God's End Game - Part 19

Series: My Preaching Bucket List

March 24, 2019
Brad Shockley

Episode Notes

We continue today in our quest to discover God’s End Game, to tackle the matter of what God’s up to with us the world, where all this is headed, and how he’s going to fix his good world gone bad.

God’s end game plan revolves around Jesus and has three telescoping parts, one flowing from the other.

It begins with the INCARNATION.

It climaxes with the CRUCIFIXION.

It carries on with the RESURRECTION.

We’ve been focusing on that first part: incarnation.

INCARNATION - God taking on human flesh, becoming a man, and living a life in perfect fulfillment of God’s law.

Put together all the pieces of the puzzle we have so far and you see the way God goes about fixing his good world gone bad is faith. You and I are made right with God by believing in His promises, promises bound up in Jesus, who is God come in the flesh.

John, as well as the other apostles and early disciples, wanted everyone to know that the incarnation, phase one of the major play in God’s end game, is about Jesus actually being God, 100% God.

Last time we looked at the other side of the incarnation, and it seemed to contradict all this.

John and the other Apostles in the early church believed and taught Jesus was and is God, but they also believed he was a man just like us.

The bottom line is the Bible teaches us Jesus was and is 100% God AND 100% man at the same time.

This is a stumbling block for many. 

But the same folks who saw Jesus get tired and saw him get sleepy and saw him cry and saw him die also believed without any doubt he was and is God come in the flesh. If you’re Jesus is anything less than 100% God, he isn’t the Jesus described in the Bible. And if he isn’t also 100% man, he isn’t either.

Paul summed this truth up in…

Colossians 2:9 (ESV) — 9 For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,

So how do we reconcile this to make sense? We can’t, like so many other things about God. It makes sense that things having to do with the divine wouldn’t make sense to us.

Last week I confessed that I can’t tell you how Jesus can be both 100% God and 100% man at the same time. But I think I can show you why he needed to be. I think I can make some sense of why God had to become a man and why anything less than fully God and fully man wouldn’t do. I’m going to take a shot at it today. Pray for me!

To get us started, we must go back to where we began in the book of Genesis. You know this well by now.

Adam, the first man, was given a command in the Garden of Eden: Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He failed. He disobeyed the command, fracturing the fellowship he had with his Father, God, bringing sin and death into the world.

In ways we also can’t understand, Adam’s disobedience affected us all as his descendants. It made us all unable to enjoy fellowship with God because of sin. It made us all guilty of disobedience, even though we weren’t in the Garden of Eden back then.

I know that doesn’t seem fair. We’ve already gone over this too. But look at it this way. If one man’s disobedience brought us all to ruin, could one man’s obedience set all things to rights!

Our first response to that would be a big “no.” All mankind comes into the world tainted by sin, separated from God, and unable to satisfy His demands in any way.

But we’ve been looking at the incarnation: God with Us. That changes the game, making it possible for one man to undo what one man did.

Look at what Paul wrote to the church at Rome…

Romans 5:12–21 (ESV) — 12 … sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 

Unsurprisingly, Paul takes us back to Genesis, referring to all we’ve just talked about.

Thankfully, God wasn’t satisfied with leaving things the way they were. He was determined to fix his good world gone bad, but he couldn’t count on us to do it. We would never be able to work our way back into right standing with him.

What’s a deity to do?

15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 

We can’t earn our way back into God’s good graces, but He could offer us right standing with him as a gracious gift!

16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 

Condemnation: guilty of breaking every command before God.

Justification: made as if we obeyed every command.

God offers us right standing as a gift!

This free gift, though, isn’t arbitrary. It’s not God just deciding to wipe our slate clean. The thing about gifts is they really aren’t free. They don’t cost the receiver anything, but they do cost the giver (unless you’re a re-gifter!). God isn’t.

Let’s keep going.

17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience, the many will be made righteous. 

The one act of righteousness that leads to us being justified, made as if we’ve kept all the commands, is the key to understanding how much this gift cost God.

Paul tells us what that was in his letter to the church at Philippi…

Philippians 2:8–11 (ESV) — 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 

I think there’s a hint of the Garden of Gethsemane here, where Jesus asked God if it were possible to let this cup pass from him. He obeyed nevertheless. What a price our Father paid to deal with our sin.

Because of Jesus’ obedience, we can be made right and…

9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Look at this glorious, cosmic, world-changing contrast all this gives us:

One man’s sin (Adam’s) brings death to all


One man’s obedience (Jesus’) makes a right standing with God possible for all.

Folks, that is good news! You can question God’s character in holding us accountable for one man’s disobedience, but I’m going to rejoice that through the one man, Jesus’ obedience, I can be made right!

But we still haven’t tackled the question: why Jesus needed to be 100% God and 100% man at the same time.

Look back at verse 14 where Paul reveals something interesting about Adam…

14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 

He was a type, an example, a pattern of the “one who was to come.” Who was the one who was to come?

I think you already know, but just in case, look at what Paul wrote the church at Corinth, in the context of explaining the resurrection…

1 Corinthians 15:45–49 (HCSB) — 45 So it is written: The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving Spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth and made of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 Like the man made of dust, so are those who are made of dust; like the heavenly man, so are those who are heavenly. 49 And just as we have borne the image of the man made of dust, we will also bear the image of the heavenly man.

Of course, Adam in the Garden of Eden was the first Adam; Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane was the last or second Adam.

We needed another Adam because…

An angel wouldn’t do.

God in some illusory form wouldn’t do.

Only a 100% bona fide man would do. We needed another man like Adam, like us, to satisfy God’s commands and demands. If a human got us into this mess, then it stands to reason a human had to get us out of this mess.

This fits into our contrast!

Jesus is that man, he is the one who was to come in the likeness of Adam. 

Now, we get what Adam’s disobedience was, and that Jesus’ act of obedience in going to the cross is in view here. But Jesus’ obedience as 100% man impacts us far more than we know.

Note in verse 14 how Paul mentions Moses.

14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. 

God established a covenant with his people, the Israelites, through Moses. They were given the law. The law was never intended to save, but it was given to highlight the sinfulness of sin and show us how fallen we are.

God’s people, the Israelites, failed miserably at keeping God’s commands, as we all do. 

Jesus, the second Adam, the Son of God, was the first and only man ever to keep all those commands, all the OT laws.

1 Peter 2:22 (ESV) — 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth.

Hebrews 7:26 (ESV) — 26 For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV) — 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

To say someone never sinned is the same thing as saying someone kept all of God’s laws!

Look at what Jesus said of himself…

Matthew 5:17 (ESV) — 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

Part of God’s plan in sending the Last Adam is having him actually, really, completely live all the laws of God out.

Jesus, the Last Adam, did what the First Adam could not do. He did what you and I can not do.

This is what’s behind the statement I make often: Jesus lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died.

Jesus, the 100% man, lived the perfect life of obedience for us. That obedience is put into our accounts when we place our faith and trust in him, when we believe in the promises of God bound up in Jesus.

The second part of that statement has to do with why Jesus needed to be 100% God: He died the death we should have died.

God in his justice cannot let sin slide. The free gift can’t be free from the giver’s side, not when it’s a holy God. He has to deal with it. Who but God himself could pay the penalty for sin?

Wayne Grudem writes:

… it is appropriate to recognize that it is crucially important to insist on the full deity of Christ as well… not only because it is clearly taught in Scripture, but also because (1) only someone who is infinite God could bear the full penalty for all the sins of all those who would believe in him—any finite creature would have been incapable of bearing that penalty; (2) salvation is from the Lord (Jonah 2:9 NASB), and the whole message of Scripture is designed to show that no human being, no creature, could ever save man—only God himself could; and (3) only someone who was truly and fully God could be the one mediator between God and man (1 Tim. 2:5), both to bring us back to God and also to reveal God most fully to us (John 14:9).

Thus, if Jesus is not fully God, we have no salvation and ultimately no Christianity.

Conclusion: I told you that this sermon was, in a way, the “So what?” answer to last week’s message.

Jesus is both 100% God and 100% man. So what?

That’s the only kind of savior that could have saved us.

One scholar writes:

“Redemption is the story of two men. The first man disobeyed God and led the entire human race in the wrong direction. The second man obeyed God and provides justification for all who will turn to him in faith. No matter how devastating the sin of the first, the redemptive work of the second reverses the consequences of that sin and restores people to the favor of God. Only by grasping the seriousness of the first is one able to appreciate the remarkable [graciousness] of the second.”

The second Adam, Jesus, who was and is both 100% God and man, is more a savior than we could ever understand. 

It gets even better. There’s more to Jesus 100% humanity that is going to bless you. We’ll look at that next week.

Content Copyright Belongs to Pleasant View First Baptist Church