Jesus Christ was born of a woman–under the Law given by God through Moses–approximately 400 years after the last of the Old Testament writings had finished. The kings ruling God’s people—Abraham’s family—had failed, and God’s communication with His chosen people had all but vanished for over four centuries. However, this did not mean that time was standing still. No, no, the fullness of time was being reached for God to send forth His Son–Jesus Christ, born of a virgin–to be the Savior of the world. The Lion from the tribe of Judah was about to pierce the darkness that had settled upon mankind and its civilizations. The broken and uncircumcised heart of humanity was about to have the opportunity to receive a new heart…one that could truly listen and love the one true God.
However, the purpose of Christ’s first coming was not to be the conquering king over humanity, but rather fulfill all that had been written of Him, and to be the sacrificial suffering servant to deal with the things that separated man from God, namely: sin and death. Christ’s ministry was clear—to live the message of the gospel…the good news—that says there is ultimate and eternal fellowship with God once again through Him. God would finally pour out His wrath stored up upon man as a result of their sins, and in so doing He would deal with mankind’s uncircumcised heart through the sacrifice of His Son on the cross. This sacrifice was acceptable because it was from God Himself. Thus, God propitiated or satisfied His wrath for the sin of all humanity. God’s standards of a sacrifice are perfection (because He is perfect), and the only perfect sacrifice would be Himself. Thus, God became man, satisfied the requirements of the Law that governed God’s people for approximately 1,500 years as mediated through Moses, and then offered His life in the place of His people by paying the penalty for their sins.
Therefore, God was both just for punishing sin (Christ dying), and the justifier (offering His life) by substituting His life for the life of a sinful people. The good news, however, was that Christ did not stay in the grave, otherwise sin and Satan would have won. No, no, Christ was victorious over the grave through His resurrection. Thus, He is the victor, and sin and death were conquered (and the serpent defeated). God would now be able to bring about a new humanity made up of people with a circumcised heart received by looking to Him in faith for the forgiveness of their sins. God’s sacrifice of Christ for humanity was to give them the righteousness required to be admitted into God’s kingdom. The only way to receive God’s righteousness was through faith that the life, death, and resurrection of Christ was sufficient for the removal of their sins. This faith is the same faith in God that Abraham exhibited when God initially chose him. This is the same faith that all those who are God’s children exhibit as they demonstrate that they are in fact chosen by God before the foundation of the world. Christ’s life, death, and resurrection conquered sin, and satisfied all the Old Testament writings regarding the Seed of Woman, the Seed of Abraham, the kingly line from Judah, the fulfillment of God’s standards given through Moses, and from the house of David, so that Christ is the Messiah who was the One through whom all of humanity would be reconciled back to God.
- Regarding the Seed of Woman & Crushing the Serpent’s Head…Jesus’ resurrection from the grave meant that Jesus conquered death and ultimately sin–which is the cause of death–and therefore has the right and authority to rule God’s people
- Regarding Abraham & the Blessing to the Nations…Jesus’ life is marked by trust in the Father, by teaching His disciples the upside down kingdom, which means to do what is just and right as conduits of God despite suffering, and as a result becomes a source of blessing for all nations
- Regarding Judah & the Promise of the Scepter…Jesus’ second coming will be as the conquering King–the King promised to come through the line of Judah
- Regarding Moses & the Fulfillment of the Law…Jesus is the Prophet greater than Moses, who is the only One obedient to the Law of God, and therefore gives the power to His followers (by faith in Him) to listen & love God by walking in step with His Spirit without having to add to His finished/perfect/complete life and work by continuing to uphold any law or regulation in order to be in fellowship with God
- Regarding David & the Promise of the Messiah…Jesus is the long awaited King from the family line of David who inaugurates God’s kingdom by conquering the rule and authority of Satan through His life, death, and resurrection, and therefore promises that God’s Spirit will come and indwell His new covenant people in order to guide them into loving obedience, as well as to provide the means for them to walk by the Spirit
Thus, reconciliation with God is only through faith in Christ. Each person now must look to Christ in faith–that His life, death and resurrection was for them–because of their sin and not keeping God’s holy standards spelled out in the Law. As such, His followers receive a new heart given by the Holy Spirit through regeneration.
The genesis of this new humanity was put in place by Christ Himself through His disciples charged with the responsibility of testifying to Him and guiding this new humanity (see also the 27 books of the New Testament). These are men who walked with Christ during His life (or spent time with Him after His resurrection), and they were the one’s who established what we know today as the Church. The church is a living organism–God’s new humanity–that is comprised of every person who looks to Christ in faith. It is the vehicle through which God saves all humans who come to Him through faith in the finished work of Christ. This new humanity—the Church—is a spiritual body comprised of new hearts that are joined by their common faith in Christ. Each member has transferred their trust from their actions to make them reconciled to God to Christ’s work on their behalf. They have therefore received the righteousness of God given to them through their faith in Christ. Thus, the Church is the vehicle through which all men are now saved. It is a group of new covenant people walking with eternal hope of Christ’s return or their passing from this life to the next–resurrection–life. We’ll see more on the Church in our next installment of Hearts on Fire…
— June 23, 2017