“He died for our sins.” “He died to save the world.” These and statements very similar are answers to, “Why did Christ die?”
However, when people are asked, “Why are you going to heaven?” common answers are, “I’ve been baptized.” “I’ve never done anything horrible, like kill or rape someone.” “I’m not perfect, but I am a good person.”
OK, which is it? Did Jesus Christ die for your sins, or is the fact that a person is religious or a good individual the entrance ticket to eternal life? Think it through. If everlasting life comes for being a good person or being baptized or any other religious ritual, then what purpose does the cross of Calvary serve?
What does the scripture say about the reason of Jesus’ death?
His life was a ransom. Matthew 20:28 says, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” His life was the currency paid for our release from the burden and power of sin. His life was the ransom.
Three times when speaking of Jesus Christ, the Bible tells us He was the propitiation for our sins (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10). Webster’s Dictionary tells us the meaning of propitiation is to make someone pleased or less angry by giving or saying something desired. God does love the world, but He is also mad at us because of sin (John 3:36, Romans 8:7). Imagine a husband who knows his wife is mad at him, and he buys a bouquet of flowers. The purpose of the flowers is to offer propitiation or a gift to appease her anger. Sometimes, the flowers are not enough. Sometimes the wife says, “I don’t want your flowers. Bring me diamonds.” When people try to appease God with their good works and religious actions, they discover God does not want that bouquet; He wants something much more valuable. Psalm 51:16, “For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.”
Isaiah 53 is the most vivid description of the death of Christ in the Old Testament. It speaks of the wounds He suffered and the beating He would receive all because of our sins and iniquities. Isaiah 53:10 begins with the words, “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him.” The blood of His Son is the diamonds we need to give to God. That is what will please him. The blood of Jesus Christ is the propitiation.
The death of Christ redeemed us. Galatians 3:11-13, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
Every definition of redeemed fits what Jesus did for us, but one stands out – “to release from blame or debt.” The debt we owe God for our sin was paid by every drop of Jesus’ blood.
The blood of Jesus Christ is the ransom that redeems us from the captivity of sin. It is the only gift or propitiation God will accept. It alone will bring an individual eternal life.
Ephesians 1:7, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Notice that forgiveness comes by God’s grace, through the blood of His Son.
The applicator brush for God’s grace and forgiveness through His blood is faith. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” This passage is clear – salvation does not come by our works.
What are you bringing to God for propitiation? Why did Jesus Christ die?
Preacher Tim Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.