Pristine Grace

Jesus of Nazareth
by Henry Mahan
Jesus of Nazareth

     When a man gives evidence of being awakened by the Holy Spirit and brought to inquire of us, "What must I do to be saved?", we have the answer from the inspired words of the Apostle Paul: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." The answer is so old that with many it seems out of date and so simple that with many it seems to be not enough. But it is still and always will be fresh, and new, and the only way to God. No man can devise a better answer for "He that believeth on the Son hath life and he that believeth not on the Son shall not see life."

  1. Who is Jesus of Nazareth? He is the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world. The Scriptures reveal that the Living God is a triune God – three in one, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God said, "Let us make man." I John 5:7 declares, "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one." John 1:1,14 states, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God . . . and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father full of grace and truth." God sent His Son into the world made in the likeness of sinful flesh, made of a woman, made under the law. Christ said, "I and my Father are one." Again He said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to believe that He is the Lord Jesus Christ. "If ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins." John 8:24. This is the same I AM of Exodus 3:14 where God said to Moses, "I AM that I AM" and of John 8:58 when Christ said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." Jesus of Nazareth is not just a messenger of God, a religious reformer, a prophet – He is Immanuel, "God with us."
     
  2. What did Jesus of Nazareth do? He did what no man has ever done or ever can do; He pleased the Father! Paul said, "They that are in the flesh cannot please God." Romans 8:8. Jesus of Nazareth was in the flesh and He pleased God for the Father said, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." He pleased the Father because "though tempted in all points, He was without sin." He knew no sin, neither was guile found in Him. In the flesh He was subject to the ceremonial law, the moral law, the law of the home, the law of the land and the law of love. He was tried by Satan, by man and by God. The verdict: "I find no fault in Him!" Having lived before God a perfect life, being born and lived without sin – His work was not done! He must die! He must die as all those whom He represents, and with whom He is numbered, deserve to die, and must die – under the wrath of God! "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up." John 3:14. Everything He did in His life and death was according to the Old Testament Scriptures, I Cor. 15:1-4. He was betrayed, denied, despised and rejected, spat upon, nailed to a cross between two thieves, deserted of the Father, made His soul an offering for sin, buried and rose again! He fulfilled every type, picture and symbol set forth in the law of Moses. To believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to believe that He is The Christ, the Redeemer, who fulfilled all things written in the law of Moses, in the prophets, and in the Psalms concerning Him.
     
  3. Why did Jesus of Nazareth do these things? The answer is found in Romans 3:26 – "to declare God's righteousness, that God might be just and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus." God is love and His love will be expressed and manifested, but not at the expense of His justice God is merciful and delights to show mercy, but not in such a way that His righteousness is compromised. "The Lord is longsuffering and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty." "If mercy is shown to me, it must meet and satisfy truth. If peace is granted to me, it must be in agreement with God's righteousness, holiness and justice." Psalm 85:10. If God accepts a man, that man must have a perfect righteousness before the law. In Christ believers have that perfect righteousness, for in the flesh He pleased God and honored the law for every believer. Romans 5:19. If God receives a man into His fellowship, that man's sin must be punished by death – "The soul that sinneth must surely die." Christ, our substitute and sin offering, died in our stead satisfying fully all that God's justice required. We are holy and unblameable in His sight, our sins have been paid for, and by His stripes we are healed. God can be just and completely justify all for whom Christ died. The obedience and death of Christ was not a display of love and sacrifice to impress men, but it was "unto the Lord"; it was "before the Lord"; it was "God in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself." We in heart will be reconciled to God when the Holy Spirit regenerates us and sheds abroad the love of and for God in our hearts!
     
  4. Where is Jesus of Nazareth now? "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sin. " Acts 5:30-31. He is seated, having finished the work given Him to do, at the right hand of the Majesty on High. He is our great High Priest who intercedes for us; the one Mediator between God and men. It is this Living Lord who has all authority over all flesh, who gives eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him and this eternal life is to know by experience God through Jesus Christ. When we say "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ," we are confronting men with a living sovereign Lord alive forevermore, reigning at the right hand of the Father, given all authority now and forever, having been exalted and installed there by way of the bloody cross and in virtue thereof! Do you believe?