HE DIED FOR ME 

 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the routine, the formality, of “doing church” that we can fail to gain a fundamental understanding of our relationship with Our Heavenly Father, and with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ – and what really happened at the Cross.  In the very liturgical church that I attended, half a century ago, we never delved too deeply into much detail, other than, well, that “Jesus died for us, and now we can go to heaven”.

I mean no irreverence or disrespect, but in all the innocence of my youthful ignorance, I used to wonder, “If Jesus died for me  –  how come I’m still going to die?  I wondered, “If He died for everyone, but everybody dies anyway,    just how does that work?”

If these were my surmisings, my wonderations,  and my misapprehensions, then perhaps there are others who honestly and innocently fall short in their grasp of what took place at Calvary.

Think about this:  Jesus is the only Man to ever walk this earth Who was born to die.

Adam    was created with conditional immortality – he was genetically engineered by our Creator with the purpose of living forever.  Had he remained faithful, he could have continued to live in intimate fellowship with the Father, and have un-ending access to the Tree of Life and that perfect environment in Eden.

But Jesus is the only Man Who was ever born in the flesh for the express purpose    of dying.  His destiny, beginning right from His Incarnation, was to stand Judgment at the Cross at Calvary – His mission was to repurchase what had been lost thru Adam’s fall.

Hebrews 2:9  “But we see Jesus, who was made (was manifested) for the suffering and death …”   This is a reference to the Judgment death – the eternal separation death which He experienced in our place.  We’ll take a deeper look at this verse, in its complete form, in a little while.

Jesus’ mission, following His incarnation, was to fulfill the purpose that God had ordained for mankind since Creation – trust, obedience and faithfulness.  While clothed in our humanity as the second Representative Man, or as the Apostle Paul calls Him, “the Last Adam”, Jesus revealed the true character and the pure righteousness of the Father – while wearing our flesh – Adam’s fallen flesh; and then, He stood judgment at the Cross for all of humanity.  Jesus experienced what is called in Revelation 2:11 “the second death” – an eternal separation-death, the judgment death, which is OUR just dessert.  Romans 6:23 states,“the wages of sin is death”, and the Prophet Ezekiel plainly testifies, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”  Ezekiel 18:20 KJV.

Jesus was YOU, He was ME – He was WE, He was our flesh, the human race, and in Him, we died … as the Apostle Paul taught the church at Ephesus, “For we are members (parts, or components) of His body, and of His flesh, and of His bones.” Eph 5:30.  And Colossians 1:18 says, “He is the head of the body, the church”.

 

HE DIED FOR ME – W.W. Prescott (from Victory In Christ)

Jesus Himself has told me this.  He has put this assurance in my mind and heart:  He “loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).  My iniquity was laid upon Him.  He bore my sin.  He died in my place.  He laid down His life for me, as if I were the only one to be redeemed …

… When I think of what He left for me, of how He lived for me, of how He was treated in the judgment hall for me, of what He suffered for me when He was mocked and spit upon, and when He finally poured out His soul unto death; then when He stretches out those hands that were pierced for me, and pleadingly says, “Come unto Me,” in sorrow but yet in joy I answer, “Yes, my Savior, I come.”  What less can I do?

The law pronounces me guilty, and I must own that the verdict is just.  The penalty is death, and justice demands it.  Every subject who in time of war betrays his sovereign – and this is what I have done – is a traitor and worthy of death.  But He died for me, and I accept His death as my death, and I say to the Law, “I paid the penalty on Calvary when Jesus died in my stead,” and I am acquitted.  And so I find peace and rest in Jesus.

I earnestly wish that every person in the world knew that Jesus died for him, and would accept Him   in his life and in His death.  What joy there would be in heaven, and what blessing on earth!  (And what peace inside!)

Jesus died for me, and I have accepted Him.  Jesus died for you.  Have you accepted Him?                   –  W.W. Prescott

Romans 3:23 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the mark.”  All are guilty, there is none righteous – not one. 

Romans 6:23 “… the wages of sin is death”

But Hebrews 9:21, 22 says: “Almost all things are, by law, purged with blood; and without the shedding of blood, there can be no remission of sin.”

God’s Law could not – cannot – not be altered, can’t be set aside.

Romans 7:12 “Thy Law is holy, and just, and good!”  Also …

Jesus: Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I have come to abolish the Law.  I haven’t come to destroy it, but to fulfill it.”

 God’s Law is unchangeable.  If His Law could have been altered in any way, Jesus would not have had to stand judgment in that Divine     Class Action    for all humanity.  Moreover, God has vowed that He will by no means   clear the guilty.

But the grace of our Heavenly Father – His love for fallen mankind, instead provided a “way out” – an avenue of escape.

What was God’s solution?  He would put the entire human race to death – fulfilling the requirement of His Law – put the whole human race to death in Christ.  We are the Body of Christ, of which He is the Head.  (I Corinthians 12:27 / Ephesians 1:19-23)

Acts 17:26 says that God “…has made of one (blood) all humankind.”  Some translators have inserted the word “blood”, although the word “blood” was not in the original text.

It’s bigger than “One died for all”. It’s better than that.  It’s “All died in One” – in Jesus Christ.   That’s what happened at Calvary!

The Apostle Paul, writing thru inspiration, says that there is no distinction    between Jew and gentile, male and female, rich and poor, free and bond.  But that all are one   in Christ.

Listen to Hebrews 2:9  “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering and death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man!

Jesus, wearing Adam’s flesh – your flesh and my flesh – assumed our identity, becoming, as Paul wrote, “the Second Adam” (I Cor 15:45).   He endured our judgment of the Cross, experiencing the Final Death for all humanity – for all men.  He died as every man.

 II Cor 5:14 says: “… since One died for all, then all died”.

When One died, all died.  That’s what went down at the Cross!

So when we receive the crucified Christ as our personal Savior, God considers us dead in Him – our sin debt has been paid – it’s settled – it’s cancelled; the claims of the Law are fully satisfied, because we have been judged  at Calvary, put to death in the Body of Christ, because we are members of His body.

Jesus was, and is today, Corporate Man; Representative Man.  Our Savior referred to Himself most often as the “Son of Man” – not as the “Son of God” – not as the “Son of Mary and Joseph” – but as the Son of Man – our Elder Brother … and He will ever be, throughout eternity, permanently identified with us, in His glorified human flesh, as “The Son of Man”.

And that, my dear friends, is powerfully-good news for everyone, because we all fall short of The Mark.  But Jesus assumed our identity, lived a sinless, obedient life AS you and me; then took upon Himself our Judgment execution.  This is a historical fact.  And it’s a done deal – it was completed, done, when Jesus cried out, “It is finished!”  That’s what the Cross is all about!

The Apostle Paul declares, “I am crucified with Christ, and yet I live: not I, but Christ Who lives within me!”

We are alive in Him – new creations in Christ, because when He arose from the tomb, He arose in our flesh – and we were in Him – our flesh arose again, redeemed, born anew – born again in Christ!

And it gets even better: Paul writes that even now, we sit in high places in Him.  Jesus, clothed in glorified human flesh, stands now in the presence of our heavenly Father.  He is our guarantee – our surety – of the resurrection and of our inheritance of eternal life.

When the Israelites crossed over Jordan and took possession of   the Land of Canaan, God instructed them to establish six Cities of Refuge, which were to illustrate for them the Spiritual Refuge that the coming Savior would become for them, and more than that, the complete and total liberation that He would deliver, through His own death.  Now, watch this:

First, the Cities of Refuge were to be, as the Messiah would be, a refuge in the time of trouble – a hiding place – and the means of deliverance from condemnation under the law of the land.  The Cities of Refuge depicted daily   the blending of God’s great mercy right into the midst of His unwavering justice. 

Here’s fundamentally how the Cities of Refuge worked: An individual who had been implicated in the death of another was permitted to seek asylum inside the nearest City of Refuge, where he could seek and find protection from retribution, pending the hearing of his case.  And that individual could dwell safely there in the City of Refuge until his case could be presented for judgment, with all of his needs supplied until … now, listen carefully … until the death of the High Priest  …  at which time he was to be set free.   It was the death of the High Priest that would release him – that would set him free –  from the condemnation of the Law!

Now, tell me, Who is our High Priest?  It’s Jesus!  Our High Priest is Jesus Christ!  (see Hebrews 7:20 thru Hebrews 8:2)

This illustration has come full-circle now, because it is the death of our High Priest – the death of Christ on Calvary – it’s Jesus’ death on the tree that sets all    free from the condemnation of the Law of sin and death – all who seek refuge in Him.   He  died  for  you!

Earlier, I made a brief reference to a class action, because it was indeed a class action that took place at the Cross. 

The extent of this man’s understanding of the intricacies of the law, honestly, can be etched on the head of a pin; however, I believe the following example, delivered in layman’s terms, will more than suffice:

In a typical class action, you have a legal representative standing before the judgment bar on behalf of an entire group of people, rather than simply advocating for just one person.  The individuals who comprise the “class” are given the opportunity to choose to take part in the action or to decline participation.

Question: Should the attorney representing the class win judgment in their favor, will everyone in the class benefit from the victory? The answer is Not necessarily.  Why not?  Because it’s more than likely that not everyone in the class will opt in; and only those who choose to participate in the class action have the legal right to share in the proceeds.

Question: If every individual had elected to participate, would it be necessary for that attorney to return to court and litigate further?  No!  Because, when he won the case, he won judgment for potentially every single individual in the class he represented.

Our Advocate, Jesus Christ, stood before the Judgment Bar on behalf of the entire class of Adam’s fallen race – and was victorious!  Robed in corporate human flesh, our very carnality, He gained the victory for you and me, as you and me. 

Now, here’s the question: Will everyone benefit from Christ’s victory? No! And the answer is Because, sadly, not everyone has, or ever will, choose to participate in this cosmic class action.  (John 3:16)

And here’s one more: If, by some astounding miracle, every individual should say, “Lord, I want to be included”, would Jesus have to go back to Calvary and shed any more blood?  Of course not!  And why not?  Because His spilled blood and His judgment death at the Cross    was, and still is, sufficient for every human being who has ever borrowed breath from the Creator.  (Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 10:10; I Corinthians 15:22)

And that is precisely what Jesus did on the hill outside Jerusalem. He won the class-action for you and me!  What makes Christ’s class action victory on our behalf even more incredible is that His victory is a done-deal!  It’s past-tense, it’s a completed fact!  And it’s also a no-brainer!  Just think it thru with me:  You’ve been invited, after the fact – knowing fully-well that you’ll be on the winning side, should you opt in – to share in the eternal benefits of His judgment on the Cross of Calvary!

Now, will everyone benefit from His gift?  It’s tragic, but no!  Not everyone will choose to receive it!  Some will just allow it to pass them by.  Will you claim it?  What will you do with the Savior?

Hebrews 2:3 poses the ultimate question,“How shall we escape    if we neglect such great salvation?”

Listen to Jesus’ own words: “If the Son of Man makes you free, you shall be free indeed”.  That’s because He has conquered the grave, and has overcome the pitfalls of this present world, while wearing your flesh, while carrying the full weight of all of your baggage. Mine, too! As Evangelist James Rafferty wrote, “We do not gain the victory; we are united with the Victor!”  And in our Lord Jesus Christ, our Victor, alone, is eternal life  (I John 5:11).

 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that  whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  John 3:16

John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”  NKJV

 Won’t you unite with the Victor and claim – as your own possession – all that He has gained for you – your victory in Christ, your Lord and Master?  Let’s do this right now!