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EIGHT QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE DEATH OF CHRIST
Rom. 14:9 “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.”
This meditation will be more topical. Let’s let the Scriptures answer these eight questions:
FOR WHOM DID CHRIST DIE?
Rom. 5:6-10 says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”
1. He died for us. This is brought out in verse 6: “in due time Christ died for the ungodly”. The word “ungodly” translates “asebes” and means, “destitute of reverential awe towards God, condemning God, impious.” When you look around and see the disrespect that is being shown toward God, you ask yourself, “Have these not gone too far? Will God save them?” The truth of the matter is that these are the very one for whom Christ died.
Paul describes himself in 1 Timothy 1:13: “Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” Jesus saved Paul and He will save other blasphemers.
2. He died for us when we were enemies: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son . . .” I was an enemy of God. There are those who resist truth. They say, “I’m neutral. I do not hate God. I’m not His enemy if He exists.” God says differently. God says before we are saved we are enemies. Repentance is agreeing with what God says even if it is against me. It is taking God’s position against ourselves. Repentance is coming before God as a hell deserving sinner and asking for mercy.
As believers we need to believe this truth. I believe we limit the effectiveness of the gospel when we preach it with reservations, i.e., those I am preaching to have gone too far. It is true that one can go too far. As someone has rightly said, “There is a line over which a man can step beyond which there is no return.” But God is rich in mercy and will go much further with a sinner than we would. How great is God’s mercy in my theological vocabulary? Next,
FOR WHAT DID HE DIE?
1 Cor. 15:3 says, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.”
It was our sins that put Him on the cross. When you read the gospel accounts, you would like to go back to the time and say to those who cried out, “crucify Him, crucify Him,” do you have any idea what you are doing? You are crucifying the Son of God. God loves His Son. What do you think God is going to do to you because you crucified His Son? Do you think you will get away with it? He may not be doing anything about it right now but He will. There is a lot more we could say to that group. Right? Yet, the truth of the matter is this. Our sins were there. We are as guilt as they. Paul says, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.”
Peter put it this way in 1 Peter 3:18, ”For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:” Peter says He “suffered for sins.” Those sins were not His own. They were ours. Next,
WHY DID CHRIST COME INTO THE WORLD?
Hebrews 9:26 says, “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.” The words “put away” translate “athetesis” and means, “abolition, disannulling, put away, rejection.” This means that Jesus came into the world to abolish sin and its penalty. He disannulled it and it’s effects.
Did Jesus accomplish what He came to do? Jesus prayed in John 17 these words to His Father: “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” The word “finished” translates “teleioo” and means, “to carry through completely.” Is this a true statement? I believe it is.
What can sin do to you? It can condemn you. Yet the Bible says, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). Notice the word “now.” There is no condemnation now. The word “condemnation” means “judgment.” Judgment has already been removed for the believer. How could this be? Because Jesus has taken care of it for us. This is what He came in the world to do and this is precisely what He did. Next,
DID GOD HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE DEATH OF HIS SON FOR SIN?
Isa. 53:10 says, “Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” Salvation is of the Lord. The sacrifice of Christ was the Father’s offering of His Son in the sinners stead. We do not understand this kind of love. God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die for us on the cross. God had everything to do with our Lord’s death for sin.
2 Cor. 5:21 says, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” The words “for he (God the Father) hath made him (God the Son) to be sin for us (the substitutionary atonement), who knew no sin (Jesus was the spotless Lamb); that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (imputed righteousness).” Jesus is God’s offering for sin. God had everything to do with the death of Jesus. Next,
DID CHRIST DIE WILLINGLY?
Jesus says of His death on the cross in John 10:18: “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.” It could not be stated plainer. Jesus refused to use His power to resist the crucifixion. He volunteered to die in our place.
Gal. 1:4 says, “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father.” This verse tells us what He did: “Who gave himself for our sins.” It tells us why He did it: that he might deliver us from this present evil world. And it tell us whose will it was that He do it: “according to the will of God and our Father.” Christ died willingly. When they came to get Jesus in the garden and Peter drew his sword and cut Malcus’ ear off, Jesus said to him in Matthew 26:53, “Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” Jesus makes it plain here that He went to the cross of His own volition. Next,
WHAT DID HE DO WITH OUR SINS?
Isa. 53:12 says, “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and HE BARE THE SIN of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (Caps mine for emphasis). He bore our sins away. How did He bear our sins? Heb. 9:28 answers this: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” He bore our sins by the sacrifice He made. Next,
WHERE DID HE BEAR OUR SINS?
He bore our sins in His own body. This is brought out in 1 Pet. 2:24: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” God is the first in the Bible to shed blood. He did this in Eden after Adam and Eve had sinned. They had made “themselves aprons” (Gen. 3:7) to cover their nakedness. This was unacceptable to God. So God made them “coats of skins, and clothed them” (Gen. 3:21). An animal had to be slain for the skins to be obtained. Jesus is pictured in the death of that animal. And just like Adam and Eve were covered with the skins of that innocent animal, we are covered in the righteousness of Christ when we trust Him as our personal Saviour. He bore our sins in His body on the cross. Next,
IS IT NECESSARY FOR HIM TO REPEAT THE ACT?
No. His death on the cross will never have to be repeated. This is brought out in 1 Pet. 3:18: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” The word “once” translates “hapax” and means, “once for all.” Heb. 10:12 also brings this out: “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God.”
Jesus will never have to make another sacrifice. The one sacrifice took care of past, present, and future sins. In other words, when you are saved you are forgiven up to date. Right? Well, what about the sins you commit after that? Does He have to die again? The one sacrifice of Christ remains efficacious for all sin. Hebrews 10:19-20 says, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.” The word “new” translates “prosphatos” and means, “lately slaughtered, freshly killed, recently made, new.” The sacrifice of Christ is forever “lately slaughtered, freshly killed, and forever new.” Someone hold my mules!!! Hallelujah! The blood never has to be replaced with new blood. It is forever fresh.
There is a little chorus that we sing: “It is surely sufficient for me, it is surely sufficient for me, If the blood of Christ is sufficient for God, it is surely sufficient for me.” If Jesus offered His blood on heaven’s altar for my sins, and God accepted it, I ought to also. If the blood of Christ is sufficient for God, it is surely should be sufficient for me. I need to come before Him with the full assurance of faith that the blood washed all my sins away and rejoice as a forgiven child as I worship in the holiest.
May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.