Today and in the upcoming two weeks I want you to think about the gift of Jesus Christ and how his coming into history as the God-man quite literally changed – and is changing – the world. You simply cannot understand the history and our world today apart from Jesus Christ.
Let’s begin this unpacking of the blessings that have come to the world because Jesus Christ came to the world. These all come from the Great Gift of Jesus Christ Himself.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, (so) that whoever believes in him
should not perish but have eternal life.”
Notice that the great gift isn’t deliverance from sin and death and everlasting life – although those are obviously marvelous, wonderful, thrilling gifts.
The great gift is Jesus Christ Himself. If you’re given the gift of a medical device that brings healing and strength to your body, that restoration of your health is obviously a wonderful gift. But it’s the medical device that was given to you that’s the reason for your restored health – at
least humanly speaking. And so it is with Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord for the everlasting life and blessedness that comes
But Jesus Christ is the reason for that blessing. He Himself is that Great Gift.
But how is Jesus Christ the Great Gift?
1. He is God. When you have Him as your Lord and your Savior by grace through faith you have God with you, and for you, and in you. That’s amazing! It’s truly amazing grace!
2. He paid the punishment for all of the sins of all of His people by His work on what we call
“Good Friday”: Jesus became the Lamb of God whose death as a sacrifice became the gift of the satisfaction of the justice of God as he took to Himself the very punishment of Hell – and the everlasting punishment of Hell – due to all for whom He died. Wow! That’s also amazing grace!
3. (And this part of the gift of Christ is very much unappreciated). He satisfied the righteous demands of God the Father by being perfectly obedient to everything God requires, all of the time from his conception right through to his death on the cross. Where our first father, Adam, was disobedient; the Last Adam, Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient – in body, mind, soul, and spirit. And that perfect obedience – what we call his “active obedience” – is as surely given to those who come to Christ in true faith as is his “passive obedience” – his bearing the punishment of sin as the Lamb of God who takes
away the sin of the world. Wow! Wow! Wow! That’s spectacular amazing grace! Married to Jesus Christ by faith I am as righteous as He is. The promise of “Jehovah – the true and living God the Lord – our righteousness. Is fulfilled in the God-man, Jesus Christ the Lord. What an amazing gift in the Gift of Gifts, Jesus Christ.
Today I want to unwrap that gift in the Gift of Gifts: The active obedience of Jesus Christ, given to us and received by faith alone. You must have that perfect obedience, or you simply cannot attain glory – the immediate presence of God forever.
Today I have one of my favorite guests for A Visit to the Pastor’s Study. The very animated and ever-interesting Dr. Alan Strange is with us again today. He’s not only Professor of Church History at Mid-America Reformed Seminary, but he also serves as an Associate Pastor of New Covenant Community Church – a congregation of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church – in Joliet, Illinois. His most recent book has a very imposing title: The Imputation of the Active Obedience of Christ in the Westminster Standards – – the kind of thing that doctors write! But Dr. Strange is also Pastor Strange, and in just a moment he’s going to minister to us, unwrapping the unappreciated gift in the Gift of Gifts, Jesus Christ. Pastor Dr. Alan Strange, welcome again to A Visit to the Pastor’s Study…
Here’s a link to the complete program: