(continued from part 1)
God was on a quest to restore things to the original perfect condition. Since humans had authority on planet Earth, God sent a human (Jesus) with Earth-authority to reverse the effects of Adam’s gigantic misstep. Part of the greatest achievement of Jesus is that he absorbed all the malfunction into himself, and died with it:
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
There it is! Jesus didn’t become sinful, he became sin – he became malfunction itself. So naturally, death had to follow.
Now, for the second part of what Jesus has accomplished. When he rose up from the dead, he had no malfunction / sin left – it was gone! Now, Jesus didn’t just get restored to his original condition. Before his death and resurrection, Jesus was sinless (perfect), but he did get “infected”, as it were, with our sin. He did it by choice, but still. After his resurrection, being contaminated with “sin” became a logical impossibility.
An important point to note is that malfunction / sin can hold on to its host while he’s alive; when the host dies, the malfunction goes away:
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
So again, in his present condition post-resurrection, for Jesus to again be infected with sin is an impossibility:
9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all;
The death of Christ has forever separated him from sin (in other words, made him completely holy, or separate / compartmentalized from any imperfections). That’s the difference between Jesus pre-crucifixion, and Jesus now. No more possibility of being affected by sin, ever again!
It’s amazing how Jesus absorbed everything that was wrong with this world, died with it, took it to the grave and buried it, and rose up without it! Just like Neo in Matrix part III (if you want a visual idea, watch the end of that movie, it will all click into place).
Now, there most definitely was an aspect of satisfying the claims of justice via what Jesus did on the cross, and Christ did obtain judicial forgiveness on our behalf. That had to do with the issue of transgressing (think “crossing the line” in modern terms) the law. However, albeit important and necessary, that was not the primary issue, since it didn’t deal with the problem of death. The primary issue was dealing with sin, or malfunction, in the world. By conflating these two issues (judicial and existential) solely into a judicial one, historic Christianity made it all a courtroom matter, and has largely ignored the importance of the restorative aspect of it. The certainty of God’s plan of restoring the humankind to its original design has been pushed into the sweet by-and-by, and the importance of planet Earth in God’s plan had been and still is largely ignored.
From the misunderstanding of what I’ve explained above stems another issue. A lot of people seem to think that all that stands between them and God is the issue of judicial forgiveness. Meaning that the only reason they are kept from perpetual (eternal) life is that they broke some laws, and are not forgiven. That’s part of it, but that’s clearly not the whole story. There’s this huge looming issue of the falled Adamic nature that this approach doesn’t address. I would like to point out that everyone sooner or later grows old and dies, which no one in their right mind will argue against. Jesus presents the offer of eternal life free from pain, sickness, suffering, and death, which can be had for the asking. This is pointing out the obvious result of a condition resulting from the original sin, and giving a working solution. (Well, the offer has to be a lot more relational that what I am presenting here, but you get the idea.).
The problems of failing health, or failing relationships, or the perspective of death in the family are very real issues for all – and Jesus offers his perfect solution for those. Otherwise instead of what Jesus commanded us to do – preach the whole gospel, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead (and yes, me meant all of those literally, so let’s not allegorize clear and unambiguous instructions of the Master), the only evangelism tool we would be left with would be to convince people that they are guilty of sins, then if they believe that, you present them a solution (Jesus), and if they receive him, you say “OK, now you guilt has been washed away”. Well, the factuals are true, but this approach is very one-sided, leaves a lot of problems unresolved, and pushes a lot of solutions off to the “when you get to heaven, what a day that will be”.
God is an awesome systems engineer, he offers a way to mend all that doesn’t function perfectly, starting right now, in your and my life, and expanding from there. And don’t worry, he’s got your legal bases covered too!