107.0 Two Distinct Roles: The writer of the Book of Hebrews calls Jesus the "Author and Finisher" of our faith. To fully understand the redemptive intrigue, we must grasp the full scope of the role that Christ plays, or perhaps better said, the dual role that He plays. So, let's look at the "Alpha and Omega," the "Beginning and the End," of our faith. As these titles indicate, we are really looking at one Christ in two distinct roles.
107.1 The Christ Of The Cross: First, consider the Dying Christ, our "Gentle Guide." He is the Christ that we celebrate first. He is the Christ of that magnificent Cross. It is His purpose and work in this early role to satisfy God's justice by dying for our sins in our place. In doing so, He secures our forgiveness and enables our reconciliation to God, the Father.
This Dying Jesus is the Jesus whom we first encounter. He is our peace and our peacemaker. He is our first teacher, to show us God's love and the opportunity that His love offers. This is the Christ that loved us first, and whom we first loved.
107.2 The Christ Of The Resurrection: But now, let's consider the Living Christ of the Resurrection, our "Strong Guide." God's authentic redemptive design certainly requires a means of forgiveness and reconciliation for His creature. But, it doesn't stop there. The genuine redemptive agenda also also requires a means for the thorough renewal of humanity. It is not the Dying Christ, of the Cross, but the Living Christ of the resurrection who fill this need. He becomes this Perfect Enabler of a true and thorough newness for humanity - in the here and now.
And, He accomplishes this transformation of the believer in a very unique way. It is achieved through that divinely arranged merger, the Spiritual merger which we have discussed in previous sections. Literally, this divine merger brings together the frail human nature (character essence) of the believer with the renewing divine nature (character essence) of the Living Christ of the Resurrection.
Again, within the Church, we have come to generally refer to this merger as the believer's "Spiritual baptism into Christ." And, it is in specific reference to this unique merger, that the apostle would write in The Book of Romans, chapter 5, "For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
107.3 The Perfect Redemptive Plan: So, the employment of the Savior in these two redemptive roles is perfectly suited to the Father's every redemptive intent, and to humanity's every need. We are not left merely forgiven, and yet still broken.
Rather, God's graceful plan adds to our forgiveness a beautiful restoration, a Christ empowered newness. Such is the magnificent result of the Dying Christ and the Living Christ working in concert in the believer's behalf.
107.4 In Summary: In short then, Christ is our all sufficient Guide along the redemptive pathway. He first conducts us as The Gentle Dying Christ of the Cross to the place of forgiveness and a sweet reconciliation to God the Father.
And, then He assumes the more lengthy and completing redemptive role. He becomes our all sufficient Strong Guide coming out of the Resurrection as the Living Christ to meet our here-and-now need of a thorough and durable newness in service to God's true redemptive expectation of humanity. Jesus literally becomes the sufficiency for our complete personal transformation as our own frail character essence is actually integrated with His empowering divine character essence.
It's through this divinely enabled character integration that He entirely rescues the devout believer from the ravages of that essential sin-value of self-determination on both the conscious and the subconscious level of our heart. Thus, He brings a true and elevating newness to our heart (core person), and, in turn, to our real life behavior and circumstance.