I am convinced we are about to experience a new and awesome revelation of God’s grace that will leave us all in awe. Grace is unmerited favour, which means that we do not get what we deserve, and we get what we do not deserve. Nevertheless, grace cannot be unjust. We cannot truly grasp grace without seeing it through the lens of God’s righteousness.
The first question that comes to mind is “If we are born in sin, how can we ever make righteous choices without the overarching influence of sin?” The fact is we cannot. Therefore, it does not seem just, that all of humanity now suffers a death penalty because of Adam’s choice and the process of reproduction. In contrast, Lucifer fell, as did a third of the angels, by their own wilful and prideful departure from their place in God’s order (Jude 1:6). Since angels do not reproduce, they each made their individual choices. Lucifer’s sin did not bring the whole angelic order under condemnation, whereas Adam’s brought the whole human race down.
In the creation of Adam, I believe that God purposely introduced the “by one man” as a principle. Secondly, unlike the creation of heavenly entities, God declared reproduction as a biological order for life He created on earth. Reproduction was a whole new concept. God then created one man, and from him one woman who would be the source of the entire human race. In the devil’s scheming mind, this must have appeared to be a fatal flaw in God’s creative plan. Poison the human process at the vulnerable source and sin would be multiplied, and God’s purposes foiled. (Too bad Adam hadn’t thought of eating the serpent instead of the apple!)
Man’s failure, of course, did not come as a surprise to God. He had One Man prepared from before the foundation of the world who would be born from “the seed of woman” and bring salvation to humanity. Not only would He redeem man back to God, but He would, crush the head of the serpent, eradicating the dynamic of sin at its eternal source. God’s plan of redemption would not just rescue man, but legally bring down the kingdom of darkness forever, through that One Man.
Through the work of the cross whoever believes and puts his trust in Christ, is born again by the Spirit. The seed of Christ is reproduced. If death could be reproduced through one man, then justice demands that life can be reproduced through one man also. Jesus had eternal life within Him, and has the right to give it to whomever He chooses. (John 5:26; John 10:28). Spiritual reproduction is legitimate, and so we are not born again through His flesh, but through His Spirit. In God’s justice system, Lucifer and His dark kingdom have been proven criminal, and the hidden power behind all human atrocities.
Grace and Truth were Realized
God’s justice has spheres of application. It must to apply to humanity as a whole, then to nations (the collective domains subject to governing bodies), and then also to individuals. All choices and actions have a mix of good and evil consequences. Justice is to some degree built into the consequences, but not always fairly. Individuals can suffer the consequences of bad corporate decisions, even if they themselves disagree. At times, innocent victims are written off as collateral damage suffered for the greater good.
All humanity is liable for evil and its proliferation. We have all contributed to it. God’s justice must therefore look at all humanity as criminals that need to pay for their crimes. The penalty is death for all humanity. Since death was a new concept, God could define it as He wished. He distinguished it from annihilation, opening the door for remedial action. The penalty could be satisfied by a representative death of an innocent lamb. Sacrifices in the bible, and in a less precise way in all of human religion, pointed to the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world”. God gave of Himself as the only possible sufficient substitute to bear the penalty for all mankind. Retributive justice has been satisfied in Christ. Taking our sentence of death on Himself is in itself unmerited favour from God to man. The corporate penalty for sin has been removed. We now have the freedom to choose whether to continue as children born into disobedience, or to be reborn in the image of the Obedient One. When we chose Christ, we are taken out of the kingdom of darkness, and the indictments written against it, and will no longer suffer as one of its citizens.
What is even more amazing about this grace is that the law now works for us as legitimate citizens, rather than against us as criminals. There is now no condemnation for those in Christ. Instead there is restorative and transformative justice applied to us as refugees in the kingdom of heaven. Restoration is not just to full citizenship, but adoption into the royal family!
Grace, the full blast of God’s goodness and kindness, and Truth, God’s perfect and loving purpose for us, can now be realized (Ephesians 2:10). God has put in His children the Spirit of Christ. The Holy Spirit links us to the kingdom of heaven, and He is the personal delivery system for the resources of heaven to be ministered to earth. Jesus, the Lamb that was slain, and the High Priest forever, was lauded because His blood purchase for God a kingdom of priests to distribute the amazing grace of God on earth.
By Only The One Man
Salvation and all its benefits are only in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:12). Righteousness and kingdom citizenship are the pillar benefits of our salvation. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” Notice that it is “His” righteousness that we are to seek. We are not instructed to seek “righteousness” in general, or even to try to fashion our good behaviour after the model of Jesus, but rather seek the actual righteousness of God.
“Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” is the humanly impossible standard that Jesus modelled. WWJD? What would Jesus do? He would heal the sick lepers, cause the blind to see and the lame to walk, cast out demons and raise the dead. Those were the deeds of His righteousness!
Jesus’ instruction is that we must “seek”, search out, research that righteousness. Where do we look for that? In Christ. We are to look for it with the same drive that we would look for food, clothing and shelter. In our natural life, even if I find those necessities of life today, I will need to look for more tomorrow. There is no doubt that salvation means that we are “in Christ” and citizens of the kingdom. Nevertheless, just as I can be in the kitchen and not avail myself of what is in the well-stocked cupboards, I can be in Christ without availing myself of the Anointing that is in the Anointed One. My actions can be those of a “mere man” (1 Corinthians 3:3-4). All the amazing grace comes as we live and move “in Christ”.
We have to look for that grace. Although readily available, it is not automatic. Here is a map of three landmarks in the search.
- Seek to be in right relationship with the Holy Spirit of Jesus. He is the Guide. You cannot get to the summit without Him
- Seek to be in right standing. Faith in Christ is the only ground, the only entranceway to the grace of God. (Romans 5:2) Love requires that trust to abandon our ways and choose His non-intuitive ways..
- Seek to be in the right orientation. Seek the things above where Christ is seated (Colossians 3:1,2). Seek God’s interests rather than man’s or a stumbling block gets in the way. (Matthew 16:23).