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Christ's Death: Sin Offering or Penalty?

(Romans 7:23,24; 1 Peter 1:18,19; Hebrews 9:26; 10:12; Galatians 1:4;
1 Timothy 2:6; Ephesians 5:2; 1 Peter 3:18; Romans 5:9,10; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:20)

Lesson 9 -- fourth quarter 2001
October 28, 2001

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications

Why did Jesus die?

What an amazing historical and historic event! God Himself allowed men to put Him to death. The Creator of the universe permitted some of His creatures to kill Him. The Sovereign One purposefully made it possible for His subjects to crucify Him. To what ends and for what purposes? Let's look again at some of our text verses for some personal-to-you-and-me answers.

To deliver me. Romans 7 paints a miserably bleak picture of life in this world. We live in bodies that are traitorous, actively working against our best spiritual interests and putting us in captivity to sin. Verse 24 bemoans the human futility of such a hopeless situation: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Did I say hopeless? My friend, that's why Jesus died! To give us deliverance and hope. Praise God, He sets us free to live in victory. As Galatians 1:4 reminds us, "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." The Great Deliverer experienced death so that He might effectively set us free...indeed!

To put away my sin. You are probably at least fifteen years old and I'm already a little past forty. We both have had more than enough time to run up a sin debt that we can never hope to take care of. It just doesn't take long. But it would take more than forever to put away our own sin on our own. In fact, we could never do it. So Jesus died "to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself" Hebrews 9:26). Thanks to Him and Him alone, "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7). Gone, my sins are all gone! He put them away; He has forgiven them!

To be an example of love. A year or so ago I made a tremendous discovery: Because Jesus wanted me to see clearly that He loves me, He died for me. Notice what 1 John 3:16 says -- "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." Imagine that! Furthermore, He gave His life so that we might have an example to follow in our relationships with others. That meshes so well with Ephesians 5:2 -- "Walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us." Jesus valued me enough to put my best interests ahead of His own life. And that's how He wants His people to live on this planet: revealing love through sacrificial living.

To reconcile me to God. It didn't take me long to wander away from God. And the further I walked in the alien path, the farther away I got from Him. Even though I obviously continued to be His creature, I was now His enemy. I no longer belonged to Him; I was not His son. But I have been "reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Romans 5:10). Jesus came and "made peace through the blood of his cross" (Colossians 1:20). I am no longer an enemy and an alien. I am a son, an heir, a citizen of His heavenly kingdom!

To purify me and set me aside. I used to be contaminated and filthy, and not at all unique in that condition. Anything I did to improve myself and my position only worsened matters. The best I could do only qualified as bad in God's record. Then Jesus came on the scene and "gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). I am clean and I am His!

Are you?

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