Sound Gospel: Abundant Life in Jesus Who Saves

 

 

Humanity loves her heroes. We write about them, sing songs about them, and even fantasize about being them. And that because, at our deepest sociological level, we all realize we need them. This means also that we realize there are problems in this world which are bigger than our abilities or resources. And such is the case when it comes to the problem of our sin. It is a problem for which we have no solution, no way out, no ability or resources which can restore what has been lost or remove the awful penalty now incurred. We need a hero—or better yet—a savior. We need a savior who has the ability and resources to do what we cannot; who can get God to not only forgive our sins but again grant to us the promises of abundant life.

Fortunately for us, such a hero and savior exists. His name is Jesus the Christ (or Jesus Christ). He is the grand theme of the Bible and the good news of its gospel. It is the “good news of abundant life in Jesus Christ.” The Scriptures record His life and teachings in the New Testament as taking place almost two thousand years ago. His message however is just as relevant today as it was then. As a matter of fact, the relevancy of Jesus Christ and His place as our Savior spans the entire spectrum of man’s existence. In other words, “Jesus saves” is not a phrase that is true for only one period of time or people, but for all time and all peoples. According to the Bible, He is the Savior of the human race from creation until the end of time.

1. Jesus is proclaimed as the One Who saves people from their sin and restores them to abundant life. (Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:8-11, 22-33, [1] 4:16-21, 19:9-10; John 1:4, 29, 3:16, 4:13-14, 42, 8:12, 10:10, 27-28, 12:47; Acts 5:31, 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 4:9-10, 14 [2], 5:11)

All of the verses above are either quoted directly by Jesus or are in reference to His mission and ministry. They represent the combined witness of not only Jesus, but angels and others that He is indeed the Savior sent by God to release humanity from the penalty, pain and power of their sin (Matthew 1:21;  Luke 2:11, 4:18; John 1:29, 3:16; Acts 5:31; 1 Timothy 1:15). Jesus’ life is from beginning to end a proclamation of good news (Luke 2:10), of seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10) of restoring God’s abundant life promises (John 4:13-14, 8:12, 10:10, 27-28). However, what may be most comforting of all from these verses is the fact that the scope of such good news is not limited to a single race or people group. Jesus is instead also proclaimed as the One Whose salvation is available to all peoples (Luke 2:30-31), as the Savior of the world (John 1:29, 4:42, 12:47; 1 John 4:14), as the Testimony that God’s favor, love and offer of abundant life both here and for eternity are now available to the entire human race (Luke 4:18-19; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9-10, 5:11).

2. Jesus is preached as the world’s exclusive Savior and the only Way to God. (John 14:6; [3] Acts 4:12)

Multiplicity in religion or the view that “there are many roads leading to the same place” is an idea popular in the world today. It is however not the message of the Bible. Rather, Jesus is preached as the sine qua non of salvation, the singular and sole path leading to God. This is why in the two verses listed above the word “no-one” is used. “There is salvation in no-one else” (Acts 4:12) and “No one can come to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6) are both statements which reveal that though God’s offer of salvation is not limited to a certain people or race, Who we receive that salvation from or through, is very limited. It is reserved for Jesus and Him alone. He is the world’s exclusive Savior and the Only Way to God.

3. Jesus is prophesied as humanity’s coming salvation and as the fulfillment of prior signs and symbols. (Luke 4:16-21 with Isaiah 61:1-2; John 3:14-15 with Numbers 21:9; Acts 2:25-31 with Psalm 16:8-11; Acts 3:17-24 with Deuteronomy 18:18-19; 1 Corinthians 5:7 with Exodus 12:1-13; Hebrews 2:14 with Genesis 3:15; Luke 24:27, 44; [4] John 5:39, 46, 8:56, 12:41; Acts 13:22-33)   

Though it is true that Jesus’ life and ministry took place at a very specific time and in a very limited location (1AD-33AD; The Middle East: Judea and Samaria), the scope of His saving mission is global and timeless, extending as much backward in history as it does forward. And this is both attested to in the Bible as well as affirmed when one considers the connections between what was prophesied in the Old Testament and its fulfillment in the New Testament.  It is the heel of Jesus which has crushed the head of the serpent and devil (Hebrews 2:14 w/Genesis 3:15). He is the prophet which Moses claims would one day supersede him (Acts 3:17-24 w/Deuteronomy 18:18-19). He is what the bronze serpent and Passover lamb represented (John 3:14-15 w/Numbers 21:9; 1 Corinthians 5:7 w/Exodus 12:1-3). He is where the patriarchs and prophets of old found hope (Act 2:25-31 w/Psalm 16:8-11; John 8:56, 12:41). Jesus is the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecy, signs and symbols (Luke 24:27, 44). He is the grand theme of the Bible; where God’s plan of salvation was always headed and to whom it has always pointed (John 5:39, 46).

In summary, Jesus is the hero humanity in their fallen state has been waiting for; the solution to our sin problem; the Savior which God has promised to send since the beginning. He is also our only hope. There will be no more saviors after Him just as there were none before Him since there is no one Who can do what He did. This is the subject that will be explored in our next lesson.

 


[1] “Gentiles” is a term which refers to all the non-Jewish races of people that exist.  This distinction is made primarily for those who were original recipients of the Bible and its promises: the Jewish people.

[2] “Propitiation” is a term which literally means, “to turn away wrath”.  Through Jesus, God’s wrath against us (because of our sin) has been turned away.

[3] “Father” is how Jesus often refers to God.  And since it is God Who possesses and distributes the blessing of abundant life upon His creation (see Psa 104), the phrase “come to the Father” therefore refers to how we receive them.  Jesus is the door or path, the Father (or God) the destination.

[4] “Moses and all the Prophets” or “the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms” was a common way of referring to the entire corpus of the Old Testament.