The entire ministry of the Apostle Paul consisted of answering the vital question of who the Lord Jesus Christ is. In the Gospel, the question of “who” takes primacy over “how”. Once we know who the incarnate Saviour of the world is, whatever He has done becomes apparent. Jesus Christ came clothed with His own Gospel. His identity is the Gospel affirmed and revealed.
“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began”. 2 Timothy 1:9
This verse gives us the backstory of creation and of everything else. Before anything was, we were preselected in the Elect and God set forth His purpose, which is that we should be saved. Within this event, we discover the resolution of the Godhead even before there was sin. We were called to be saved, not according to our works. This is salvation explained before sin. What the Son of God has saved us for is greater than what He saved us from.
Before the formation of the cosmos, we were given grace in Christ Jesus; God infallibly resolved that we will be included into the shared life of the Godhead. This is what is known as immortality, eternal life: the oneness between God and man in Christ Jesus whereby they are perceived as one entity. It is what is known as grace, given to us even before we were called forth. Grace before creation itself was the decision within the Godhead that we would be brought into their shared life. This takes priority over everything else. Our Gospel can therefore be summed in one word: Love; the Father eternally loving His Son in the Holy Spirit. That intrapersonal relation known as God is the bosom where we were conceived, planned, marked out in advance to be sons in the Son.
Christ is the One in whom we were planned, the One whose life we share. This is how we understand how the death of one man, 2000 years ago, impacts all humanity. Once we understand the “who” of Jesus Christ, the universal God and the consummate man, we understand the “how”. He is not a mere man but the Man that came to define man. Man cannot be known in and of himself for we are in the image of another, which is that of the eternal Son of God. There is a pre-existent archetype from which we were formed.
Man is that creature whom God resolved to become and in whom He has eternally committed Himself. When God became man, He remained God, and forever, He also remains man. What He became on account of us and what we have become on account of Him is what is known as the Gospel. If love be true, then, far beyond the notion of what man perceives God to be, He is infinitely more. If this be the plan of the Godhead for man, then we must be loved more than we could ever imagine.
“But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”. 2 Timothy 1:10
At a precise point of human history, the Logos, the substance of God that permeates all creation and upholds everything, became incarnate as man and entered into time and space and united man’s nature to God. He walked on earth as the eternal son, the One from whom all creation was called forth and the One in whom all creation is sustained. He came as the inverse image of the fallen Adam, thus in Him is Adam and in Adam is all humanity. Whatever happens to Him has implications on the Godhead, the entire cosmos, Adam and all humanity in him. That is who Jesus Christ is
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