Jesus Christ: An All-Sufficient Savior
(Note: This is the first in a series of articles on all-sufficiency. To be included in the series, in addition to the above title, will be articles on "The Bible: An All-Sufficiency in Worship," and "An All-Sufficient Church."-CW.)
When we speak of Christ as an all-sufficient Savior, what do we imply concerning him? By "all" we mean "the whole of, wholly, completely"(Webster). By "sufficient" we mean "Equal to the end proposed, adequate, enough" (Webster). So by an all-sufficient Savior, we mean that Christ is wholly or completely adequate to the end-proposed. He is sufficient for all that God intended the Savior to be. And all-sufficient Savior need not and cannot be replaced. He perfectly accomplishes all that God intended that He accomplish. In John 5:30 Jesus states His purpose upon the earth to be to "see not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." Then shortly before His death Jesus said "It is finished" (John 19:30). He had therefore completely accomplished or finished God's will for Him upon the earth. He had therefore proved himself to be adequate to the end proposed for Him, by God. Only an infidel would imply that Christ's work was imperfectly done. Nothing more was needed. No one therefore can take or share His place. For He is sufficient for all things that God proposed for Him to do. Yet Jesus taught that there would arise those who would deny His sufficiency. There would arise "false Christs (Matt. 24 4), said Jesus. The very arising false Christs implies that some felt that Jesus the Christ was not adequate or sufficient.
The Bible plainly declares that Jesus is all that the Christian needs as a Savior. Paul declares: "As therefore ye received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and builded up in him . . . for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in him ye are made full." (Col. 2:6-9). The Christian is made full or complete in Him. He supplies our every need.
AN ALL-SUFFICIENT EXAMPLE -- One of the things that the disciple or follower of the Lord needs is an example. Christ is that needed example. "For hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his month" ( I Pet. 2:21, 22). Paul adds "Be Ye imitators of me, even as also am of Christ" (I Cor. 11:1). Jesus left us not only a good example, such as any good man might leave; He left us a perfect example. His example therefore is perfectly adequate. The author or captain of our salvation was made perfect through His suffering ( Heb. 2:10; 5:8, 9). His life parallels ours in every point of temptation. "For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin" (Heb. 4:15). His was the only perfect life. He met every temptation we meet, and by His example, shows us that the temptation can be withstood. He does not ask us to go where He has not been. He does not ask us to do what He has not done. He does not ask us to withstand what He has not withstood. As an example, of Him we could ask no more. He therefore an all-sufficient example.
AN ALL-SUFFICIENT SACRIFICE -- The Bible teaches that Jesus' death was vicarious, i.e., the guiltless died for the guilty. (Matt. 26:28; Rom. 3:21-26; Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 1 John 1:7). Man has been unwilling to admit that Christ died for him, primarily for two reasons: (1) Man has not been willing to admit his guilt; and (2) Man can see no justice in having the innocent die for the guilty. Jesus is an all-sufficient sacrifice because His death was for all men, and because His death was so effectual that no additional sacrifice is or ever will be needed. He says "this is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many unto remission of sins" (Matt. 26:28). Paul adds "By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10). He is a propitiation for the sins of the whole world (I John 2:1, 2).
There are many parallels between the sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifices of the law, but there are also many senses in which they are not parallel. Of the Old Testament sacrifices Paul says "every priest indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, the which can never take away, sins" (Heb. 10:11). Further he says "in those sacrifices there is a remembrance made of sins year by year. For it is impossible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins" (Heb. 10:3, 4). Since the sacrifices of the law could not take away sin, violation of the law "shut up all things under sin" (Gal. 3 :22) and brought all violators "under a curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law, to do them" (Gal. 3:10). It was this fact of being shut up under sin that led those under the law to Christ (Gal. 3:24), "the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). Jesus, as a sacrifice, is to man what the sacrifices of the law could never be.
The high priest under the law had to appear in the holy place "year by year with blood not his own" to cause the people's sins to be remembered no more by God for a year. But after the sacrifice of Christ, God said "their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more" forever (Heb. 10:17). Had Jesus' sacrifice of Himself been no more adequate to remit sin than the sacrifices of the law, then "must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world" (Heb. 9:26). He would have had to have died repeatedly. But with His perfect sacrifice, "once at the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Heb. 9:26). "But he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God . . . For by one offering he had perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:12-14).
His will was that all men might come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9) and be saved (I Tim. 2:4). So with His perfect sacrifice offered "once for all," this is now possible. "He is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through Him" (Heb. 7:25). He by His death, corrected the weaknesses of the Old Testament sacrifices. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit" (Rom. 8 :3, 4). So that when Christ died, as it has been commonly expressed, His blood flowed both ways from the cross. He did for those under the Old Testament what the animal sacrifices could never do. He made forgiveness possible for them. "And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9:15). And for those of us under the new covenant, John says "the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (I John 1 :7 ).
So His sacrifice perfectly remitted the sins of those who complied with His will, and caused them to be remembered by God no more forever. We need no other sacrifice, since Christ is an all-sufficient sacrifice.
AN ALL-SUFFICIENT HIGH PRIEST -- Having a sacrifice to be offered, we needed a high priest. Jesus occupies the peculiar place of being both the sacrifice and the high priest (Heb. 3:1). A priest is the opposite of a prophet. A prophet speaks to the people for God. A priest speaks to God and acts in behalf of the people. Jesus is both prophet and priest. Under the law God provided for a succession of high priests "because that by death they are hindered from continuing: but he, because he abideth for ever, hath his priesthood unchangeable . . . seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Heb. 7:23-25). So God told Him "Thou art a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek." Christ died to die no more. He now ever lives, so there will be no reason for another high priest. The high priest under the law had to offer sacrifices for his own sin (Heb. 9:7), but of our high priest Jesus, Paul says "For such a high priest became us, holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens . . . For the law appointeth men high priests, having infirmity: but the word of the oath, which was after the law, appointeth a Son, perfected for evermore" (Heb. 7:26-28).
Now every Christian is a priest (I Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). We all have the same access to the high priest. It is an insult to the high priesthood of Christ to insinuate that we need to go through some other to enter with our petitions and sacrifices into the holy of holies, even heaven itself. There is no special caste of priests in this age. To create such a special priesthood would slander the priesthood of Christ. Having a perfect, continuing high priest, Paul says "Let us draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need" (Heb. 4:16), We need no other high priest, for Christ is perfectly adequate for every function of a high priest. To imply that He is not is blasphemy generated by infidelity!
AN ALL-SUFFICIENT MEDIATOR -- We need also a mediator. A mediator is one who stands between two parties at enmity. Our mediator stands between God, the offended, and man, the offender. Man often appoints many to a mediatory board, because of the impossibility of a finite being completely to be objective. But if a perfect mediator could be found among men, there would be no need of but one being appointed. However, between God and man there is "one mediator" (I Tim. 2:5), for we need no other. We have such a perfect mediator that no other is needed. He is sufficient for all the work of a mediator. He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and yet He knows the side of God, for He is truly the God-Man. He is both God and man; God incarnate. Consequently He is able to represent both God and man fairly.
Since He "ever liveth to make intercession for" us, and since He is "an Advocate with the Father" (I John 2:1, 2) for us all, we need no other mediator. There is no need to pray through Mary or any of the "saints" of Catholicism. Jesus, our Mediator, will present our requests to God for us. He alone is sufficient.
We need an example-Christ is our perfect example. We need a sacrifice-Christ is our perfect sacrifice. We need a high priest-Christ is our perfect high priest. We need a mediator-Christ is our perfect mediator. What more could you want? What more do you need? Nothing! We need nothing more; yet anything less would be insufficient. Then truly, Jesus Christ is an All-Sufficient Savior.
Truth Magazine IV:3, pp. 22-24