TBU: The Bible Unpacked: In-Depth Edition

I.  Salvation from Sin

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Chapter 13  Part I

Salvation from Sin

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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.

Jesus Christ’s Death as an Offering for Sin

God provided Jesus Christ as an offering for sin

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Isa 53:10  Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief;m when his soul makesn an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. ▤ 

m Or he has made him sick

n Or when you make his soul

Note that this verse is from Isaiah 52:13-53:12, which prophesies the sufferings of the Messiah and the resulting atonement for sin. As such it was comprehensively fulfilled in Jesus Christ. It is quoted in the NT more than any other OT passage and a number of verses from it have been included in this chapter (cf. Isa 53:5, 8 ).

John 1:29, 36  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! ▤ 36and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” ▤ 

The title “the Lamb of God” refers to Jesus being a sin offering, with “of God” implying that he was an offering provided by God.

Rom 3:24-25  … and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. ▤ 

In the NT “propitiation” means to turn away or appease the wrath of God against sinners in their guilt. In light of the phrase “by his blood” and of other translations, it would appear that Paul has in view God sending Jesus as an offering for our sin (cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NIV, NLT, NRSV) in order to justifiably avert his wrath. A similar comment can be made re 1 John 4:10 below. Note that the second sentence shows that God’s justice requires that sins be punished – with the implication that sins committed under the old covenant were not satisfactorily punished or dealt with, and could not remain as such.

Rom 8:3  For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,o he condemned sin in the flesh, … ▤ 

o Or and as a sin offering

The alternative rendering in the text note speaks of Jesus being sent “as a sin offering” (cf. AMP, CEV, NASB, NCV, NIV, NLT), as the ESV text itself suggests.

2Cor 5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ▤ 

The verse speaks of Jesus being a perfect offering for sin (cf. NLT), with Jesus himself having had “no sin”.

Heb 10:9-10  … then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. ▤ 

This indicates that it was God’s will that Jesus Christ be sacrificed, to make people holy.

1Jn 4:10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ▤ 

Jesus Christ died for our sins . . .

Isa 53:5, 8  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. ▤ 8By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? ▤ 

Rom 4:24b-25  It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. ▤ 

1Cor 15:3  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, … ▤ 

Gal 1:4  … who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, … ▤ 

1Pet 3:18  For Christ also sufferedp once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, … ▤ 

p Some manuscripts died

. . . He offered himself to God, as a sacrifice for our sins

Eph 5:2  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ▤ 

Heb 9:14  … how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify ourq conscience from dead works to serve the living God. ▤ 

q Some manuscripts your

Heb 7:27  He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself. ▤ 

Heb 9:26b-28  But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. ▤ 

Note that the phrase “the end of the ages” (v. 26b) may be speaking of “when all ages of time are nearing the end” (GNT; cf. CEV). However, some commentators think that the end of the Old Testament period and the beginning of the Messianic Age is in view.

Jesus Christ is the “Lamb” who was sacrificed

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References to Jesus as a “Lamb” allude to him being an offering. Possibly the title alludes to the imagery of the suffering Messiah in Isaiah 53:7 below, 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 5:7 ; Mark 14:12 ), which was integral to the Israelite’s redemption from Egypt, may primarily be in view. Thus such references speak of Jesus Christ as a sin offering and/or as an offering to pay for redemption. Both meanings are very relevant.

1Cor 5:7  Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. ▤ 

Rev 5:6, 12  And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. ▤ 12saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” ▤ 

These verses are from a passage describing a vision of Jesus Christ. Although the vision shows Jesus Christ as being very much alive, it speaks of him as appearing to have been slain (v. 6) and even as “the Lamb who was slain” (v. 12; cf. Rev 13:8 ).

Rev 13:8  … and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. ▤ 

Rev 7:14  I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. ▤ 

The phrase “the blood of the Lamb” (cf. Rev 12:11 ) speaks of Jesus Christ as the “Lamb” who was sacrificed.

Rev 12:11  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. ▤ 

For comment, see the comment on Rev 12:11 – under Note: Further points about the significance of the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood.

Isa 53:7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. ▤ 

John 1:29, 36  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! ▤ 36and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” ▤ 

  • The sacrifice of the Passover lamb:

Mark 14:12  And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?” ▤ 

The Feast of Unleavened Bread is a seven-day feast to commemorate the Israelites’ release and deliverance from Egypt. The sacrificial Passover lamb was a critical part of the feast, in remembrance of the sparing of the Israelites’ firstborn amidst the killing of the Egyptians’ firstborn, which led to the Israelites’ deliverance. For in delivering them (cf. Ex 12), God had commanded the Israelites to slaughter a lamb and put some of the blood on the doorframes of their houses; they were then to eat the meat with unleavened bread, in readiness to hastily leave Egypt. The houses so marked were “passed over” and their firstborn spared. The NT (cf. 1Cor 5:7 ) suggests a parallel between the sacrifice of the Passover lamb of the feast, associated with the Israelite’s deliverance from Egypt (along with the sparing of their firstborn), and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ during the time of the feast, with the resultant deliverance from sin.

Jesus Christ was an unblemished offering – being without sin

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Just as offerings or sacrifices in the OT had to be perfect (i.e. without defect) in order to be acceptable sacrifices to atone for sin, so it was essential that Christ be perfect in a moral sense (i.e. sinless) in order for him to be a sacrifice for sin.

Heb 9:14  … how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify ourr conscience from dead works to serve the living God. ▤ 

r Some manuscripts your

1Pet 1:18-19  … knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. ▤ 

2Cor 5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ▤ 

1Pet 3:18  For Christ also suffereds once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, … ▤ 

s Some manuscripts died

Christ died as “the righteous” one – perfect, without sin.

John 8:46  Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? ▤ 

Heb 4:15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. ▤ 

1Pet 2:22  He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. ▤ 

1Jn 3:5  You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. ▤ 

In his death, Jesus Christ bore our sins

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In his death Jesus Christ effectively took our sins from us and bore them and their consequences himself. As such his death signified the eradication of the sins that he bore. In this Jesus Christ paralleled and fulfilled the role of the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement (cf. comment on Isa 53:6 below; and the above cross reference). 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.

1Pet 2:24  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. ▤ 

Isa 53:4-6, 11-12  Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5But 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. 6All 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. ▤ 11Out of the anguish of his soul he shall seet and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,u and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,v because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. ▤ 

t Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll he shall see light

u Or with the great

v Or with the numerous

Verses 4-5 in part speak of the Messiah taking the punishment for our sins upon himself, the effect of taking our sins upon himself (vv. 6, 11-12). The phrase “laid on him the iniquity of us all” (v. 6) appears to allude to the High Priest on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16) placing his hands on the scapegoat and confessing Israel’s sins, symbolically placing these sins on it.

Heb 9:28  … so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. ▤ 

This indicates that when Christ first appeared, in his sacrifice he bore the sin of many.

  • God made Jesus Christ to “be sin”:

2Cor 5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ▤ 

God made Jesus Christ – the only one to have not sinned – to “be sin”. This expression appears to allude or point to Jesus taking our sin upon himself – and with sin, the punishment accorded it.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Jesus Christ’s Death and Atonement for Sin

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.

Jesus Christ died for us

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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.

Rom 5:6-8  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. ▤ 

Gal 2:20b  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. ▤ 

Eph 5:2, 25  And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. ▤ 25Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, … ▤ 

Titus 2:13-14  … waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. ▤ 

Heb 2:9  But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. ▤ 

1Pet 3:18  For Christ also sufferedw once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, … ▤ 

w Some manuscripts died

1Jn 3:16  By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. ▤ 

  • Jesus Christ bore the law’s curse for us:

Gal 3:13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— ▤ 

The law imposes on people a curse for sinning and breaking the law – meaning that they are doomed (cf. AMP). 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™) – meaning that he was doomed to die, instead of us.

Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of himself for us means that our sins can be forgiven . . .

See also:

Isa 53:5  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. ▤ 

By Jesus Christ’s “stripes we are healed” – forgiven and so cured of the blemishes of our sin.

Matt 26:28  … for this is my blood of thex covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. ▤ 

x Some manuscripts insert new

Eph 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, … ▤ 

Col 2:13-14  And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, 14by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. … ▤ 

In v. 14, “the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands” appears to portray a record of our sins with the corresponding “legal demands” of the law which we have broken. These have been forgiven through Christ’s death on “the cross”.

Heb 9:22, 26b-28  Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. ▤ 26… But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. ▤ 

Note that v. 22 underlines the need for Jesus Christ to have died, shedding his blood, in order for our sins to be forgiven.

1Jn 2:12  I am writing to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven for his name’s sake. ▤ 

The reference to sins being forgiven “for his name’s sake” appears to be speaking of sins being forgiven “on account of his name” (NIV®, NRSV). For “his name” encompasses all Christ has himself accomplished – here notably the forgiveness of sins through his death and resurrection.

John 1:29  The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! ▤ 

John speaks of Jesus as the offering that God would give to take away the sin of the world.

. . . and that we can therefore be justified and righteous before God

See also:

Isa 53:11  Out of the anguish of his soul he shall seey and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. ▤ 

y Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scroll he shall see light

In addition to the rendering in the text note, another plausible meaning of “by his knowledge” is: “because of what he has experienced” (NLT). Essentially the second part of the verse means that: in his death the Messiah would bear the iniquities or sins of many, and so by his death he would justify them.

Rom 4:24b-25  Jesus our Lord, 25who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. ▤ 

In raising Jesus Christ to life, God showed his acceptance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for sin, for which he was “delivered up for our trespasses”. Thus those who accept his sacrifice as being on their behalf, no longer have their sins counted against them and so are justified.

Rom 5:9  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. ▤ 

Rom 5:15-19  But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18Therefore, as one trespassz led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousnessa leads to justification and life for all men. 19For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. ▤ 

z Or the trespass of one

a Or the act of righteousness of one

In vv. 15-16 “the gift”, evoked by grace, primarily refers to “the free gift of righteousness” (v. 17) which by God’s grace comes through Jesus Christ, with his sacrifice. Christ’s sacrifice is clearly in view with the expressions “one act of righteousness” (v. 18) and “the one man’s obedience” (v. 19) – and probably also with “the grace of that one man Jesus Christ” (v. 15). The phrase “made righteous” (v. 19) speaks of being deemed righteous and “put right with God” (GNT, cf. NCV, NLT) – rather than referring to a morally righteous character.

2Cor 5:21  For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. ▤ 

The phrase “become the righteousness of God” means either to: be made “right with God” (NCV™, NLT) or “share the righteousness of God” (GNT). Arguably each of these alternatives is inclusive of the other.

1Cor 1:30  And because of himb you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, … ▤ 

b Greek And from him

Jesus Christ’s offering is not specifically referred to here and in 6:11 below. But it is understood to be that by which we gain “righteousness” – our status of being right before God (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT) – and by which we are “justified” (1Cor 6:11 ).

1Cor 6:11  And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. ▤ 

See the comment on 1Jn 2:12 in the previous subsection. Note also that this indicates that the Holy Spirit plays a role in one’s justification.

  • Forgiveness of sins brings salvation:

Luke 1:77  … to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, … ▤ 

So through Jesus Christ’s death we can be reconciled to God . . .

In dying to remove sin – that which causes people to be estranged from God – Jesus Christ has opened the way for people to be reconciled with God.

Rom 5:10-11  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. ▤ 

2Cor 5:18-19  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconcilingc the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. ▤ 

c Or God was in Christ, reconciling

Eph 2:16  … and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. ▤ 

The phrase “us both” refers to Jews and Gentiles, who are now both part of Jesus Christ’s spiritual body – the “one body”. This association with Christ means that both groups can be reconciled to God through what Christ accomplished in his death on the cross.

Col 1:19-22  For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, … ▤ 

The phrase “all things” (v. 20) is usually taken to refer to all things in creation, particularly in light of vv. 16-17, but some limit it to “all beings” (CEV). Jesus’ death signified the reconciliation of “all things” to God – a reconciliation which will be consummated at the end of the age, but one which is a current reality for believers (v. 22).

1Pet 3:18  For Christ also sufferedd once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, … ▤ 

d Some manuscripts died

. . . and through Jesus Christ we can have peace with God

See also:

Isa 53:5  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. ▤ 

Acts 10:36  As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), … ▤ 

Rom 5:1  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, wee have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

e Some manuscripts let us

Eph 2:17  And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. ▤ 

Note that here Paul may be referring to Jesus Christ making peace between Gentiles and Jews, rather than to Christ making peace with God on their behalf. However, even if the former is the case, such peace between them was only made possible by Christ’s work in making peace between them and God, i.e. reconciling both of them to God (v. 16a ).

  • A prophecy of Jesus Christ leading us into peace:

Luke 1:78-79  … because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit usf from on high 79to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. ▤ 

f Or when the sunrise shall dawn upon us; some manuscripts since the sunrise has visited us

The reference to the “sunrise” visiting is likely to the coming of the Messiah, who would bring the light of God’s salvation. Here peace appears to refer primarily to peace with God – or at least to be inclusive of it.

Thus, Jesus Christ saves people from God’s wrath

Rom 5:9  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. ▤ 

1Thes 1:10  … and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. ▤ 

1Thes 5:9  For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, … ▤ 

Rom 3:25  … [Jesus Christ] whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. ▤ 

As noted earlier, the use of “propitiation” speaks of the wrath of God against guilty sinners being turned away or quenched. Jesus’ blood “propitiated” or turned away God’s wrath by satisfying God’s justice, making a way for people to be forgiven without compromising God’s justice and holiness. Bear in mind that “propitiation” is closely associated with atonement. Where “propitiation” is used in this and the following verses, some other translations make reference to Jesus’ sacrifice making “atonement” (AMP, NIV, NRSV).

Heb 2:17  Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. ▤ 

1Jn 2:2  He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. ▤ 

1Jn 4:10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ▤ 

  • God’s wrath remains on those who do not obey Christ:

John 3:36  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. ▤ 

Note: Further points about the significance of the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood

See also:

References to the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood speak of Jesus Christ’s death, as in the preceding subsections. Note that the next chapter section is included in the above cross references. It contains numerous references to Jesus Christ’s blood, speaking of its significance in relation to matters concerning redemption.

John 6:53-56  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. ▤ 

In speaking metaphorically of drinking his blood – and eating his flesh – Jesus is referring to believing in him and depending on his death for eternal life (vv. 53-54). One key reason as to why this is so, is that in so doing we remain spiritually interlocked with him (v. 56), the one who is “the life” (John 1:25; 14:6; 1Jn 1:2).

Eph 2:12-13  … 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. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. ▤ 

As commented earlier on v. 17, “brought near” (v. 13) may well be talking of being brought near to God, as a number of other translations stipulate. But alternatively it may be referring to being bought near to Israel – as the people of God – and “the covenants of promise”. Certainly the passage as a whole demonstrates that the Gentiles have been accepted into God’s people through the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood.

Heb 9:12, 14  … he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. ▤ 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify ourg conscience from dead works to serve the living God. ▤ 

g Some manuscripts your

Verse 12 alludes to the High Priest needing to sprinkle blood from sacrifices when he entered the Most Holy Place in the earthly tabernacle in order to make atonement. By the shedding of his blood Jesus Christ similarly entered God’s presence – but once and for all, having by his blood obtained eternal redemption. This points to Jesus Christ’s ongoing role as high priest for God’s people, in which he is always in God’s presence to act on their behalf. In v. 14, the meaning of “dead works” is debatable. But the verse does clearly indicate that the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood enables believers to “serve the living God!”

Heb 10:19-22  Therefore, brothers,h since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. ▤ 

h Or brothers and sisters

Not only did Jesus Christ himself enter God’s presence through the shedding of his blood (cf. Heb 9:12 ), through this all God’s people can. Verse 20 draws a parallel between the curtain in the temple and Christ’s body. Just as the way into God’s presence in the temple was through the curtain which cordoned off the Most Holy Place, so the death of Christ’s physical body has provided a way into God’s presence for all of God’s people. In v. 22 “sprinkled” is speaking of being sprinkled with “the blood of Jesus” (v. 19) – alluding to OT rituals signifying cleansing by the sprinkling of the blood of animal sacrifices.

Heb 13:12  So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. ▤ 

1Jn 5:6-8  This is he who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. ▤ 

The “water” and “blood” are usually taken as references to Jesus’ baptism and death (NLT, CEV text note, NCV text note). In refuting a heresy, John uses them as evidence that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was the truly human person who was baptized and who died. Thus the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood testifies to his humanity.

Rev 12:11  And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. ▤ 

This appears to be saying that the believers in question overcame Satan by their belief in and testimony to Jesus Christ’s death and its significance. Such an implication is applicable to all believers in their conflict with Satan.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Jesus Christ’s Death and Redemption from Sin

See also:

In the OT, references to God redeeming his people generally speak of God saving them or setting them free from oppression. In the NT, references to redemption more specifically involve the concept of setting people free by the payment of a ransom, a payment of comparable value. This reflected the use in NT times of “redeem” to denote the freeing of a slave by a payment. The NT applies such terms to Jesus Christ redeeming or freeing believers from enslavement to sin by giving his life as a ransom.

In regard to atonement – the theme of the preceding section – redemption (the act of redeeming) can be considered an aspect of or another way of describing atonement from sin. In one sense it is a complementary concept.

Jesus Christ gave himself as a ransom for us, to redeem us from sin

Matt 20:28  … even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. ▤ 

1Tim 2:5-6  For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the mani Christ Jesus, 6who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. ▤ 

i men and man render the same Greek word that is translated people in verses 1 and 4

1Pet 1:18-19  … knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. ▤ 

The phrase “the futile ways” refers either to: the sinful, pointless way of life of non-Jews (cf. v. 14) – in which case it would be very pertinent to this subsection; or the Jewish way of life under the old covenant.

Rev 5:9  And they sang a new song, saying, “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, … ▤ 

Eph 1:7  In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, … ▤ 

This indicates that the redemption provided by Jesus Christ’s death encompasses being forgiven for sins.

Heb 9:11-12, 15  But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come,j then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. ▤ 15Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.k ▤ 

j Some manuscripts good things to come

k The Greek word means both covenant and will; also verses 16, 17

Verse 15 makes reference in particular to sins committed while the first covenant was still in force.

Rev 14:4  It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, … ▤ 

This may not expressly refer to being redeemed from sin, but the use of “redeemed” appears to at least allude to it.

  • The psalmist’s confidence that God would redeem his people from their sins:

Ps 130:7-8  O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. 8And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities. ▤ 

Although the psalmist is unlikely to have been intentionally referring to the Messiah, this hope or prophecy of God fully redeeming his people from their sins was ultimately fulfilled through Jesus Christ.

God’s people have been bought by Jesus Christ’s death . . .

See also:

An implication of believers being redeemed from sin by Jesus Christ’s death is that they have been bought by God and Jesus Christ – to whom they are now slaves (as the following subsection indicates).

Acts 20:28  Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God,w which he obtained with his own blood.x ▤ 

w Some manuscripts of the Lord

x Or with the blood of his Own

God’s “own blood” refers to that of his own Son, which thus in a sense is his own. The rendering in the second text note suggests more strongly that Jesus Christ and his blood are in view. With “his own blood” he obtained or “purchased” (NASB, NKJV, NLT cf. AMP, CEV, NCV, NIV) his church.

1Cor 6:19b-20  You are not your own, 20for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ▤ 

Believers have been bought by God – the one whom they should honor (v. 20b) – at the price of the death of his Son. Note that shortly afterwards Paul again remarks, “You were bought with a price” (7:23a).

2Pet 2:1  But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. ▤ 

Rev 5:9-10  And they sang a new song, saying, “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, 10and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” ▤ 

In ransoming people for God, Jesus Christ effectively “bought people for God” (NCV™; cf. AMP, CEV, GNT, NIV). A similar point can be made in 14:4 below re the reference to Christ redeeming people.

Rev 14:4  It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb, … ▤ 

. . . They have been freed from sin and are now slaves to God – and Jesus Christ

See also:

Rom 6:17-18, 22  But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. ▤ 22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. ▤ 

Titus 2:13-14  … waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. ▤ 

Jesus Christ has freed us from sin – redeeming us from wickedness and purifying us. Thus we now are his – “his own possession” – as servants or slaves who are zealous in doing good works.

1Cor 7:22  For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ. ▤ 

Note that Paul is explaining that slaves should not be troubled by their lack of freedom (cf. v. 21) because as believers they are free in a more significant sense – free from sin and Satan’s bondage. By the same token, those who are free people (like all believers) are slaves of Christ.

Eph 6:6, 9  … not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as servantsy of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, ▤ 9Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Masterz and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him. ▤ 

y Or slaves; Greek bondservants

z Greek Lord

As reflected in the text note on v. 6, the Greek for “servants of Christ” is often rendered as “slaves of Christ” (CEV, GNT, NASB, NIV, NLT, NRSV).

1Pet 2:16  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servantsa of God. ▤ 

a Greek bondservants

The phrase “servants of God” has a similar sense to “servants of Christ” above in Ephesians 6:6, indicative of being “God’s slaves” (NASB; cf. GNT, NLT).

  • The Holy Spirit is a mark of God’s ownership, guaranteeing our inheritance until the consummation of our redemption:

Eph 1:13-14  In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is the guaranteeb of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it,c to the praise of his glory. ▤ 

b Or down payment

c Or until God redeems his possession

Most other modern translations support the alternative rendering in the ESV text note – “until God redeems his possession”. As such, this verse reflects that the Holy Spirit in each of God’s people is his mark of ownership (v. 13), signifying that they belong to God, i.e. that they are God’s “possession” (v. 14).

Jesus Christ’s death sets us free from sin’s control . . .

See also:

Sin exercises control over people, whereby people live sinful lives, in a sense bound and led by sin. However Jesus Christ’s death sets believers free from sin’s control; sin no longer dominates their lives.

Titus 2:13-14  … waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. ▤ 

The phrase “all lawlessness” suggests “every kind of sin” (NLT). Jesus Christ’s death redeems or frees us from bondage to all sin.

Rom 6:6-7, 10-11, 14, 17-18  We know that our old selfl was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set freem from sin. ▤ 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. ▤ 14For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. ▤ 17But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. ▤ 

l Greek man

m Greek has been justified

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, “the body of sin” is a figurative term referring to the “sinful self” (GNT, cf. NCV). Verse 10a appears to be indicating that because Christ died, sin now “has no power over him” (GNT; cf. v. 10b). One implication of this is that Christ has defeated the power of sin (cf. NCV, NLT). This also means that those who are “in Christ” similarly have died to sin (v. 11). In v. 14, “sin will have no dominion over you” is stating that sin will no longer have mastery over us and/or is an exhortation to the readers to not let sin rule them.

Rom 7:23-25  … but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. ▤ 

The term “body of death” (v. 24) may refer primarily to the sinful nature which brings death. Alternatively the whole person may be in view – including the physical body – which is so dominated by sin (v. 23). Through Jesus Christ and what he had accomplished in his death, God rescues believers from this state (v. 25), thus freeing them from being prisoners of sin.

Rom 8:2-3  For the law of the Spirit of life has set youn free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,o he condemned sin in the flesh, … ▤ 

n Some manuscripts me

o Or and as a sin offering

The “law” (of the Spirit and that of sin and death, v. 2) quite possibly refers to power or authority. Thus v. 2 would be speaking of Jesus Christ setting people free from the power of sin. (For a fuller discussion of this matter, see We have been freed from the law to live by the Holy Spirit.) The final clause of v. 3 indicates that by Jesus Christ’s death “God destroyed sin’s control over us” (NLT).

1Pet 2:24  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. ▤ 

Christ bore our sins, removing them from us and enabling us to no longer live under sin’s control – to “stop living for sin” (NCV™) – but rather live dedicated to righteousness. In this sense we have been “healed”.

Gal 3:22  But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. ▤ 

The reference to “the Scripture” appears to primarily have the law in view. The “promise” most likely is that of righteousness or justification by faith – possibly along with other related concepts (cf. v. 14b). This is granted by faith in Jesus Christ and what he accomplished by his death. The implication is that correspondingly one is released from being a “imprisoned … under sin”.

John 8:31-36  So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” 34Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slavep to sin. 35The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. ▤ 

p Greek bondservant; also verse 35

In association with what Jesus’ death accomplished, we are set free from slavery to sin through following Jesus’ teaching and coming to know the truth.

Acts 13:38-39  Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39and by him everyone who believes is freedq from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. ▤ 

q Greek justified; twice in this verse

Note that here and in Revelation 1:5b below, freedom from the consequences of past sin may be more in view than freedom from sin’s ongoing control over our actions.

Rev 1:5b  To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood … ▤ 

. . . and Jesus Christ’s death cleanses us from sin

See also:

Sin defiles us and makes us spiritually unclean – separating us from God who is holy, set apart from sin and such uncleanness. However, in conjunction with redeeming us and freeing us from sin, Jesus Christ’s death purifies us from sin’s defilement and the associated spiritually uncleanness. This allows us to be brought to God (as reflected in the following two subsections).

1Jn 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. ▤ 

The word translated “cleanses” has a continuous tense, implying ongoing purification rather than a single act of purification. (cf. NBC) Although Jesus Christ’s sacrifice is the only sacrifice needed, the purification from sin that it provides needs to be claimed time and again.

Heb 1:3  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, … ▤ 

This has Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death in view, as the means of providing purification for sins.

Heb 9:13-14  For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctifyr for the purification of the flesh, 14how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify ours conscience from dead works to serve the living God. ▤ 

r Or For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies

s Some manuscripts your

The phrase “purify our conscience” may have at least partly in view purification from sin, through Christ’s death. With one’s conscience no longer having past sin to deal with, it has been purified from sin and the need to perform “dead works” – quite possibly the ultimately useless rituals of the law – to attempt to address the defilement of sin.

1Pet 1:2  … according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. ▤ 

The phrase “sprinkling by his blood” probably refers to purification from sin by Christ’s blood (cf. GNT, NCV, NLT).

Rev 7:14  I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. ▤ 

Zec 3:3-5, 8-9  Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by. ▤ 8Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes,t I will engrave its inscription, declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. ▤ 

t Or facets

The “Branch” (v. 8) signifies the Messiah. The “stone” (v. 9) may signify the Messiah or his priestly/cleansing work, particularly with it having an inscription. For as such it may parallel the plate of gold on the high priest’s turban, which was engraved with “Holy to the Lord” (cf. Ex 28:36-38). The promise to “remove the iniquity of this land in a single day” (v. 9) may well refer to Jesus’ death on Good Friday, although the day of his return may instead be in view. Particularly if the former is the case, vv. 3-5 probably point to the cleansing and removal of sin affected by Christ’s death. In v. 8a, “your friends” are Joshua’s fellow-priests. They are “a sign” (v. 8b), “types of what is to come” (AMP), perhaps in that they prefigure Christ’s priestly work.

  • Jesus’ washing of his disciples’ feet:

John 13:5, 8-10  Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. ▤ 8Peter said to him, “You shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” 9Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!” 10Jesus said to him, “The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet,u but is completely clean. And youv are clean, but not every one of you.” ▤ 

u Some manuscripts omit except for his feet

v The Greek words for you in this verse are plural

Particularly as his atoning death was drawing near, in washing and so cleaning his disciples’ feet, Jesus appears to symbolically portray the cleansing that his death would bring – and the need for people to partake of it. Verse 10a may possibly be implying that once one has been saved and completely cleansed of their past sins through Jesus Christ’s death, one then only needs regular confession and cleansing of any sin one may commit – the cleansing made viable by the application of Jesus Christ’s once and for all sacrifice (cf. 1Jn 1:7 ).

Note: Jesus Christ’s death redeems people from the law and its consequences

See also:

Rom 7:1, 4-6  Or do you not know, brothersd—for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? ▤ 4Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.e ▤ 

d Or brothers and sisters; also verse 4

e Greek of the letter

Verse 4a is saying that as “part of the body of Christ” (CEV, GNT), in Christ’s death believers died with him (cf. NLT) and so are dead to the law (v. 6a), the law only having authority over a person while they are alive (v. 1). Thus through Jesus Christ’s death “we are released from the law” – to serve by the Spirit. Note that the phrase “that which held us captive” (v. 6) is understood to be a reference to the law (cf. CEV, NCV, NLT), rather than the sinful nature (v. 5).

Rom 8:2  For the law of the Spirit of life has set youf free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. ▤ 

f Some manuscripts me

As noted earlier, the use of “law” here quite possibly refers to power or authority. However, it may instead refer to the OT law as “the law that brings sin and death” (NCV™). As such this would be speaking of Jesus Christ (and his death) redeeming people from the law and its consequences.

Gal 4:3-5  In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principlesg of the world. 4But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. ▤ 

g Or elemental spirits; also verse 9

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 law” (cf. CEV, NLT). As such, we are freed from the law’s regulations and rituals. Regarding the term “the elementary principles” (v. 3), the law may primarily be in view (cf. AMP) – which would fit comfortably with vv. 4-5 (and this subsection). But this interpretation is debatable, with the text note providing one other possibility. For further comment see So through Jesus Christ believers have been released from the law.

Gal 3:13  Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree” ▤ 

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.

Gal 3:19, 22-25  Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. ▤ 22But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, … ▤ 

The law was only ever to be the authority over God’s people until Jesus Christ came (v. 19a), when faith in Jesus Christ’s death would supersede it as the way for God’s people to be justified (v. 22). Now that this is the case, believers have been released from the law’s supervision (v. 25), no longer “captive under the law” (v. 23; cf. vv. 24-25) nor by sin (v. 22a) which held sway under the law.

Gal 5:1  For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. ▤ 

By his death, Jesus Christ has set God’s people free from the burden of the yoke of the law.

Heb 2:14-15  Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. ▤ 

By his death Jesus Christ has set us “free” (AMP, GNT, NASB, NCV, NIV, NRSV) from the fear of the primary consequence of the law and sin – death (v. 15), effectively foiling Satan and nullifying the power of death (v. 14).

1Pet 1:18-19  … knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. ▤ 

As noted earlier, “futile ways” may refer to the Jewish way of life under the old covenant and law, a way of life which was ultimately pointless and futile – useless for gaining salvation. As such, these two verses would be pertinent to this subsection.

  • The law gives sin its power – but God gives victory through Jesus Christ:

1Cor 15:56-57  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. ▤ 

The “victory” is victory over the otherwise inevitable products of the law – sin and death.

Pray for persecuted Christians

Jesus Christ’s Resurrection and Salvation

See also:

Jesus Christ’s resurrection has a key part in people being saved

See also:

1Pet 3:21  Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, … ▤ 

The “appeal to God for a good conscience” may be an appeal to God: to enable one to live before him with a clear conscience; and/or for forgiveness of past sins that leave one with a guilty conscience. Some other translations use “from” instead of “for”, which opens up other possibilities – e.g. that Peter is speaking of a commitment to live in accordance with God’s will as governed by “a good conscience”. With any of these meanings, in making such an appeal in baptism we are saved by Christ’s resurrection – the culmination of his saving work – with our baptism being an acknowledgement of this, signifying our faith in Christ’s saving work.

Rom 5:9-10  Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. ▤ 

By Jesus Christ’s death believers are presently justified and reconciled to God. Following on from this, through what Jesus Christ does for them in his life – him having been resurrected – they can be assured of salvation. But note that while the phrase “saved by his life” (v. 10) may well refer to Jesus Christ’s present life and ministry for believers, some commentators interpret it as referring to believers being saved through their sharing in Christ’s resurrected life in their union with him. These two concepts themselves are somewhat intertwined.

Rom 10:9  … because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. ▤ 

The fact that God’s raising of Jesus Christ is one of the key things we are to believe to be saved, implies that Christ’s resurrection is critical to our salvation.

Acts 26:23  … that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles. ▤ 

Here “light” refers to the “light of salvation” (GNT). The verse suggests that without Jesus Christ’s resurrection there would be no “light of salvation”.

Rom 6:4-5, 8-11  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. ▤ 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. ▤ 

Believers have a “newness of life” (v. 4b), in effect a new life. This is: a spiritual life, identified with Jesus Christ’s resurrection and life (vv. 4-8, 11); a life lived in union with Jesus Christ (vv. 5, 8, 11); a life free of the controlling power of sin (vv. 10-11); and a life lived for God (vv. 10-11). This new life is an integral part of salvation, even identifiable with it. Without Jesus Christ’s resurrection this new life – and all these aspects of it – would not be a reality.

Jesus Christ’s resurrection is linked to the forgiveness of sins and justification

Acts 5:30-31  The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree. 31God exalted him at his right hand as Leader and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. ▤ 

Without Jesus Christ’s resurrection he 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.

Acts 13:37-39  … but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39and by him everyone who believes is freedh from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. ▤ 

h Greek justified; twice in this verse

“Let it be known to you therefore” (v. 38a) appears to indicate that forgiveness of sins (v. 38b) and justification (v. 39, cf. text note) are based on or confirmed by Jesus Christ’s resurrection (v. 37), it being affirmation that he was the promised Messiah (cf. vv. 30-36), who in his death would effect such outcomes.

Rom 4:25  … who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. ▤ 

The clause “raised for our justification” may well mean that Christ was raised to secure our justification. Alternatively, mirroring the earlier use of “for our”, it may be saying that he was raised “because of our” (NASB) justification – which could infer that our justification had been secured by his death. In either case, this verse points to God showing his acceptance of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for sin by raising him to life, thus signifying our justification. As such, God’s resurrection of Jesus Christ validated or affirmed Christ’s sacrifice as being acceptable for the sin of humankind.

1Cor 15:17  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. ▤ 

Without Jesus Christ’s resurrection we would not be forgiven for our sins – nor justified; our faith would be useless. One reason put forward by commentators as to why this is the case is that in raising Jesus, God signified that he accepted Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for sins (as per the above comment on Romans 4:25).

Rom 8:34  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.i ▤ 

i Or Is it Christ Jesus who died . . . for us?

Not being open to condemnation is of course a concept related to being forgiven and justified, not having any sin to be charged with. Jesus Christ’s resurrection is a key factor in why believers can be confident of being free of condemnation – and of continuing to be free of it. For without his resurrection Jesus Christ would not be now “at the right hand of God, … interceding for us”. Jesus Christ’s role as the appointed judge – the one who will condemn the guilty – may also be in view here. Both of these are critical factors, along with his death, as to why Christians are not open to condemnation.

Jesus Christ’s resurrection was essential for our resurrection

See also:

Jesus Christ’s resurrection was vital to our salvation in part at least due to it being essential for our own resurrection.

John 14:19  Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. ▤ 

A number of commentators understand the last statement to be primarily referring to – or at least encompassing – resurrection life; i.e. they take it to indicate that Jesus Christ’s resurrection guarantees the resurrection of believers. It could also be a reference to spiritual life, that believers share in now.

1Cor 15:18-23  Then [if Christ has not been raised] those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19If in Christ we have hopej in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. ▤ 

j Or we have hoped

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. The concept is reflected in similar expressions elsewhere in the NT (cf. Acts 26:23 ).

Phil 3:10-11  … that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. ▤ 

Here Paul speaks of the power of Jesus Christ’s resurrection (v. 10a) as a significant factor in himself being able to be resurrected from the dead (v. 11).

1Thes 4:14  For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. ▤ 

Jesus’ resurrection is essential for God to raise and bring to himself “through Jesus” believers who have died. The verse also suggests that if we do not believe that Jesus rose from death, we have no reason to believe that God will raise others.

2Tim 1:10  … and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, … ▤ 

In part at least it was through Jesus Christ’s resurrection that the power of death was abolished, producing life and immortality for believers.

1Pet 1:3-4  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, … ▤ 

Because of Jesus Christ’s resurrection we have a “living hope” (v. 3) of an inheritance (v. 4) – which encompasses our own resurrection and eternal life.

Acts 26:23  … that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles. ▤ 

In saying that the Christ would be the “first” to rise from the dead, this points to the necessity of his resurrection for the resurrection of God’s people – which will follow in due course. The verse also speaks of Christ’s resurrection as being key to “the light of salvation” (GNT), which is inclusive of the resurrection of God’s people.

Matt 27:52-53  The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. ▤ 

The resurrection of these saints after Jesus Christ’s resurrection may have been to signify his victory over death – for which his resurrection was paramount – and the firm hope of resurrection for God’s people.

  • If Christ has not been raised, our witnessing and faith are useless:

1Cor 15:14-15, 17  And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. ▤ 17And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. ▤ 

Note that in regard to the importance of Christ’s resurrection for our faith, it can similarly be inferred from 1 Peter 1:21 that it was because God raised Jesus (and glorified him) that we can have faith and hope in God – “[You saints] who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection were a triumph over Satan and evil

See also:

John 12:31-33  Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out. 32And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” 33He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die. ▤ 

As vv. 32-33 indicate, v. 31 refers to Jesus’ imminent death, by which Satan would be defeated (v. 31b) – with Jesus’ death and resurrection nullifying Satan’s power over people through sin and death (cf. Heb 2:14 ). The “judgment of this world” (v. 31a) possibly is primarily referring to the defeat of its “ruler”, Satan (cf. NLT), meaning that the world as his domain would correspondingly be overcome by Christ and condemned for its values and ways. Another possibility is that it refers to the world’s guilt in rejecting Jesus – shown ultimately in its impending crucifixion of him – and its consequent judgment, with the latter in a sense foreshadowed in Christ’s victory over it by his resurrection.

Heb 2:14  Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, … ▤ 

The term “destroy” has the sense “break the power of” (NLT).

1Jn 3:8b  The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. ▤ 

This largely has Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection in view as that by which he destroyed the devil’s work in seeking to bring destruction on humankind.

Rev 12:10  And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothersk has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. ▤ 

k Or brothers and sisters

Commentators differ on whether this refers to Jesus Christ’s victory over Satan by his death and resurrection – correlated with Satan’s defeat in heaven (cf. vv. 7-9); or to a final expulsion of Satan from heaven in the last days. The first interpretation would make the verse pertinent to this subsection.

John 16:33  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. ▤ 

As Jesus said this in the hours prior to his death, it is quite possibly largely a reference to his death and subsequent resurrection – by which he triumphed over all that is evil in the world. Alternatively – or in conjunction with the above – he may have had his sinless life and/or his ministry in view, in which he prevailed over the ways of the world and evil powers.

Eph 4:8  Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” ▤ 

Here “captives” is most likely being applied to Christ’s evil spiritual enemies – whom he triumphed over in his death and resurrection, culminating in him ascending “on high” with them subject to him.

Col 2:15  He disarmed the rulers and authoritiesl and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.m ▤ 

l Probably demonic rulers and authorities

m Or in it (that is, the cross)

The reference here is probably to God (cf. AMP, NCV, NLT) triumphing over evil spiritual powers by Jesus Christ’s death, God being the one who orchestrated it. But note that some interpret this to be speaking of Jesus Christ as the one who triumphed over evil (cf. CEV, GNT)

Gen 3:15  I will put enmity between you [the serpent] and the woman, and between your offspringn and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel. ▤ 

n Hebrew seed; so throughout Genesis

Generally this is seen as more than just a description of the enmity that would exist between humans and snakes. The offspring of the woman is thought to represent human beings and God’s people in particular, with the offspring of the serpent symbolizing those controlled by Satan, including demons. The prophecy in the second half of the verse is ultimately fulfilled in Christ’s victory over Satan through his death and resurrection.

John 1:4-5  In him was life,o and the life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. ▤ 

o Or was not any thing made. That which has been made was life in him

Here “darkness” may be referring to this world’s sin and unbelief and/or spiritual powers of darkness. If it is inclusive of the latter, then the fact that the darkness did not overcome the light that Jesus brought is reflective of him triumphing over evil.

  • By his death Jesus Christ rescues people from evil:

Gal 1:4  … who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, … ▤ 

Through dying for our sins, Jesus Christ deliverers believers from the power of the present evil world system (cf. Gal 6:14). Colossians 1:13 similarly refers to God rescuing people from evil: “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness …”

Note: Jesus Christ’s resurrection affirmed significant things about him

See also:

John 13:19  I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he. ▤ 

It appears that “before it takes place” refers to Jesus’ death – with the preceding events – and his resurrection. In addition to the importance of his death and resurrection themselves in showing who Jesus was, the fact that he predicted them also substantiated his claims. Note that while “I am he” (cf. 8:38) may be a reference to God’s name, implying Jesus’ oneness with God, more likely Jesus is meaning that he is the Messiah – the one for whom the Jews were waiting.

Acts 2:29-33  Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. ▤ 

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. Note that in v. 33 Peter may be speaking of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit that Jesus had promised, as evidence of Jesus’ enthronement at God’s right hand.

Acts 13:30-37  But God raised him from the dead, 31and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ 34And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, “‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ 35Therefore he says also in another psalm, “‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’ 36For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. ▤ 

Similar to Peter in 2:29-33 above, here Paul asserts that God fulfilled OT promises regarding the Messiah by raising up Jesus Christ – thus confirming by his resurrection that Jesus Christ is the Messiah. The quotation in v. 33 in its original context is a reference to a Davidic king’s coronation, in which the king entered into a unique relationship with God – reflective of God’s promise to David regarding one of his sons (cf. 2Sam 7:14). Most likely Paul is implying that it has been ultimately fulfilled in God’s resurrection of Jesus Christ, in which God in a sense begot or gave life to him and subsequently exalted him as Lord of all. Similarly the two quotations that follow it (vv. 34, 35) point to the promised blessings to David (cf. 2Sam 7) that would ultimately come to and through David’s messianic descendant, the Christ. He would be the one who God would “not let… see corruption” (v. 35) – a prophecy fulfilled in Jesus Christ (v. 37).

Rom 1:4  … and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, … ▤ 

Paul’s argument here may be that to rise from the dead as Jesus Christ did could only be possible for the Son of God, the Messiah, in accordance with messianic prophecies (cf. Isa 52:13-15; 53:10-12). Alternatively Paul may be meaning that Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead validated his claims that he would rise from the dead, and thereby gave credence to his other claims, in particular here his claim to be the Son of God.

Rom 6:9  We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. ▤ 

Col 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. ▤ 

Christ is the “beginning” of a whole new order as he was the first to rise from among the dead to never die again. As the founder of this new creation he is first not only chronologically but also in primacy, both of which are indicated by the term “the firstborn”.

Acts 17:31  … because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead. ▤ 

In the second part of the verse, Paul may be meaning that by raising Jesus Christ, God validated Christ’s claims that God would judge the world through him (cf. John 5:22-23a, 27). For in raising Christ, God firstly validated Christ’s claim that he would rise from the dead and consequently gave credibility to all Christ’s other claims.

  • Jesus Christ’s resurrection was necessary for him to be Lord of all:

Rom 14:9  For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. ▤ 

Pray for persecuted Christians