Lesson #8 - The Death of Christ

52. In what way does God save men from their sins by Christ?
Answer: He forgives them for Christ's sake, and by the power of His teaching, He turns men away from their sins, and leads them to righteousness.

Proof:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Eph. 4:32).

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Col. 1:14).

I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake. (1 John 2:12).

Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (Acts 3:26).

53. Why, for Christ's sake, does God forgive?
Answer: Because of what has been accomplished in him.

Proof:

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53.12).

54. What has been accomplished in Christ?
Answer: Sin has been condemned in his death on the cross, and the righteousness of God has been declared and exhibited to all the world in the shedding of his blood.

Proof:

For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (Rom. 6:10).

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:24).

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (Rom. 8:3).

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. (Rom. 3:25-26).

55. How could sin be condemned in Christ who was sinless? and how could the righteousness of God be declared in the blood-shedding of a righteous man?
Answer: Because being born of Adam's condemned race, and partaking of their condemned nature, Christ was made subject, equally with them, to the consequences of Adam's transgression. Therefore his public execution was a public exhibition of what was due to man from God. It pleased God to require this before inviting man to reconciliation through the man in whom this vindication should take place.

Proof:

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (Heb. 2:14).

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. 9:26).

Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; (Rom. 1:3).

Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (Rom. 6:9-10).

56. Where did Jesus differ in this matter from other men?

Answer: Where Jesus in this matter differed from other men was, in the spotlessness of his personal character, on account of which the Father was well-pleased. Jesus required no forgiveness. It was this that opened the way for his resurrection. For had he been a sinner as other men, death must have held the power over him that it had over them. But God raised him from the dead after sin had been condemned in his crucifixion, and being raised from the dead, 'Death hath no more dominion over him'. 'He ever liveth to make intercession for us, and is able to save to the uttermost all those who come unto God by him.' In this way he has become the righteousness of God to us.

Proof:

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; (Heb. 7:26).

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. (Heb. 4:15).

Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? (John 8:46).

And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matt. 3:17).

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. (1 John 3:5).

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (Acts 2:24-27).

57. What are we to understand by the statement of Paul quoted in proof of the answer to Question 55 that Jesus died that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil? Who is this devil?
Answer: The devil, or Satan, is the Bible name for sin in its various forms among men. Christ took away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Sin is the death-power. There is no such being as the personal immortal devil of popular religious belief. The belief in such a being is due to the misunderstanding of certain figures and symbols in the Bible. The Bible devil has many shapes; but all these have their origin in the insubordination of flesh and blood to divine law. He presents himself in our own feelings, and in the persons of those who would draw us into wrong ways. In his largest shape, he exists in the present political constitution of things upon the earth.

Proof:

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; (Heb. 2:14).

For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Heb. 9:26).

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Rom. 6:23).

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. (James 1:14-15).

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7).

Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. (Heb. 12:4).

And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray him; (John 13:2).

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? (John 6:70).

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. (Acts 5:3-9).

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Eph. 2:2).

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. (1 Tim. 4:14-15).

Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. (1 Tim. 1:20).

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matt. 16:23).

But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. (Mark 8:33).

And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Luke 4:8).

Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. (1 Thess. 2:18).

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. (Rev. 2:12-13).

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8).

Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. (Rev. 2:10).

But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (Rom. 2:10).

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. (Rom. 16:20).

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. (Rev. 12:3).

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Rev. 12:17).

And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. (Rev. 17:9).

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. (Rev. 17:12).

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, (Rev. 20:2).