What the Lord has Done
John E. Todd, Chesterfield, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
In whatever measure people may look to themselves for their hope of salvation they are filled with doubts and fears. But the great purpose of scripture is to direct our attention to the Person of the Son of God as the Saviour of the world, that we might place our trust in Him.
Let us trace the work of the Lord Jesus Christ as He enacts and fulfils the Father's plan of salvation. 'The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world'; 'God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him', 1 John 4. 14; 4. 9. The Son came into the world at the bidding of the Father, 'the word was made flesh, and dwelt among us', John 1. 14. He came for the express purpose of bringing salvation, 'thou shalt call his name Jesus (Saviour): for he shall save his peopfe from their sins', Matt. 1. 21.
The Lord lived His human life under the law, 'made under the law', Gal. 4. 4, but without sin or sinning, for 'in him is no sin', 1 John 3. 5. 'Who did no sin', 1 Pet. 2. 22. If He had sinned He must have borne His own sin and therefore could not have borne the sins of others. 'Ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things ... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot', 1 Pet. 1. 18, 19.
As the Sinless One He could offer Himself to God as the atoning sacrifice for sins, 'Christ . . . offered himself without spot to God', Heb. 9. 14. The Lord Jesus Christ made a complete and actual atonement for the sins of the believer, 'who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree', 1 Pet. 2. 24. He made a sufficient and potential atonement for the sins of the whole world, 'he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world', 1 John 2. 2. So perfect, complete and sufficient is His atoning death that the believer is now justified, 'being now justified by his blood', Rom. 5. 9. The believer has received God's final verdict, 'it is God that justifieth', Rom. 8. 33.
The Father raised Him from the dead, 'Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father', Rom. 6. 4. The resurrection of Christ fulfils two vital roles in God's plan of salvation. First, it declares the Father's complete satisfaction with, and acceptance of, the sacrifice of His Son for sin. 'Jesus our Lord . . . who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification', Rom. 4. 25. Second, the Lord Jesus Christ is alive and able to fulfil His promise to send from the Father the gift of the Holy Spirit into the life of each believer. 'I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever', John 14. 16. Thus the believer is justified by the blood of Christ and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ. In receiving the life of the risen Christ in the person of the Holy Spirit the believer is born again and can now live in the power of this new life.
Although the purpose of the Christian life is that we should not sin, nevertheless we do sin. But the risen living Lord Jesus acts as our Advocate in the very presence of the Father. 'My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous', 1 John 2. 1. 'If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness', 1 John 1. 8-9.
There is only one sense in which the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ is incomplete. He has justified us by His blood, He is sanctifying us by His Spirit, but He is yet to glorify us by His coming again. 'So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation', Heb. 9. 28.
Thus, as we survey the completed work of Christ as set before us in holy scripture, we can readily see that He has provided for us a complete salvation. As we trust in Him and His redeeming work we can enjoy the peace of knowing that we are saved. 'Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus', Heb. 6. 19-20.
AUTHOR PROFILE: John has been constributing articles to assembly magazines since 1986. together with his wife he began work amongst children that led to establishment of the assembly. Now he serves the assembly as an elder and in the ministry of God's word.