[Jesus] was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah. 1 Peter 3:18-20 (NIV) What does this have to do with...
Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. 1 John 5:1 (NIV)
The mark of a genuine Christian is not a general faith in God, but a specific faith in Jesus. Many people think a general faith in God makes you a Christian; it doesn’t. Jesus is “the Christ.” This is what Christians confess, but what does it mean?
Christ means “anointed one.” In the Old Testament, God anointed people for various tasks that reflected his work in the world: (1) Revealing himself, (2) Redeeming sinners, and (3) Reigning over his people. Prophets were anointed to speak the Word of God. Priests were anointed to offer sacrifices to God. Kings were anointed to rule the people of God.
The prophets, priests, and kings pointed forward to one person: the Anointed One. The Old Testament breathes with anticipation of the coming Messiah: the Christ in whom God would make himself fully known; the Christ through whom God would redeem sinners; the Christ by whom God would bring in his kingdom and deliver his people from their enemies.
- He is the Word by which God has made himself known. “If you have seen me you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Who else could ever say that?
- He is the priest who offers himself as the sacrifice for our sins. “I have come to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10) and to give my life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
- He is the king who reigns over all. “You will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with all his holy angels” (Mat. 24:30-31). He’s coming again in peace and glory.
Do you have a general faith in God or a specific faith in Christ?