Q21: What sort of redeemer is needed to bring us back to God?
A: One who is truly human and truly God. (Crossway 2017)
Isaiah 9:6 “For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (ESV)
The Vertical Truth in Faith – What does this truth mean in my relationship with God?
There are two wrong ways to look at the nature and person of Jesus. Falling into the fallacy of either can keep us from experiencing the fullness of our relationship with God and from understanding the full depth of our redemption. One wrong way is to see only Jesus’ divinity while disregarding his humanity. The other is to see only his humanity while disregarding his divinity. It is the two-fold nature of Jesus that makes him the sort of redeemer mentioned in this week’s question. It is this two-fold nature that makes him the only one able to save us from our sins and serve as our High Priest before God.
To fully understand the depth of redemption and the relationship we have with him, we have to believe in both his humanity and divinity. But what does this practically mean in our relationship with God? How does this truth make a difference? Let’s look at a couple of examples.
- The divine nature of Jesus, that he was fully God, reminds us of the personal side of redemption. God, out of love for us, sent his son, Jesus, who was in his very nature God, to provide the ultimate and necessary sacrifice for our sins. God was not distant in redemption. Because of his love for us, he wasour redemption. We are loved by God in a way like no other. This love defines and distinguishes our relationship with God.
- The humanity of Jesus reminds us that we have a God who not only saves us but identifies with us. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus was tempted in every way. He was not immune to temptation and struggle in this world but overcame them by the Holy Spirit. This makes him not only our perfect sacrifice but one who knows first-hand what it’s like to walk on this earth. This should create a confidence, security, and boldness in our interaction with him. When we turn to Jesus, we find one not only capable and willing to help, but one who knows personally the struggles of life and offers us a love like no other.
Through his divinity and his humanity, we find not only redemption but a relationship that makes a difference both now and for all eternity.
- John 3:16“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (ESV)
- John1:1,14“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Sonfrom the Father, full of grace and truth.”(ESV)
- Hebrews 4:14-16“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”(ESV)
The Horizontal Truth in Love – What does this truth mean in my relationship with humanity?
Seeing the nature of Jesus, our redeemer, should both create an urgency in how we relate to others with the Gospel and give us an example of what godly love looks like. If Jesus is really the only one who was able and capable of bringing redemption, then our love for others should propel us to make this message known to them. If we truly believe that he alone is the way, the truth, and the life, we should live with that message expressed to others both in our words and actions. The example of Jesus is one that puts action to love. He not only knewwhat must be done to bring salvation, he didwhat must be done. We, too, can live not only with the knowledge of what can save, but make that life-changing truth known to those around us.
- John 13:34“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”(ESV)
- Matthew 28:18-20“And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”(ESV)
Practical Truth in Action – How can I put this truth into action?
We can put this truth into action in three practical ways:
- Believe in the two-fold nature of Jesus in a way that changes our relationship with God. Go to God with confidence knowing that in Jesus, we not only have been forgiven of sin and made new, we have one who knows what we are going through and is able to help.Turn to Jesus to find help, hope, forgiveness and unconditional love.
- Make known the truth of who Jesus is through both our words and actions. Look for opportunities to tell our faith story, the difference Jesus made in your life, and how redemption is for anyone who would believe. Love people with both your actions and words.
- Combat the false thinking that minimizes the divinity or the humanity of Jesus. When you see false teaching or misunderstanding, lovingly point to the truth of scripture because knowing the person and character of Jesus is critical for those who would one day put their faith in him.
Let us stand strong in our faith and point others to the truth that changes lives.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:15“So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.”(ESV)
- 1 Peter 3:15-17“…but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.”(ESV)