Lesson 15: The Work of Christ | Biblical Foundations for Living

Lesson 15: The Work of Christ

As stated in Lesson Fourteen, what we do is a reflection of who we are. Having learned who Christ is (His person), we can now proceed to study what He has done (His work). This lesson will discuss:

1. The work of Christ before time

2. The work of Christ within time

[When did time start? With creation. Before that was eternity past. Time will end with the creation of the new heaven and earth after the Millennium (2 Pet 3:10-13; Rev 21:1). Before creation and in the eternal state there was/will be no time as we know it. ]

I. The Work of Christ Before Time

In Lesson Thirteen, we learned that many people mistakenly believe that Christ came into existence at the birth of Jesus. As a result, they believe that His work is limited to the time following His birth. However, the Bible teaches that the triune God was active prior to Creation. Because Christ is God, He was active prior to the beginning of time.

A. Christ was active in planning the events of history .

“Have you not heard? Long ago I ordained it. In days of old I planned it; now I have brought it to pass.” – Isaiah 37:26

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. – Psalm 139:16

[Everything that happens is part of God’s plan for the universe. Things happen because God determined that they would. If this is true, what are some consequences? Nothing happens by pure chance. There is a purpose for everything. God is in control of everything. There is not such thing as random or chance occurances.]

B. Christ was active in planning the salvation of believers .

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.   Ephesians 1:4-5

[The words “in him” or “in Christ” describe salvation. Holy Spirit baptism places us “in him” at the moment of salvation. ]

In [Christ] we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.   Ephesians 1:11

It is interesting to note that God’s plan for history included Christ’s sacrifice of Himself. Therefore, Christ was involved in planning His own death.

. . . the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.   Revelation 13:8

[Is the salvation of an individual purely his own decision? No. Why not? God planned it. One is saved as a result of the out-working of the plan of God. God saves who he has chosen to save.]

Note: Although the above verses specify God the Father as the One doing the planning, both God the Son and God the Holy Spirit played an active role in these events as well.

II. The Work of Christ Within Time

Not only was Christ active prior to the creation of time, but He has also been active since then.

A. Christ’s work in the past

1. Christ created the universe.

Through [Christ] all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.   John 1:3

For by [Christ] all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.   Colossians 1:16

2. Christ revealed God. [“Reveal” means “to make known.”]

No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.   John 1:18

Jesus answered: ” . . . Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.”   John 14:9

Note: As the God man, Jesus Christ made God known as no other prophet could (such as Moses, Elijah, and others in the Old Testament). He perfectly fulfilled the Old Testament office of prophet .

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.   Hebrews 1:1 2

3. Christ made salvation possible.

a. Jesus Christ satisfied the required penalties of God’s Law.

1) Jesus Christ died as our perfect substitute .

The Bible states that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23) and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Because all men are sinners, they all deserve death. Jesus Christ died in our place.

[This is what we call the vicarious or substitutionary atonement. Our relationship with God is made right through the sacrificial death of Christ on our behalf. The death of Christ satisfied God’s wrath against sin. Christ paid the penalty in our place.]

Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.   Isaiah 53:4 6

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.   1 John 2:2

2) Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice removes the guilt of the believer.

Because of his sin, every person stands guilty before God. The substitutionary death of Christ is the means by which God removes the guilt of every believer.

[Christ’s death is the basis of our forgiveness. God did not just wipe away our debt. He didn’t just cancel the punishment due the crime. Had he done so, he would not have been just/fair. Someone had to pay the price/penalty for sin. Jesus did. Because Jesus died for us, we don’t have to. Jesus paid the debt, he suffered the consequences for us.]

But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. – Hebrews 9:26

b. Jesus Christ satisfied the positive demands of God’s Law.

1) Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect obedience .

Some assume that Christ’s perfect life means only that He did not do anything wrong. However, Christ was perfect not only because He did not do anything wrong, but also because He did everything right, thereby fulfilling all the righteous requirements of God’s Law. We say that Jesus died for us, but often forget that He lived for us too!

Although [Christ] was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.   Hebrews 5:8 9

[C.f. also Matt 5.17]

2) Jesus Christ’s perfect life is imputed to the believer.

[What does “impute” mean? To charge to one’s account. Thus, the perfect law-keeping of Christ is charged to us. So by the sacrificial death of Christ we are forgiven, and by the perfect life of Christ we are given a righteous/meritorious standing. It’s not enough just to be forgiven; you have to have a righteous/holy standing. ]

When one becomes a Christian, God imputes to him the righteous life of Jesus Christ. Christ’s righteousness is credited to his account.

For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.   Romans 5:19 (See also 2 Corinthians 5:21.)

4. Jesus Christ rose from the dead .

Christ’s resurrection separates Him from all other religious leaders. The founders of all other religions are dead. Christ, however, rose from the dead on the third day, just as He said He would.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”   Matthew 28:5 6

[How important is the resurrection? What would happen to Christianity without it? 1 Cor. 15 — without the rez. the whole thing would be one big lie, worthless and meaningless.]

B. Christ’s work in the present

1. Jesus Christ preserves the universe.

[Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together. – Colossians 1:17

[God’s power holds the universe together. ]

2. Jesus Christ intercedes for believers.

Christ speaks to the Father in behalf of believers.

[An intercessor is a go-between, a mediator (1 Tim 2:5), one who speaks to someone for someone else. John 14:6–no one comes to God but through Christ.]

Christ Jesus, who died  more than that, who was raised to life  is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.   Romans 8:34

Note: As the God man, Jesus Christ can intercede for us as no other human priest could (such as Aaron, Eli, and others in the Old Testament). Jesus Christ perfectly fulfills the Old Testament office of priest .

[The Bible uses the term “advocate” to describe Jesus as our intercessor. Like a lawyer, He pleads our case before God.]

C. Christ’s work in the future

God is the king of His creation in spite of the attempts of Satan and mankind to dethrone Him. Jesus Christ will one day return to establish His kingdom and reign as the supreme king.

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads

the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.   Revelation 19:11 16

Note: As the God man, Jesus Christ will rule as no other human king could (such as Saul, David, and others in the Old Testament). Jesus Christ will perfectly fulfill the Old Testament office of king .

[When will this happen? 7 Years after the rapture, the millennium will begin–1000 years of the literal rule of Christ on the earth. Jesus will be here, in person, ruling the earth from a throne in Jerusalem.]

Recap & Review

In this lesson, we have learned:

1. Christ was active before time. He planned the events of history and the salvation of believers.

2. Christ has been, is, and will be active within time. He created the universe, revealed God, made salvation possible, and rose from the dead. He preserves the universe and intercedes for believers. He will one day return to establish His kingdom.

Learning to Live It

1. While talking to you about Christ’s death on the cross, a friend asks, “How old was Jesus when He died?” You tell him, “About thirty.” He then asks, “Why did He wait until He was thirty?” How should you respond?

There needed to be enough time for Christ to meet the positive demands of God’s Law by living a life of perfect obedience.

2. After you explain to an unsaved friend that salvation is a free gift that one cannot earn, he refuses to accept Christ on the grounds that it seems too easy. What misconception does your friend have?

1. that salvation is cheap It was not. Jesus paid for it with His life. 2. That salvation is not a major step in one’s life. Salvation is a total change of life, a major decision.

What distinction would be helpful in clearing it up?

Free does not necessarily mean cheap. Salvation is free, but it cost God dearly. Also tell him about the changes salvation brings. It’s costly to be a Christian.

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