1Cor 15:3 ESV For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures...
When this Text was originally preached a few months ago, I asked every member of the church to look again at how you understand and view the Gospel of Jesus…His being the eternal, uncaused God the Son and the Son of God, His coming in the flesh born of a virgin, His living out the Law of God perfectly, His receiving the wrath of the father on our behalf, His dying for our sins on the cross, His rising from the dead, His ascension to the Father, and His future return to judge the living and the dead. I asked each person to consider His mercy in saving us by grace and through faith alone and granting us eternal life. What a great Savior!
We asked the question: What is motivating you toward obedience, towards a life that truly honors Jesus?
The whole point was to get or motivations right…to make sure we are driven to a loving obedience by that which is of “first importance,” to again see that Christ, because of His precious sacrifice, is worth living for and worth dying for. Indeed, in His own words…
- …"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. (24) For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (25) For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? (26) For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luk 9:23-26 ESV)
Hallelujah! Christ is our very life!
Col 3:1-4 ESV If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. (2) Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (3) For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. (4) When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Gal 2:20 ESV I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Joh 14:6 ESV Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
As we enter "Holy Week," let us be reminded of the Spirit’s words through Paul in the last part of verse 3: “that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…”
“…that Christ Died for Our Sins…”
A few thoughts:
- I don’t know about you, but even in a Gospel presentation I have at times said these words sort of casually, flippantly, and in almost in a mechanical, rote kind of way. We are so used to them, if we are not careful, we can become desensitized to their magnitude!
- Hence the need to be “reminded” of the essential truths of the Gospel! Christ died for sin! He suffered for sin! He bled for sin! Indeed His entire coming was because of man’s sin and helplessness before a Holy God!
- We dare not forget how sin entered the world (Genesis 3:1-7), how the world from that point forward has been devastated by the effects of sin (Rom 8:19-22), how the cause of man’s misery is his sinful rebellion against God (Gen 3:15-19), and how helpless all will be on the Day of Judgment (Rev 20:11-15).
- Question 19 of the Westminster Shorter Catechism is, “What is the misery of man’s fallen condition?” The answer is, “By their fall all mankind lost fellowship with God and brought His anger and curse on themselves. They are therefore subject to the miseries of this life, to death itself, and the pains of hell forever.”
- BUT…Question 20 asks, “Did God leave all mankind to die in sin and misery?” The answer: “From all eternity, and merely because it pleased Him God chose some to have everlasting life. These He freed from sin and misery by a covenant of grace and brought them to salvation by a redeemer.”
Hallelujah! Christ died for sins!
- Sin is defined as lawlessness (1 John 3:4). The Law called for blood; ultimately, our deaths for our transgressions! (Rom 3:20, 7:9, 7:11; Heb 9:22)
- Indeed, without His dying for our sin, we would have been judged without mercy:
- Mat 12:36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
- Heb 10:28-31 ESV Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. (29) How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? (30) For we know him who said, "Vengeance is mine; I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people." (31) It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But God in His mercy sent the promised Savior to pay for sins with His suffering and blood!
Isa 53:1-6 ESV Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? (2) For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. (3) He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (4) Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. (5) But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. (6) All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned--every one--to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
1Pe 2:24 ESV He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
2Co 5:21 ESV For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Hallelujah to the Lord of Hosts! Praise His glorious Name! He reigns and is clothed in majesty! Holy is His Name!
Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!" (Rev 5:9-10, 12)
Friends, we were guilty before a Holy God, lost in sin and iniquity, minds and understanding darkened, alienated from God, unaware of our own filth and depravity, sons of disobedience...
"dead in the trespasses and sins (2) in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience-- (3) among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, (5) even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- (6) and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, (7) so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (8) For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Eph 2:1-8 ESV (Emphasis mine)
So as the Spirit reminded Corinth of the Gospel, so the Spirit reminds us. When we say “Christ died for sin,” let us do so soberly, reverently, and with understanding. This wonderful news is of First Importance! It is our Hope! It is our strength! It is our joy! It is where we get our zeal, our love, our forgiving hearts!
“Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (13) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (14) For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility (15) by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, (16) and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Eph 2:12-16 ESV
Amen Lord Jesus…and THANK YOU!!!!