Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Jesus Christ; His Person and Work

Jesus Christ is the founder of Christianity, and the most famous man ever to live on the earth. Some people love Him; some people hate Him. Here, I briefly introduce to you what the Bible has to say about Him. The third Christian Foundation I focus upon is the Person of Jesus Christ, His work and its application to us today. 

I. THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST

1. The first of four truths to know about Christ is His Pre-existence. Christ has eternally (always) existed - not just for the past 2,000 years. He existed before He entered into this world as a man. He is the eternal Son of God the Father. The Apostle John said, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). 

The “Word” is identified as Jesus (John 1:14). To put it another way, John was saying that Jesus is just as old as the Father who is eternal. John said Jesus Christ is the Creator of all and that life itself is sourced in Him (John 1:3, 4). Amazing statements! In another place, Christ Himself said He was the mighty “I AM,” the Self-Existent One of the Old Testament (John 8:58 cf. Exodus 3:14), thus claiming equality with God. 

2. The second truth is what theologians refer to as the “incarnation.” John wrote, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). This means that the second member of the Trinity was born in a normal human body from a normal human mother who was a virgin, but where there was not a normal human father. 

God was the Father. The Holy Spirit conceived the sinless human nature of Christ (Luke 1:26-35; Matthew 1:16, 18, 23; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22). The result is that Christ is fully God, fully perfect man eternally united in one Person. When Christ came into the world, John said He “dwelt” among men. That is, He took upon Himself a human nature and in that new arrangement became the “only begotten,” which refers to His unique, only-one-of-its-kind relationship with God the Father. 

The Bible does not mean that Christ was just another creature made by God. Christ is the one Eternal Son of the one Eternal Father, who at His incarnation became the first born of a new race of humanity (Romans 8:29; Colossians 1:18).

3. The third grand truth refers to Christ’s Divinity. Jesus Christ is God. The Bible assigns to Christ Divine characteristics (John 8:58), works (John 1:1), names (Matthew 7:21, 22), and honor (John 5:22, 23).

For example, doubting Thomas was a devout Jew who would never worship a false god. When He saw Jesus after His resurrection from the dead, he even called Christ, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Christ even commended Thomas for that act of worship! Scripture in many places calls Christ God (Romans 9:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:12; Titus 2:13; Philippians 2:6; Colossians 2:9; Acts 20:28). 

Christ said He and God the Father were one (John 10:30) - that they shared a common nature. Christ even claimed to be greater than the Temple, the Jewish Sabbath (Matthew 12:6, 8), and even the Old Testament itself (Matthew 5)! 

One very good way to be clear on the Person of Christ is to examine Isaiah 40:1-10. That section is talking about the God of the Old Testament, naming Him 10 times in 10 verses. Three names for God are used: Elohim, (same as Genesis 1:1), Adonai, and Yahweh, or Jehovah (used in Exodus 3:14). 

Now look carefully with me and note verse three, “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord (Yahweh) make straight in the desert a highway for our god (Elohim)” (emphasis mine). Why is that important? Well, if you turn to Mark 1:1-3 you will see that the God of the Old Testament is identified as being none other than Jesus Christ! Mark quotes from Isaiah, and names Jesus Christ as being the same Being described in Isaiah! Indeed, Jesus Christ is the God – not “a” god, mind you, but The God of all that exists or ever has existed. 

4. The Fourth aspect of Jesus Christ is His Humanity. Christ had all the essentials of human nature: body (Luke 2:52), soul (Matthew 26:38), spirit (John 13:21). He had human names (Isaiah 53:3). Christ had the marks of personality. He had emotions (Mark 3:5; John 13:23). He had bodily characteristics in that He became weary and slept (Luke 2:40.52). He looked, acted and was recognized as a man (Matthew 16:13, 14; John 1:10). He even prayed (Matthew 26:36-44).

I bring you now to this all important question: what think ye of Christ? What about these amazing claims concerning the Person of Christ? His claims cannot be brushed off, like a pesky mosquito on a hot humid night. Neither was Christ just a good man, teacher, religious leader, or prophet. The Jesus of the Bible is not a created being of God, or a spirit being elevated in a hierarchy above other beings. Neither is He the creation of the church fathers who invented stories about Christ and put them in the Bible. His claims and works were far too dramatic and important.

No other person in history has made the claims or done the deeds as those of Christ. None. He claimed to be very God with the power to forgive sins and/or assign people to heaven or hell. He had power over nature and death (Matthew 8:26; John 11:43-45). Christ was put to death for His claims. Powerful stuff! 

We have only three choices about Christ: He was either liar, a raving lunatic on the level of someone who thinks he can swim from Fiji to the Philippines in three days, or, He was who He claimed He was. 

Well then, was He a liar? No, because a liar would not voluntarily go to his death for what he knew were lies. Was He insane? No, a crazy man who made the claims He did could not gain a following - and remember over 3,000 people were converted at the first Christian sermon following His death (Acts 2:41)! And, a crazy man or liar could not perform the miracles that He did. 

That leaves us with one conclusion: Christ is God Himself. Question: who do you think Christ is? Consider that question as we turn to the work of Christ. 

II. THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST

Several parts of Christ’s work I will introduce. Specifically, I will address His atonement, resurrection, His ascension, His future ministry, and how to receive His salvation. Under atonement I will also introduce the grand truths of His substitution for our sins, and our reconciliation to God through Christ. All are good news! Read on.

Atonement

In this section I explain that all important work: Christ’s atonement, or His sacrificial work on the cross. Here is the problem. God is a holy God, The angels of Heaven said of God: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts” (Isaiah 6:3). The greatest of emphasis is placed on God’s holiness. It is the standard that guides His love, mercy, and grace. Holiness demands perfection and punishes everything that violates His standard. Everything!

Adam and Eve sinned against God and became guilty. They disobeyed, and broke His law. Consequently, they were placed under everlasting condemnation, which means separation from God and banishment to hell and its fiery punishment. Some predicament! 

The problem becomes very personal in that Adam passed his sin nature onto us - his children. The result was us becoming sinners along with the same punishment as Adam and Eve. Adam’s sin (and guilt) was imputed, (or charged, transferred), to us. We are hopeless! Undone! Powerless! In our sin we can never approach the holy God. Never! 

The Bible says that before God all humanity is helpless, ungodly, unrighteous, guilty, sinners, and enemies under the wrath of God. It is impossible to earn God’s favor by being good, religious, or any means. Impossible (Romans 3:9-23; 5:1-11). Is there any escape? Fortunately, yes: here it is.

The solution

The Bible says that, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). That is great! 

Motivated by perfect love, God put a solution into motion. Christ came to suffer and die in our place. That was the purpose of His incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection (Matthew 16:21; John 12:27). When we go overseas to New Zealand, or wherever, we go for a purpose: maybe to see relatives, get a job, go to school, but we go for a purpose. So Christ came into the world to pay the penalty for our sin. Only He could do that, because He is God, which gave Him the value. Second, He is perfect, sinless man so He could identify with the human race, and be our substitute.

Substitution

Substitution is one important idea in the atonement of Christ. Man could only pay for his own sin by suffering the penalty for all eternity. But God is His great love appointed a substitute to take our place. That substitute was Christ. His suffering and death was enough payment to bring eternal redemption for all those who personally accept Him as Savior. 

In basketball, for example, when a player gets tired a substitute is sent in to replace him or her. Likewise, Christ became our substitute, and in His suffering, God’s wrath and righteous demands were fully satisfied.

Two great transactions took place in this event: our eternal guilt was transferred to Christ, and His eternal righteousness was transferred to sinners who come to Christ for salvation (Romans 3:20-26). Hallelujah! What a Savior! How can you turn away a deal like that? Take Christ as your Savior! Quickly! 

Reconciliation

Reconciliation is a second great truth tied to Christ’s atonement (Romans 1:18; 5:10, 11). Mankind had greatly offended God, like a husband or wife unfaithful to their spouse. The problem is how we can repair the breach, because we became God’s enemies and objects of His deserved wrath. 

The wonderful truth is that God took the initiative and through Christ alone we may be reconciled to Him. Our good works, persuasive speech, money, religious activity will not reconcile us to God - only through Christ may we approach God. And in Christ alone, we have passed out of the domain of darkness, death, and eternal judgment into light, life, forgiveness and eternal hope (Colossians 1:13, 14).

Reconciliation is a second great truth tied to Christ’s atonement (Romans 1:18; 5:10, 11). Mankind had greatly offended God, like a husband or wife unfaithful to their spouse. The problem is how we can repair the breach, because we became God’s enemies and objects of His deserved wrath. 

The wonderful truth is that God took the initiative and through Christ alone we may be reconciled to Him. Our good works, persuasive speech, money, religious activity will not reconcile us to God - only through Christ may we approach God. And in Christ alone, we have passed out of the domain of darkness, death, and eternal judgment into light, life, forgiveness and eternal hope (Colossians 1:13, 14).

Resurrection of Christ

The second part of Christ’s work was His resurrection (Luke 24; John 20, 21; 1 Corinthians 15). On that glorious day almost 2000 years ago Christ came out of the grave. His resurrection was not just a spirit that appeared, nor was the body stolen. Christ arose in the same body that was put into the grave: a physical, genuine, identifiable body! It was glorified. 

The tomb was empty. Christ appeared to over 500 people at one time and many others on many occasions (1 Corinthians 15:1-7; Acts 1:1-3). Over 3,000 were converted to Christ just a few weeks after His resurrection (Acts 2:41). The resurrection of Christ was Peter’s central theme in that first Christian sermon.

My ebook, You Can Believe The Bible, gives many proofs of Christ’s resurrection.

Ascension of Christ

A third enormous aspect of Christ’s work was His ascension into heaven (Acts 1:9-11). After Christ spent 40 days on the earth after His resurrection, His earthly ministry was completed. He went up into heaven and began His present ministry (Hebrews 4:14-16).

He was exalted by the Father to be above all creation (Ephesians 1:20-23). He is our High Priest who ministers to us daily. He prays on our behalf. He answers our prayer. He is preparing for us a place in heaven. He is building His church here on earth. He is giving special help for our needs, and He is concerned about our fruitfulness (Hebrews 7:25; John 14:14; 14:3; Matthew 16:18; Hebrews 4:16; John15:1-16).

In New Zealand and other places there are great flocks of sheep. They graze on the beautiful grassland, fertile meadows, and open hillsides. They feed, grow and multiply - but always under the careful, watchfulness of a shepherd. He leads them to green pastures, tenderly cares for them and watches out for dangers. We are like sheep. Jesus is our Great Shepherd - very much involved in our lives. He is concerned, compassionate, caring, and corrective.

Future ministry of Christ

The fourth part of Christ’s work is His future ministry. I will give more details at another time, but now I can say that He is coming back to this world. The Bible teaches a specific sequence to His return. First, He will take His church out of the world (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). Second, He will judge the world during a seven year tribulation (Revelation 6:16, 17). Third, He will return to rule the world (Revelation 19:11-16). 

When will Christ return? No one knows the day, hour, time or epoch (Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32; Acts 1:6, 7). Not the angels in heaven or even the Devil himself knows the date of His return. Many people have tried to predict the return of Christ, but they were wrong and humiliated.

Receiving salvation

The final thing we can say about the Person and work of Christ is this: how can we receive this wonderful salvation? The New Testament gives us the secret over 200 times! The Philippian jailer asked the Apostle Paul the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul told him to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30, 31). John said that as many as received Christ would be saved (John 1:12, 13). He said salvation was not based on what class we were born into, any decision by any man or woman, or by hard efforts on our part.

SALVATION IS RECEIVED BY FAITH! What an ingenious plan by God! Faith makes everyone equal. If it was based on being an important person, wealth, rank in society, intelligence, abilities, then some would have more advantage than others. But anyone can trust, believe or have faith in Christ. Kings, nobles, pastors, deacons, sailors, or farmers are all equal before God when it comes to salvation. But, that access is only through Jesus Christ.

Now what does it mean to trust in Christ? Let me give an example. Let’s say you wanted to take a boat to an outer island. You walk down to the wharf and find two boats that offer to ferry you to your destination. The seas are rough and the wind is blowing. You look at one boat, but it has an old rotten wood hull with several large holes right at the water line, no pump to pump out water, the engine sputters badly and the captain and crew have never even been on a boat before! 

We will name that boat the “Works” boat. Now look at the second boat. It is nearly new with a strong, freshly painted steel hull, two new diesel engines that run smooth as silk, a pumping system that works perfectly, and an experienced captain and crew. We will call this boat the “Faith in Christ” boat. 

Now you must make a decision. If you decide to take the Works boat, undoubtedly you will either get lost or sink into the ocean. So it is when we try to trust in our good works, baptism, church membership, status in society, or because our family and parents are Christians - or whatever it is that we are trusting in to get us to heaven. We cannot ever get to heaven by trusting in these things, just as we will never get to any outer island in the Works boat.

If you choose to board the Faith in Christ boat, you will get to the island destination. No problem. In the same way, if you trust in Christ alone to save you, then you are certain to get to heaven. How can we be sure? Because, Christ said we will be saved, and we can trust His word. It doesn’t depend on your feelings, but your faith. Feelings follow faith.

Now I come to a third choice that many people make: they trust in both Christ and their goods works. Isn’t that OK? Well, let me put it this way: what will happen if you decide to take both the Works and Faith in Christ boat? 

Try putting one foot in one boat and the other foot in the other boat. What will happen when you hit the first wave? You will fall into the ocean because it is impossible to stay in both boats at the same time! You must get into one or the other. We must make up our minds. It is the same with Christ and works: we cannot have both, they are mutually exclusive (Galatians 2:15-21)! Choose Christ today. Quickly! 

With this I conclude our study on the Person and work of Christ, and its application to us. We discovered that Christ is fully God and fully man. Regarding His work, we studied about His atonement, resurrection, ascension, future ministry, and return. Under the atonement I presented Christ’s substitution for our sins and our reconciliation to God through Christ. Indeed, Jesus Christ is the most important Person to ever set foot on this planet. Don’t you agree? I take up next the subject of humanity, as seen from the Bible. Who are we? What are we like? Let us go to the next lesson and find out.

NEXT, Chapter Four: Mankind

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