Jesus Died As A Man–The Perfect Atonement

We’ve already looked at how Jesus died for our sins, and we’ve established that we are sinners in need of a Savior, and that Savior’s name is Jesus.  That message is at the heart of every post on here, and I hope to establish that again tonight.  Tonight, we’ll be looking in Scripture at the manhood of Christ, so as to make sure we understand that as a man, Jesus was able to perfectly take our penalty, and the manhood of Christ was necessary.  His atonement clears us of our iniquity.

First, open up to 2 Corinthians 5:21–“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”  I want this verse to sink into your hearts so that you can’t stop thinking about it.  I want you to treasure this verse.  This is the gospel.  Jesus Christ took our sin and wretched self on the cross, and He forever forgave those who trust in Him, giving them His righteousness and salvation.

Now go to Hebrews 2:14-15.  “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.”

There’s a long-standing and widespread debate over free will for the Christian.  Here’s my partial take without getting too involved: Before we come to know Jesus, we do have a sort of free will.  Yet, ever since Adam and Eve sinned in Eden, all we have chosen to do with that free will is sin, and thus, in a way, we do not have free will.  We are “slaves to sin,” as the Word says in Romans 3:10-11.  “None is righteous, no, not one, no one understands; no one seeks for God.”

So we see that we are slaves to sin, and we cannot do otherwise.  If you’ve read the Old Testament, which I hope you have, you’ll notice a trend among the Israelites…sin.  We need a Savior.  Expanding on this, we need a Savior who is a human…for we must fulfill the law.  Someone must fulfill the law, the debt that we owe to God because of our sin.

This is where I’ll lose some people.  We do not want to say “I am a sinner.”  It is a pride in ourselves to admit this.  It takes a work of the Holy Spirit for us to realize that we are sinners.  I admit, I do not have the proper words or answers on how to properly explain to someone that they are a sinner except to go to God’s Word, which, of course, is the best source.

Of course, the next question becomes: What about those who do not believe in the authority of Scripture?  This work is best left to someone else, and humbly, I defer to C.S. Lewis.  Pick up Mere Christianity, and read his explanation of the sense of morality and the law within each of us, that moral code.  I could explain it here, but I’d prefer to direct you to the author, as I hope someone would do for my writings.

But let’s go to the Word, see what God says about it: Pick up Romans 1.  Here is the best explanation in Scripture for us not having an excuse.  Paul writes, beginning in verse 19, that “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse.”

Missions exist because worship doesn’t.  The primary goal of God sending His children on mission, the primary reason for His saving them is not simply His great love for us, though make no mistake that He does loves us, but His primary goal is this: The worship of Himself, a holy, sovereign God.

In order for this to happen, though, the people must be made righteous before God, and their sin must be atoned for.  This is the reason for the sacrifices in the Old Testament.  The perfect sacrifice for us is Jesus.  Romans 5:15 says “But the free gift is not like the trespass.  For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.”

We must not forget that Jesus Christ is God, He is the Lord of all the universe.  But in order for Jesus to be our atonement, He had to become a man.  A friend of mine just texted me this, and I’m not sure where he got it, so wherever this came from, thank you: “What Jesus did not become, Jesus did not save.”

Make no mistake: Jesus was a man.  Matthew 1:1-17.  To spare you and I the pain, I won’t quote the entire genealogies, but read it.  Seriously.  It’s important.  I’ll start in verse 12, however: “And after the deportation to Babylon, Jechoniah was the father of Shealtiel, and Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, and Zerubbabel the father of Abiud, and Abiud the father of Eliakim, and Eliakim the father of Azor, and Azor the father of Zadok, and Zadok the father of Achim, and Achim the father of Eliud, and Eliud the father of Eleazer, and Eleazer the father of Matthan, and Matthan the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.  So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations.”

We believe as Christians that Mary mothered Jesus.  While we believe in the virgin birth and the deity of Christ, we also believe that Jesus came out of His mother the same way we all did.  We believe He had a childhood, and was raised like any other boy (though I doubt He got in trouble much).  Luke 2:52 says “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.”

We have numerous examples in Scripture of Jesus being hungry, tired, weeping, thirsting, etc.  This is a pretty clear example of Jesus being human.  When paired with the gospel of John, with the many “I AM” statements, we get the complete picture of Jesus, the God-man, come to save the world.

He also came to fulfill the law.  Look at these examples in Scripture of Jesus’ mission of salvation:

“And Jesus cried out and said, ‘Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me.  And whoever sees me sees him who sent me.  I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.  If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.'”–John 12:44-50

“The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!'”–John 1:29

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.  For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”–Matthew 5:17-18

This last verse in its section in Matthew ends with Jesus telling us that our righteousness has to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, otherwise, we won’t go to heaven.  Here’s the catch: If you know anything about the scribes and Pharisees, you know they aren’t very righteous.  They were outwardly legalistic, and inwardly prideful and selfish sinners.  Jesus is calling us to true righteousness, not human tradition.  How, then, do we gain this righteousness?  This Godly, obedient, holy, perfect righteousness?

Isaiah 49:8-10: “Thus says the Lord: In a time of favor I have answered you; in a day of salvation I have helped you; I will keep you and give you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners, ‘Come out,’ to those who are in darkness, ‘Appear.’ They shall feed along the ways; on all bare heights shall be their pasture; they shall not hunger or thirst, neither scorching wind nor sun shall strike them, for he who has pity on them will lead them, and by springs of water will guide them.”

Go back to the verse in 2 Corinthians.  Paul’s words carry the authority of God because they are God-inspired.  They echo the words of Christ, who had the authority of God because, well….He is God.

“For our sake, he made him to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”–2 Corinthians 5:21.

Told ya.  That’s the gospel.  We’ve established that Jesus was indeed a man, and as a perfect man, He was able to fulfill the law and take our place on the cross.  His substitution was perfect for us, and ALL of our sin, past, present, and future, are paid for at Calvary.  Oh what a sweet exchange, that Christ would die for this wretched sinner to make Him a redeemed saint, child of God!  What marvelous news, that He took our sin, and gave us His righteousness.  This is the great exchange.  Hebrews adds that Jesus took the death for everyone.

“But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”–Hebrews 2:9

Christian–Your sins are paid for.  Even after coming to know Christ, we’re really good at messing things up.  Fear not.  If you are repenting, following Christ, and hold fast to the confession you had in the Lordship and Salvation found only in Christ, you are a child of God.

For those of you who do not know Jesus, please read the Gospels.  Mark and John would be a good place to start.  Email me.  Call me (email for number).  My life’s mission is to point to the glorious salvation of Christ.  Find a church.  Jesus came on earth to become a man, live the life we could not live, which we’ve seen tonight, and to die the death we could not, all to save us because He loves us.  He has a purpose in this love, and it is the glory and worship of God Almighty.  I can tell you this: There is no greater joy I know than to glorify God.  There is no greater peace than to trust in the Word of God which says that Jesus paid it all, and that because I call on His name, not only have I been redeemed, completely forgiven, but my life will look different.  Not materially, but in that I will be given power to make Jesus known.  That’s what I hope I’ve done here tonight.

May we not forget what Jesus has done.  May we not sit in our guilt, trying to “earn it back.”  May we remember that the law has been fulfilled by Jesus.  May we live in grace, as He changes us for His glory.  May we constantly repent, not in rote prayers of forgiveness, but by a changed life that glorifies God on high.  May we spread the gospel, and give our lives to make this radical, relentless, amazing grace of Jesus known.  May God bless you, my readers, with grace and peace.

God bless,

Neal E.

This Sunday, I hope to blog about Jesus fulfilling God’s Word, and on the marvelous words “It is finished!”  It may seem like I hit similar points over and over….I am.  But we should constantly be reminded of Jesus, so I think it’s good.  And then…April 8th….the most glorious message of all: Jesus lives.  God bless you guys and gals.


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