Saviour of the World
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

Chapter 13 — Christ, Our Redeemer

In the last chapter, we established the fact that, at the Incarnation, Christ joined Himself fully to the fallen human race that needed redeeming, assuming all its liabilities, in order to be the Saviour of the world.  Now we must examine, in detail, this question:  In what sense did He redeem mankind from the sin problem?  It is extremely important for us to answer this question if we are to understand and proclaim our unique gospel message to the world and demonstrate its power.

According to the apostle Paul, the fundamental truth of the New Testament is found in Jesus Christ.  He says:

1 Corinthians 3:11
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

He goes on to say that we must build our Christian experience and doctrines on this foundation:

1 Corinthians 3:12-14
If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.  It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.  If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward.

Unless we are clear about this foundation that Christ laid by His holy history, we will be confused about the distinction between what Christ accomplished in His earthly mission and what the Holy Spirit accomplishes in our lives.

As already indicated earlier, what the Holy Spirit does in the lives of believers does not add one iota to the objective facts of the gospel — the salvation obtained for all humanity through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Spirit is not a coredeemer with Christ, but a communicator to us of Christ’s redemption.  He reproduces the holy life of Christ in the church.  Jesus made it clear to His disciples that the Holy Spirit’s work would be to guide them into all truth concerning Himself:

John 16:13
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.

And Paul tell us that the Holy Spirit is the means of our sanctification — making real in the believer’s experience what Christ has already accomplished for the fallen human race:

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.  He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Once we realize the difference between what Christ did for us on the cross and what the Holy Spirit does for us in our lives, we will begin to understand the full significance of the Saviour’s final words on the cross:

John 19:30
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”  With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

What was finished?  Salvation full and complete for all mankind was finished.  That is why Paul could declare to the Christians at Colosse:

Colossians 2:10
...And in Christ you have been brought to fullness.  He is the head over every power and authority.

This fact is the basis, or foundation for all our Christian experience:

Colossians 2:6
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him....
Ephesians 2:10
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

In one of the last letters he ever penned before his martyrdom, his letter to the Philippian church, Paul admits that he had not yet reached perfection in his Christian walk, but he presses on toward the goal:

Philippians 3:12-15
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things.  And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

What did Paul mean when he said he was pressing on “to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”?  He meant simply that his goal in life was to reach the heights that had already been obtained for him in Christ.  “To me,” he said, “to live is Christ”:

Philippians 1:21
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

In other words, all the believer’s subjective experience must be founded on the finished work of Christ.  All our Christian experience, as well as our goals in life, must be directly related to what Christ already accomplished for us in His earthly mission — the gospel.  Christianity is more than merely believing in Christ; it is participating in Him:

1 Corinthians 10:16-18
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ?  And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?  Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.  Consider the people of Israel:  Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar?  [KEY PTS.]

Thus, if our understanding of the redemption Christ obtained for humanity is limited, so will be our experience, because all Christian experience is founded on the finished work of Christ.  So we need to ask ourselves, as the people of God with a special mission to the world:  How much of the sin problem did Christ take care of by His birth, life, death, and resurrection?  Or putting it more simply:  How complete is the good news of the gospel?

If, in any way, Christ did not save us from our total sin problem, then the gospel is incomplete and we must depend on the Holy Spirit to put the finishing touches to us and complete the work.  But this is not what the New Testament teaches:

Romans 3:21-28
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood — to be received by faith.  He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished — he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  Where, then, is boasting?  It is excluded.  Because of what law?  The law that requires works?  No, because of the law that requires faith.  For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law.

The salvation our Lord Jesus Christ obtained for all humanity, which He accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit in Him, is a finished work to which nothing can be added or improved.  What the Holy Spirit does in the believer is to communicate to him or her this full and complete salvation.

The only way God could totally redeem us from every aspect of sin in Christ was to unite His Son to our sinful humanity that needed redeeming.  That is why the humanity of Christ is everything to us.  If we deny Christ’s full identification with our sinful humanity — apart from actually sinning — we deny the complete redemption He obtained for us in the gospel.

Keeping this in mind, let’s look at what the apostle Paul wrote to the believers at Ephesus, to those who were “faithful in Christ Jesus”:

Ephesians 1:1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus....

After pointing out, in chapter 1, all the wonderful blessings that were theirs “in Christ”...

Ephesians 1:3-10
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.  In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.  With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment — to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

...he goes on to explain, in chapter 2, the full and complete salvation Christ obtained for humanity in His earthly mission.

In the first three verses of chapter 2, the apostle paints a dark and dismal picture of mankind, both Gentiles and Jews:

Ephesians 2:1-3
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.  All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts.  Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath.

In verses 1 and 2, he reminds his Gentile readers that, before their conversion to Christianity, they were sinners by nature as well as by performance.  We know he is addressing the Gentiles in these first two verses because he speaks of them as “you.”  In the third verse, he turns to his fellow Jews (using the pronoun “we”) and tells them that they, too, are sinners by performance as well as by nature, just like the Gentiles.  In other words, there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles when it comes to the sin problem:

Romans 3:22-23
This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.  There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God....

Having painted this hopeless picture of the human race, Paul then turns his attention, in verses 4 to 6, to the matchless charms of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  The first thing he says about the good news of the gospel is that “because of His [God’s] great love with which He loved us” (verse 4), those who were once spiritually dead were made (past tense) spiritually alive when the divinity of Christ was united to their sinful humanity that needed redeeming (see verse 5):

Ephesians 2:4-6
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.  And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus....

Are we reading too much into the apostle’s words?  Are we putting words in his mouth?  I believe this must be what Paul intended in these verses.  For if Christ assumed a humanity that was not spiritually dead — the humanity of Adam before the Fall — then the human nature He assumed would not need to be made spiritually alive.  In addition, when Paul says that God “made us alive with Christ” (verse 5), he clearly indicates that the humanity to which Christ was joined was our very humanity that was spiritually dead.

Paul adds this tremendous gospel statement at the end of verse 5, “by grace you have been saved.”  This expresses in a nutshell all that Christ accomplished for fallen humanity in His life and death.  All that the law requires of us sinners in order that we may be justified to life is summed up in this one statement, “by grace you have been saved.”

By His perfect life, which met the positive requirements of the law, and by His sacrificial death, which met the justice of the law, Christ rewrote humanity’s history and changed mankind’s status.  Our status was transformed from one of condemnation, which we inherited from Adam, to one of justification to life:

Romans 5:18
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

This is what it means to be saved by grace alone.  This is the “righteousness of God” Christ obtained for all mankind by His holy history and which is made effective by faith alone:

Romans 10:3
Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.

The corporate sinful, condemned life of our humanity died forever in Christ:

2 Corinthians 5:14
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.

But our corporate human body that Christ assumed at the incarnation, was not left in the grave forever:

Hebrews 10:5
Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:  “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me....”

Paul tells us that we were raised “together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”:

Ephesians 2:6
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus....

In Christ’s resurrection, God gave to the human race in Christ the very life of His Son:

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 5:11-12
And this is the testimony:  God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Thus, the good news of the gospel is that by His death and resurrection, Christ “abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”

2 Timothy 1:10
...But it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

This is salvation, full and complete.

But what does this full, complete salvation involve or include?  This is the important question we must now answer so that we can appreciate the fullness of the gospel message.

First, we were made spiritually alive in Christ:

Ephesians 2:5
[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.

This took place through the incarnation, when our sinful humanity, which was spiritually dead, was united to the divinity of the Son of God.

Ellen White says that, when Adam fell by turning his back to God, the Holy Spirit left him and he “ceased to be a temple for God” (The Desire of Ages, 161).  Since Adam could not pass on to his descendants what he did not have, all of us were born uninhabited by God’s Spirit.  This is what Paul meant when he told the Christians at Ephesus that they were by nature spiritually dead.  And this is how we all are born; this is what we inherit from Adam.

But, at the Incarnation, this spiritually dead humanity was united to the divine life of the Son of God by the operation of the Holy Spirit, and we were made spiritually alive in Christ.  Paul says:

Ephesians 2:5
[God] made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions — it is by grace you have been saved.  [KEY PTS.]

He uses the aorist tense of the verb “made,” a past historical tense, indicating that he is not talking about the believer’s subjective experience when he or she experiences the new birth, but rather an objective fact that took place in Christ at the Incarnation.  This is the foundation “already laid” on which the subjective experience of the new birth is based:

1 Corinthians 3:11
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Second, by His perfect life, which He lived out in our corporate sinful humanity, Christ not only satisfied the positive demands of the law on our behalf, but, much more, He defeated the law of sin — that power or principle of sin that resides in our sinful natures and which makes holy living impossible in and of ourselves:

Romans 7:15-24
I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.  So I find this law at work:  Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me.  What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?   [KEY PTS.]

Understood in this context, Christ’s perfect life, which he lived in our corporate sinful humanity, could not have been accomplished for us vicariously.  The reason is simple:  It is impossible to defeat a force, the power of sin, vicariously, or “in the place of another,” in a sinless human nature.  Neither could Christ be tempted vicariously in all points, as are we sinful humans.  The only way we are tempted, says James, is when we are drawn away by our own desires and enticed:

James 1:14
...But each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.

One cannot be drawn away by his own desires and enticed “in the place of another ” if one’s human nature is sinless.

Christ was tempted by the self principle of our sinful flesh, which He assumed at the Incarnation.  In His case, the temptation was to depend on His own divine power, independently of the Father.  This temptation proceeded from His humanity; however, Christ defeated our sinful flesh through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit:

Luke 4:14
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside.

This was no make-believe victory, but actual reality.  This is why Paul could admonish the believers at Rome to:

Romans 13:14 [Emphasis Added]
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.

The Bible describes this victory over the sinful flesh in Christian living as the fruits of the gospel.  It, too, is part of the foundation “already laid” and is an integral part of the good news of the gospel.

If not, if victory over the sinful flesh is something left for the Holy Spirit to accomplish in us apart from the finished work of Christ, then we are admitting that the gospel of Christ is an incomplete work and that God has to send the Holy Spirit to finish it up in us.  If this is true, then the Holy Spirit does indeed become a coredeemer.  Yet this is not at all what Scripture teaches.

Third, by His death, Christ redeemed humanity from the guilt and condemnation of sin.  All Christians accept this truth, but what do we mean by “the guilt and condemnation of sin”?  Guilt comes upon us as the result of our personal sins.  But, in addition, we have also inherited condemnation as a result of the Fall:

Romans 5:18
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.  [KEY PTS.]

This condemnation is passed on to us from our father Adam because we are born with Adam’s life — a life that is indwelt by sin and which disqualifies us for heaven.  In order for Christ to save us completely — not only from the guilt, but also from the condemnation of sin — He had to bear our personal sins and He had to bear our sinful nature which condemns us.  Both were executed on the cross in Christ.

In fact, since our sins are merely the fruits of our sinful nature, Christ could actually bear our sins on the cross only if He also bore us and our sinful human nature.  Christ assumed this sinful humanity at the Incarnation when He was “made [or became] flesh”; He defeated it by His perfect life; and He finally executed that condemned nature on His cross:

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
1 Peter 2:24
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

All this constitutes the good news of the gospel.  By bearing us on the cross, Christ struck at the very root of our sin problem.  This, too, is part and parcel of the foundation “already laid” on which we build our Christian experience.

Finally, at Christ’s resurrection, the redeemed human race was raised in Christ with a glorified body, totally cleansed from sin.  Christ took this glorified humanity to heaven, there to represent us in His priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.  At His second coming, the saints will experience this glorified body:

Philippians 3:20-21
But our citizenship is in heaven.  And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.  [KEY PTS.]

Thus:

Romans 5:19
For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made [future tense] righteous.

When this happens, “when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality,” we will shout “thanks be to God, who gives us the victory thorough our Lord Jesus Christ”:

1 Corinthians 15:54, 57
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true:  “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  ...But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s salvation in Christ is indeed full and complete.  The Holy Spirit adds nothing to it in our lives, and we can do nothing to improve on it.  All we can do is to accept God’s “indescribable gift” with a grateful heart and let the Holy Spirit reproduce in our lives the matchless life Christ prepared for us in His holy history.  When that happens, Adventism will have fulfilled its God-given mission, the earth will be lightened with His glory, and the world will finally witness that “the kingdom of God is not in word but in power”:

1 Corinthians 4:20
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.

Here is how the apostle Paul sums up the fullness of this glorious gospel:

Ephesians 1:3 [GNB, emphasis supplied]
Let us give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  For in our union with Christ He has blessed us by giving us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly world.

Again he says:

1 Corinthians 1:30 [GNB, emphasis supplied]
God has brought you into union with Christ Jesus, and God has made Christ to be our wisdom.  By Him we are put right with God; we became God’s holy people and are set free.

And Ellen White reflects this clear teaching of Scripture:

Selected Messages, 1:250, 251 [emphasis supplied]
By His obedience to all the commandments of God, Christ wrought out a redemption for men.  This was not done by going out of Himself to another, but by taking humanity into Himself.  Thus Christ gave to humanity an existence out of Himself.  To bring humanity into Christ, to bring the fallen race into oneness with divinity, is the work of redemption.  Christ took human nature that men might be one with Him as He is one with the Father, that God may love man as He loves His only begotten Son, that men may be partakers of the divine nature, and be complete in Him.

The purpose of redemption is to reverse the results of the Fall, to break the power of sin, to redeem our sinful nature “sold under sin.”  This is possible only if the humanity Christ assumed was the corporate, sinful humanity of those whom He came to save, for that which is not assumed could not have been redeemed.

The moment we deny this truth and insist that Christ came in a sinless human nature like Adam’s spiritual nature before the Fall, we sever Christ’s complete union with the humanity He came to save.  In doing this, we preach an unethical gospel.  Justification becomes a legal fiction, and the justice of God comes under question.  No wonder many within Adventism are beginning to embrace the moral influence theory of the atonement which denies its legal framework.

Let’s look at it in this way:  Which died on the cross as the wages of sin — sinful humanity or sinless humanity?  If we admit that it was sinful humanity, then not only were the law’s just and legal demands met, but fallen men and women can honestly identify themselves, through faith, with the death which sets them free from the curse of the law as well as its power (the Greek word translated “freed” in this text means “justified”):

Romans 6:7
...Because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

This, in fact, is Paul’s point:

Galatians 2:19-20 [GNB]
So far as the Law is concerned, however, I am dead — killed by the Law itself — in order that I might live for God.  I have been put to death with Christ on His cross, so that it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.  This life that I live now, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave His life for me.

On the other hand, if we say that it was sinless humanity that died vicariously on the cross instead of our corporate condemned nature, we are accusing God of an injustice, since His own Word will not legally accept the death of an innocent person in the place of one who is guilty:

Deuteronomy 24:16
Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each will die for their own sin.
Ezekiel 18:20
The one who sins is the one who will die.  The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child.  The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.

Such a belief also makes it impossible for fallen human beings to identify themselves truly and sincerely with the death of Christ, as true faith demands:

2 Timothy 2:11
Here is a trustworthy saying:  If we died with him, we will also live with him....
Romans 6:3, 8
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  ...Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.

This, in turn, can easily lead to cheap grace.

On the cross, the human life of Christ, which was in reality our corporate condemned life, died the second or eternal death — the wages of sin.  The New Testament clearly teaches that, on the cross, sinful humanity died in Christ:

2 Corinthians 5:14
For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.  The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Colossians 2:20, 3:3
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules....  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
1 Peter 2:24
“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

This death fulfilled or met the just demands of the law...

Romans 6:7; 7:1, 4, 6
...Because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.  ...Do you not know, brothers and sisters — for I am speaking to those who know the law — that the law has authority over someone only as long as that person lives?  ...So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.  ...But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

...and gave God the legal right to forgive us of our sins:

Matthew 26:27-28
Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Romans 3:24-26
...And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood — to be received by faith.  He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished — he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Then, in exchange for our condemned life that died eternally on the cross, God gave us the immortal life of His Son so that we may live again:

1 John 5:11-12
And this is the testimony:  God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.
2 Timothy 1:8-10
So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner.  Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God.  He has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.  This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

This is God’s love gift to humanity and the glorious truth of the gospel.  God’s gift to fallen mankind is the divine, eternal life of His Son:

1 John 5:11
And this is the testimony:  God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

This gift made it possible for our humanity, united to Christ, to be resurrected to life the third day, and thus give us eternal hope:

1 Corinthians 15:21-22
For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old [the old life with its condemnation] has gone, the new is here!
2 Timothy 2:11
Here is a trustworthy saying:  If we died with him, we will also live with him....

With this new life, which we experience through the new birth, we are now able to demonstrate the power of the gospel over the sinful flesh in our own personal lives:

Romans 8:9-11
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.  And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.  But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.  And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

This is the message God gave to the Adventist Church in 1888.  Ellen White said that it was the beginning of the latter rain and the loud cry, which, had they been fully accepted, would have lightened this earth with Christ’s glory.  According to this 1888 message, Christ assumed human nature as we know it after the Fall.  In spite of this, however, Jesus lived a perfect life through the power of the indwelling Spirit, triumphing over the “law of sin” in the flesh.  Finally, the message asserted, this nature was cleansed on the cross, and Jesus rose from the dead with a redeemed or glorified human nature.  This nature is now reserved for the believer in heaven until the second coming.  This is how God legally justified all mankind in the doing and dying of Christ and liberated us totally from our sin problem to give us eternal hope now and in the world to come.

This being so, the good news of the gospel not only guarantees legal or forensic justification to all who believe, but it also offers total victory over the clamors of our sinful nature.  Righteousness by faith, therefore, includes, on the one hand, peace with God through justification by faith...

Romans 5:1
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ....

...but, at the same time, it also gives hope to the justified believer that he or she can live a life above sinning:

Romans 13:14
Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:16
So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

This was the true understanding of the 1888 message on righteousness by faith in Christ.

Having discovered the full significance of Christ as our Redeemer, we are now able to look at Him as our Example.  This will be the topic of our next chapter.


Key Points in Chapter 13
• Christ, Our Redeemer •
  1. What the Holy Spirit does in the lives of believers does not add one iota to the objective facts of the gospel — the salvation obtained for all humanity through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Spirit is not a coredeemer with Christ, but a communicator to us of Christ’s redemption.

  2. All our Christian experience must be directly related to what Christ has already accomplished for us in the gospel.  Christianity is more than merely believing in Christ; it is participating in Him (see 1 Corinthians 10:16-18).

  3. The only way God could totally redeem us from every aspect of sin was to unite His Son to our sinful humanity that needed redeeming.  If we deny Christ’s full identification with our sinful humanity — apart from actually sinning — we deny the complete redemption He obtained for us in the gospel.

  4. By His perfect life, which met the positive demands of the law, and by His sacrificial death, which met the justice of the law, Christ rewrote humanity’s history and changed mankind’s status.  Our status was transformed from one of condemnation to one of justification to life (see Romans 5:18).

  5. This full, complete salvation includes four things:

    1. First, we were made spiritually alive in Christ (see Ephesians 2:5).  This took place at the incarnation when our sinful humanity, which was spiritually dead, was united to the divinity of the Son of God.

    2. Second, by His perfect life which He lived out in our corporate, sinful humanity, Christ not only satisfied the positive demands of the law on our behalf, but much more, He defeated the law of sin — that principle or power of sin that resides in our sinful natures and that makes holy living impossible in and of ourselves (see Romans 7:15-24).

    3. Third, by His death, Christ redeemed humanity from the guilt and condemnation of sin.  In order for Christ to save us completely — not only from the guilt, but also from the condemnation of sin — He had to bear our personal sins, and He had to also bear our sinful nature which condemns us.  Both were executed on the cross in Christ.

    4. Finally, at Christ’s resurrection, the redeemed human race was raised in Christ with a glorified body, totally cleansed from sin.  Christ took this glorified humanity to heaven, there to represent us in His priestly ministry in the heavenly sanctuary.  At His second coming, the saints will experience this glorified body (see Philippians 3:20-21).

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