world" (John ). He is the perfect sacrifice that bears all our
sins. Jesus, who represents humanity, had to lay down his own life as a ransom.
Jesus Christ redeemed us with his
own blood, which was shed on the cross. Those who believe in Christ are saved
from the control of Satan to become God's treasured possession.
Jesus rose from the grave,
victorious over death. He was exalted to the highest. "Therefore God has
highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that
at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under
the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of
God the Father" (Philippians 2:911). By Christ's death and resurrection,
we may have eternal life in him.
He now continues the work of
salvation: he washes away our sins when we receive baptism in his name; he
cleanses us when we ask him for forgiveness; he also pours out the Holy Spirit
to help us obey God and overcome temptations. One day he will come again to
bring us to the heavenly home he has prepared.