Jesus Christ does many wonderful things for us. Here are six of them to think about. To help you remember them, they make an acrostic on the word CHRIST.
We are told to purify ourselves: "And everyone who has this hope in [Jesus] purifies himself, just as [Jesus] is pure" (1John 3:31 NKJV).
We purify ourselves "by obeying the truth" (1Peter 1:22 NKJV).
However we do not provide the means of our purification: Jesus has done that all by himself. "When he had by himself made purification for our sins, [Jesus] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" (Hebrews 1:3 WEB).
So then, what is the means of our cleansing? "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all sin" (1John 1:7). It is called "the precious blood of Christ" (2Peter 1:19).
That was the sacrifice (his own flesh and blood) that provides cleansing from all sin. Without his sacrifice, we would all remain unclean (Hebrews 10:19-23).
When Matthew, a new disciple of Jesus, put on a dinner for the Master, he invited his friends who were all tax gatherers and sinners. The religious leaders of Jesus’s day criticised Jesus for associating with these sinners. Jesus answered that sinners need compassion and a physician (Matthew 9:9-13 cf Luke 5:27-32).
Jesus considered sin to be a sickness. Of course he did not mean that sin is only a physical illness like one that affects the brain, liver, foot, skin, or some other member of the body. Sin is an illness seated not just in one’s body, but also in the spirit and it can kill both body and soul. Jesus is the only doctor who has the remedy for sin.
In Jeremiah's time the city of Jerusalem was characterised by falsehood, covetousness, immorality, and idolatry. The city was sick, and in danger of dying. Soon the rival city of Babylon would fall upon Jerusalem and destroy it.
"Is there no Balm in Gilead?
Is no physician there?
Why then is there no recovery
For the health of the daughter of my people?" (Jeremiah 8:21-22).
Of course, the literal balm of Gilead could not heal the spiritual sores of Jerusalem. But just as the people could go to Gilead for balm to heal sores upon their bodies, so they could go to the physician in the spiritual Gilead (heaven) to find healing for their spiritual ills.
To fully please God, we must stop being his enemies and include ourselves in the reconciliation or atonement that Christ made possible. It was God’s "good pleasure that in Christ all the fullness should dwell, and by Christ God should reconcile all things to himself" (Colossians 1:19-23).
Not all God’s enemies will be reconciled. On one hand Paul says, "The wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience" (Colossians 3:6). That would be untrue if all God’s enemies will be reconciled to him.
On the other hand, however, Paul teaches that anyone and everyone is allowed to come to God through Christ’s atonement, to have all blame removed, and thus be reconciled to God.
Our estrangement from God was entirely our own fault. Our reconciliation to God is not entirely within our own power. Only through Jesus Christ can we be reunited with God and be eligible to have full fellowship in his family.
Intercession is an ongoing work of Christ our high priest. His sin offering is a finished work which never needs repeating. Not all Christ’s work is finished, however, because he now continues to make intercession for us in heaven. (Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25)
Jesus Christ is able to be our go-between who can speak to God on our behalf. Thus Christ maintains our identity in heaven, our name in the Book of Life. This allows us to "draw near to God through him" (Hebrews 7:25). The prophecy about Christ stated that "He himself bore the sin of many and interceded for the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12).
We are greatly blessed in having a great High Priest: one who ever lives to make intercession for us. John describes him as our "Advocate with the Father" (1John 2:1-2). Jesus understands our weaknesses without himself being weak. There is no one closer to God than he because he is God, and one with his Father (Colossians 1:19, 1John 5:20). Through him we can come to God and find utmost grace.
Spiritual strength is essentially strength of faith. Abraham is an example. He was "not without strength". He "did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith giving glory to God" (Romans 4:19-20).
We are encouraged to walk in the steps of Abraham. He is the ancestor of all who believe in Jesus Christ, and who are "not unstrong" in that faith (Romans 4:12,16, Galatians 3:7,29) .
It takes time to overcome our lack of spiritual strength. But the power of Christ’s sacrifice enables us to bring our bodies into subjection to him, and to present our bodies a living sacrifice pleasing to God (Romans 12:1-2).
So "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might" (Ephesians 6:10). We cannot be strong spiritually by ourselves, but we can be strong in the Lord’s strength and power. He has plenty to spare.
How wonderfully, radically, and positively Jesus changes our hearts and lives! This is the nature of repentance and conversion (Acts 3:19).
Repentance means a change of mind. But in what sense and with what results? Some say that a mind change is all God’s grace requires. We are not required to change our lives. But Paul says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Romans 12:2).
Repentance is granted by Jesus Christ and the will of God. Peter said of Christ, "Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins... God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life" (Acts 5:31, 11:18).
Paul is an example of one transformed by Christ. Paul was travelling to Damascus to persecute Christians. Jesus confronted him. Paul yielded and asked, "What shall I do Lord?" From then on, Paul switched to a personal commitment, an obedient response, and a loyal subjection (Acts 22:6-10).
If, like Paul, you have had a change of heart and you believe Jesus is Lord, what should you do? Do what Paul did. "Arise, and be immersed, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).
And go on being dedicated and faithful to Jesus your Lord. Be loyal to him through all the journey of your life. And in that endeavour, may our Lord be your companion, strengthen you, and give you the victory.