As we’ve been considering the name of God over the past few weeks, we come to the name which above every other name – Jesus the Christ. Just as the name of the Father reflects his character, so the name given to God the Son in the flesh reflects his mission. Jesus is indeed, “God to the rescue”.
“Rescue from what?” you might ask, to which the bible would answer, “Our sin”.
For the Word was made flesh that he might set us free from the punishment due to us for our sin. Whilst he was on earth, he set and example by leading a sinless life, he taught with authority unknown amongst the teachers of the Law, but ultimately he came to die in our place. He mission was made complete in his crucifixion and resurrection, where he took on the wrath of a holy God in his death, and his defeat of death in his rising again on the third day. You might ask “If God were merciful, why could he not just ignore our sin without the need for the crucifixion?” The answer lies in the fact that God is a merciful God. Just as we feel aggrieved when justice is not served in our earthly lives, God must act according to his just and holy nature. Justice must be done, punishment must be served. Through faith in Christ, he takes on our sin, and imputes his righteousness to us.
We are also saved from the power of sin. For anyone who sins is a slave to sin, but the Holy Spirit dwells within all Christians enabling them to say no to unrighteousness. This is not to say we’ll reach sinless perfection this side of eternity, for that would be folly. We will still battle against our sinful nature, but we will no longer have to battle alone, for the Holy Spirit not only enables us to say no, but enables us to become self-controlled, to be free.
However, one day, we’ll be completely free from the presence of sin when our sanctification will be made complete and we will be with God in eternity. The justification which is ours in Christ through faith and is already complete will be accompanied by a sanctification which will be complete in eternity. We will be reconciled to God not only legally, but completely.
As Charles Wesley’s famous hymn quite succinctly summarises:
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Do we know what it is to be reconciled to God?
Will we seek him while it light? We can so easily hear the gospel without ever responding to it thinking we’ll do it some time in the future. Yet, none of us knows when our lives will be taken from us. Even if something as catastrophic as death doesn’t happen, who’s to say we’ll ever hear the things of God again, that we’ll never give it another thought?
Correspondingly, if we have believed in this great gospel, who’s to say what breath will be our last? Have we used our opportunities wisely? Can we say, along with Charles Wesley (again!):
Happy, if with my latest breath
I may but gasp His Name,
Preach Him to all and cry in death,
“Behold, behold the Lamb!”
Now there’s a thought.