Friday, December 24, 2010

Jesus "the Christ"

The angel told Joseph (and earlier Mary): "[Mary] will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
The angel declared to the shepherds: "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."
Jesus "the Christ" is the righteousness of God that God requires- -and amazingly provides for sinners to receive by faith.
Jesus simply means "YHWH is Salvation"; his name is JESUS because he will save his people from their sins.
"Christ" is not Jesus' last name (it would have likely been "Ben Joseph"). "Christ" is Greek for the Hebrew "Messiah". "Christ" means "Anointed One"; which means that Jesus Christ is our Savior from sins and our Anointed One.
The name and title “JESUS THE CHRIST” teaches us what we need to know about God this Christmas!
In the name JESUS we find salvation hope from our self and sin.
In the title CHRIST we find sanctification and empowerment over our enslavement to self and sin.
“JESUS” - the Name
In the Name JESUS we find One who would obey God perfectly, loving God and neighbor as Himself, perfectly on our behalf.
Jesus is not merely a helper, an assistant, or a life-coach; Jesus is a Savior from sin.
In our flesh as "Immanuel" (God with us), Jesus would earn perfect righteousness for us by keeping God's commandments perfectly. Jesus would die in our flesh for our transgressions on the cross; Jesus would be raised from the dead and seated at God's right hand in our flesh for us.
This is all that the name "JESUS" should mean for us: Perfect righteousness that is revealed in the Law of God, but perfect righteousness under the Law in our flesh imputed to all who believe.
Double imputation is (still!) something to rejoice about!
What does that loaded theological term mean?
Our sins are imputed to the man Jesus; His righteousness is imputed to us by faith. “Double Imputation” is term worth memorizing.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (a glorious verse!) teaches us about Double Imputation:
"For our sake he made [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Note: 1) For our sake. For whom? All who believe; all who are new creations by faith (see 2 Cor. 5 larger context); 2) Jesus knew no sin, he was perfectly righteous, but we was "made sin" for us. Our sins were placed upon Him and He bore the penalty of death and the wrath of God for us; and 3) In Jesus, in our union with Jesus by faith, we might become the righteousness of God; we might stand before God clothed in a righteousness not our own.
JESUS- -the name above all names- -that causes rejoicing because we find in him a righteousness that God requires and provides for us- -outside of us- -without our help.
“THE CHRIST’ - the Title
Jesus is "THE CHRIST". Jesus' name brings us hope, but also his title: "The Christ"
As "Anointed One" or "Christ" Jesus can make us holy.
As "Anointed One" or "The Christ" Jesus can not only provide the righteousness before God that will justify us, or declare us "not guilty" nor condemned (Rom. 8:31), but the righteousness and power by the Spirit that will sanctify us or make us holy.
In Jesus, by faith in Jesus "the Christ" our "Anointed One" we can have union with Him, become like Him, and become empowered no longer to live for self but to live for Jesus who lived and died for us.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15: "For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised." - ESV
In other words, in Jesus the Christ, in the Gospel of Jesus' birth, we have all we need for life and godliness in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
What the angels declared to Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds was the Gospel of JESUS THE CHRIST.
When Simeon, an Old Covenant saint who had been awaiting the comfort-consolation-salvation of Israel for many years, sees Jesus the Christ, he says that his eyes have seen God's salvation (Luke 2:25-35).
Simeon does not merely see help to attain God's salvation; Simeon beholds his substitute Lamb who takes away his sins and the sins of the world!
Simeon does not merely see one who came to tell us about salvation; Simeon SEES the Lord's salvation 'IN FLESH'--the embodiment of God's salvation.
This means that the salvation of God is a PERSON! If you’re looking for salvation, he is found in Jesus the Christ.
God's hope, God's salvation, God's redemption, God's comfort-consolation to all who believe is a Person- -the Person Jesus Christ.
Our hope, our salvation, our redemption, our comfort-consolation is a Person, the Person Jesus Christ.
Why is he JESUS? Because He will save His people from their sins and provide the righteousness God requires of all mankind.
Why is he CHRIST or ANOINTED ONE? Because He will save His people from their slavery to sin, and empower them to live godly lives in this present age, as he continues to sanctify his people from their sins and make them like him!
In the Name JESUS the CHRIST you have the Gospel. Receive the Gospel good news through him- -if not the for the first time- -then again (because we so easily forget it!).
In the Person and Work of Jesus we have the Gospel good news revealed- -but even in His name we get the Gospel!
Amazing grace- -found even in Jesus' Name and Title!
Yet the default mode of the human heart is works righteousness; all mankind is seeking to achieve a righteousness NOT by faith, but through their own works, sacrifices, gifts, and pleas before God.
We avoid realizing the great Gospel truth revealed in the Name (and especially the Person and Work) of JESUS THE CHRIST.
Our default mode is not to believe the Gospel; not to rest in the finished work of Christ for us. The Apostle Paul writes of the default mode in his description of unbelieving folks in Israel in Romans 10:
ESV Romans 10:2-3: I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. 3 For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.
Notice a few things from Romans 10: Lots of people are religious; they have a zeal for God. You ask them "Are you religious?" They respond with a resounding "YES!"
But whether religious or irreligious, both kinds of folks are seeking to avoid the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. A religious "Legalist" wants rules and "dos and don'ts" to tell them how to be righteous while avoiding the Person of Jesus; the irreligious "Liberal" wants just to be vaguely loving while avoiding the Person of Jesus.
Both the religious and the irreligious have one thing in common (Romans 10:3): "Being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness."
There is an ignorance in both religious folks who are using the Bible to be righteous, and those avoiding the Bible altogether.
They are both, whether religious or irreligious, seeking to establish their own righteousness before God and man.
And they are failing; they are continuing to fall short of the glory of God and His righteous requirements found in the law (Rom. 3:23ff).
Our default mode is to believe we can work real hard seeking to please God and in the end he will save us, but we have yet to realize the depth of our sins, the great holiness of God, and that God requires perfection that no man can offer to him.
Only Jesus has been and is perfect; only Jesus could live perfectly loving God and His neighbor as himself; let us not nullify the grace of God found in what He has done; let us rather believe, and rest in this hope found in him, and quit striving after perfection that will never be attained.
When we believe, we are united to Jesus Christ by His Spirit.
In our union with Jesus, we have both the righteousness that God requires and the sanctifying grace that makes us more like him daily as we live a life of constant repentance and reception of his grace!
We find the Gospel hope that we so desperately need in JESUS who sheds his blood for us and gives us his righteousness, AND in THE CHRIST who empowers us in our union with Christ so that we can become like him in His holiness and love.
Our only hope.
Do you need salvation? Let your eyes behold by faith the salvation of God in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Do you need to know you're righteous before God? Let your eyes behold by faith the righteousness that God provides for us in the Person of Jesus Christ.
Do you need to grow in righteousness before God, becoming more like Jesus? Let your eyes behold by faith the sanctifying power and grace for us found in the Person of Jesus the Christ.
Jesus: Savior of sinners.
The Christ: Sanctifying of sinners.
All that we need.
1 Corinthians 1:30 He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. - ESV
Love in Christ,
Pastor Biggs
Reformation Theology

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