If you have heard anything about Christianity, you may be wondering, where does Christ fit in there? Is He just a person to give this vein of religion a name, or is He somehow more central to a believer than can be perceived at first glance?
I would certainly be a proponent of the second concept. Christ is everything to Christianity; without Him, there would be no reason to be a Christian. But, I would not stop here, I would go so far as to say that without Him, there is no reason for engaging in moral or religious exercises at all. How can I say this? Because I believe that life is not really about being good or getting ourselves right with God, but in recognizing that Christ is good and that He alone is the Way that we can become right with God.
Jesus Christ is not merely a complementary addition to our salvation agenda. If we should presume to have a salvation agenda for ourselves, we would certainly not find it necessary to consult Him as our edge. But even so, Christ does not provide us with any kind of edge.
In truth His only benefit to us is in welcoming us into God’s salvation agenda. And because ours is not even worthy of speaking of, we either choose to become a participant in God’s plan of salvation or Satan’s plan of refuting it.
In reading this you may surmise that we are just complementary elements to God’s salvation agenda. This is actually critical to the reality of salvation working for us. We do not work for salvation, but salvation works for us.
Salvation was conceived in the heart of God to bring glory to Himself through a display of His mercy and judgment on sinful people. If we were the main attraction in salvation, He could not be properly glorified: His judgment would look cruel and His mercy a sham.
Seeing things this way only serves to distract us from our real problem, which is that we need to be saved because of what we have done — there is something wrong with us — and not because of what He has done — there is nothing wrong with Him.
The purpose of salvation is to show us what we have denying all along: That God is absolutely right and we are in opposition to Him, which would automatically makes us wrong. This is our trouble. This is where Christ comes in.
Christ is the Truth that illuminates all the specks of deceit in our hearts. In fact, His light is so strong that our entire make-up appears corrupt. Under these floodlights we see God for who He truly is: The God we have no acceptable excuse for not serving. When we see Him this way, we must either stand down and allow the truth to humble us or stand up and pretend that everything is as it seemed before we saw the Light.
Welcome my fellow know-it-alls to the reality of how little we know. None of us will know anything of true condition, or the new condition offered us in Christ, unless He shows us! We may boast that we feel grief over our sin, but repentance can have no effect unless pride’s concentration on self has been broken by a humble understanding of what our sin has cost God. Regret for sin gets us no where unless it is in agreement with God’s justice and dependent only on His undeserved mercy. The conviction of sin that is brought upon us by the Word of God — the revelation of His gospel (the message of Christ’s death and resurrection over our death penalty) — has no other objective than reacquainting us with the character and construction of God.