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- The Savior of the World
- Life through Jesus Christ
- Salvation for the Gentiles through Jesus Christ
- Epilogue: Jesus Christ’s Mission and Israel
Prior to Jesus Christ’s mission, God dealt primarily with Israel, as his people. What Christ accomplished had great implications for all people – notably in making God’s salvation, with eternal life, freely available to every person. An associated outcome is that people from all nations can readily become one of God’s own people.
The first statement may well mean that: Jesus is the way to the Father because he is the truth and the life. The second statement emphatically states that he is the only way to God, one implication of which is that Jesus is the only source of salvation.
The “life” spoken of in the NT that Jesus Christ provides is spiritual life. It involves being “alive to God” (Rom 6:11), with God’s Holy Spirit indwelling us, renewing and nourishing us. With this, we have a spiritual consciousness that enables us to live in communion with and in dependence on God. This spiritual life is only attainable through Jesus Christ and what he has accomplished.
For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. … 36The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him. John 3:16, 36 NET
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, 26and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NET
Jesus is the one through whom resurrection and life come (v. 25a). Those who believe in him will live even though they die physically (v. 25b). At a spiritual level they will never die (v. 26a), but live eternally.
In OT times it was firstly only the Israelites, then after the Babylonian captivity more specifically the Jews, who were “God’s people” and knew of God’s salvation. But through Jesus Christ’s mission, God has made salvation open to the Gentiles.
Salvation is now open to everyone who will accept it by repentance and faith (cf. Getting Right with God).
God puts people right through their faith in Jesus Christ. … 30God is one, and he will put the Jews right with himself on the basis of their faith, and will put the Gentiles right through their faith. Romans 3:22a, 30 GNT
By dying for all people, Jesus has enabled both Jews and Gentiles to become part of the one people of God.
The Scriptures say the same thing about Abraham: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” 7So you should know that the true children of Abraham are those who have faith. Galatians 3:6-7 NCV™
But by their [the people of Israel’s] transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel jealous. … 15For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? Romans 11:11b, 15 NET
In v. 11, their “transgression” refers to the Jews’/Israel’s rejection of the gospel, God’s way of righteousness that is by faith in Christ.