Monday, July 25, 2011

Portraits of Christ

“Jesus is the Savior”, Ken offered.  Tony had asked Ken which portrait of Christ describes Him best:  Poet, prophet, 2nd Adam, Living Word, politician, Son of God, Creator or teacher.

“Savior?  What do you mean by that?”, Tony probed. “What did he save us from?”

“He has redeemed us.  He saved us from sin.” Ken replied.

“What about death?”  Tony continued.

“Yes, He saved us from sin and death.”  Ken answered.

Then Tony asked, “In what way did He save you from death.  How do you know that he will?”

Ken replied, “Well, Jesus rose from the dead, so I believe I will too.  The Bible says we are seated in heaven places with Christ.” 

“Well, that’s true in a spiritual sense, but what about the physical?  What is the connection between His resurrection and yours?”  asked Tony, drilling down deep.

Tony continued, “What I’m getting at is the significance of a historical Adam.  This is actually a big debate right now at seminaries and Christian Colleges.  You see, when Adam sinned, he brought spiritual death and physical death into the world.  All of creation was affected.  But Jesus completely reversed all of what Adam brought when He died on the cross for our sins and then rose from the dead.  That is why the apostle Paul called Jesus the 2nd Adam.  Those who trust Him have spiritual life, and when Christ returns, His followers will be raised from the dead and given immortal bodies.  Right now we experience spiritual life but not the physical.”

Speaking in the context of resurrection, the Bible says, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22).  How can this be?  Adam is the federal head of mankind, so his sinned affected all men.  Jesus is the spiritual head of mankind, so His righteousness restores all who trust Him.  The same is true of the physical.

As it turns out, most Christians, like Ken, see Jesus as their spiritual redeemer, but not their physical savior.  Jesus, as the “Lamb of God”, another portrait, saved us from sin and hell, paying the price for our sin.  Jesus, the “Lion of Judah”, will come one day to destroy all His enemies, reversing the physical curse of The Fall.  There will be no more mourning, crying or pain.  No more disease.  And, “The last enemy to be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:26). 

“For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor. 15:52-54).  Now that is good news!