Monday Apr 11 2011
A Word to the Wise: Remembering the death of Jesus for our sins
By: Tom Rupp, Special to the Telegraph
The Christian calendar year faithfully marks certain events for believers. The high points of the calendar include the birth (Christmas) and resurrection (Easter) of Jesus, which we will celebrate in less than two weeks. Another date on the calendar that we remember is what we call Holy Week. It is the time we remember the final week of Jesus on earth, a week that culminated in his crucifixion. It is impossible to fully explain the implications of Jesus’ death in a mere four hundred words. At best all I can muster is a basic statement. The gospel is found in its most concise form in 1 Corinthians 15:3,4, where Paul declares, “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance — that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised up on the third day according to the scriptures.” That is the essence of Christianity, the heartbeat of its message. Agreement here is the basis of Christian fellowship and unity. It is this gospel that Christians of various denominations share in common. The theological term often employed for the death of Jesus is “vicarious.” It means, “endured by one person substituting for another.” In fact, that is another word for the death of Jesus — substitutionary. It basically means that the death of Jesus was the death we should have died for our sin that Jesus died for us. Romans 5:6 says that “in due time Christ died for the ungodly” and verse 8 says, “God demonstrated His love for us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” In 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, it says that “Jesus died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” The Apostle Peter, who was at the crucifixion when it happened, said, “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit” (1 Peter 3:18). The cross is not a beautiful piece of jewelry, a fashion statement for the unaware. It represents death — cruel, ignominious, undeserved death. It represents the death for sin that we ought to have died (Romans 6:23). It represents the death that we no longer have to die. Tom Rupp is a Bible teacher at Capital Bible College. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.