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Jesus provided salvation by undeservedly (because He Himself had never sinned, but had obeyed God's Law perfectly, which no one else has been or could be capable of doing), and purely out of love and mercy for a universally disobedient humanity, dying and enduring the penalty (eternal separation from a holy God) required by God for humanity's sins from eternity past to eternity future. He could do this because He was both truly human and God incarnate. God then testified to the fact that this redemptive act had been sufficient by raising Jesus from the dead to live eternally. As a result, people who recognize their own inability to achieve the absolute righteousness and perfection that God requires, and who instead respond to the prompting of God the Holy Spirit through faith in Christ's death and resurrection to pay the penalty for sin that they themselves have deserved, can then be declared justified (that is, no longer separated from God because of their sin) by God, and can have the eternal life in God's presence that Jesus gained for them.
It is a matter of substitution, the innocent dying for the guilty. Imagine being declared guilty as charged in a court of law for a crime that carried the death penalty. The judge had already rendered the death sentence and as you were about to be taken away someone stood up and said stop! I love this person dearly, I will take their place and pay for their crime. The judge accepts the offer, turns to your captors and says, "release the prisioner and set him free". He also orders the court to have the charges expunged (totally removed) from your record, to never be brought up or held against you in the future. "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8) Better yet, read the whole chapter.
When Jesus teaches about a tree and its fruit in Luke 6:43-45, he is making a direct correlation with the Garden story in Genesis. It ends with verse 49, about the man who didn’t heed his words and was completely destroyed. There are many analogies to help us understand what happened in the Genesis narrative. Once Adam and Eve decided to depose God and be God unto themselves, they are condemned to death, having broken the law. Their death sentence is deferred until a later date, slavery is mandated in the meantime. A perfectly just God must adhere to his own law, no matter how painful. All mankind are to be slaves until the time comes to carry out the sentence. The sons of a slave (all mankind) are also slaves regardless of their behavior and will suffer the same fate as their father. Righteousness will not overturn a conviction in the cosmic courthouse. (Pauline theology-Romans 5:14) Enter Jesus, a man that does not have Adam’s heritage since God is his father. He is the free man here on a mission to save mankind. But what legal method can he employ to complete the task? Psalm 49:7,8 states: No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him. The ransom for a life is costly; no payment is ever enough. Psalm 119:91 reads: Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. NIV1984 The very law that condemned us will serve perfectly for the job. “If you sin you will die” (paraphrased). This same law has an implied inverse that Jesus recognized—the positive side: “If you don’t sin, you don’t die.” Jesus, who was without sin, dies at the hands of wicked men and the law of God is broken once again. Adam, the defendant in the cosmic courthouse is found guilty of conspiracy to commit the murder of God, his father. He is sentenced to death. Jesus, on the other hand, enters the cosmic courthouse as the plaintiff in a wrongful death suit. He wins his case and stands to receive his recompense. See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him. See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him. (Isa 40:10 NIV1984) But what recompense could possibly be just and right since the law of God is eternal and irrevocable? If no price is enough to redeem a man that broke the law, then no recompense is enough to compensate a man unjustifiably put to death under the same law. God could only give Jesus everything. As his recompense, he receives full authority over the entire law, Governor of all, even the law. (A recurring theme: Joseph, Daniel, Mordecai, etc.) Empowered as governor, he can, at his discretion, look across the aisle in the cosmic courthouse and grant Adam (or his children) a stay of execution and even a full pardon. Thus God is proven both perfectly just and perfectly merciful. On death row, the inmates goal is to, somehow, make his case known to the governor and give him as many reasons as possible for granting pardon. If he succeeds, then he has his life back; however, if he fails to get the attention of the governor, then death is administered. Jesus may say, ”I never knew you” and man’s fate would be sealed. Typically, it takes a host of advocates lobbying the governor for clemency. Our job is to gain as many witnesses as possible so that perhaps it may go well with us in the cosmic courthouse. If one realized that the hostile witness holds more weight than the willing witness, we would love our enemies more and serve them with fervor. (Matt 5:44-47). Perhaps if we somehow get noticed, He will say, “Well done” rather than, “I never knew you”. Since our destiny rests on one man’s judgement, there is no failsafe formula or recipe on our part to secure our salvation. It is not that we know Jesus, but that he knows us by our fruit. If we could produce the fruit of love that God desires, it would cover a multitude of sins. Therein resides the “hope” of salvation that Jesus has secured for us. (Reference Chapter 1&2 in Book of Wisdom)
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