Truth, Understanding, Insight

How Jesus Saves

1st October 2012, hej


2) For Righteousness Sake: The obedient Son

How many brush over this incident of Jesus's baptism?

Then come Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

But John forbad him, saying, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and come thou to me?”
And Jesus answering said unto him, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfil all righteousness.”
Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Mat 3:13-17)

Look at the deep importance to our salvation of these words! Because he did what the Father wanted, though he had no need of Baptism (rather John felt he, John, had need of baptism!), he is commended, not just as a son, but as a son that has pleased his Father.

Do we wish to please God? John was not baptised it seems, as it was not required of him by God. John was asked to baptise and prepare the way. It was required that our Lord be baptised. Why?

Jesus gives us the answer that he had to fulfil, or to do certain things, one of which was to be baptised.

Why was Jesus baptised? There is one key imperative, a command of our Lord, “follow me.”

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Mat_4:19
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Mat_16:24 Mar_8:34 Luk_9:23
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. Mat_19:21 Mar_10:21 Luk_18:22

In parable he says “And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”: John 10:4,5,27

If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. John 12:26

These are among the last recorded words of our Lord himself.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned. (Mark 16:15-16)

There are two components in following our Lord. Belief in the gospel and obedience of baptism.

What is the gospel?

What does the scripture say?

Firstly it is the Gospel of the kingdom,

Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. Mat_9:35

When introducing the gospel our Lord quoted a slab from Isaiah,

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:18-19)

The gospel is very specific things, all fitting under the description of 'the Year of the Lord'.

The scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (Gal 3:8)

Paul connects the Gospel with the grace of God,

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Act 20:24)

Paul defines the Gospel in length to the Corinthians,

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also you are saved,
..I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures (O.T); And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Notice how the emphasis is even, as he does not dwell on the death, rather he goes straight onto the ressurection. Then he goes onto the evidence for faith

And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. ..

The focus of Paul's preaching was, according to Paul, that Christ rose, not so much that he died,

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.

Now we see Paul defining the crucial point,

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.

Therefore the most important fact of the gospel is that Christ rose! Paul goes on,

Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. .. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

Then we see Paul shifts the emphasis to the end of this process, which is the kingdom,

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he has put all things under his feet. But when he says all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all. (1Cor 15:1-28).

Thus the Gospel is fundamentally all about the end of a process which is God being all in all. We are dying unto death, ans so salvation is a process of being saved until salvation. For the majority of people who take on the hope of salvation will have first perished, before the resurrection. But having taken hold of that hope, even before they die they have the assruance of ressurection. The ressurection of Christ is the assurance of the avaliablity of ressurection to salvation.

Why then the focus on the death? We don't know. It's become iconic, perhaps. How do you put a picture for Christ risen? Let us have a look at the death.