under a special agreement with
presents "God's Great Salvation"
under a special agreement with
Lesson 2: God's Second Man
The key to understanding God's great salvation is realising that God deals with the whole human race on the basis of two men—Adam and Christ. Adam is God's "first man" and Christ is God's "second Man."
In our last lesson we traced the history of God's first man, Adam. We saw that sin and death came into the world through Adam's sin.
God found no pleasure in the first man, Adam, and his descendants. But God has given the human race a second man. That man is God's Son. The Bible says,
"The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven." 1 Corinthians 15:47
God's Second Man
One of the titles of the Lord Jesus is "the Word." Speaking of Jesus, the apostle John said,
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…" John 1:1,14
In these verses John declares four stupendous truths about Jesus Christ:
1. His eternity—"In the beginning was the Word."
2. His fellowship in the Godhead—"and the Word was with God."
3. His deity—"and the Word was God."
4. His coming into the world as a man—"and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us."
To provide a second head for the human race, God's Son entered the human race as a tiny baby. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, God spoke to the prophet Isaiah and told him that one day a miracle child would be born. Isaiah wrote,
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given…and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God…" Isaiah 9:6
God gave a special sign concerning the coming of His Son: He would be born of a virgin. The Bible says,
"The Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Emmanuel [God with us]." Isaiah 7:14
Centuries later, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a virgin named Mary to tell her that she would be the mother of Jesus, the promised Saviour. The angel said,
"Behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:31-33
Mary could not understand how this could be. She was a virgin. She said to the angel, "How can this be, seeing I know not a man?" Mary was saying she had never had sexual relations with any man.
The angel answered,
"The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you: therefore also that Holy One which shall be born of you shall be called the Son of God." (Luke 1:35)
At that moment in time when the Son of God was born into the human race, the command went forth in heaven, "Let all the angels of God worship Him." (Hebrews 1:6) All of the angelic hosts worshipped Jesus Christ at His birth.
Jesus was born, not in a royal palace, but in a lowly stable. His birth was announced to shepherds in nearby fields by the angel of the Lord,
"Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Luke 2:10-11
A multitude of angels appeared, praising God, and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men…"
The Saviour who had just been born would bring "glory to God in the highest" because He would perfectly represent God and reveal Him in all of His love and grace.
Jesus is the God-Man
The Lord Jesus is often called "the God-man." This is a very good name for Him because He is truly God and He is truly man. He is not half God and half man. He is fully God and fully man.
The virgin birth of Jesus perfectly expresses how the Son of God came to the earth as both God and man. He was "the Son of God" because God was His Father. He was "the Son of Man" because Mary was His mother.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, Isaiah expressed it perfectly when he wrote, "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given." A "child born" speaks of Christ's humanity. A "son given" speaks of his deity.
Jesus did not begin to exist when He was born in Bethlehem. He had lived eternally as God. But in His birth in Bethlehem, He entered the human race. The Bible says,
"The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…" (John 1:14)
Like us, Jesus had a spirit, soul and body. He was, however, different from us in that we are all born with a sinful nature, but He did not have a sinful nature. He was and is the sinless Son of God.
After the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary entered into the normal relationship of marriage and had other children. Jesus had four brothers and at least two sisters (Mark 6:3).
Jesus grew up in normal circumstances. He lived at home with His brothers and sisters. Joseph was a carpenter, and Jesus learned the trade of carpentry from him. Regarding His childhood, the Bible says,
"Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men." (Luke 2:52)
Now let us look at some Scriptures which show Jesus as the One in whom God found His perfect delight.
Jesus as a Child
Even as a child, Jesus was concerned with pleasing His heavenly Father. When He was twelve years old, His parents took Him with them when they went to Jerusalem for the Passover.
When the feast was over, His parents left, assuming that Jesus was in their company. When they had gone a day's journey, they discovered that He was not with them. They returned to Jerusalem seeking Him.
After three days they found Him in the temple talking with the elderly scholars. All who heard Him were amazed at His understanding. When His parents asked for an explanation, Jesus said,
"Don't you know that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49)
Jesus had come into a world of which it was said, "There is none that seeks after God, no, not one." But as a 12-year-old child, His one concern was His Father's business. There was absolute devotion to God and His will in that holy Child. Here was One whom God could look upon with perfect delight.
Jesus as a Man
The Bible says, "Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men." Now we see Him at the age of thirty and about to begin His public ministry. The Bible says that, as Jesus was being baptised by John the Baptist, "the heaven was opened" and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon Him. A voice came from heaven saying,
"You are My beloved Son; in you I am well pleased." Luke 3:22
God found perfect delight in Jesus Christ His beloved Son.
Jesus was Victorious over Satan
The first man, Adam, was tested. It was necessary the Jesus Christ, God's Second Man, be tested also. The Bible says,
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil." Matthew 4:1
What was Satan's purpose in tempting Jesus? His purpose was to get Jesus to disobey God. Three times Satan tempted Jesus to act in self will. Three times Jesus refused to do so, quoting the Word of God to Satan. Satan was defeated.
The first man was conquered by Satan because he acted in self-will and disobeyed God. The second Man was triumphant over Satan because he obeyed God perfectly.
Jesus did Mighty Works
Jesus said that He was the Son of God. He showed that He was the Son of God by His mighty works.
In Matthew, chapter 8, we read that Jesus was in a ship with His disciples. Jesus fell asleep and, as He slept, a great storm arose. The disciples were afraid that the ship would sink. They woke Jesus up saying, "Lord, save us!"
Jesus spoke to the wind and the sea saying, "Peace be still." The wind and the sea became calm. The disciples marvelled and said,
"Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" (Matthew 8:27)
Jesus had power over evil spirits. The evil spirits recognised Jesus as the Son of God. When He commanded, they obeyed Him:
"What a word this is! For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out." (Luke 4:36).
Jesus had power to heal all sicknesses. He caused the lame to walk again. He restored sight to the blind. He healed those who had diseases. The Bible says that many sick people came to Him, and "He laid His hands on every one of them, and healed them." (Luke 4:40)
Jesus had power over death itself. He raised three people from the dead. On one occasion, a funeral procession passed by Jesus. All the people were crying. The only son of a widow had died and they were going to bury him.
This poor woman had no husband and her only son had just died. She was weeping bitterly. Jesus had pity on her and told her not to cry. Then He spoke to her son who was dead and said, "Young man, I say to you, Arise!"
The moment Jesus spoke these words, the young man sat up and began to speak. The people were filled with joy. They praised God saying,
"God has visited His people." (see Luke 7:11-16)
Jesus had Power to Forgive Sins
Jesus not only had power to heal people and to raise people from the dead, but He could do something far more important. He had power to forgive their sins.
One day four men brought a friend of theirs to Jesus. This man was sick with the palsy, and he could not walk. His friends brought him to Jesus, believing that Jesus could heal him.
There were so many people around Jesus that they could not get near Him. They climbed up on the house, cut away part of the roof, and lowered the sick man down where Jesus was.
Jesus knew that this man needed to be healed, but he had an even greater need. He needed to be forgiven of his sins. Jesus said to him, "Your sins are forgiven."
The religious leaders who were present strongly disapproved of this. They were thinking to themselves, "How can this man forgive sins? Only God can do this!"
They were right in thinking that only God can forgive sins. But they were wrong in thinking that Jesus was just an ordinary man.
Jesus knew their thoughts. He said,
"'That you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins'—He said to the man who was paralyzed, 'I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.' Immediately, the man got up, picked up his bed, and went home, glorifying God." (Luke 5:24-25)
Jesus revealed the Father
Jesus came to reveal God. He came to tell us and show us what God is like. The Bible says,
"No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him [shown Him forth]." John 1:18
Jesus revealed the Father in all His wonderful love and grace. He said,
"He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John 14:9)
Jesus was always Pleasing to His Father
Jesus was the perfect Servant of God. He was always doing His Father's will. He was always doing those things that pleased His Father. Jesus said,
"He who sent Me is with Me…for I always do those things that please Him." John 8:29
For three and a half years, the Lord Jesus went about teaching and preaching. The Bible says,
"God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him." Acts 10:38
On one occasion, Jesus took three of His disciples, Peter, James, and John, with Him to the top of a high mountain. There the glory of Jesus as the Son of God shone out from Him. The Scripture says that He "was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light." (Matthew 17:2)
There appeared with Jesus two Old Testament saints, Moses and Elijah. When Peter suggested that they build three tabernacles [tents] there, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and again God spoke from heaven saying,
"This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" Matthew 17:5
Peter never forgot that scene. Some thirty years later, Peter wrote,
"For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'" 2 Peter 1:16-17
God's Two Men
A man who was deeply taught in the things of God said,
"Scripture gives us the history of two men— Adam and Christ. Adam will not do for God; only Christ will.
The summing up of the whole truth of Christianity is that there is only one Man before God for His pleasure, and that Man is Christ." (C.A. Coates)
This is true. Adam and his sinful family will not do for God. They have brought no pleasure to God's heart.
On the other hand, God is perfectly pleased and delighted with his Second Man! God told Abraham, "In your Seed [Christ] shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 22:18) God will bless all nations through Jesus Christ.
* God's Second Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the One in whom God finds perfect delight.
There are three great facts about Jesus Christ that we should always remember.
Jesus Christ is God.
The Bible leaves no doubt whatsoever on this subject—Jesus is God! In Hebrews 1:8, God the Father is speaking to His Son, Jesus Christ, "But unto the Son He says, Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever."
God's Word takes great care to guard the truth of the Person of the Lord Jesus—who He is. The Scripture is most careful to maintain His glory, the glory of His Person. He was, and is, and always will be God.
One of the names of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is "the Word." The Bible says,
"In the beginning was the Word [Jesus Christ, the Son], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)
God's Son became a man.
The Scripture says,
"And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we behold His glory, the glory as of the only begotten [Son] of the Father), full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)
God's Son has been here on this earth! Let this great fact sink into your heart. We should never forget this stupendous fact, even for a moment. The Bible says, "Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest [seen] in the flesh." (1 Timothy 3:16)
Among other things, the Bible tells us that God's Son was the great Creator—the One who spoke and brought the universe into being. God's Word says,
"All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made." John 1:3
Think of it! The great Creator came into the human race as a tiny baby. The One who created man became a man Himself, that He might be our Redeemer. Can you conceive of anything more wonderful than this?
God's Son, Jesus Christ, will remain the God-Man throughout eternity.
Many people think that the incarnation refers merely to Christ's taking a human body while He was here on earth, but this is a mistake. Having become a man, Christ will remain the God-Man throughout eternity. The incarnation does not merely refer to what He was when He came into the world, but it equally refers to what He is now.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived here as a man, He died as a man, He was buried as a man, and He rose from the dead as a man. He went back to heaven as a glorious resurrected Man. He is seated today at the right hand of the Father—a glorified Man with all authority in heaven and earth. Speaking of Christ as He is today, the Bible says, "In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." (Colossians 2:9) This means Christ has a resurrection body.