Welcome back to our fourth article in our series on how to share the gospel. Because of our sinful nature on our own, we are incapable of satisfying God’s righteous demands and live a God-centered life. Instead, we live a self-centered life.
We need a mediator to satisfy God’s righteous demands and to pay the penalty of guilt that we have incurred. And that mediator is Jesus. And he alone keeps the rules of life and takes the punishment for our sin. And that’s what we are talking about in this article.
God Provides His Son as a Bridge
Jesus Christ is God’s gift to sinners so that we can come to God. There is a great expanse between us and God because of our sin and Jesus comes and bridges that gap in order that we might be able to call God our Father. Scripture highlights this wonderful reality with four truths. And the first is that God provides His Son as a bridge.
Without Christ, there would just be an empty expanse that nobody could cross. When we look at Jesus, we see God as the love-giver on full display because God is the one who gave the bridge, we didn’t come up with this idea. The Jews, the Jewish people during the time of Christ did not come up with this idea of the Messiah or the Savior.
This was God’s idea from the very beginning. God is the giver. He gave us life, He gives us life, and He is the one who gives in order that we might be made right with him, that we might have a relationship with Him as Father. We see this in John, 3:16 “for God so loved the world that he gave his only son his one only unique precious son so that whoever believes in him, Christ might have eternal life.”
We see it in 1 John 4 “and this is love, not that we love God, but that he loved first.” And John goes on to say that the way we know that God loved us is that He gave Christ to be the propitiation for our sins. So, God, the Father gave the son to be a bridge, to be a bridge so that we can come back to home, home to him.
Jesus' Perfect Obedience
The second wonderful truth is that Jesus perfectly obeys God’s rules, this is righteousness.
Jesus is the perfect, spotless lamb of God, He never sinned, and we see in Matthew four and Luke four that when He was tempted by Satan three different times, He never gave in. Hebrews says that He knows our weaknesses in every respect, but sin. He is like us in every way, except that He did not sin, He told His disciples in John four that His food and drink was to do the will of the Father, to obey.
He says in Matthew five that He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it and He fulfilled it through His perfect obedience, Jesus is the only one who can ever say that He loved God perfectly and loved His neighbor completely.
Jesus is Our Sin-Bearer
The third truth is Jesus is our sin-bearer. Jesus takes our penalty. Because we live lives that are self-centered, that is sinful, because we are sinners, we sin because we are a sinner, we deserve a penalty.
We deserve God’s righteous, holy, just wrath. Jesus came and He obeyed and He died. He died for us. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to become sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Christ lived the life we could not live, and he died the death that we deserved.
Jesus is Alive and Offers Himself to us
And the fourth reality is that Jesus lives and offers Himself to us.
He is a righteousness giver. Paul says in Romans 4:25, “he was delivered up for our transgressions and he was raised for our justification.” Jesus is alive, He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and He is in the business of giving out righteousness to those who have none of their own.
God is love-giver God takes care of everything, we couldn’t do it, we tried and we messed it up and God took care of it all.
This is where everything about Jesus comes together, both who He is and what He accomplished. Those who come to faith in Jesus receive His righteousness, His perfect life of obedience. They receive His life of God-centered living, and they are declared right before God. And God, the Father takes our sin and He gives it to Jesus and He takes Jesus’s righteousness and gives it to us. In this beautiful exchange, we are made right with God.
We are forgiven. We are given positive righteousness. It’s not just that Jesus took our account from negative one trillion dollars up to zero.
He did that. But then He took our account up to infinity. It’ll never run out because of Him. We have a restored relationship with God, our Father, we are brought home to him. Jesus is a sinner substitute, reconciler, liberator. He is the only lord and savior.
How is Jesus a bridge? Jesus is a bridge because He came and did what we could not do. And because of Christ, God’s word to us now is not do this and live but done by and in Jesus, so we can live. All other religions proclaim that to be made right with God, you have to do something. Jesus comes and says, I’ve done it all. It’s all accomplished, it is finished. Jesus paid it all, so there’s nothing left for us to do to be made right with the Father because Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through him.
He is the way back to life, true life, God-centered living is only possible in Jesus Christ. Jesus met God’s standard for us. Now we can live in a way that pleases God because He is pleased with Jesus. It’s important here to remember that we want to be careful when we get to this point that to not say, believe in Jesus and then you got to keep a bunch of rules that defeats the whole purpose.
We can now live a God-centered life because of Christ. It’s not that Jesus saves us initially, and then we’ve got to bring it the rest of the way home. We need Christ at every moment and at every step, so we don’t want to present Jesus as if He just takes care of this initial problem, it’s a big problem and he takes care of all of it.
But Jesus is also the one who keeps us on the road of God-centered living, and if it was not for him; we’d get on for about five seconds and then fall right back off. We can love God because Jesus loved God perfectly, we can love our neighbor because Jesus loved them completely.
Will we ever do this perfectly? No, but Jesus did. And that’s the point. All of life, even as a Christian is dependent on Jesus, nobody outgrows dependence on him.
As we close, let’s go through a few passages that you can put into your repertoire, maybe you may want to memorize them, that coincide with the four truths that we just went through, that Jesus is the bridge, that Jesus perfectly obeys God’s rules, Jesus is a sin-bearer and Jesus lives and offers himself to us.
The first one is 1 Peter 2:24. Peter writes, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”
We learn two important truths in this verse. First, Jesus bore our sins He took our sins upon Himself when he died on the cross. He took the punishment that we rightly deserved. Why did He do this or could we maybe say it this way, what was the result of it? This is where the second truth comes in. He bore our sins so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Jesus died so that those who come to Him in faith might live a God-centered life or, as Peter calls it here, a righteous life.
Staying in 1 Peter, 1 Peter 3:18 “for Christ, also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous that he might bring us to God.” Jesus is our substitute. He is the righteous one who died for the unrighteous ones, and that is substitution language, Jesus died even though we deserved to die. He died in our place. He died in our stead, why did He do it? Peter says to bring us to God or to put it in the language we’ve been discussing the past few weeks to bring us home to God. Because of Jesus, we can live out the purpose we were created for.
Mark 10:45, “for even the son of man, came not to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Here from Jesus’s own mouth, we learn why He came and what His death would accomplish. He came to be a servant. He came to serve those, to help those who were alienated from God. He was a servant who gave his life as a ransom. There’s that substitution again. He gave it as a ransom.
He ransomed sinners from their slavery and love of sin and brings us back to God.
Romans 5:6-8 “for while we were still weak at the right time. Christ died for the ungodly, for one will scarcely die for a righteous person, though perhaps for a good person, one would dare even to die.” But God displayed His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. When did Christ die for us? When we were still sinners.
While we did not love God perfectly or love our neighbor completely. Why did Christ die for us? It was to show God’s great love for sinners, Jesus died in the place of sinners so that God’s glory would shine through the display of His great and wonderful love.
The conclusion of the first four points is this, God initiates a solution to sins enslavement by offering His Son Jesus to give sinners the free gift of forgiveness and righteousness, thus bridging the gap instead of trying to earn our own righteousness a substitute, Jesus gives us his perfect goodness. There is a way back to the road of life and home.
Amen. Praise God that he has provided a way back to Him through Jesus Christ upon hearing the message of Jesus in the Gospel, a personal response is commanded by God. The sinner is commanded to repent, to turn from sin, and to believe and trust in Christ. There are only three possible responses to hearing the gospel and the command to repent and believe. And that’s what we’ll look at in our next article.