Jesus Christ: The Redeemer
Though many people these days celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ - others out of a religious motivation and others out of a commercial one - few are those who have an adequate knowledge of the purpose of this birth. For really, according to the Word of God, Jesus Christ was born having from the beginning a specific mission, that was to pay with his life for the remission of our sins. As the angel said to Joseph, when Jesus was still in Mary's womb:
"And she [Mary] will bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus: for he will save his people from their sins."
"Jesus" in Hebrew means "the Lord (Jehovah) our salvation", and really it was Jesus Christ the one through whom the Lord, the Jehovah, would bring salvation to the people and would save them from their sins. As the Word says commenting on the suggestion of Caiaphas, the high priest of the Jews, about the crucifixion of Jesus:
"[Caiaphas is speaking] "Nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish." And this he did not say of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation; And not for that nation only, but also that he would gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad."
Jesus Christ was born to die for all of us, and some of the effects of this death we will examine in this article.
1. Jesus Christ: our redeemer from sins
One of the things that is many times referred as a result of Jesus' death is redemption. "Redemption" is a work that assumes the existence of a redeemer i.e. someone that makes the redemption available, and the existence of a ransom that is paid for it. To find out what was that from which Jesus Christ redeemed us as well as what was the ransom that he paid, we will go to Titus 2:14. There we read:
"Who [Jesus] GAVE HIMSELF FOR US, THAT HE MIGHT REDEEM US FROM ALL INIQUITY"
Jesus Christ redeemed us FROM ALL INIQUITY, and he obtained it by GIVING HIMSELF FOR US. In other words, HE was the ransom of our redemption from "ALL INIQUITY". As he himself also said in Matthew 20:28:
"just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY."
Jesus came "to serve AND TO GIVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY". And as great as was this ransom that was paid for us so great was also the redemption that was obtained by it. Really, Hebrews 9:11-12 speaking for this redemption tells us:
"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Not with the blood of goats and calves, BUT WITH HIS OWN BLOOD HE ENTERED IN ONCE INTO THE HOLY PLACE, HAVING OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US."
The priests of the law offered calves and goats by which they endeavored to obtain the remission of sins. As we will see later, what they were doing was inadequate. In contrast, Jesus presented to God HIS OWN BLOOD by which he obtained ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US. As Ephesians 1:7 and Colossians 1:14 also say:
"In him [Jesus] WE HAVE REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his [God's] grace;"
"In whom [Jesus] WE HAVE REDEMPTION THROUGH HIS BLOOD, even the forgiveness of sins:"
The redemption is not in our good works and behaviour. It is not in our religious devotion. It is not in our worth and personal value. Instead it is IN JESUS. And it is a redemption "according to the riches of God's grace" i.e. an abundant, complete and as we read eternal redemption.
2. Jesus Christ: our redeemer from Adam's sin
As it was mentioned in the last section, Jesus Christ was the ransom that was paid for ALL our sins, for "ALL iniquity" as Titus 2:14 says. However, it should be made clear that to this "ALL", apart from the sins that one commits during his life, it is also included the sin that Adam committed with his fall, and which passes from generation to generation to all men, making them sinners from the very moment they are born. Really, as Romans 5:18-19 tells us:
"Therefore as by the offense of ONE [Adam] judgment came upon ALL men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [Jesus Christ] the free gift came upon all men to justification of life. For as BY ONE MAN'S [Adam's] DISOBEDIENCE MANY WERE MADE SINNERS, so by one man's [Jesus'] obedience many will be made righteous."
The disobedience of Adam did not cost only his own fall1, but it also made all those who were born after him sinners, though they themselves did not commit his sin. Thus, there is no man that can say that he does not need redemption, for even in the hypothetical [however, only hypothetical2 case that he had not done something wrong, there is still the sin of Adam that makes him a sinner from the time of his birth. Obviously therefore, our redemption would be completely inadequate, if it did not include the sin of Adam. For really what would be the profit if we were "redeemed" from the sins that we have done and we were not redeemed from the sins that we have not done, yet we have been charged of (Adam's sin)? Thus, Jesus Christ had also to redeem us from the sin that Adam bequeathed to us. And that's what he did. As Romans 5:19 told us:
"as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, SO BY ONE MAN'S [Jesus'] OBEDIENCE MANY WILL BE MADE RIGHTEOUS."
Though Adam's sin passes from generation to generation, infecting all men, through the obedience and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, we can all get rid not only of this sin but also of every other sin that may have infected our lives. As we read in Titus 2:14:
"Who [Jesus] GAVE HIMSELF FOR US, THAT HE MIGHT REDEEM US FROM ALL INIQUITY"
When it says ALL iniquity it means ALL iniquity obviously including the sin of Adam. Today when someone is born, is still born a sinner. However, now there is a way out from this situation, that is called believing in the Lord Jesus. Really, as Acts 10:43 tells us:
"To him [Jesus] all the prophets witness that, through his name, WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS."
It is so simple: you believe in Jesus Christ and all your sins are forgiven. Yet it cost so much to be obtained. It cost the precious blood of the only begotten Son of God.
To conclude therefore, though in the first birth we are born sinners, in the second birth, the birth from above (see John 3:3-8), which occurs at the moment we believe in the Lord Jesus and in his resurrection, we are re-born totally pure, as the believing that is responsible for this second birth, cleanses us from ALL sin.
3. Jesus Christ: the perfect sacrifice
Having seen that Jesus' sacrifice redeemed us from all sin, someone may ask what was then the role of the various sacrifices and offerings that are recorded in the law3, and which aimed to the forgiveness of the sins for which they were offered? Before we say anything about the value of those sacrifices, it should be made clear that there was nothing anticipated in the law, for the forgiveness of Adam's sin. Nothing was able to help man to get rid of it. Thus people were born sinners and remained sinners even if they had offered all the sacrifices of the law for the various sins recorded there. This situation changed only with the sacrifice of Jesus after which, though we are still born sinners, we can be cleansed from this sin and in fact from all sins, by believing in Christ.
Now, leaving aside Adam's sin, and returning to the sacrifices and offerings for sins recorded in the law, the Word of God characterizes them as inadequate. Really, in Hebrews 10:1-4 we read:
"For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in thosesacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. FOR IT IS NOT POSSIBLE THAT THE BLOOD OF BULLS AND OF GOATS COULD TAKE AWAY SINS"
As the last verse of the above passage makes clear, the animal sacrifices that the law anticipated for the remission of sins, were insufficient for this job, for as it says "it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins". And since Hebrew 9:22 tells us:
"without shedding of blood there is no remission."
It is obvious that another blood was needed to be shed for true remission. What was this? The blood of Jesus Christ. Really, in Hebrews 10:6-12 we read:
"By that will [see verse 5-9 for the context] we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL. And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can NEVER take away sins: But this man [Jesus Christ], after he HAD OFFERED ONE SACRIFICE FOR SINS FOR EVER sat down at the right hand of God;
Jesus Christ dealt with the problem of sin ONCE FOR ALL. In contrast to the priests that repeatedly offered the same sacrifices "which can never take away sin", his sacrifice for sins was ONE by which he obtained "eternal redemption" (Hebrews 9:12). That's why there is now no need for other sacrifices as also Hebrew 10:18 very plainly tells us:
"Now where there is remission of these, THERE IS NO LONGER AN OFFERING FOR SIN."
This passage does not say that there is no more sin. What it says is that there is no more offering for sin. And this because the offer of Jesus Christ has eternal power against sin. Not only against the sins that we have committed as unbelievers or against Adam's sin, but also against the sins that we may have committed after we became Christians. These sins are also forgiven through the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus, when they are confessed to God. Really, I John 1:7-9 says:
I John 1:7-9
"But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin. 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."
The blood of Jesus is the only medicine that can cure us from the illness of sin. The law commanded this sacrifice for this sin, that sacrifice for the other and so on. And yet all these sacrifices could not cure the problem of sin. However, what the law could not obtain, Jesus Christ obtained it by sacrificing himself. Now, everyone that believes in him is washed from ALL his sins. As Revelation 1:5 tells us:
"And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. TO HIM THAT LOVED US, AND WASHED US FROM OUR SINS IN HIS OWN BLOOD"
Jesus Christ washed us from our sins in his own blood. It was he that did the job. It does not even say that we washed ourselves. He did it all. And he did it COMPLETELY with no need for something more.
4. Jesus Christ: our reconciliation with God
Having seen that the sacrifice of Jesus gave us the remission of sins, let's now move ahead to see something else that it also gave us, through this remission. What was this? Our reconciliation with God. Really though before Jesus' sacrifice we were sinners and therefore enemies to God, after his sacrifice and our believing in him, we were redeemed and washed from all our sins. This made us righteous and reconciled us with God. As Romans 5:6-10 tells us:
"For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, WE WERE RECONCILED TO GOD THROUGH THE DEATH OF HIS SON, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
Jesus Christ died for us, when we were still sinners and enemies to God. With his death, he reconciled us to God, for his death paid for all our sins and transformed us, when we believed, from sinners to righteous. As I Peter 3:18 also says:
I Peter 3:18
"For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, THAT HE MIGHT BRING US TO GOD, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit:"
Jesus Christ, the just suffered for all of us, the unjust, and with his sacrifice he BROUGHT US to God. Now if Christ has brought us to God, do we still need to be brought to Him? No, for Christ has done it. As Christians, we are no longer far from God nor we need to be brought to Him. Instead, we are reconciled with Him. And it was not we that made it possible but Jesus. As the text says: "HE suffered....THAT HE might bring us to God". Moreover, Colossians 1:19-23 adds:
"For it pleased the Father that in him [Jesus] all the fullness should dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things to himself; by him, I say,whether things on earth, or things in heaven. And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and blameless, and above reproach in his sight: If indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, and which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I Paul became a minister;"
Are we now alienated and enemies to God? Are we now strangers to Him? No. We "WERE SOMETIME alienated and enemies". We are not now. For, "NOW he [God] has RECONCILED us in the body of his [Jesus'] flesh THROUGH [Jesus'] DEATH". As Ephesians 2:19 says:
"Now therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God;"
In this article we examined some of the effects of Jesus' sacrifice, giving special emphasis to the remission of sins that was obtained by it. As we saw, by his death Jesus redeemed us from all sin, the sin of Adam included, reconciling us with God. Therefore, today we are neither sinners, nor strangers, nor enemies to God. In contrast we are, saved, righteous, sanctified and reconciled with God, and this all not because we did something but because Jesus Christ, our redeemer did, by giving himself a ransom for all of us. Closing therefore this article, let's keep in mind the words of I Peter 1:18-19 that says:
I Peter 1:18-19
"knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless contact received by tradition from your fathers, BUT WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST, AS OF A LAMB WITHOUT BLEMISH AND WITHOUT SPOT."
2. As I John 1:10 tells us: "If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.".
3. See for example: Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Numbers.