- Jesus Christ’s Death as an Offering for Sin
- Jesus Christ’s Death and Atonement for Sin
- Jesus Christ’s Death and Redemption from Sin
- Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and Salvation
The teachings in this section are at the absolute heart of the NT and the gospel message. It is critical for anyone trying to comprehend the Christian faith to soundly understand them.
Rom 8:3b By sending his Son to be an offering to pay for sin, God used a human life to destroy sin. NCV™
1Cor 15:3b Christ died for our sins, as the [OT] Scriptures say. CEV
Eph 5:2 Live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God. NCV™
Heb 7:27b Jesus brought the sacrifice for the sins of the people once and for all when he sacrificed himself. GW
1Cor 5:7b For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. NET
References to Jesus as a “Lamb” allude to him being an offering or sacrifice. Possibly the title alludes to the imagery of the suffering Messiah in Isaiah 53:7, which in turn may well be based on the use of a lamb in some sin offerings (e.g. Lev 4:32; 5:6). Alternatively, the Passover lamb (cf. 1Cor 5:7b ↑; Mark 14:12), which was integral to the Israelite’s redemption from Egypt, may primarily be in view. Thus references to Jesus as a “Lamb” speak of him as a sin offering and/or as an offering to pay for redemption. Both meanings are very relevant.
Heb 9:14 [The writer, to believers:] … how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our consciences from dead works to worship the living God. NET
2Cor 5:21a Christ was without sin … GNT
1Pet 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed. NET
In his death Jesus Christ effectively took our sins from us and bore them and their consequences himself. Note that having no sin of his own (as discussed in the previous subsection) was critical to Jesus Christ being eligible to bear the sins of others.
Biblical atonement is where God in his grace accepts an offering or sacrifice of a living being (i.e. its life) as a substitute for the life of a sinner – the person’s life otherwise being required for their sin. As such, God accepts the sacrifice as payment for the person’s sin. The result is that sin is taken away – and so the sinner is forgiven, pronounced righteous and reconciled to God. In conjunction with this, God’s wrath – provoked by sin – is appeased. (These concepts are all spoken of in the following subsections, in regard to Jesus Christ.)
In the OT, people who had sinned brought an animal as an offering of a life, for the priests to sacrifice on their behalf to make atonement for them. Jesus Christ’s offering or sacrifice of himself has a number of striking parallels with this OT practice. Furthermore, his death in fact fulfilled this requirement of the OT law once and for all, making such offerings no longer necessary (cf. With Jesus Christ’s once and for all sacrifice, there is no longer any need to sacrifice for sin). The atonement made by Jesus Christ’s death is central to the Christian faith.
Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. NET
Gal 2:20b [Paul:] So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. NET
Jesus Christ died for us, in place of us, as a substitute for our lives. As such, in giving himself as an offering to God for our sin, he gave his life so that we would not have to forfeit our own lives eternally for our sin and suffer eternal “death”. Instead we can have eternal life, life which extends beyond physical death. Note that because he is the Son of God, Jesus Christ’s life is worth infinitely more than our lives, and so his death was an adequate sacrifice for any number of people.
Matt 26:28 [Jesus:] For this is my blood of the new covenant that is being poured out for many people for the forgiveness of sins. ISV
Heb 9:26b-28a But now, at the end of the ages, he has appeared once for all to remove sin by his sacrifice. 27Indeed, just as people are appointed to die once and after that to be judged, 28so the Messiah was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people. ISV
Rom 5:9, 19 [Paul, to believers:] Now that we have been justified by his blood, how much more will we be saved from wrath through him! … 19For just as through one man’s disobedience many people were made sinners, so also through one man’s obedience many people will be made righteous. ISV
Note that “one man’s obedience” (v. 19) clearly has in view Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, which was made by him in obedience to God.
Col 1:21-22 [Paul, to believers:] You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. 22But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. CEV
Rom 5:1 [Paul, to believers:] Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ESV
1Jn 2:2 It is he who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world’s. ISV
1Thes 5:9 [Paul, to believers:] For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. NET
1Tim 2:5-6 For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all, revealing God’s purpose at his appointed time. NET
Eph 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, … NET
Rev 5:9 They [heavenly beings] were singing a new song: “You [Christ] are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals because you were killed, and at the cost of your own blood you have purchased for God persons from every tribe, language, people, and nation. NET
An implication of believers being redeemed from sin by Jesus Christ’s death is that they have been bought for God – to whom they are now slaves (as per the following subsection).
Rom 6:22 [Paul, to believers:] But now that you have been freed from sin and have become God’s slaves, the benefit you reap is sanctification, and the result is eternal life. ISV
Titus 2:14 He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. NET
Rom 6:6-7 [Paul, to believers:] We know that our old natures were crucified with him so that our sin-laden bodies might be rendered powerless and we might no longer be slaves to sin. 7For the person who has died has been freed from sin. ISV
This speaks of believers being freed from sin through Jesus Christ’s death in terms of our union with him, in which we participate in his death in a spiritual sense and consequently die to sin. In v. 6, “sin-laden bodies” is a figurative term referring to our sin-laden selves – the “sinful self” (GNT, cf. NCV). Its power over us has been broken, meaning that we are no longer enslaved to sin.
1Jn 1:7 [John, to believers:] But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. NET
Sin defiles us and makes us spiritually unclean – separating us from God who is holy, set apart from sin and such uncleanness. In conjunction with redeeming us and freeing us from sin, Jesus Christ’s death cleanses us from sin’s defilement and the associated spiritually uncleanness. This allows us to be brought into a relationship with God (as reflected in the following two subsections).
Note that in the above verse, the word translated “cleanses” has a continuous tense, implying ongoing purification rather than a single act of purification (cf. New Bible Commentary). Although Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is the only sacrifice needed, the cleansing from sin that it provides needs to be claimed time and again.
Gal 4:4-5 But when the appropriate time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights. NET
One important aspect of the redemption provided by Jesus Christ, is that we have been redeemed from bondage to the Mosaic Law – which is the sense here of “to redeem those who were under the law” (cf. CEV, NLT). As such, we are freed from the law’s regulations and rituals.
Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (because it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) … NET
The law imposes on us a curse as a consequence for sinning and breaking the law. But Jesus Christ redeemed us from this curse as he removed it from us and took it upon himself – “put himself under that curse” (NCV) – by dying for us, in our place.
1Pet 3:21 [Peter, speaking to believers and making reference to baptism:] It is not the washing away of bodily dirt, but the promise made to God from a good conscience. It saves you through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, … GNT
By what baptism symbolizes (as opposed to the act of baptism) we are saved by Jesus Christ’s resurrection – the culmination of his saving work.
Acts 5:30-31 [Peter and the other apostles, to Jewish leaders:] The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, whom you seized and killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him to his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. NET
Without being resurrected Jesus could not have subsequently been exalted as Savior (and Leader), which is here implied as being integral to God’s people being given repentance and forgiveness.
Rom 4:25 He was handed over to death because of our sins and was raised to life because of our justification. ISV
This points to God showing his acceptance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for sin by raising him to life. As such, God’s resurrection of Jesus Christ validated or affirmed Christ’s sacrifice as being acceptable for the sin of humankind. And so it means we can be justified.
1Cor 15:17-23 [Paul, to believers:] And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. 18Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 19For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone. 20But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. 22For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him. NET
The “firstfruits” (vv. 20, 23) alludes to the firstfruits of the harvest which were offered to God. As well as preceding the rest of the harvest, they were seen as a confirmation that the rest would take place. Here the term is applied to Christ, as like the firstfruits of the harvest, his resurrection precedes and is an assurance of the resurrection of all believers.
Col 2:15 God stripped the spiritual rulers and powers of their authority. With the cross, he won the victory and showed the world that they were powerless. NCV™
1Jn 3:8b The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. ESV
This largely has Jesus’ death and resurrection in view as that by which he destroyed the devil’s work of seeking to bring destruction on humankind.
Rom 1:3-4 It [the gospel] is about his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: as to his humanity, he was born a descendant of David; 4as to his divine holiness, he was shown with great power to be the Son of God by being raised from death. GNT
Acts 2:30-33 [Peter, speaking of a prophecy of David:] Therefore, since he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him with an oath to put one of his descendants on his throne, 31he looked ahead and spoke about the resurrection of the Messiah: ‘He was not abandoned to Hades, and his flesh did not experience decay.’ 32It was this very Jesus whom God raised, and of that we are all witnesses. 33He has been exalted to the right hand of God, has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, and has poured out what you are seeing and hearing. ISV
In vv. 30-31, Peter asserts that David had spoken (cf. vv. 35-38) of the Christ being resurrected to assume the Davidic throne, as the descendant whom God had promised David would be placed on his throne. In vv. 32-33, Peter implies that God’s resurrection of Jesus and his subsequent exaltation of Jesus to his right hand (pointing to Jesus’ enthronement) shows him to be the one – the Christ.