Sunday, March 17, 2013
Sin or Sins: Is There a Difference? Part 2
Whereas the high priest entered the Holiest of All with the blood of bulls and goats once per year, Jesus entered “not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption,” Hebrews 9:12. The sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf goes well beyond merely “atoning” in the Old Testament sense of animal sacrifice.
His blood did not cover us, that is blot out our sins from God’s sight for a time. Instead He has “washed us from our sins in His own blood,” Revelation 1:5. Consider the language employed. Jesus entered Heaven, coming before the throne of the Father once for all, Hebrews 9:24. In other words, this sacrifice of Himself for sin will NEVER be repeated. Having done this for us, He obtained eternal redemption. Eternal means never ending; something that cannot have an end by very definition. Redemption in Hebrews 9:12 is the Greek word “lutrosis” and means “deliverance.” In other words, our Lord won for us eternal (never ending) deliverance. What does it mean to be delivered? It is the removal from one state into another; generally speaking in terms of going from a bad situation to a better one. Since this proffered deliverance is eternal, the entering in of a new state for the believer is one that never ends. We have received eternal deliverance.
Back to the question at hand: did Christ die for our sins, or for sin? If Jesus died to put away sin it is not illogical or unbiblical to likewise say He died for our sins. It takes it from the universal to the intimately personal. He died for my sins! Jesus my Lord suffered the judgment of God for sin on my behalf, and died for my sins. But not mine alone. No, we read “but now, at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself,” Hebrews 9:26. Again, we go from this sweeping, amazing statement to the deeply personal when we read of Jesus: “you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin,” 1st John 3:5. The message of the gospel addresses the needs of the individual regarding salvation when we read: “Christ died for our sins, according to the Scriptures,” 1st Corinthians 15:3. This intimate message is good news to the sinner, the sum total of their sins being paid for on the cross by their Lord and Savior.
Paul writes: “For the death [Jesus] died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 6:10-11. Sins are the manifestation of our natural spiritual state of death. Sin is the cause, and sins are the symptoms of the illness. Jesus died to bring the remedy, and that remedy was applied to all people the world over for all time, which is why Paul could later write, “we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe,” 1st Timothy 4:10. Peter, speaking about unregenerate false teachers says they shall deny “the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction,” 2nd Peter 2:1. The eternal redemption Christ received upon entering the Holy of Holies applies to all people on earth; the difference, as Paul points out, is that some through faith receive this free gift, while others spurn it and continue abiding in God’s wrath.
Jesus our Lord said the same regarding the saved and the unsaved. “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God,” John 3:18. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has (present tense) everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life,” John 5:24. The issue then doesn’t seem to be whether or not one is a sinner, but what we believe concerning Jesus that saves or condemns.
John, one of the apostles, writes much the same: “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life (present tense), and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God,” 1st John 5:12-13.