The New Testament consistently emphasizes that the death of Jesus was no accident. For example ‑ speaking to the people of Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost after the Holy Spirit had descended and a crowd had gathered to find out what was taking place ‑ Peter referred the crowd to Jesus. He spoke about His ministry, His life and His death. And in Acts chapter 2, verse 23 he said this of Jesus:
“This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.” (NIV)
The death of Jesus was no accident. It was the fulfilment of the set purpose of God. What was God's set purpose in the death of Jesus?
The essence is that the death of Jesus represented a divinely ordained exchange ‑ the expression of God's infinite grace and mercy to the human race. By this exchange, God made to meet together upon Jesus, on the cross, the rebellion of the whole human race, and then the punishment for the rebellion of the whole human race and all the evil consequences of that rebellion. So that when Jesus died on the cross He exhausted the curse of rebellion. He took upon Himself the whole evil inheritance. And as the last Adam, He put an end to that inheritance. When He died He made it possible for that inheritance to be terminated and for those who believed, to be released from that evil inheritance.
Now the other side of the identification is that through the death of Jesus, God has opened the way for you and me as believers to enter into all that Jesus entered into after death. Just as He was first identified with us in our sin and all its consequences, so we are to be identified with Him in His resurrection and all its consequences. That's the second side of the coin ‑ the opposite side of the exchange.
The truths as we’ve studied them in the previous weeks are tremendous. They stretch our power to believe and comprehend. That is true for every one of us. We could never have devised such a gospel. But you remember Paul said the gospel he preached was not devised by men. It wasn't on a human level. It originated with God. It's on a divine level. Every time we bring the gospel down to a human level, we misrepresent it. These truths are tremendous, they're hard to believe, hard to comprehend, but they're real, and they really work in daily living.
This is what we are going to study in the next couple of days. I'm going to be explaining to you in practical, simple language how you can make these glorious truths work in your own daily living. How you can enter into the resurrection life of Jesus. And how moving even beyond His resurrection life you can be seated with Him on the throne and learn to rule the universe with Him.
Thank You, Father, I cannot understand it, but You have predestined me for glory. Even before time began, You knew I would come to You, and You’ve worked everything out so You could reveal Yourself to me. Thank You for Your wonderful grace! Help me to always trust You and follow You as You work this out in my life, to bring You glory, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!