“And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:8-11, ESV
“Jesus’ perfect life of obedience was so very important because only a perfect representative could serve as Savior for a lost humanity. From Adam, the first representative human, a flawed human race resulted. What was needed was a second representative human from whom perfect righteousness could be inherited (Romans 5:12-20). Christ alone meets this requirement so that the apostle Paul can write “we shall be saved through his life” (Romans 5:10).
Evangelical Christianity tends to focus almost exclusively on the death of Christ on the cross as the guarantee of salvation. Liberalism emphasizes Christ as the model human, the example for godly living. Both positions represent a one-sided emphasis. Jesus lived the perfect life of obedience which humans were created to do but didn’t, and then died the perfect death to pay the penalty for the guilty. Without his perfect life his death would not have merited salvation for the lost. He would have had to die for his own sin. The total life of Christ, from humble birth to victorious resurrection, is the guarantee of salvation for those who identify by faith with Him. Because Christ was the sinless “seed of the woman” (Genesis 3:15) He could crush the head of the serpent and triumphed over the powers of darkness through his death and resurrection.”
Taken directly from: Derke P. Bergsma, Redemption: The Triumph of God’s Great Plan (Kearney, NE: Morris Publishing, 1989), p. 115
For more from the Rev. Dr. Bergsma, LISTEN to Westminster Seminary California’s Office Hours interview, as Dr. Bergsma discusses Redemption and redemptive-historical preaching.