HE LIVED FOR ME – In God’s Witness Protection Program, Jesus deletes my past, my questionable “browsing history”, all my “fatal errors”, wipes my “hard-drive” pristine clean, and replaces my resume with His own!

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HE LIVED FOR ME

 

Many years back, I worked with a really sharp, young man named Wayne – a tall, witty, nice-looking guy, maybe 23 or so.  Wayne was a youth leader of a fundamental Bible church in a nearby suburb; and since then, he’s gone on to become the senior pastor of a large, active,  Evangelical church in my area.   

 

Wayne and I     thoroughly enjoyed engaging in some great, Gospel-centered conversations that were   jam-packed with deep analysis and commentary, drawn from our own personal experiences.   Well, one afternoon, Wayne and I were discussing the dual aspects    of man’s sin-and-death dilemma, such as …

1)   That man is sinful by very nature; he is under condemnation of the Law; and that the wages of sin is death – that’s the first obstacle.  Secondly …

2)   That our entrance into God’s Kingdom requires righteousness, of which, Scripture testifies, we possess none.  The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not oneWe do    have two   separate and distinct   problems!

 

The first part of this twin dilemma was addressed at the Cross.  Our sin-debt was paid in full through the crucifixion and death   of Jesus Christ;   and it’s readily available  to all  who will just claim it.  Robed in our human flesh, and carrying all our baggage, Jesus went to Judgment at Calvary, experiencing the full wages of sin – what the Bible calls “the Second Death”- for the entire human race! Jesus endured that “eternal-separation” death for us,  as us. And His Judgment is freely imputed – it is counted – to all who will receive Him.

 

Listen to Hebrews 2:9  “But we see Jesus, Who was madefor the suffering and death … that He … should taste death for every man” !

So, when we receive Jesus as our Savior, God declares us dead with Him, dead in Him – our sin debt is paidit’s cancelled. The claims of the Law are fully satisfied, because all flesh was judged in Him at Calvary; all humanity, put to death in the person of Jesus.  And those who accept the gift of the crucified Redeemer are SET FREE in Him.  As Paul declares in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.”

 

However, there remains that second aspect of man’s double quandary. And that is   that God requires righteousness to qualify for citizenship in His Kingdom.  The solution to that second prerequisite – the one of our utter dearth of righteousness – is what we’ll explore here.

 

It was perhaps 10 years ago, I noticed in the morning paper the obituary of a woman whose three little girls used to sit with me in church, more than 20 years prior to that, when they were just in grade school. Through respect for these young ladies who, I figured, had to be in their mid-twenties by then, I decided to pay my respects, even though they may not know me any more.

 

When I arrived at the funeral parlor, two of the young ladies were engaged in conversation with guests, but the third one spotted me – recognized this old guy, came over to me, and greeted me warmly. She thanked me for remembering them, and then said quietly, “I know that Jesus died for my Mom, and that He paid for her sins;  but I don’t know about    her going to heaven, because my mother led an awfully rough life.”  And yes, she certainly had.

 

As the daughter spoke, I silently appealed to God, “How do you want me to respond to this?” I thank Him for those promptings of His Spirit,  Who enabled me to answer her, something like this: “Jesus not only died  for your Mom; but He also lived  for her.  And,    if she trusted in Him as her Savior,     then His life of righteousness stands in the place of her life’s record.  You can rest in the assurance  that God will be gracious, and will judge her fairly and mercifully.”

 

So, if we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, then not only is His Judgment Death imputed to us,  but His righteous life becomes our title – our ticket – to eternal life in the New Earth.   Because Jesus is the very fulfillment of God’s purpose for our lives – a purpose that we’ve never attained, but that He has accomplished for us, while robed in our flesh.  He is our living Example.

 

Excerpt from “Victory in Christ”, pp 5, 6 – W. W. Prescott

 

Jesus took the same flesh that I have.  He met the same temptations that I meet.  He voluntarily made Himself just as dependent upon a power outside Himself    as I am, to be obedient to God’s holy will, through the grace provided.

 

He was cruelly misunderstood, yet He refused to approve the least departure from a strictly upright course.  Against the dark background of selfishness and sin, of hypocrisy and self-righteousness, which characterized His time, He set forth, in His personal conduct, the law of self-denial and of self-sacrificing love.  He was what He taught.

 

He lived a truly human life.  He became weary, just as I do.  He became thirsty when walking in the heat of the day, just as I do.  He required sleep to refresh His physical frame after a day of toil, just as I do.  He required food for His body, just as I do.  He differed in no way from me in all these respects.  He was my Brother in the flesh.

 

And yet, He was the Son of God, One with the Father from eternity, through Whom the worlds were created, and in Whom all things cohere.  Before He visited this world as the Son of Man, cherubim and seraphim were His willing servants, and angels were the ministers of His will.  He was with God, and He was God.  He was at home in the majestic glory of heaven.

 

What is the explanation of these apparent contradictions of His being?  It is found in the simple fact that He lived for me.  Only one Who is more than a man could become the representative man, the epitome of the race, and could not only assume human nature, but could gather up into Himself every individual member of the human family, and could become my personal Representative, and live a life which could be set down to my account as if I had lived it myself,   if I accept my place in Him.

 

This is the true meaning of justification by faith, or being accounted righteous    by the acceptance of the life lived by another.  It is not a mere theological doctrine, an article of the creed.  It is an actual transaction, by virtue of which    a life of righteousness is substituted for a life of sin, in response to faith.

 

If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Savior, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake, you are accounted righteous.  Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.

 

Some time back, I heard an old-line Baptist preacher say, “Upon a life I never lived, and upon a death I never died;   but on the righteous life of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and on His death on the Cross of Calvary,   I hang my eternity.”

 

There it is!  It’s all right there!  Let’s run that by again: “Upon a life I never lived, and upon a death I never died;    but on the righteous life of my Savior, Jesus Christ, and on His death on the Cross of Calvary,    I hang my eternity.”  He died for you, yes indeed, He did!  But He also lived for you.   Believe it!

 

The complete remedy for humankind’s two-fold dilemma lies right here:

1)   The terminal state of our sin problem  was resolved at Calvary!  Now, it’s very likely  that you’ve been hearing this, perhaps, since childhood.  But,   have you claimed it?  Have you received it,   made it yours? And then …

 

2)   There’s our utter lack, a dire dearth, of any righteousness.  God tells us, thru the prophet Isaiah, that all our righteousness is as filthy rags – soiled laundry. And what we desperately need is to be clothed in what the Bible describes as    the crisp, clean, pure, white Robe of Christ’s righteousness … which He bestows – it becomes our possession – when we surrender completely to Him. It is this – the righteousness of the Savior - that outfits us, and qualifies us for entrance into, for everlasting life in, His Kingdom.

 

So, yes, He died for you. Stake your claim to it now, without delay!  But

know also that He lived for you.  His righteousness   in the place of your sinfulness; His obedience, His faithfulness, His perfect life   for your life.

 

My life of scarlet, my sin and woe

Cover with His life, whiter than snow.”

 

The Apostle Paul  framed it in these words: “For if when we were  enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”  Romans 5:10  NKJV

 

His judgment death in the place of ours!  and His righteous life in the place of ours!  Saved by His death … saved by His life!   These two are inseparable.

 

Now, let’s crank this up a notch: Scripture says that knowing God is the key to life  –  Listen to the voice of Jesus in John 17:3: “This is life eternal:  that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent”.

 

It is His earnest desire that we grow to know Him personally … and why?

 

Well, primarily because He wants to reproduce His life, His character – to restore His image – in each of us.  In all that we do, in all that we are, He wants us     to become like Him    in temperament,   in demeanor,   in integrity.  And for this reason, He promises to write His precepts upon the “fleshy tables” of our hearts.    He promises to make His thoughts and His ways    an integral part of our very nature … to restore in us the image of God, as it was when we were first created in Adam,   before the fall.     Because ultimately…

 

… God’s desire is to replicate in us – in our daily walk – His  obedience, His righteousness, His kindness, His unconditional love, and His good works.  The life that He produced in Christ, when Jesus wore our flesh, He wants to live-out in and thru us. That’s the process of sanctification.  His life, reproduced in you and me, by the indwelling of His Spirit!  His actions, His words, His purposes.  It’s what the Apostle Paul refers to as “The Mystery of God,  Christ in you”.

 

Speaking of the Final Judgment, Jesus declares in Matthew 10:32, “Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven.”  How? How will He acknowledge us? He is our Advocate; our Divine Attorney. Jesus will testify in our behalf; He’ll plead our case for us; and He’ll present His own judgment, and His complete, righteous life, as our very own!

 

God’s plan of redemption is far bigger than simply “One for all”.  It’s greater than that – it’s better than “One for all”. In reality, it’sall  in  One”.  A perfect example would be a legal class-action.  Now, my grasp of the legal process is miniscule at best; but, I think the following example will adequately illustrate the magnitude of Jesus’ victory    before the Court of Heaven:

In a typical class-action, a legal representative stands before the judgment bar   on behalf of an entire group, or class, of individuals. He stands as them – legally, he is  “them”. Those who comprise the class are given the opportunity to choose to take part in the class action,   or   they may decline participation.

Question: If the attorney who represents the class should   win judgment in their favor,   will everyone in the entire class   benefit from the victory?  That answer is  Not necessarily.  Why not?  Because it’s more than likely   that not everyone in the class will elect to participate,   for a litany of reasons (there’s probably a catch! I don’t have the time; it’s just pie in the sky; and so on).  The end of the matter is that    only those who elect to participate in that class action have the legal right to partake of the benefits.

Question: If every individual in that class should choose to participate, would it be necessary for their advocate to return to court for any further litigation?  Well, no!  Because, when he wins the case, he wins judgment for potentially every single individual in that classAll may legally share in the benefits.

Well. our Advocate, Jesus, took His spotless life, His spilled blood, and His death to Heaven’s Judgment Bar on behalf of the entire class of Adam’s fallen race – and He was victorious!  Clad in   corporate human flesh, wearing our carnality, Jesus gained forever the victory for you and me. He   was   “we”.

Now, here’s the question: Will every human being benefit from Christ’s victory? Tragically, that answer is No.  And the reason:  Because, not everyone has chosen,  or ever will choose,  to partake in this  cosmic  class-action.

One final question:  If, by some astounding miracle, every living soul should say, “Yes, Lord!  Me too!  Count me in, too”,   would Jesus have to endure any further trials in the flesh?  Would He have to go back to Calvary and shed any more of His precious blood?  Of course not!   And why not?  Because His righteous life  and His Judgment death at Calvary were -  still are! – sufficient for every human being who has ever   borrowed breath from His Creator. 

And that  is precisely  what the Son of Man did at Calvary. 1) Hebrews 2:9: Christ’s victory is for all man.  2) Hebrews 10:10: He was victorious once, for all-time. 3) I Corinthians 15:22: all are made alive in Him, thru His life in us!

He won the class-action for you and me, and He accomplished it in us, as us!  What makes Jesus’ class-action victory   even more incredible is that     His victory is a done-deal!  It’s history;  it’s past-tense;  it’s a completed fact!  It’s also a no-brainer!  Think of it.  You’ve been invited, after the fact – knowing full-well, right up-front,   that you’ll be on the Victor’s side,  sharing in the Savior’s eternal benefits …   if …  if  you will  opt “in”   on His class-action!

But, sadly, not all will claim the victory.  Some will simply allow it to pass (it’s just pie in the sky; don’t have the time; there’s gotta be a catch!  and so on).  What will you do with your victorious life in Christ?  The door is still open!  

It’s been said: “Every saint has a past” but the good news is “Every sinner has a future”!  Are you willing to enter the Savior’s  “Witness Protection Program”?  If you’re not ashamed to acknowledge Him – that is, to confess publicly that Jesus and His righteous life; His fulfillment of God’s intended purpose for you; His judgment; His new life     stand in the place of your life’s account;  then, in

cyber-terms, Jesus deletes your past – all that questionable browsing history, all those fatal errors – wipes your hard-drive pristine-clean – and He gives you His resumeHis own, pure life-record –  just as though it were your own!  His perfect life     in the place of  yours!    because   He    lived        for   you!

 

But there’s more: He LIVES  (that’s present tense) He LIVES for you!  At this very moment, it’s His ongoing  mediatorial work as our Intercessor, as our personal Representative, before the Throne of Grace, that is able to present you without spot or blemish, without stain or wrinkle, before the Heavenly Father.

 

Listen: Hebrews 7:25 “Wherefore He is able to save to the uttermost …”  ?How far away is “the uttermost”?  Over the Pacific, ‘way past Fukushima,   far beyond the VanAllen Belts, and light years on and on … that’s how far …

 

“… He is able to save to the uttermost those who come to God by Him, seeing that He ever liveth to make intercession for them.”

 

So, He  LIVED for you,  and He LIVES  for you!   And … He’s not done yet! … It just keeps getting better:  Right up until the Day of Christ’s return,  it is His life, that He reproduces in you, thru the power of His abiding,  sanctifying Spirit … it’s thru that life that He“is able to keep you from falling”, day by day, moment by moment. We can’t do it on our own – but He can,  and He will!

 

Your Lord Jesus Christ, from the manger to the Cross, to the courts of heaven, has  -  and still does  -  and forever will  -  set you free from the condemnation of the Law.  You want to lay hold on all of this – claim it and make it yours.

 

Please – do not overlook the joyous fact that Jesus Christ, “The Son of Man”, lived for you,   and  He lives for you,  and at your invitation, He lives within you.  Thru the incredible gift of His complete life,  He has purchased for you    full citizenship in His Eternal City,   and a clear title to a home in The Earth-Made-New. 

 

Have you accepted the Savior’s life  as well as His death?  Then, you want to renew that commitment again tomorrow, as soon as you open your eyes; and then,   do that each and every day, until the Trumpet sounds and Jesus breaks through the sky   in power and glory,  with 10,000 times 10,000 of His angels!

 

And if you haven’t – if you haven’t yet laid hold of the wondrous gifts of His victorious life and  his all-encompassing sacrifice – you’ll want to do so while the door of His grace remains open.  Our Heavenly Father declared a long time ago, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man.”

 

His warm, open invitation – and His earnest desire is that we seek Him “while He may be found” and “call upon Him while He is near.” 

 

Our Most Gracious Father in heaven:

May every individual present in this house today – and every single soul in the viewing audience around the world – be found in the Savior, having claimed His glorious life, as well as His completed sacrifice, and His resurrection to eternity.  And may we renew this commitment each new day, Abba Father, each new day that You lend us the Breath of Life. 

 

In the worthy, holy, wonderful name of Jesus we pray,   Amen

 

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