When something is created or put into place, there often are implications that come as a result. When we established policy and procedure they’re often are unintended consequences. When we produce something there almost always are by-products.
Just as there are by-products in production, when our lives are transformed by the grace of Jesus Christ there is a resulting ‘by proxy’.
Since Jesus is the creator of all things and without him, nothing was created that was created (John 1:3), it is not likely that this happens by accident. It is more probable that the ‘by proxy’ was a result of planning.
We tend to brush by the proxy role in scripture but it is something that is central to the texts.
Aaron will lay both his hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the Israelites’ iniquities and rebellious acts — all their sins. He is to put them on the goat’s head and send it away into the wilderness by the man appointed for the task. The goat will carry all their iniquities into a desolate land, and the man will release it there.
Leviticus 16:21-22 (CSB)
Sacrifice and substitution are common in the old testament. It was a means of providing something that couldn’t be met within the ability of the ones for whom the substitution was being made.
The sacrificial lamb, the scape-goat as talked about in Leviticus, these were types and shadows of the coming Messiah, who would take away the sin of the world.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I told you about: ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me, because he existed before me.’
John 1:29-30 (CSB)
All were proxies for mankind. Where the sacrifice of livestock was a temporary substitution which had to be repeated on a frequent basis, Jesus, the Son of God, came to be the perfect proxy for all of us. His single act of giving himself as atonement for our sin was complete and comprehensive. It covered every man woman and child before or since. It still continues on through to eternity.
Where there is sin present, Jesus stands in our place, taking the punishment we rightly deserve. In this, our ‘by proxy’ was established.
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.” He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (CSB)
Our Role ‘By Proxy’
Most of us ‘get this’. We totally understand the role that Jesus assumed as taking our guilt and punishment and becoming our proxy. The remainder of this substitution he makes in our place, is the exercise of that proxy, by grace alone, through faith in that very sacrifice is sufficient to cleanse us from our unrighteousness.
Bible scholars often call this “Substitutionary atonement”. In simple terms, Jesus took our place, our punishment, for our guilt.
For someone to act in the place of someone else there must be something that establishes that relationship of being their proxy. If you’ve had occasion to have stocks or bought into a mutual fund of almost any kind, you’ve received a letter asking you to sign over your right to be present at the annual meeting and have this person or organization act as your proxy.
The letter spells out just what is intended by the establishment of this relationship of them being your proxy.
Grace is similar to that letter, and the faith that we place in that substitution is our signature on the document returning it to the sender to function in our place or to function by proxy for us.
If we do not sign it, the proxy is not established. We forgo representation at the meeting. If we forgo grace, we forgo our place before the throne of God. Even though our access has been assured, we forgo that and choose not to avail ourselves of the benefit of our proxy, Jesus Christ.
We are Christ “By Proxy”
All this to now is to point out that if we have taken advantage of Christ Jesus acting as our proxy and assuming our punishment for our sins, then we also are given within that, a role as his proxy as well.
We seldom realize just how literal the term Christian is.
There are somewhat contradictive definitions of the term ‘Christian’. Most only defer from the central principle that those who were initially referred to as being ‘Christian’ were people who followed, acted, and spoke in the way and manner of Christ Jesus. The abbreviated version of that would be ‘Christ-Like’. Or you hear terms like ‘Little-Jesus’, ‘Christ-lite’, and follower of Christ.
Jesus gave us a term that fits this and was pulled from the common language of the time, disciple.
He outlines the role of the Disciple and told us that if we want to be one of his Disciples that we must bear our cross of forsaking all others and follow him.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters — yes, and even his own life — he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.”
Luke 14:26-27 (CSB)
He calls his Disciples to cling to him and to integrate our being with his.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.
John 15:1-4 (CSB)
As Jesus describes his Disciples it parallels the basis of the word Christian. The two are really for the most part synonymous.
Unfortunately, today many that call themselves Christian are not really seeking to follow Jesus, they have no desire to fashion their behavior, speech, and manner after the Lord example.
They have chosen to modify that proxy agreement that affords them the grace to have Christ at on their behalf because they do not truly have the faith required in him to call on him to change their lives.
In the past, I’ve referred to these false Christians. Jesus says it a bit more directly.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name? ’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers! ’
Matthew 7:21-23 (CSB)
Sitting in a garage doesn’t make you a car. Attending church and saying you are a Christian, doesn’t make you one. It is only when we accept Jesus as our proxy and fully buy into his act of standing in our place that he becomes that proxy and by means of that we become his as well.
Jesus in the closing verses of Matthew makes a declaration to his followers. Keep in mind that there really was not a hair’s breadth of difference between follower, Christian, and disciple at this point. You and I were not there but we were being addressed when he issued the Great Commision.
Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 (CSB)
Go, make disciples, baptize them, teach them his commands, and remember he goes with us as we act as his proxy.
In declaring this to us, we are made the hands, mouth, love, compassion, and presence of Christ Jesus ‘By Proxy’. To a lost world, to our friends and neighbors, to everyone we encounter, we are a representation of Christ and as such we are his representative before the world. “By Proxy”!
“Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
John 14:12-14 (CSB)