This may shock you. The acts of Jesus dying on the cross, and rising from the dead, do not save anyone just because we believe that it did take place. Jesus could have been tortured in all the ways He was. Then He could die on a cross, unjustly mistaken for being a heretic. Many who are put to death are innocent. Many consider His death one more tragic story of a good man being killed by his enemies. Thousands of people good and bad have died on crosses. Their death did not save themselves or anyone else. So how does Jesus dying on the cross save anyone?
Good news, or terribly bad news
We who love Jesus call the story of His death and resurrection the Gospel, which means Good News. But if He was the innocent Son of God, and we humans put Him to death, this could have been very bad news. It would have been one more reason, as if there were not already more than enough, for God to put all mankind to death. Hearing that Jesus was then raised from the dead would have made matters worse. This means the Son of God is not only innocent. It also means He is more powerful than the death we inflicted on him. If anything, we only deserve the wrath of His Father God and Jesus.
It was a blood covenant sacrifice
The secret to the death and resurrection of Jesus saving anyone lies not in the act. It is the reason for the act. The real good news gospel is this. The reason for His death on a cross was to use His own body and blood sacrifice to ratify a new blood covenant between God and man.
The love of God for mankind prompted Him to choose to cut a blood covenant with Jesus for us. Jesus is the Son of God therefore His perfection is sufficient to ratify this blood covenant with God. Being at the same time sinless man, Jesus qualifies to be the human covenant maker standing in for all humanity. This made it lawful and binding to offer this covenant’s relationship and therefore its promises, terms, and conditions, to all mankind.
The promises of God are offers, not guarantees
These covenant promises include but are not limited to forgiving all mankind thus potentially saving all mankind. Blood of men to pay for their sin, or blood of animals to temporarily put the penalty for sin aside, are no longer required. The covenant makers, Father God, and Son Jesus agreed to accept His death on the cross as sufficient to seal the deal for all who accept the offer. They are willing and able to hold to their covenant oaths for eternity. This is how and why Jesus dying on the cross can save anyone.
There are more and even better terms of the agreement. As the heirs of the covenant we qualify to receive Their loving-kindness, tender mercy, amazing grace, righteousness, peace, joy, life more abundant on earth, and eternal life after death. However, we must understand that all of God’s promises are offers, not guarantees. These are only applicable to all who accept this covenant-based offer of redemption and restoration.
- Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash