There is no other way – Part 8

Emeritus Prof. Mercy Olumide

If Jesus was truly God, shouldn’t He have control over His death? Why did He allow human beings to kill Him? “Therefore My father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father”. (John 10:17, 18). Jesus’ death and resurrection, as part of God’s plan for the salvation of the world, were under God’s full control. No one could kill Jesus without His consent. Jesus foretold His death and resurrection on different occasions: Mat 16:21; 17:22,23; 20:17-19. But the disciples still didn’t understand what He meant. Also see Acts 4:27:28; 2:23; 3:17,18; 1 Pet 1:11, 20; Rev 13:8.

• Did Christ die for Christians alone, or for the whole world?
“… and he died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” (2 Cor. 5:15).  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (Jn 3:16). God “gave” His Son as an offering for sin on the cross for the whole “world”. The atonement proceeds from the loving heart of God. It was not something forced on Him (Rom 8:32; 1 Jn 4:10). “And he himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.” (1 Jn. 2:2).

Jesus Christ is the propitiation (atoning sacrifice) for the sins of the “whole world.” “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor 5:19). “Jesus …taste death for everyone” (Heb 2:9). “desires all men to be saved … Jesus gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim 2:4,6). Therefore, Christ died for all people (Christians and non-Christians; Jews and Gentiles; men and women; all races; rich and poor, masters and servants, all socio demographic characteristics; all people who have ever lived, who are living today and who will ever live on earth).

• Can’t salvation be got through some other way without the sufferings of Christ and shedding of blood? “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood and without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb 9:22). Why does forgiveness (remission of sin) require the shedding of blood? This is no arbitrary decree on the part of a bloodthirsty God, as some have suggested. There is no greater symbol of life than blood; blood keeps us alive. Jesus shed His blood – gave His life – for our sins so that we wouldn’t have to experience spiritual death, eternal separation from God. Jesus is the source of life, not death. He gave His own life to pay our penalty for us so that we might live. After shedding His blood for us, Christ rose from the grave and proclaimed victory over sin and death. See Rom 8:3 Jesus gave Himself as a sacrifice for our sins.

In Old Testament times, animal sacrifices were continually offered at the temple. The sacrifices showed the Israelites the seriousness of sin: blood had to be shed before sins could be pardoned (see Leviticus 17:11). But animal blood could not really removed sins (Hebrews 10:4). It is God, Who forgives based on the faith of the person doing the sacrificing. The sacrifices could only point to Jesus’ sacrifice, which paid the penalty for all sins.

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