“The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work” (1 John 3:8b).
Bishop Ryle said concerning the crucifixion of Christ as the foundation of the Bible, “If you have not yet found out that Christ crucified is the foundation of the whole volume, you have read your Bible up until now with very little profit. Your religion is a heaven without a sun, an arch without a support, a compass without a needle, a clock without spring or weights, a lamp without oil. It will not comfort you. It will not deliver your soul from hell.”
All sin in this world is the devils work! Wherever we see moral and spiritual degradation and corruption we see confusion and every evil work of the god of this world. As John tells us the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. It does not mean that he is more powerful than God because “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness of it,” however, Satan is lord over the ambitions and desires of fallen man. God’s word tells us that Jesus not only died as our substitute and for our sins but also tells us the kinds of people Jesus died for.
For Whom did the Lord Jesus Die?
1. The Lord Jesus died for the whole world.
“The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
The Bible teaches that Jesus died for the whole human race and that He has tasted death for everyone. (John 3:16-18) (Hebrews 2:9) It is only through His shed blood that sin can be forgiven. God’s Word says that, “Without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sin” (Hebrews 9:22). The apostle John tells us concerning the Lord Jesus that, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). The apostle Paul understood this when he said, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners-of whom I am chief” (1Timothy 1:15).
God does not have favorites and will save anyone who calls upon His name for Salvation. (Romans 10:13) No matter how bad you have been or what you have done in the past the blood of Jesus Christ can make you clean deep down on the inside. There is no stain of sin too deep for the blood of Christ. (1 John 1:7) (Hebrews 9:14) If you have never repented and trusted the Lord Jesus to save you why not do it right now? God wants everyone to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. This is why he had delayed judgment. (2 Peter 3:9)
2. The Lord Jesus died for sinners.
“But God demonstrates His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
The Bible does not tell us why God loves us. It just says God so loved. Why He should love us despite our sins is beyond human comprehension. Many may die for a good man but who would die for a criminal? While we were still in sin and rebellion Christ died for us. We can see this truth in the case of Barabbas. He was a convicted criminal who deserved to die and was a murderer and a rebel of the worst kind. Jesus took his place on the cross and Barabbas went free. This was the Love of God in action. (Matthew 27:19-26)
Likewise, we see God’s love for sinners expressed in the way Jesus dealt with the dying thief next to Him at the cross. There were two criminals crucified on either side of Jesus at the cross. Both of them were guilty of capital offences deserving death. One wanted to save him self and could not see his true spiritual condition. The other one saw his true spiritual condition and looked to Jesus for pardon. One went to hell and the other went to heaven. Yet Jesus died for them both and loved them equally. (Luke 23:32-43)
In the Old Testament we read about Mephibosheth. He was the grandson of King Saul and Jonathan his father was David’s friend. Mephibosheth was lame in both feet. David had a right to have him killed because he belonged to the House of Saul. David showed great mercy towards him for Jonathan’s sake and pardoned him. Mephibosheth could not come to King David because he was crippled. David had him brought into the palace and Mephibosheth continually ate at the king’s table.
We are all like Mephibosheth spiritually speaking. We are spiritually crippled and cannot come to God. We are rebels and law breakers and deserve to die but God pardons us for Jesus sake just like David pardoned Mephibosheth for Jonathan’s sake consequently, we can always eat at the table of the King of Kings.
When you study the history of genuine revivals multitudes of the worst kinds of sinners were saved. Drunks, prostitutes, thieves and even murderers were born again and radically changed. Under the preaching of William Booth and John Wesley society was dramatically changed as a result of this wonderful truth that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Remember the story Jesus told about the lost son. Read this story for yourself, as it is a beautiful illustration of God’s love for sinners. (Luke 15:17-24)
The Results of the Lord Jesus’ Death.
As we have already seen Jesus’ death has paid the price for the sins of the whole world and opened the way for sinful man to be reconciled to a Holy God. Also we have seen what kinds of people Jesus died for. Now the Bible itself gives us many results of Jesus’ death and there are too many to cover in this study, however, we can cover some of the results of His death and its implications for us as believers.
1. Through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus everyone will obtain the resurrection from the dead.
“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt” (Daniel 12:2).
At the last judgment people will go into heaven or into the lake of fire. This is clearly what the prophet Daniel tells us. Jesus’ death and resurrection guarantee that everyone who has ever lived will rise again, in fact Jesus Himself said that this would happen. “For a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear His voice and come out-those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned” (John 5:28-29). Our eternal destiny in the next life depends on our attitude to Jesus in this life. He is the only Way to God the only Truth and the only Life anyone needs to enter heaven. (John 14:6) “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
2. Through the death of the Lord Jesus the power of sin has been rendered powerless to enslave us.
“For we know that our old self was crucified with Him so that the body of sin might be rendered powerless, that we should no longer be slaves to sin-because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Romans 6:6-7).
As believers we still have the old nature and are still capable of sinning but we do not have to sin because the Life of Jesus in us has set us free from the downward pull of sin. Through the help and power of the Holy Spirit our sinful nature with its appetites and desires can be rendered powerless to enslave us. The unsaved person has no choice but to sin as this is the nature they are born with.
However, the born again child of God does have a choice in this matter through the enabling strength and power of the Holy Spirit indwelling their life. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2)… “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so that you do (may) not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16-18,24-25).
God gives us the choice and the obligation to Him not to commit sin. As I mentioned before unbelievers have no choice but to sin because they are controlled continuously by their sinful nature but Christians do have a choice. We do not have to sin because the law of the Spirit in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death.If we have really been born again and made new deep down on the inside by the Spirit of God then we are no longer slaves to sin but to righteousness. Compare: (1 Peter 2:24) (Titus 2:14) (Romans 6: 10-14 8:9-14) (Colossians 3:5-10)
3. Through the death of the Lord Jesus the list of our sins has been cancelled.
“Having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14-15).
The Lord Jesus’ death has settled all the claims of the law against the believer in Christ. “Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4). As a man and for man Jesus kept the law of God perfectly and by His life provided a righteous life for us. He did what Adam failed to do. When we are born again the Holy Spirit imparts to us that righteous life of Jesus and reproduces in us His own holy and divine nature. (Galatians 5:22) We no longer have to try and obey the Law of Moses because we are under a new law namely the law of Christ written on our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We keep God’s law because we want to please the Lord Jesus. (2 Corinthians 3:3) (1 John 3:7-10 5:18-19) There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus who walk after the Spirit and not the flesh and the only way we can do this is to be constantly filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 5:18)
4. Through His death the Lord Jesus has triumphed over and conquered every principality and power.
“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:15).
Here Paul had in mind the imagery of the Roman Triumph. In the times of the Roman Empire when a famous general was victorious over the enemies of Rome he would have a victory parade through the streets of Rome. He would be in the leading chariot followed by his soldiers and right at the end of the parade would be the prisoners of war chained together and on display for all to see. Sometimes the general would have a special hero riding in the chariot at his side. The General would appear before the Roman Emperor in the sight of the crowd and there not only present to his King the captives and their booty but would himself be honored by the king before the whole nation.
This is the imagery Paul uses to describe our authority over every principality and power. “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance and knowledge of Him” (2 Corinthians 2:14). The Lord Jesus is the Supreme commander in the leading chariot. We are in the chariot with Him sharing in His victory. He is presenting us to God his Father before the heavenly host. Satan and the principalities and powers are in chains behind us. We are now seated with Jesus in the place of heavenly authority. (Ephesians 1:19-23 2:6-7)
At the cross Jesus defeated Satan and his cohorts. Every principality and every power in the heavenly realms has been defeated. Satan’s power to hold the believer in their grip of sin, fear and death has been broken. (Hebrews 2:14-15) As believers we are in a wrestling match with the devil everyday, however, Jesus has given us his own personal spiritual armor and weapons to defeat him with. (Ephesians 6:10-18) (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
5. Through the Lord Jesus death we are justified before God and saved from the wrath to come.
“Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more will we be saved from God’s wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9).
When God passed over Egypt in judgment every Israelite who applied the animals blood to the doorposts of their houses were spared. God Himself had said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you.” God spared them on the basis of the shed blood of the sacrificial animal accepting its death as a law full substitute for their sins. Just as the animals blood protected the Israelites from God’s judgment so the blood of Jesus Christ will protect us from the coming wrath at the end of this present age. Paul tells us this fact when he said, “Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him” (Romans 5:9).
God declares us justified the moment we believe in Him who shed His blood for us. While the Lord Jesus is the object of our faith we also need to have faith in the total efficiency of His shed blood to atone for our sins. (Ephesians 1:7) Without faith in Jesus blood we cannot be saved from the coming wrath. Our only hope of heaven is faith alone in the blood and merits of the Lord Jesus Christ. The moment we confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead we are saved. (Romans 10:8-12) God Himself declares us not guilty in His sight even though we are. From the moment we put all of our trust in Jesus and His blood we are justified from everything that we could not be justified from by the Law of Moses. Justification itself has already been provided for us but it only becomes effective experientially in our lives when we trust in Jesus and in His atoning blood to save us. (Romans 3:21-26)
6. Through the Lord Jesus’ death we have Redemption and the forgiveness of all our sins.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding” (Ephesians 1:7-8).
There was a little boy who had a favorite sailing boat and He used to take it to the local lake to watch it sail. One day when he put the little boat in the water a strong gust of wind blew it out into the middle of the lake and it was blown by the wind until the boy lost sight of it. He went home very sad because it was lost to him. Some time later he was walking through the town and as he was walking past a shop window he saw the little boat sitting on a shelf. He didn’t wait but ran into the store and paid the price to buy it back. He went home very happy because he had found what had been lost and had paid the price needed to redeem it.
We like that little boat have been driven by the winds of sin and rebellion away from the Lord breaking our relationship with Him, however, He has paid the price to redeem us back into a personal relationship with Himself and that price was the blood of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.
Peter tells us this when he said, “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1 Peter 1:18-20). The blood of Jesus is not only the redemption price paid for our salvation but also the basis upon which God forgives our sins and offences against Him. The shed blood of Jesus fully satisfies the demands of Divine justice against sin.
7. Through the Lord Jesus’ death we have Sanctification.
“Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:9-10).
Sanctification is the process that God uses to separate us to Himself for His exclusive use as well as to separate us from this present evil age with its ambitions, passions and desires. It is the process of refining that God does in us to make us fit for heaven. Through this process of sanctification the Lord brings our lives as believers into the conformity and ever increasing likeness to His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. The way He sanctifies us is through His Word and His Holy Spirit and through our faith in Jesus Christ. (John 17:17) (1 Peter 1:2) (Acts 26:18) As far as God is concerned through the blood of Jesus we are already sanctified in His sight, however, Sanctification is also progressive. (Hebrews 10:12-14)
8. Through His death Jesus has made one sacrifice for sin for all time.
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the majesty in heaven’ (Hebrews 1:3).
The Lord Jesus Christ does not need to be re-sacrificed in the Mass as taught by the Roman Catholic Church. Nothing can be added to what Jesus has done at the cross. It is a perfect and finished work that has completely paid for our sins. “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:3). Compare: (Hebrews 9:12, 24-28 10:11-12) We do not need priests, rosary beads, saints or Mary to approach God on our behalf. As it is also written; “There is only one mediator between men and God and that is Jesus Christ.” (1 Timothy 2:5) Through Jesus we have direct access to God as believers. (Hebrews 10:19-23)
There is a story told of a preacher traveling by train through the countryside seated next to a troubled young man. The preacher started up a conversation with this boy. He said, “son can I help you I am a minister, a preacher of the gospel and I want to help you in anyway that I can.” The boy replied, “Well preacher I want to tell you my story. My family has lived all their lives by this old railway track that we are traveling on and I am going home. I haven’t seen them for years. They love God and love me very much but years ago I was so rebellious and refused to listen to them. Things became so bad that one day I physically hit my dad. My parents said to me, ‘son, we have tried everything we know to help you but it has come to the point where we have to ask you to leave home’. Preacher, recently I came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and Lord and wrote to my mom and dad that I wanted to come home and that if everything was okay to hang a white rag on the old apple tree in the front yard. Preacher we are almost home and I wonder if you’d mind looking out of the window to see if that white rag is in the tree.” The preacher replied, “Son, you don’t have a thing in the world to worry about, why that old apple tree is in full blossom, there are white rags hanging all over it.”
That is just like the love of God. The Bible says, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were sinners, Christ died for us. For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous that He might bring us to God.”