Christian, a miracle in every way
The miracle of salvation that we, as Christians, proclaim to possess is an extraordinary intrusion of the infinite into the confines of the finite. It truly is a miraculous phenomenon in every sense. Consider the following passage.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV
This is not a mere symbolical representation; rather, it is a supernatural intervention—a gracious act that penetrates human flesh. In Christ, both you and I are declared righteous, even though this righteousness is not a result of our own deeds, but rather, it is entirely based on what Christ has accomplished on our behalf. In this sense, the Christian life can be seen as a second-hand life, a genuine existence that serves as a substitute, purchased on your behalf. Although you are undeserving of such a life, you have been granted an abundant existence because the one who truly deserved life willingly laid it down for your sake.
The hope you possess is not something earned as a reward for your actions, but rather, it is an inheritance bestowed upon you. When Jesus descended from the heavenly realm to enter into humanity, it was an act of God coming down to rescue you.
The word that comes to mind is ‘vicarious,’ originating from the Latin term ‘vicar,’ meaning ‘substitute.’ It signifies an action carried out on behalf of another individual. This is why Christ’s redemptive work is also known as the Vicarious Atonement—because Jesus died and rose again for our sake. However, the word also conveys experiencing something indirectly through the firsthand encounter of someone else. It is akin to listening to an enthralling account of your friend’s journey to the Himalayas and feeling as though you have, in some way, experienced it yourself. Such is the essence of the Christian life—a vicarious existence, living in the footsteps of Christ.
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?Romans 6:3-5, ESV
We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.
Without Jesus living a sinless life, dying the death we deserved, and rising to the life we did not deserve, our hope would be lost. However, He did accomplish these remarkable feats. Glory! Glory! He did! This, my friends, is the essence of the vicarious Christian life—a life born out of Christ’s substitutionary atonement for us, and a life lived in and through the person of Christ Himself.
Beloved, we are not our own. He carries us from the darkness of this world to a realm beyond the veil, where no shadow exists. Enveloped by the glorious presence of Christ, our glorified bodies will emit not shadows upon the streets of heaven but radiant light. Pure light, brighter than the sun, radiating from the face of Jesus Christ (Revelation 21:23).
Therefore, we do not have the authority to dictate the path of this Christian life. We are not our own! Instead, we continuously lean towards the will of God, seeking His illumination to guide our way.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.Isaiah 30:21, ESV
The vicarious Christian life is akin to the life of a servant, not a servant to an unrighteous master, but a willing servant of God Himself. The vicarious Christian life is akin to the life of a son or daughter who embraces the authority of their Heavenly Father.
Hence, the significance of theology in the Christian life cannot be overstated, as one cannot truly grasp the reality of this existence without first understanding the truth about God and his redemption. This brings me to another meaning of the word ‘vicarious’—a vivid imagination, experiencing the reality of something within the mind.
Consequently, sound theology enables the Christian to vividly imagine and experience the vicarious Christian life that was wrought through the vicarious atonement of Christ.