Is It Who He Is or What He Did?

by Jimmy Swaggart September, 2011

We should well understand that something, which was planned in the Mind of the Godhead from eternity past and will extend to eternity future, should not be taken lightly.

QUESTION: IS IT WHO HE IS OR WHAT HE DID?

ANSWER:

It is both!

No one but Jesus could have redeemed mankind; however, Redemption was carried out by Jesus going to the Cross.

DEMEANING THE CROSS OF CHRIST

I certainly won’t say all, but most people who ask the question, “Is it Who He is, or what He has done?,” are demeaning the Cross. They have formed another manner of Redemption, another manner of Sanctification, in their minds till they are rejecting the Cross. It must ever be understood that the Cross of Christ, what Jesus did there, affected the whole of Atonement. That’s where the contest took place and that’s where the victory was won. The Cross of Christ is not a last minute adjustment, in other words, something that just happened, but rather was formulated in the Mind of God from before the foundation of the world.

BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD

Peter said:

Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold (presents the fact that the most precious commodities [silver and goldcould not redeem fallen man), from your vain conversation (vain lifestyle) received by tradition from your fathers (speaks of original sin that is passed on from father to child at conception);

“But with the Precious Blood of Christ (presents the payment, which proclaims the poured out Life of Christ on behalf of sinners), as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot (speaks of the lambs offered as substitutes in the Old Jewish economy; the Death of Christ was not an execution or assassination, but rather a Sacrifice; the Offering of Himself presented a Perfect Sacrifice, for He was Perfect in every respect [Ex. 12:5]):

“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world (refers to the fact that God, in His Omniscience, knew He would create man, man would Fall, and man would be redeemed by Christ going to the Cross; this was all done before the universe was created; this means the Cross of Christ is the Foundation Doctrine of all Doctrine, referring to the fact that all Doctrine must be built upon that Foundation, or else it is specious), but was manifest in these last times for you (refers to the invisible God Who, in the Person of the Son, was made visible to human eyesight by assuming a human body and human limitations)” (1 Pet. 1:18-20 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

We should well understand that something, which was planned in the Mind of the Godhead from eternity past and will extend to eternity future, should not be taken lightly. One must understand, the only thing that stands between mankind and eternal Hell is the Cross of Christ. One could also say, that the only thing that stands between the church and apostasy is the Cross of Christ. It is not possible to make too much of the Cross, but, definitely possible to make too little of the Cross. Unfortunately, despite the clarity of the Word of God, there are enemies of the Cross.

ENEMIES OF THE CROSS

‘Brethren, be followers together of me (befellow-imitators”), and mark them who walk so as you have us for an example (observe intently).’”

Paul addressed this in many ways, but, perhaps one of his most potent statements is found in his Epistle to the Philippians.

He said:

Brethren, be followers together of me (be ‘fellow-imitators’)and mark them who walk so as you have us for an example (observe intently). “(For many walk (speaks of those attempting to live for God outside of the victory and rudiments of the Cross of Christ), of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping (this is a most serious matter)that they are the enemies of the Cross of Christ (those who do not look exclusively to the Cross of Christ must be labeled ‘enemies’):

DESTRUCTION

Whose end is destruction (if the Cross is ignored, and continues to be ignored, the loss of the soul is the only ultimate conclusion), whose god is their belly (refers to those who attempt to pervert the Gospel for their own personal gain), and whose glory is in their shame (the material things they seek, God labels as ‘shame’), who mind earthly things.) (This means they have no interest in heavenly things, which signifies they are using the Lord for their own personal gain)” (Phil. 3:17-19 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

The great Apostle also stated:

APOSTASY

Now the Spirit (Holy Spirit) speaks expressly (pointedly), that in the latter times (the times in which we now live, the last of the last days, which begin the fulfillment of End-time Prophecies) some shall depart from the Faith (anytime Paul uses the term ‘the Faith,’ in short he is referring to the Cross; so, we are told here that some will depart from the Cross as the means of Salvation and Victory), giving heed to seducing spirits (evil spirits, i.e., ‘religious spirits,’ making something seem like what it isn’t), and doctrines of devils (should have been translated, ‘doctrines of demons’; the ‘seducing spirits’ entice Believers away from the true Faith, causing them to believe ‘doctrines inspired by demon spirits’)” (1 Tim. 4:1 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

JESUS HAS ALWAYS BEEN GOD

Jesus came to this world to do many things; however, His primary Objective, which was all important, and for which was His express purpose, was the Cross.

As God, our Lord was unformed, unmade, uncreated, has always been, always is. That might be difficult for us to understand, simply because, as it regards human beings, we always look to the beginning of something or the ending of it. But, our Lord had no beginning. He always was as He always is.

When He became man, while He laid aside the expression of His Deity, He never for a moment laid aside the possession of His Deity. Born in the home of peasants and raised in the same manner, still, He was God.

But, I must remind the Bible Student of the following:

As God and God Alone, not a single person was redeemed. Now, the reader must understand that. Man was not redeemed until God became Man, and did so for the purpose of going to the Cross, which He did, in order that man might be redeemed. In other words, for man to be redeemed, Jesus Christ would have to die on the Cross.

Now don’t misunderstand, God is Omnipotent, meaning that He is all-powerful, meaning that He can do anything. As well, He is Omniscient, meaning that He knows everything, past, present, and future. As well, he is Omnipresent, meaning that He is everywhere, and for all time.

So, this means that God could have redeemed man without becoming man and going to the Cross; however, the Godhead, even from before the foundation of the world, through foreknowledge knew that man would be created and that man would fall.

As well, it was deemed necessary that God would become man in order to redeem man. This was the best way in order for man to be Saved.

So, man was not redeemed until Jesus died on the Cross, thereby, paying the price that man could not pay and, thereby, making it possible for man to be Saved.

Jesus came to this world to do many things; however, His primary Objective, which was all-important, and for which was His express purpose, was the Cross.

MESSIAH, THE OBEDIENT SERVANT

“‘The phrase, “He wakens morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as the learned,” refers to the fact that God held immediate and constant communication with the “Servant.”’

I clothe the Heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering. (The assertion here is that if He so chooses, He could leave all nature in absolute darkness — a power necessarily belonging only to Him Who said, ‘Let there be light; and there was light’ [Gen. 1:3 KJV].)

The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a Word in season to him who is weary: He wakens morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as the learned. (The intent of the Holy Spirit in this Chapter is to portray to man the inexhaustible Power of God that could, if He so chose, use that Power in any capacity, but rather chose to send His Only Son to ‘redeem’ not only Israel, but the entirety of mankind.

In Verse 4, He is presented as the Perfect Disciple. He only spoke the Words, which were given Him by God [‘that I should know how to speak’]. He asserted this seven times when on Earth1)See Biblical References Jn. 7:16 KJV; Jn. 8:28, 46-47 KJV; Jn. 14:10, 24 KJV; Jn. 17:8 KJV.

The phrase, ‘He wakens morning by morning, He wakens My ear to hear as the learned,’ refers to the fact that God held immediate and constant communication with the ‘Servant’ — not enlightening Him occasionally, as He did the Prophets by dreams and visions, but continually whispering in His Ear.

In fact, the phrase, ‘Morning by morning,’ is not to be narrowed to the bare literal meaning, but to be taken in the sense of ‘uninterruptedly.’ All of this was not necessarily for His Own benefit, but rather that ‘He should know how to speak a Word in season to him who is weary.’)

THE TRUE SERVANT

While the conception of Christ by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary was absolutely necessary, still, had it stopped there, no one would have been redeemed.

The Lord GOD has opened My ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. (This Verse pertains to the entire willingness of Christ to hear the Father, and to do so as the True Servant, as contrasted with the professed servant, or Children of Israel.

‘Neither turned away back,’ refers to Him being most tried. Even in the Garden of Gethsemane, His final Word was, ‘Not My Will, but Thine, be done’ [Lk. 22:42 KJV].)

HIS SUFFERING

I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them who plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting. (This Verse addresses itself to the hours before the Crucifixion. Matthew Chapter 26 vs.67 and Matthew Chapter 27 vs.26 fulfill this Passage. “That our Lord, of such power as is described in Verse 3, could contain Himself, when His Own People would treat Him thusly, is beyond comprehension! Their response to His Love was their hate. They whipped Him, pulled His beard from His Face, and spit on Him.

Their doing it was no surprise. By His Omniscience, He knew before He came what the results would be. And yet, He came anyway!)

SET MY FACE LIKE FLINT

For the Lord GOD will help Me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set My face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. (Luke Chapter 9 vs.31, vs.51 fulfill this Verse. The ‘help’ that His Father gave Him was that He might finish the task of redeeming mankind. The idea of redeeming someone who responds only with hate cannot be comprehended by the mortal mind, especially when one considers what that redemption costs!

“‘I set My face like a flint,’ refers to the resolve of accomplishing a certain thing despite all the scorn and hatred)” (Isa. 50:3-7 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

As stated, the Cross was the objective of Christ, in other words, the very reason that He came. While everything else He did was of utmost significance, as should be understood, still, the following must be noted:

THE MINISTRY OF CHRIST

 While the conception of Christ by the Holy Spirit in the womb of Mary was absolutely necessary, still, had it stopped there, no one would have been redeemed.

 While the Life of Christ of total perfection was absolutely necessary, still, if it had stopped there, no one would have been Saved.

 While the Miracles and Healings of Christ were, as well, necessary, still, had it stopped there, no one would have been redeemed.

 While the Incarnation of Christ, God becoming Man, was absolutely necessary, still, had it stopped there, no one would have been Saved.

 In fact, the purpose and reason for everything He did was meant to lead to the Cross where, there the price would be paid, the demands of a thrice-Holy God would be satisfied, that “whosoever will may come and drink of the water of life freely.”

Let us say it again. Jesus has always been God and never ceased to be God, not even for a single moment. Still, had it stopped there without Him going to the Cross, no one would have been Saved.

WHY DID GOD HAVE TO BECOME MAN?

God as God did not redeem man. God had to become Man in order for this great Work to be carried out.

In the first place, due to the fact that the supreme Sacrifice had to be the Cross, this excluded God as God. The reason? God is Spirit and a Spirit cannot die. So, in order to redeem mankind, that is, that the price be paid once and for all, God would have to become Man, which He did, and for the express purpose of going to the Cross. In effect, one might say that the Incarnation, God becoming Man, and the Cross of Christ, might be looked at as one and the same.

JOHN THE BELOVED

Concerning the very thing, John the Beloved wrote, saying: (Jn. 1:1, 14, 29 KJV)

In the beginning (does not infer that Christ as God had a beginning, because as God He had no beginning, but rather refers to the time of Creation [Gen. 1:1]) was the Word (the Holy Spirit through John describes Jesus as ‘the Eternal Logos’), and the Word was with God (‘was in relationship with God,’ and expresses the idea of the Trinity), and the Word was God (meaning that He did not cease to be God during the Incarnation; He ‘was’ and ‘is’ God from eternity past to eternity future). (Jn. 1:1 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

The Apostle then went on to say:

And the Word was made flesh (refers to the Incarnation, ‘God becoming man’) and dwelt among us (refers to Jesus, although Perfect, not holding Himself aloft from all others, but rather lived as all men, even a peasant), (and we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father,) (speaks of His Deity, although hidden from the eyes of the merely curious; while Christ laid aside the expression of His Deity, He never lost the possession of His Deity) full of Grace and Truth (as ‘flesh,’ proclaimed His Humanity, ‘Grace and Truth’ His Deity). (Jn. 1:14 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

And finally:

The next day (refers to the day after John had been questioned by the emissaries from the Sanhedrin)

John sees Jesus coming unto him (is, no doubt, after the Baptism of Jesus, and the temptation in the wilderness), and said, Behold the Lamb of God (proclaims Jesus as the Sacrifice for sin, in fact, the Sin-Offering, Whom all the multiple millions of offered lambs had represented), which takes away the sin of the world (animal blood could only cover sin, it could not take it away; but Jesus offering Himself as the Perfect Sacrifice took away the sin of the world; He not only cleansed acts of sin but, as well, addressed the root cause [Col. 2:14-15 KJV])”(Jn. 1:29 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

AN EVERLASTING COVENANT

Once again, in order to redeem mankind, at least those who will believe, it was not only Who Jesus was and is, the Son of the Living God, but, as well, it was what He did, which refers to the Cross. In fact, Who Jesus was and is and what He did is, one might say, the very core of the Gospel. To impugn either one of these attributes, Who He is and what He did is, in fact, wicked. But, again we remind the reader, while Who He was presented itself as an absolute necessity, as should be obvious, that for which He came to this world to do, and we speak of the Cross, is what redeemed mankind. God as God did not redeem man. God had to become Man in order for this great Work to be carried out. And, let it be quickly said, what He did at the Cross was of such magnitude, so perfect, that the Apostle Paul said the following:

Now the God of Peace (proclaims that Peace has been made between God and fallen man, and done so through what Jesus did on the Cross on man’s behalf), that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus (presents the only mention of the Resurrection of Christ in this Epistle to the Hebrews), that Great Shepherd of the Sheep (presents the One Who died for us, and Whom God raised from the dead), through the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant (points to the Cross and proclaims the fact that this Covenant, being perfect, is Eternal)” (Heb. 13:20 KJV). The Expositor’s Study Bible

(This message was derived from the book by Jimmy Swaggart, ““Brother Swaggart, Here Is My Question About The Cross””.)

Scriptures from: (The Expositor’s Study Bible)[KJV/ESB]. iPad & iPhone & Hard Copy: by Jimmy Swaggart. 

References   [ + ]

1. See Biblical References Jn. 7:16 KJV; Jn. 8:28, 46-47 KJV; Jn. 14:10, 24 KJV; Jn. 17:8 KJV

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