In the next few weeks during my slot of the Pastor’s Pen blog, I will be doing a study on the Fourfold Gospel, which is the core theology of the Alliance: Christ our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King. Today we begin with Christ our Savior. Mankind has a problem. We are all sinful, flawed, and broken creatures that have fallen short of the glory of God. We experience pain, suffering, disease, and death, we see evil and senseless acts committed, and we make lifestyle choices that come with devasting consequences. In our humanity we recognize that this problem exists, so we search for a solution, often striving to work our way out of our mess on our own. We try to earn back our right standing with God by having good morals or being a “good person” and doing good works, or by following certain traditions and rituals. However, as we look at the scriptures, we discover that God’s plan of salvation does not depend on our human effort, but it is centered on the person of Jesus, God’s son who he sent to die for us that we may be redeemed.
Through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, sin entered the world, and every human being born since has been born with a sinful and corrupt nature. God is Holy, and since we are sinful creatures, we are unable to live up to God’s holy standards. Therefore, because of our sin, we are separated from God. God hates sin and he must punish it, and because of our rebellion, we are “by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).” “The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23),” and so the punishment and consequence we deserve for our sin is eternal death. But even though we disobeyed and are destined for eternal punishment, our God is a God of mercy, and He provided a way for us to be saved from his judgment and wrath and reconciled to Him. All throughout the scriptures we see His plan of redemption unfold. For the forgiveness of sin, God required the shedding of blood and in the Old Testament this came in the form of animal sacrifice. However, this system was only designed to be temporary, and these sacrifices ultimately foreshadowed the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Just as the Old Testament animal sacrifice had to be “without defect,” Jesus was perfect in every way. Even though he was perfect and innocent, He knew the will of the father was for him to suffer and die on the cross and he was obedient, graciously giving up his life so that we can experience redemption and grace. One author said it this way “The mercy of God moved Him to do for man what man was not able to do for himself.” Out of His great love God chose to sacrifice His one and only son for us, so that we may live.
When Jesus died, he bore our sins and bridged the gap between us and God. Paul wrote that “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).” This verse is so powerful, and it illustrates the truth that Jesus became our sin. All the sins of humanity were placed upon Jesus, and he bore the weight of our guilt. He absorbed our pain, our suffering, and our brokenness by becoming the curse that was meant for us. Salvation is a spiritual reality that Christ has accomplished for us, but it must be received on our end. We are lost and destined for eternal punishment until we come to a personal understanding of what Christ has done and choose to accept the gospel as truth for our life. We have to come to a point of understanding that we are sinners, and we are in great need of a savior. When we recognize our need and then repent and turn away from our sin and unto God, we will experience the blessing of fullness and satisfaction in the one who is able to save. Salvation is received through faith and through believing that Jesus is Lord and claiming Him as the Lord of your life, and when we do this, God declares the righteousness of Christ to be ours. He takes the perfection of Christ and credits it to our account, and He drops all charges against us and declares us to be just. The blood of Christ purifies, cleanses, and makes us new. When we call upon Christ as our savior we experience the full forgiveness of sin, for past, present, and future sins, and Jesus has redeemed us and taken away the guilt and shame that sin leaves us covered with. He adopts us into his family and grants us with eternal life, the blessing of our enjoyment of God for ever and ever. And so, the question is, is this true for your life? Have you called upon Christ as your savior?