. . . by Kathy A. Smith

W ithout Jesus Christ there would be no Christian faith. He is the One who was before all things, the One who created all things, and by the word of His power, He upholds all things. Before His birth in the small town of Bethlehem, He was communing with God His Father in the glorious place called heaven.
On earth, there was a promise to fulfill and an incredible need that could only be accomplished by God Himself. Jesus Christ had to be both human and divine so He could be the mediator between God and man, and reconcile the human race to God. So Christ willingly left the majesty and joy of heaven to be born a man and give His life as a ransom for the human race. He died one of the most cruel and horrible deaths ever imagined, shedding His blood on the cross of Calvary so mankind could be redeemed and be forgiven of sin. The truths of Christ's atonement and redemption run through every page of the Bible. There is no Gospel without the story of the death of Christ as the redeemer of mankind.

Jesus Christ was the Word (God) who was made flesh (John 1:1;14). By the power of the Highest, He was conceived by the Holy Ghost and was born of a virgin without sin (Luke 1:35), having a miraculous birth. Jesus had to become a man to fulfill prophecy (Genesis 3:15), to reveal God the Father to man (John 1:18), to be an example to mankind (1 Peter 2:21), to bring deliverance, healing and life (Luke 4:18; John 10:10) and to glorify God His Father (John 14:13). Through his death He put away sin (Hebrews 9:26), He reconciled man to God (Hebrews 2:17), He destroyed the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and He is preparing for His second coming (Hebrews 9:28). He also became our high priest (Hebrews 2:17). He is the only mediator between God and man (1 Timothy 2:5). Christ purged the heavenly sanctuary with His own blood appearing in the presence of God as High Priest on our behalf (Hebrews 9:21-24). Since He was also human He is merciful to forgive us and to give help when we are in need. He was truly a man who was also tempted in all points like we are (Hebrews 4:15), but was perfect and without sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus Christ was also truly God (1 Timothy 3:16). Many places in the New Testament, Jesus is called God and Lord (John 20:28; John 1:1). He is also called the "Son of God" (Luke 4:41) and was the "only begotten Son" (John 3:16), indicating His distinctiveness among the many "children of God" (John 1:12). Jesus was also worshipped and He accepted it (John 20:28; Matthew14:33). He possessed the character and properties of deity by His pre-existence and life giving power (John 5:21,26). He is creator of everything that was made (John 1:3), and by His power all things hold together (Hebrew 1:3). He has the right and power to forgive sins (Mark 2:10), to raise the dead (John 5:25), to be the judge of all man (John 5:22), and will return in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 24:30). All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him (Colossians 2:9), and He possesses the divine attributes of immutability (Hebrews13:5), omnipotence (Matthew 28:18), omniscience (John 16:30), and omnipresence (Matthew 18:20). The way Jesus name is united with the father clearly teaches equality (John 14:10). He was totally conscious of His claims of deity. Jesus was truly God manifested in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16) who freely offered up His life as a sacrifice for the sins of the world (1 John 3:5).

The scriptures set forth His death in a fourfold way: As a ransom, Jesus paid the price by shedding His precious blood on the cross to deliver and free souls from the sentence of death (Matthew 20:28). Propitiation means that Christ's death satisfied a holy God's wrath against sin. It covers a believing sinner so he can one day stand before a holy God and be declared righteous (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 4:10). A person is reconciled to God by the death and shed blood of Jesus on the cross (Romans 5:10). The barrier of sin is now removed and man can once again have fellowship with a holy God that loves them (Ephesians 2:13-19). Christ died as a substitution for mankind who deserved death for their sins (Isaiah 53:6, 2 Corinthians 5:21). God Himself provided the payment (Genesis 22:8). He has paid the debt in full (1 Peter 2:24).
Christ's death was necessary because of God's holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), man's sinfulness (Romans 3:23), and to fulfill Old Testament scriptures (Isaiah 53; Psalm 22). Christ died for all men, (John 1:29; 1 John 2:2) but can only save those who ask Him to be their Lord and Savior (Romans 10:9). Through Christ's death, Satan's power of darkness has been broken and man needs to no longer be a slave of sin (Colossians 2:14-15).

The resurrection of Christ was written down and preached by the apostles (1 Corinthians 15, Acts 2:24, 1 Peter 1:21). Jesus also foretold the resurrection over and over (Matthew 12:39-40). Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He remained forty days after His resurrection, giving many infallible proofs, appearing to His disciples, the women who followed Him, and even appearing to over five hundred people, most of them still alive when Paul was writing the letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 15:6). He could be seen, touched, and was recognizable. He had a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Many witnesses that testified that there was an empty tomb were both His friends and His enemies. The credibility of the resurrection is based upon good authority, trustworthy facts, and capable witnesses. It is a fact proven by knowledgeable evidence, intelligent acceptance, and belief. Every one of the apostles (except John) died a martyrs' death for their belief in Christ's resurrection. The resurrection testifies to the deity of Christ and assures the believer that God was satisfied with the sacrifice Christ had made for man's sins. Christ is now interceding daily for His saints when they do commit sins (Hebrews 7:25). It gives believers the assurance and promise of present power, victory, and future glorification when they will be raised up to be with Jesus.

The ascension of Jesus Christ is when He departed visibly from His disciples and others into heaven, forty days after His resurrection. He will one day return the same way He departed (Acts 1:9-11).
Christ was then exalted to His place of power at the right hand of God (Hebrews10:12) where He intercedes (prays) for believers. He is crowned with glory and honour (Hebrews 2:9), and God has given him a name that is above all names (Philippians 2:9). One day every knee will have to bow and every tongue will have to confess His Lordship, whether they are in heaven or in earth or under the earth (Philippians 2:9-11).

Let's take a look at some of the benefits that are given to all believers: Justification is a new standing. A person is declared righteous when he believes in Christ (Romans 5:9,18). Regeneration is a new life. It is a conversion to Christ, i.e. to receive the new birth (John 3:3,5). It is to have a change of heart or nature; (2 Peter 1:4; 2 Corinthians 5:17). Adoption is a new position. When someone believes in Christ he or she is adopted into the family of God and becomes a "son of God" (John 1:12; Galatians 4:3-5). To be Sanctified is to be set apart unto God. A believer must separate himself from participating in ungodly things. It is to become more like Jesus. His word sanctifies us (John 17:17; Hebrews 10:10). A believer can have access to God by going before His throne of grace to obtain mercy and find grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). We can be over comers of all circumstances by having faith and trust in Him. A Christian has an Inheritance and receives a place in heaven reserved for them (1 Peter 1:4). There is no fear of Death (Hebrews 2:14-15), for when a Christian dies he or she will be immediately in the presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

Jesus Christ is preparing a place for His bride (believers) so we can be where He is (John 14:1-4). Believers will be in heaven one day with a glorified body like Christ had (2 Corinthians 5:1-8). The good news for Christians is that Jesus Christ, the believers head, is exalted far above all things in heaven and earth and we are complete in Him. "Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:21-23).

For a person to become a child of God and receive salvation, it is not enough for a them to only know doctrines and truths about Jesus. A person must know Jesus Christ personally, by asking Him for forgiveness and asking Him to come into their lives to be their Lord and Savior. "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).

1). Williams Evans, The Great Doctrines of the Bible, Moody Press, Chicago, 1974

2). Henry Clarence Thiessen, Lectures in Systemic Theology, Williams Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1994

3). Dr. H. L. Willmington, "Willmington's Guide To the Bible", Tyndale Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 1984

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