Our redemption story is like a gem with many facets, each of them shining with its own glory. I want to touch on just one aspect of God’s outreach to man so hopelessly lost in sin: Jesus becoming as one of us. This is the part that the devil did not understand, that also led to his defeat. (1 Corinthians 2:7-8)
Space doesn’t allow me to go all the way back to the roots of man’s redemption, although God hinted that a plan was in the works right from the beginning. When He said to the serpent that the Seed of the woman would bruise his head, he knew that he had to look out for someone special. From that time he sought to corrupt the human bloodline so that he could neutralize whomever might pose a threat to him. The events in Genesis chapter six explain his sinister plan in great detail. What God had in mind though, was more than he could guess:
However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Corinthians 2:6-8
The devil clearly underestimated God’s love for mankind as he never saw that God would send His own Son to deal with our sin problem: He released His anger on His Son, so that we could walk away from it as free men.
It all began as the passage below describes:
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Philippians 2:5-8
The Son of God becoming like one of us, born in a body of flesh, and experiencing life as we do! Jesus faced the same temptations that we do, yet without yielding to it. He was rejected, despised, persecuted, betrayed, and unfairly executed in the end. But it was God’s wisdom to send us a Redeemer—a second Adam—to do what the first Adam failed to do: stand up against the deceiver by holding on to God’s Word.
Our Redeemer had to be one of us because God is a fair judge; Jesus could not come as God because it would give satan, the accuser, grounds to accuse God of abusing His authority by forcing sinners to serve Him. Jesus had to come in the flesh, live a sinless life, and offer Himself to take our place at the whipping post and the cross.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Hebrews 4:5
But Jesus didn’t come only as a man, but as a servant to serve sinners with the love and grace of God, as Peter also testifies of Him:
…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. Acts 10:38
God’s plan included the lowest of mankind—the most undeserving, despised, and hated among men found grace in His sight. Nobody is too far lost, or too deep in sin for redemption to reach him, because Jesus humbled Himself by publicly dying the death of a criminal on a cross. The felon, who died on the cross next to His, found that out when Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
By dying the death that He did, Jesus identified with us in our weaknesses and transgressions. He also identified with us in our separation from God when He cried out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34) With those words He expired like sinners do, and experienced what it is to die without God.
The cross is where the big exchange took place: He took our filthy rags, and clothed us with His righteousness. Paul writes about this in his letter to the Corinthian church:
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
Righteousness is right standing with God, with nothing between us and Him. We stand under an open heaven, just as Jesus did during His walk on earth; we can hear His voice and do His works:
Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. John 14:10
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. John 14:12
Wonderful as it is, our redemption goes further than that. One of us died in our place, but in Christ we have One who is also raised from the dead, and lives evermore. And because He lives, we live!
A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. John 14:19
Again Paul addresses this glorious truth:
But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 5:20-22
The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are made of dust; and as is the heavenly Man, so also are those who are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. 1 Corinthians 5:47-49
One of us died, but rose again, and opened the door for everyone to step into eternal life. Man’s short life on earth is not all there is, for it no longer ends in the grave. There is no reason to fear death, and we now live with hope that extends beyond the grave. For God’s plan of redemption to fully reverse the effects of sin, it had to bring us back to where Adam was before he sinned, and that is life without knowledge of death: One of us defeated him who had the power of death, giving all of us victory over man’s greatest fear.
Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14,15
Those of us who repented from sin do not feel at home on earth anymore; we know this is not our home. There is a longing to be home with the Father to enjoy fellowship with Him; it is natural to be homesick when you are so far away from home. The Holy of Holies, where the manifest presence of God dwells, is presently out of reach for us, but we have a living hope because we have a Forerunner that already entered behind the veil, opening the way for us to follow in due time.
Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:17-19
The anchor to which we cling goes behind the veil that now separates us, but we have have laid hold of Him by faith. A day will come when the final step of our redemption will be complete and we will see Him face to face, and sing the song of the redeemed, already composed for us:
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9,10
We have briefly looked at past and future aspects of our redemption, but we live in a dangerous environment where our enemy reigns as the god of this world. (2 Corinthians 4:4) God knows our accuser goes around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and that our faith is under constant attack. Every assault on you is an attempt to rob you of your faith that binds you to the Lord, and for that reason He seated One of us who walked this walk, at His right hand on the Throne as our intercessor:
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25
Your life may be fraught with controversy and challenges that tempt you to doubt God’s love for you. We have all been there, but our intercessor took up our case, as He always will, and our faith was restored. When Peter was about to be tested to a level that was more than he could handle, Jesus interceded for him:
And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31,32
It may be hard to fathom the fullness of our redemption with the shortsightedness of life in the flesh, but remember, One of us went all the way into the presence of God. Fully understanding what we endure, He gave us a standing invitation to enter the throne of grace when life becomes too hard to bear:
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:14,15
Our troubles and temptations are not hindrances to enter His presence, but, in fact, reasons to do so, and do so boldly. Let us keep our eye on our Forerunner behind the veil, knowing that we have only a few more steps to go to our complete redemption.
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” “Or who has first given to Him and it shall be repaid to him?” For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-35
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