We discussed previously how we were created by God for His own purpose and plan but became fallen, sinful, and unable to live in a way that fulfills God’s plan. The consequences of the fall of mankind are tragic, and we see the effect both in our own lives and everywhere we look today.
But God can never be defeated! And though frustrated, God’s plan cannot be derailed. In His wisdom, God took three tremendous steps to carry out His original plan of imparting His eternal life into us so we could share His life and express Him.
Step 1—God became a man named Jesus Christ
Two verses in John tell us the first step God took.
John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Then John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.”
When we put these two verses together, we see something remarkable. The Word—who is God—became flesh. God became a man! This first step of God becoming a man is known as incarnation.
Consider how amazing that first step was. The infinite, eternal God of the universe became a man of flesh and blood—Jesus Christ. He lived a real human life, limited by time and space, and knew all the sufferings of human life. Yet He was the only man in all history who was without sin. He lived on earth not for a day, a week, or a year, but for thirty-three and a half years. During that time, He fully expressed God in all His living. We can see His wonderful humanity, the way He lived, and the words of grace and truth He spoke when we read the four Gospels.
Through incarnation, Christ put on a physical body of flesh and blood, making it possible for Him to die for us. His perfect, unblemished life qualified Him to take our place on the cross.
Step 2—Jesus Christ died on the cross to redeem us
Jesus Christ came to die for our sins. The first time John the Baptist saw Christ, he declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). As the Lamb of God, Christ was sacrificed for us on the cross. This second step was Christ’s crucifixion.
Because Jesus Christ took the step of being crucified, Ephesians 1:7 tells us what is available to sinful mankind now:
“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of His grace.”
And Ephesians 2:13 tells us more of what we have because Christ was crucified for us:
“But now in Christ Jesus you who were once far off have become near in the blood of Christ.”
We sinful human beings can be redeemed, forgiven, and brought back to God, all because of Christ’s crucifixion.
Step 3—Christ rose from the dead
Christ’s death accomplished a wonderful redemption for mankind. But His redeeming death isn’t the end of the story. Jesus Christ rose from the dead and defeated death itself! This third step is resurrection.
The resurrection of Jesus is an accomplished fact, but it’s not just a fact, something for us to appreciate objectively. In 1 Corinthians 15:45 we read this extraordinary word:
“So also it is written, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living soul’; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.”
This is tremendously important. As flesh and blood, Christ could never enter into us to be life to us. He could redeem us through His death, but He could only impart life to us through this step, His resurrection.
Because of this third step of resurrection, the Christ who was crucified for us is now the life-giving Spirit. As the Spirit, He is able to come into our human spirit with His divine life and we are reborn of the life-giving Spirit. We become children of God with the life of God!
Christ as the life-giving Spirit is available anytime, anywhere, to anyone who would repent, believe in Him, and open to receive Him. When we receive Him, we receive the eternal life as God had originally intended. As this life grows in us, spreading from our spirit into our soul, we express God to everyone around us.
The fall of man was calamitous. But God’s plan of salvation was carried out by these three tremendous steps—incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. God in Christ accomplished our redemption to forgive us our sins and bring us back to Himself. God redeemed us so that He could achieve His goal of entering our spirit to live in us, be with us, and be expressed out of us.
Have you been forgiven of your sins and received the life of God? If you haven’t, you can pray a simple prayer like this one:
Lord Jesus, I turn to You and open my heart to You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Thank You for resurrecting from the dead. Thank You, Lord, for being the life-giving Spirit. Lord Jesus, I believe in You and I receive You into my spirit right now. Thank You, Lord, for coming to live in me!