Church of God, New World Ministries

Bible Q & A

Q. The statement ‘Jesus died for everyone’s sins’ is constantly being used by those in the Christian religion. I’m curious about the reasoning behind this. How can killing Christ possibly be linked with the forgiveness of all of our sins? For one thing, it was the gruesome murder of the greatest inhabitant that the earth has ever known. Secondly, it was clearly a breaking of the sixth commandment, ‘thou shalt not kill.’ Why do people think that this horrendous murder is a basis for forgiveness of their own sins?
 
A. When God created the universe He set certain inexorable moral and spiritual laws in motion. When a human being breaks one of those laws, he has committed a sin. I John 3:4 defines sin as “the transgression of the law.” Once an individual has sinned in any way, shape or form, he is immediately guilty of breaking God’s law, and the penalty for that law-breaking is death (Rom. 6:23).

All human beings have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). All of us, like Adam, have thus come under the death penalty for sin. As the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:12: “sin came into the world through one man (Adam) and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.”

But God does not want any of us to perish (II Peter 3:9). Nonetheless, in order to give us freedom to choose between good and evil free moral agency - so we could have the opportunity to develop the kind of godly character He’s looking for in His children He had to make us capable of sinning. So God came up with a plan whereby we could sin, suffer and learn from the consequences, and afterward escape the resulting death penalty.

This is where Christ’s death in our stead fits into the picture. Christ was the Creator of the universe, our earth and all human life. (For more on this, read our article: Who-What-Was Jesus Before His Human Birth?”) His divine life was worth more than the lives of all humanity down through the ages: for the sins of all mankind. In other words, He could die in place of all who have sinned.

So while “the wages of sin is death,” the “free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Any human being who repents of his sins and accepts Jesus Christ as his personal Savior is no longer under the penalty of the law. Rom. 8:1-4, 11 reads: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set (us) free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh he condemned sin in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit which dwells in you.”
 
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