“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
The birth of Christ is important, for without the birth, there would be no death. Birth introduces us into this world. However, a man is not defined in his birth, but in his life and death. It is most recognized to write of a man’s life and his accomplishments after he dies.
However with some, such as with martyrs of the faith, in their hour of death is their defining moment, as they refuse to renounce Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. Also, with a sinner who comes to confess Christ as Savior at the point of his physical death. Also, with those in great bodily terminal sickness reveal their peace in Christ in their deepest moment of suffering in the flesh. All of these examples define their character in their deepest trials.
So it was with Christ. His life was important. But his crowning moment was in the hours of 12 noon to 3 pm as He hung on the cross, as the sinner’s Substitute; as He offered Himself a sinless Sacrifice, to satisfy the demands of a holy and righteous God for the sin debt of the sinner. There in that moment, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21); Christ paid the sin debt (Genesis 2:16-17; Romans 5:12; 6:23) to the Father as “…he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).
“Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:10-11)
Here the Seed of God was Reconciled, Redeemed, and made Righteous (or justified) in Christ’s Atoning Work on the Cross as our vicarious (substitutionary) and expiatory (satisfying, or appeasing) Sacrifice to the Father. Here Christ died spiritually to make us alive in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Corinthians 15:21). “For the wages of sin is death (spiritually separated from God); but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Christ is The Gift of God, for Christ Himself is Eternal Life (John 17:3; 1 John 5:20).
Therefore, The Greatest Story Ever Told is, “Christ died for us.” The proof is in the Resurrection of Christ (Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:1-58). The dead brought to life (Luke 24:5b). This proof also lives, as an eternal witness, in all those who are born again by the Spirit of God; those baptized into His Body by the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13); those raised to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4; 1-23); and in all those who have been made a new creature in Christ, whereby old things (the old man; and the desire to walk in the lust of the eye, lust of the flesh, and in the pride of life) are passed away (have been crucified; Romans 6:6-22), and all things are become new (the new man installed in the spirit). (See 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:1-9; 4:7-25; Colossians 3:1-10.)
The proof is summed up in this: those born again have experienced what Paul wrote in Colossians 1:27, “…Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
If Christ lives in you, then The Greatest Story Ever Told has become Your Story for all eternity. Amen!
(This devotion was previously posted in December 2011)