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Reflecting on Truth #23

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New City Catechism Question 23

Q: Why must the Redeemer be truly God?

A: That because of his divine nature his obedience and suffering would be perfect and effective; and also that he would be able to bear the righteous anger of God against sin and yet overcome death.

God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. (Acts 2:24)

Why does this matter?

A strange thought used to cross my mind as a teenager - “If I knew I could save sinners by dying in the same way that Jesus did, would I be willing to go through that?”

Well, this catechism answer makes that thought irrelevant. Even if I was willing to die in the same way that Jesus did, I couldn’t save myself, let alone anyone else.

No mere human would be able to be a sinless, spotless, perfect sacrifice.
The Saviour had to be divine.
No mere human would be able to bear, and fully and effectively satisfy God’s infinite wrath.
The Saviour had to be divine.
No mere human would be able to overcome death after achieving that.
The Saviour had to be divine.

What does this mean for us?

The glorious (mind-boggling) wonder in this, for me, is that the all-powerful God Himself would do this. I guess this reflects my twisted idea of power and authority, which God completely subverts.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)

One can only read this and respond in worship. Let’s have this mind among ourselves, which is ours in Christ Jesus.

May we be struck anew by the wonder that God Himself would save sinners, and worship Him. May we follow Christ, our Redeemer, in humble, self-sacrificial, others-centered commitment to the gospel.