For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive (1 Corinthians 15:22)
Contrary to popular opinion, Jesus did not come to this earth just to be an example for our lives. That idea actually reflects a very low view of Jesus, and of God as a whole. Not only that, it directly contradicts what Jesus Himself tells us about His purpose. Jesus came to this earth to do the will of the Father. God’s will was for Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. But that was not all. In order to qualify as our substitute, He had to be the perfect sacrifice, the Lamb without blemish, as required by the law. In order to do that, Jesus had to live a sinless life, in perfect obedience to God’s law. He had to do what Adam failed to do and what each and every one of us fails to do.
There are two important aspects of Jesus’ obedience to the will of God. These are referred to as His active obedience and His passive obedience. The active obedience of Jesus is seen in His perfect obedience to the law of God, His sinless life. The passive obedience of Jesus is seen in His willing acceptance to bear the curse of God on our behalf. Both His life and His death are critical for our salvation. Jesus is our representative and substitute not only in His death but also in His life. Jesus died so that our sins could be forgiven, but He lived so that we could receive His righteousness. This is the great exchange that Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 5:21, God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Jesus lived in perfect obedience to the law. Not only did He keep the moral law (by being sinless), He kept the civil and ceremonial law of Israel as well. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. (Matthew 5:17). Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:13-17); He was tempted in every way, but never succumbed, in order to sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:14-16). Adam’s sin brought death and condemnation to all, but Jesus’s obedience brings life, righteousness and justification to all who will believe (Romans 4:25, 5:12-21). Adam failed as our representative. Jesus is our perfect representative.
Reflection: Jesus is the only way to God, the only mediator between God and man (John 14:6; 1 Timothy 2:5). In the Old Testament, God was not readily accessible to all people. As we will learn in upcoming days, God established a priesthood in Israel wherein the priests, and in particular the high priest, would approach God on behalf of the people. However, this system was only temporary and served to point the people of Israel to the one true mediator between God and men. But now that Christ has made His once for all sacrifice, He has become our Great High Priest and we can approach God directly through Him. We do not need a mediator to Christ because as both God and man, Jesus bridges the gap between us and God and we are united to Christ by the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:1-17). Christ lives in every believer through His indwelling Holy Spirit – we are in direct union with Him. And through Him we have direct access to God the Father. We cannot get to the Father without Christ and we do not need to go through another person to get to Christ.
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)
The above is taken, with the kind permission of the author, from the book All For God’s Glory: A Journey through the Gospel of Jesus Christ by Lisa Notestine, DVM, MLS(ASCP)CM
©2015 by Lisa Notestine