17 Dec 2022
The Son of God came into the world for us by taking and sharing our human nature. This is the glorious incarnation – His union with us in our flesh, and not our faith union with Him, is the foundation of our fellowship with Him. Jesus’ uniting Himself to us in our human nature is the basis for our uniting ourselves to Him in faith.
At the beginning of His life on earth, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin, Mary, the Son of God took human nature, in all its frailty and weakness, in order to live a perfect life for us, in our place. Fallen humanity fails to live the required obedient life; Jesus lived in perfect obedience to His Father for us.
At the end of His life, He died the death we deserve because of our sins. Because He has taken our human nature and lived in perfect obedience to His Father for us, and died for our sins and has been raised into new life, and ascended to His Father in the nature He assumed, there are now ample resources in the hands of the Holy Spirit both to justify us and to sanctify us, and indeed even to glorify us.
Christians observe Christmas, Good Friday and Easter to commemorate what took place in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Son of God.
Take note: If there is to be justification and transformation for sinful human nature, the resources for these must come from one who has shared that nature, and in it lived obediently for us, and then, in further obedience to His Father, died in our place for our sins and broken the power of death in His resurrection. Only a Saviour who accomplishes and fulfils this double obedience for us, can resource a full and real salvation in which we are not only forgiven but also counted righteous, and then are transformed into His likeness by the Holy Spirit.
Notice that salvation for us is made possible by the perfect obedient life of Jesus, and by His death in our place (crucifixion and substitution) for our sins, and His victory over death, the power, and guilt of sin (destroying the work of the devil), by His resurrection, and ascension (propitiation and acceptance by the Father).
When we believe on or in Christ, we actually believe into Him; faith brings us into a person-to-person union and communion with Jesus Christ so that what is ours becomes His and what is His becomes ours.
Salvation (which includes justification, sanctification) is rooted in the grace of God and in its reception and outworking. At the heart of salvation is the Christian’s union and communion with Jesus Christ. God’s grace saves us and transforms us though our union and communion with Jesus.
The resources for our salvation and Christian life are in Jesus Christ and not in ourselves. Our sanctification takes place in union with Christ and not apart from Him. Because Jesus lived a perfect life and died for our sins as our substitute and representative, what He accomplished benefits us. He is the author of our salvation, and indeed the perfecter of our salvation (see Hebrews).
Our union with Christ connects us to the source of our salvation. His justification – God’s declaration that he was righteous – is our justification; his sanctification – since he sanctified himself for our sakes’ – is also ours. Thus, everything Christ did, he did for us in obedience to his Father. All that he has done is therefore ours as a gift. He gave himself for us, in his love to us; and now through the Spirit all that he did is ours.
The instrument or means by which we are united to Christ; through the Spirit we are brought into living union with Him by faith; the life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God. Faith means responding to Christ’s invitation; faith means resting our weight, and the burden of our sins and needs upon the Lord Jesus as our Saviour; to have faith is to transfer trust from self to Christ, all the while recognising that we cannot carry the heavy burden of our sin and guilt, but knowing that He can!
The essence of being a Christian is being united to Jesus Christ by faith (union), so that believers are those who were and are IN CHRIST. We need to grasp the point that as believers so united to Christ, all that Christ is and has done for us becomes our possessions too. Everything Jesus Christ has done on our behalf is so embodied in Him that when we believe ‘into’ Christ, all that is His becomes ours (we are the body of Christ).
Christ now comes to dwell in us through the Holy Spirit; we can say ‘Christ lives in us’, ‘Christ dwells in our hearts’ through faith – think about the implication – ‘Christ in us’ the hope of glory!
True Christians have been set free; we have received a new identity in Christ; we have been crucified with Him who died for us; we have been raised into the new life; we live by faith in Him who dwells in us!! What a great privilege, what a great eternal life, what a glorious hope and inheritance in Christ! Praise be unto God!