Christ became the substitutionary sacrificial Lamb for us. He died so that we can live.
long ago, Easter decorations sprang up everywhere. Pictures of eggs, bunnies,
and flowers appeared in many places. When I was a child, I asked my mother what
all these had to do with Easter. She said that Easter celebrated new life, and the
eggs and lilies symbolized new life.
grew up, I learned about the resurrection of Christ. Easter celebrated his “new
life” from the grave. Christians celebrate his resurrection at this time of
year even though the traditional symbols of Easter have nothing to do with the
Christian story. We need to understand what this new life is about. Yes, Jesus
rose again, but we need to ask ourselves why he died, and why his new life is
so important to us.
Bible tells us that “God demonstrates his own love toward us in this: While we
were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Sin separates us from
God. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). We should die because of our sin.
Christ’s death on the cross paid the penalty for us. He death satisfied the
debt we owed for our sin.
When did that satisfaction take
are three views about when the atonement took place. One view states that
Christ’s suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane caused our atonement. Because
Christ sweated drops of blood, some believe that he paid the debt by suffering
view is that Christ went to hell for three days after he died. There Satan and
his minions beat up on him those three days, and then the third day he rose
from the dead. This view is popular among some groups today.
At The Cross
Bible teaches that the penalty was paid at the cross. When the repentant thief
turned to Christ and asked to be remembered. Christ said, “Truly I tell you,
today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). Notice that Christ did not
say, “I’m going to hell. I’ll see you in three days.” Both he and the thief went
to paradise that day.
Paid In Full
he did not have to go to hell to pay any more penalty for us. John 19:30
records Jesus’ words as “It is finished.” In the biblical language, that phrase
meant, “Paid in Full” as would be written across a bill. When Christ died on
the cross, he fulfilled the work God gave him to do. He did not have to go to
hell to get beat up by Satan for three days to complete the transaction.
tells where this took place. Colossians 2:15-15, “having canceled the charge of our legal
indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away,
nailing it to the cross.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a
public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.”
Think back to the images you often see of the
crucifixion. Usually you will see a sign above Christ’s head that reads INRI.
That stands for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum, translated Jesus
of Nazareth, King of the Jews. Although this is a Latin Phrase, the Bible says
that it was actually written in three languages—Aramaic, Latin and Greek so
that everyone passing by could read it (See John 19:18-20) Mark 15:26 says, “The
written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.” This was the “crime” he was charged
with. Passersby could see the crimes for which the victims of crucifixion were
back at the Colossians passage, notice that the “charge” against us was placed
on his cross. Think of God taking the sign above your head for all your sins
and nailing it to Jesus’ cross. That’s exactly what he did. Christ paid the
charge of legal indebtedness for your sins by his once-for-all sacrifice. You
can be set free.
concludes that passage by saying that Christ “disarmed the powers and authorities… triumphing
over them by the cross.” The cross is where Christ paid all your sin debt. The
cross is where he defeated Satan. He did not need to go to hell and be
tormented for three days.
cross, God poured out his wrath for sin on Christ that he might pour out his
love on us who are in Christ. Christ became the substitutionary sacrificial
Lamb for us. He died so that we can live.