Jesus Our Representative

by

In these weekend devotions throughout this year, we are addressing the two most important questions any human being can ever ask. The first question is “What must I do to be saved?”

In beginning, I answered this question by demonstrating from the Word of God that salvation from sin and its consequences are to be found in Christ Jesus alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 1:15).

I then asserted that Christ Jesus is able to do what He does in saving us, first of all, because He is who He is as the God-man—Immanuel, God with us (Matt. 1:23). The Son of God, with two distinct natures in one person forever, is the only qualified savior of sinners.

Although He is perfectly competent to be our Savior because He is who He is, our salvation is not procured by His unique person apart from the unique work He did to accomplish salvation for us.

In 1 Corinthians 15:1–4, the Apostle Paul spells out precisely what Jesus did to secure our salvation. According to the Apostle, “He died for our sins, he was buried, and he was raised again on the third day.” The words “he died for our sins” mean nothing less than the fact that when Jesus died on the cross, he was bearing the full measure of the poured-out wrath of God against our sins. In His death, Jesus was being made “a curse for us (Gal. 3:13). When He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” that cry validated that He was indeed being “made sin for us” (2 Cor. 5:21). The hell we deserved was absorbed by Jesus. Because His soul and body were made the blotter to soak up the just fury of God against sin, He could issue that later cry, “It is finished” (John 19:30), thereby providing for us a “done” salvation.

However, to be received into God’s favor and fellowship, not only must the penalty demanded by the law of God be met by our substitute and representative, but also a righteousness composed of perfect conformity to the demands of the law must be provided in our substitute as well.

In Romans 5:12–21, we find Adam and Jesus compared and contrasted as representative heads. What they did in this position is reckoned by God as having been done by those whom they represented. Therefore, the Apostle Paul says, “For as by the one man’s disobedience [Adam] the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience [Jesus] the many will be made righteous” (v. 19). Hence, it is nothing less than the perfect doing and the horrific dying of the God-man Himself that enables God to offer to sinners a “done” salvation that does no violence either to His justice or His holiness.

What must you do to be saved? In terms of the basis of your being saved, you must cease from trusting in all your doings, and recognize that if you are ever to be saved, that salvation will be found based only upon the doing and dying of another, even the Lord Jesus Christ. 

First published in Tabletalk Magazine, an outreach of Ligonier. For permissions, view our Copyright Policy.