In John 1:29, John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the Nation of Israel and the world with the words, “Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” Jesus came to die as a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. Jesus bore the judgment of God against the sinner to the full satisfaction of God. God offers salvation to all who will believe that Christ died for their sins and, by faith, take Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
In the Old Testament, the temple sacrifices were an atonement for sin, but this was only a temporary forgiveness “of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God” (Romans 3:25). God was acting in perfect righteousness in not administering judgment on those sins this way in the Old Testament period. He did so on the basis of the coming of His Son as a sacrificial Lamb who would make an atonement for sin forever.
There are a number of Scriptures
that point to the full value of the death of Christ.
First and foremost, the death of Christ proves the love of God for the sinner. John 3:16-17. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” The fact that God loved us when we were still in our sins gives the believer in Christ the desire to live on a high moral standard, a standard the non-believer finds impossible to understand.
The death of Christ was the ransom God demanded to free the sinner from condemnation. The word “for,” meaning “on behalf of,” is used in every passage in the New Testament where Christ's death is mention as a ransom. Matthew 20:28. “... the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” This is also in Mark 10:45 and in 1 Timothy 2:6.
In this day and age, we often think of a ransom in connection with freeing a person who is being held hostage in a life threatening situation. The sinner’s spiritual life is threatened by Satan’s hold on him. He wants to take us to hell with him, but Christ paid the ransom to redeem us. In our natural state, we are under the sentence of God’s wrath but Christ purchased our redemption through the shedding of His blood. Romans 5:9. “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
God has always demanded a blood sacrifice for sin. Under the Law, there were men who became priests whose duty it was to offer the blood of animals as a sin offering. When the older priests died, the system could still be carried on by others who took their place. But Jesus lives forever and continues to be a Priest so no other priest or offering is needed. The sacrifice of His blood paid the sinners debt for all who come to God through him.
He is exactly the kind of High Priest we sinners need. He is holy and blameless, unstained by sin, and He has been given the place of honor in heaven. He will never need the daily sacrifice of an animal's blood as other priests did, in order to cover their own sins, or to make a sacrifice for the sins of the people.
God has accepted the death of Christ as a one time offering that paid for all sins, past, present, and forever.
Hebrews 10:12. “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”
What I’m saying is this: Christ, whose priesthood we’ve just described, is our High Priest and is in heaven at the place of greatest honor. He ministers in the temple in heaven, the true place of worship built by God and not by human hands.
Under the old system, even the high priests were sinful men and couldn’t keep from doing wrong, and the animal sacrifices could only cover sin in the sense of delaying the time of judgment.
When Christ died on the cross, He completely satisfied all of God's just demands for judgment on human sin. God’s plan for the individual is fulfilled when the sinner repents and trusts that Christ’s atoning blood was shed for his sins.
Romans 3:24-26. “...Christ Jesus, God has set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
God is not a God who delights in vengeance on the sinner; quite the opposite, God loves to show mercy to the sinner because of His great love for His creation, man.
The believer in Christ is assured that the price has been paid in full, that he has been set free as a sinner, and that all of God's righteous demands for judgment on him have been satisfied.
Faith in the atoning death of Christ changes man in such a way that it reconciles him to God. God doesn’t change in the act of reconciliation; His relationship to man is changed by the redeeming work of Christ. Man is forgiven, justified, and raised to a spiritual level where he can be reconciled to God. God is not reconciled to the sinner. He is not lowered to man’s sinful state. Man is raised to God's holy character through faith in Christ’s atoning work.
A general belief that Christ died for the whole world is not sufficient for salvation. Salvation requires a personal conviction that Christ died for our own sins. Salvation is instant and permanent for all who trust that Christ shed His blood for their sins.
The doctrine of resurrection of all men as well as of Christ is taught in the Old Testament. The resurrection of man is foretold as far back as Job, the oldest book in the Bible as to the time of writing. Job made his statement of faith in Job 19:25-27. “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”
Job believed he had a personal, living Redeemer who would stand on this earth at a later time. He also believed in his own death and his personal resurrection in a new body and that he would see God with his own eyes at that resurrection.
All men, of all time, will ultimately be resurrected, but some will experience different results. John 5:28-29. “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice 29. and come forth; those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.”
The resurrection of Christ is also prophesied in several places in the Old Testament. In Psalm 16:9-10. David wrote “Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. 10. for You will not leave my soul in hell, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” David believed in his own resurrection but his personal hope lay in the resurrection of Jesus Christ whom he called the “Holy One.” His belief was that Jesus would not lay in the grave long enough for His body to decay.
The doctrine of the resurrection of all men, as well as the resurrection of Christ, is well established in the Old Testament.
There are many places in the gospels where Jesus foretold His death and resurrection. Here is one from Matthew 16:21. “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
There are a lot of records in the New Testament that prove the resurrection of Christ. There is the empty tomb. There are at least seventeen occasions where He appeared to His disciples and others after His resurrection. His last appearance to His disciples as a group was on the Mount of Olives when He ascended up into heaven. Later He appeared to Stephen from heaven prior to Stephen's martyrdom. He appeared to the apostle Paul on the road to Damascus, in Arabia, in the temple, and in prison in Caesarea. He also appeared to the Apostle John in Revelation 1, and told him what to write in the book of Revelation.
The apostles may have been slow to comprehend His resurrection at first but once they were convinced of its reality, they were willing to die for their faith in Christ.
Christ rose from the grave on the first day of the week. On the basis of this, the early church chose to celebrate the Lord's Supper and give their offerings on the first day of the week.
Under the Law, Saturday was the Sabbath Day, the day for worship when the offerings were brought to the temple. If Christ was not raised from the dead, it would be difficult to explain why the early church broke with tradition and the Law and met this way.
The apostles and early believers in Christ continued gathering this way in spite of those who opposed them and persecuted and killed them.
The resurrection of Christ is very important in that it proves to man that God accepted the sacrifice of His Son as payment for the sins of all mankind. The apostle Paul wrote, in 1 Corinthians 15:14, “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. And in verse 20, “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.”
The resurrection is the cornerstone of our Christian faith. It verifies that our faith in Him has given us the ultimate victory over sin and death and hell. Our faith in Him as our Savior is completely justified. The fact that He returned to heaven puts our salvation and resurrection on solid ground.
In John 20:17 Christ told Mary Magdalene “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”
God’s acceptance of the atoning work of Christ on the sinner's behalf was fully recognized when Christ was welcomed back into heaven and seated in the place of honor at the right hand of God.
His ascension in Acts 1 was a literal act. Christ actually returned to heaven, just as surely as He had come to earth. Acts 1:9-11. “Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11. who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”
We also read, in Mark 16:19. “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”
These verses say: “He was taken up;” “a cloud received him out of their sight;” “they saw Him go up;” and “was taken up into heaven;” “His second coming will be in like manner;” “and sat on the right hand of God.”
The two angels that witnessed His ascent along with the disciples promised that He would come to earth a second time. This refers to the time when He will come to set up His kingdom. He is not going to come to earth to meet the believers of the church age, He will meet them in the air at the rapture of the church. Meanwhile, He is seated in heaven and His work on earth is complete for the present time.
His entrance into heaven was the beginning of another type of service on behalf of the believers still on earth. While He is seated on the throne in heaven at the right hand of God, He is serving as the believer’s intercessor and also as the Head of the church.
The throne He shares is the Father's throne. His present position is one of honor and authority but there is a time coming when He will return to earth and establish His own throne. Matthew 25:31. “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory.”
At the present time, along with being our Intercessor, Christ is the Head of the body of believers; He is the Great Shepherd of His sheep; the True Vine in relation to the branches; the Chief Cornerstone of the church; He is the believer’s High Priest; He is the Bridegroom, and the church is His bride. All of these things describe His present work but His main ministry is that of our High Priest representing the believer before the throne of God.
He didn’t enter heaven in order to be our King, He entered heaven in order to minister as a Priest in behalf of those who are His own in the world. Hebrews 8:1-2. “We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.”
He didn’t set up His kingdom on earth the first time He came into the world.
He will, in God’s appointed time, establish His kingdom on earth. Revelation 11:15-16. “And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”
At the present, all the Jews and Gentiles who are presently saved make up the “church” on earth. We are a heavenly people and God calls the church “the bride of Christ.
After the church is complete, Christ will return to earth and take His place as the rightful heir to David’s throne. Acts 15:16-17. “After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up; 17. So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the LORD who does all these things.”
Jesus is a King-Priest forever according to the type of Melchizedek; however, He’s now serving as our High Priest and not as King. When He returns to earth, He will be King of kings. He presently is the “head over all things to the church, which is His body.” (Ephesians 1:22).
In addition to His ministry to the church, He has sent His Holy Spirit to accomplish a work in the believer. The Holy Spirit indwells all believers in this age of grace. John 14:26. “But the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
In His role as the believer’s Great High Priest, Christ is in heaven where He makes intercession for His own. This is His ministry for the believer and He will continue to intercede between God and Satan as long as His own are in the world. 1 Timothy 2:5. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”
The priests of old changed and even failed when the priest died and the priesthood was passed on to son, but Christ lives forever and His is an unchanging priesthood. Hebrews 7:25. “Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him; seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them.”
David recognized this divine care and likened it to a shepherd’s care for his sheep in Psalm 23.
The child of God is often guilty of sin. The effect of that sin on the believer is that he loses his fellowship with God and with that his joy, peace, and his power. The believer can’t lose his salvation. He can be restored to fellowship with God through the confession of his sin. (1 John 1:9). Without our Intercessor, our sins would separate us from fellowship with God.
We are all fallible. It’s wonderful to know that through the present priestly advocacy of Christ in heaven there is absolute safety and security for the child of God even when we sin.
Revelation 12:10 tells us Christ intercedes for the believer day and night against any accusation of sin that the defeated Satan might bring against us. “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.”
God can’t treat any sin lightly, even those that seem insignificant to us. Our sin might be kept a secret on earth but it becomes common knowledge in heaven.
Jesus is there between God and Satan and declares “I paid for that sin with my shed blood on the cross. You can’t make that accusation before God because He never demands payment twice.”
Oh, the marvelous grace of Christ when He defeats every accusation of Satan against God’s children. The very judgment God would otherwise impose on us was paid by Christ in His death as a propitiation for our sins.
This does not give us a free license or make it easy for the Christian to sin. On the contrary, these very things were written telling us not to sin. 1 John 2:1. “My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin.”
How blest the believer is in this day of grace. Under the Law, a man was the intercessor between the nation of Israel and God and the ritual had to be repeated every year. Under grace, Christ is our Intercessor and His work is all inclusive and ever present for those who have taken Him as their Savior. Romans 8:34. “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
Salvation is by faith alone,
faith in the death of Christ for your sins.
He can become your Savior and Intercessor right now.
You can place your faith in Christ
by trusting in Him alone for the payment of your sins.
If you will acknowledge your sins
and accept Christ’s shed blood as payment for your sins,
you will receive His forgiveness,
and you can thank Him for the gift of eternal life.