Why Was Jesus' Death Different?
Rev. Dr. Ernest Brodie Jr.
Ever since the first human beings walked on this earth, death became a part of life. The Bible reveals that death came not at the hand of the Creator, but as a result of the actions of the creation (Genesis 2:17; 3:1-7). Death passed to all creation because of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:23; 1 Corinthians 15:22).
The results of sin are not often instantaneous but sequential (James 1:13-15). Adam and Eve experienced spiritual death the day they ate of the forbidden fruit. Spiritual death is separation from God. Eventually, Adam and Eve died physically. Physical death is when our bodies cease to function. There is a third type of death known as eternal death. Eternal death is the punishment of hell. Although some religious leaders cast doubt on the existence of hell, the Bible is very clear. Would God be fair or just if there were no consequences for sin? It is known from the Bible that there are consequences for our actions. Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The punishment of the wicked in hell is described throughout Scripture. Matthew 25:41: “eternal fire,” Matthew 3:12: “unquenchable fire,” Daniel 12:2:“shame and everlasting contempt,” Mark 9:44-49: a place where“the fire is not quenched,” Luke :16:23-24: a place of “torment” and “fire,” 2 Thessalonians 1:9:“everlasting destruction,” Revelation 14:10-11: a place where “the smoke of torment rises forever and ever,” Revelation 20:10: a “lake of burning sulfur” where the wicked are “tormented day and night forever and ever”.
Why was Jesus’ death different? First, Jesus was not under the curse of Adam and Eve’s sin (Hebrews 4:15,1 John 3:5, 1 Peter 2:22). Second, not only was Jesus sinless, His purpose for coming to earth was to deal with sin (Hebrews 9:22, 10:4,11). He was to be the offering for sin (2 Corinthians 5:21, Colossians 1:20-22). John 1:29 reveals: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” He took upon Himself the punishment of our sins (Isaiah 53:5, Mark 10:45).
How could someone else take my penalty? This all depends on who this person is. If we are talking about one who sins as we do, the situation is hopeless. Only God can forgive sin. God took upon Himself a human nature to take our penalty and provide a way of escape so that we would not have to bear the weight of eternal death and damnation. God the Son, Jesus, existed in eternity past with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit (three divine persons, one divine essence). John 1:1-3,14 reveals to us that God the Son was with God the Father in eternity past. Only God could provide salvation. In theology, the concept of Christ taking our place is called the substitutionary or vicarious atonement. Romans 4:5 shows us that we can be declared righteous through Christ.
How does a person become saved?How can a person receive God’s forgiveness? God does not want us to suffer in hell for eternity because of our sin. (2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”)
He has provided a way for us to be forgiven so that we can know that we have eternal life (1 John 5:11-13: “And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”).
In Romans 3:24-25, it is revealed that Jesus Christ took our place and paid the penalty of our sin. (Romans 3:24-25: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 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.:)
In Romans 10:9-10, we learn that we must turn from our sin to God and ask for His salvation. (Romans 10:9-10: “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”) We cannot experience His forgiveness until we do this. We cannot receive the blessings of God in this life or in the next until we place our faith and trust in Him for salvation. Have you come to Him for salvation?