"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Death of Death in the Death of Jesus Christ

Voltaire once criticized Christianity as a “bloody religion."

The French philosopher felt Christians placed too much emphasis on blood, particularly the bloody death of its founder, Jesus Christ.

Many, like Voltaire, who read or hear the word "blood" only think of the red internal liquid of the human body. And thus, Christianity is called "a bloody religion."

Those who deem Christianity "bloody" misunderstand the significance of blood. In the Bible, blood is used as a synonym for life, and the loss of blood is a synonym for death.

For example:
"For life... is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11)
"Without the shedding of blood (ie, loss of life), there is no forgiveness of sins" (Hebrews 9:22).
In the Old Covenant, the blood of the sacrificial animals played a prominent role in Jewish worship. 

From the priest dipping his fingers into the blood and sprinkling it on the ground and the altar to the various instructions for the use of the blood according to the kind of sacrifice being offered, blood was a predominant theme. 

However, there was no magic in the blood of the sacrificial animals, and there is no magic in the blood of Jesus Christ

The blood represents life, and the loss of blood represents death.

When Christians sing songs like Nothing But the Blood, or Are You Washed in the Blood?  or Oh, the Blood of Jesus, and There Is Power In the Blood, the thought processes of the worshipper often wrongly move toward the red liquid plasma in the body of Christ. 

We should be considering the death of Jesus Christ, not the red blood cells of our Savior. The shedding of Christ's blood is simply a synonym for His death. God, in His love for us, sent His Son to die in our place. 

It is not the actual blood of Jesus that saves us, it is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ - conquering death for sinners - that saves us from the punishment of sin, which is death.
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried,that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures. (I Corinthians 15:3).
Christ died willingly (voluntary). No man took His life, He laid it down for us (John 10:18). 

Christ died and took the punishment for sin (penal). The word penal, as in 'the penal system,' means "punishment" for offenders. 
"God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:25-28). 
Christ died as a Substitute for us, the real sinners (substitutionary). 
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (II Corinthians 5:21). 
God punished the Son He loves with death so that He might remove the punishment of death for those who love His Son. He gives to those who embrace Christ the free gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23). 

Because the emphasis in Scripture is on God providing His Son to die for sinners, salvation from God's punishment is called "salvation by grace."

Sinners who believe in Christ "gain approval with God by faith" (Hebrews 11:39). 


Accountability to the Creator

Ultimately, the problem skeptics have with Christianity is the idea that God holds people accountable for their sins--or maybe to drill down even further--that there is even such a thing as sin.

 Yet, it is clear from logic and the logos (the Word) that God, that the righteous Judge of the universe, punishes with the sentence of death those who hate Him and harm others in this life.

What kind of judge would He be if He didn't?

Yet, God's punishment is not arbitrary or capricious. He is holy and righteous in all His actions. The punishment will always match the crime. 

This is why Scripture declares that the sentence pronounced by God for sinners varies according to one's sin (Matthew 10:15), but the end of all sinners is ultimately a death (Proverbs 14:12), called "the second death" (Revelation 21:8). This second death is different from the first death in that there is no resurrection - it is a final and eternal punishment. Notice, eternal punishment is a noun - once for all - not a verb. It is not eternal punishing, but eternal punishment. Death is final. 

John Stott came to the conviction that the judgment of God for sinners is eternal (eternal death). Stott believed God righteously judges sinners according to their sins, meting out sentences of judgment in various degrees and lengths, but in the end, every sinner experiences the second death. 

I am convinced that Scripture teaches eternal punishment (death), not eternal punishing (torment). The punishment is eternal; the punishing is temporal (after the Judgment). This difference is essential. 

On one hand, all the riches of God's grace are the possession of every believer in Christ. 

Christ died for our sins. He rose for our justification. All the rewards of Christ are ours because of His active obedience (His life) and His passive obedience (His death). As those who trust in the work of Christ, we become co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17). 

But those who answer for their sins themselves will receive judgment "according to their sins" with the final result for every sinner being "eternal death."

So the next time you sing about the blood, reflect on what it is that you are actually singing. The emphasis in Scripture is not on the red corpuscles in the body of Jesus as if they possess some magical powers...

The blood of Jesus Christ is His death.

Are you thankful for the gift of eternal life? Give thanks to Him who conquered the sentence of death in your place by His resurrection from the dead. One day, the First Fruits of Resurrection (Jesus the Anointed One) will raise His people to life eternal, and the wicked to Judgment and ultimately eternal death.

There is the death of death in the death of Christ for those who believe in Him.

42 comments:

Unknown said...

Excellent!

Jeff Rogers

Christiane said...

Roman rite 'affirmation':


"Christ has died,
Christ is risen,
Christ will come again.


Dying, You destroyed our death,
Rising, You restored our life.
Lord Jesus, come in glory."



from the Coptic Christian liturgy, this:
“. . . You ARE the Life of us all, the Salvation of us all, the Hope of us all, the Healing of us all, and the Resurrection of us all.”



from the tradition of my Byzantine-rite god-mother, this:

"Give rest, O Christ, to Thy servant with Thy saints:
where sorrow and pain are no more;
neither sighing but life everlasting.
Thou only art immortal, the Creator and Maker of man:
and we are mortal formed from the dust of the earth,
and unto earth shall we return:
for so Thou didst ordain,
when Thou created me saying:
Dust thou art und unto dust shalt thou return.
All we go down to the dust;
and weeping o’er the grave we make our song:
Alleluia,
Alleluia,
Alleluia."


and from the burial service of the Church of England (Anglican/Episcopal), this:
"I am the Resurrection and the Life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die."
St. John 11. 25, 26

I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another."
Job 19. 25 - 27


Amen.

Wade Burleson said...

Amen, Christiane.

Amen.

Jeff - thank you, sir!

Tom said...

Hello

We should remember that both Hades, i.e. the abyss/the bottomless pit, and the second death are mentioned in Genesis 1:2 and 2:17 respectively.

After the final judgement, both of these entities are gathered together and disposed of in the Lake of Fire, as there will be no more sin present in Eternity.

Gen 2:17 tell us that if we sin we become a candidate for the second death at the final judgement and Gen 1:2 tell us the place where the darkness in our lives will reside after our physical death until the time of the final judgement at the end of the Age of the Ages.

The problem that we have is convincing others that this is so.

Shalom

Unknown said...

Been reading John Owen?

https://www.apuritansmind.com/wp-content/uploads/FREEEBOOKS/TheDeathofDeathintheDeathofChrist-JohnOwen.pdf

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Good Post!

Sometimes I wonder if Jesus would have been a Democrat or a Republican.

Our newspaper on 7-20-21 had disturbing news about Texas Democratic legislators leaving Texas to block passage of a GOP voting bill.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, was asked what he thought.

Cruz echoed a pledged made by Texas Governor Greg Abbot: “There is clear legal authority to handcuff and put in leg irons legislators that are trying to stop the Legislature from being able to do business. The Texas Constitution has a provision that explicitly authorizes fleeing House members to be arrested.”

Wade,

The Texas border situation gets worst every day by Biden looking the other way. When asked why they come, the usual answer: “I want to live in America”, but they do it illegal.

Have you notice more countries are coming? I believe there’s nothing to stop Communist China from joining the parade.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

As always, thank for watching out for this site! I'm not sure how Russian hackers got in! :)

Wade

Christiane said...

many more racist conspiracy theories abound:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/maria-bartiromo-fox-china-border-b1841072.html

Scott Shaver said...

Christianne:

Are you going to address Clonard Monastery while continuing to take shots at Trumpist evangelicals? Or will you simply continue ignoring the question?

My money is on the latter.

Christiane said...

The conspiracy theory I liked best was to do with this:

"In December, a conspiracy theory circulated among members of the QAnon movement alleging that Chinese troops had amassed a force of some 50,000 troops on the northern border of Maine.

According to the baseless claim, the troops were obliterated by US airstrikes and "anti-personnel bombs" at the border.

The theory also claimed that an F-16 that crashed in Michigan was actually shot down by the Chinese, which had supposedly prompted the US response.

Officials in both the town of Jackman, Maine – approximately 16 miles south of the state's border with Canada – and the state's National Guard said there was no US military action in the region that corroborates the claims."

so much for the new cultic religion of QAnon . . . but the people involved love it dearly and believe ANYTHING that 'Q' claims is true, so we make allowances for their great need to rely on such sources.

Christiane said...

So sad, this:
https://fox8.com/news/its-too-late-doctor-tells-patients-dying-of-covid-19-begging-for-vaccine/

Scott Shaver said...

Christianne:

Two words: Clonard Monastery.

Scott Shaver said...

While you're on the subject of suffering there Christianne, let's talk about RCC priests and car bombs in Ireland.

Paul D said...

@Wade
good stuff. I agree, but I do find it troubling that:

John 6:52-55 - The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.

Certainly, Jesus did not sacrifice his flesh and blood symbolically. It was real. And certainly Jesus is literally alive, not symbolically. So, why would his flesh and blood be symbolic for us?

It has always seemed a bit odd to me that if someone interprets Genesis 1 as symbolic that this somehow is the beginning of a slippery slope away from the literal truth of the Bible, but when it comes to consuming flesh and blood...

BTW - drove by your new place on business this week. Looks like lots of activity happening there. Exciting.

thanks
Paul

Scott Shaver said...

Most protestants and evangelicals reject the doctrine of transubstantiation. Likewise, padeobaptism.

Rex Ray said...

AH, POLITICS!

I remember as young boys, my brother and me handing out ligature saying, “Will you vote for our Daddy?” He lost running for County Superintendent 3 times. Once, he lost so bad, he asked his brother if he had voted for him.

“Goodness no, Dave. I’ve got an honest brother, and I aim to keep him that way!”

He didn’t get more than 10 votes running for mayor of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Years ago, he told his son-in-law, “Politics is fun whether you win or lose.”
“You wouldn’t know much about the winning, would you?”

In a dispute over a VA hospital bill (My ankle was worse than when I went in.) I appealed to my Texas Senator, Ted Cruz.

I received a letter a couple of weeks ago from Cruz asking if I could duplicate the donation, I’d given him since they needed more money in order to regain control of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Wade, I’ve heard that money talks, but I don’t believe the one that has them most money should win. What do you think?

Ruth said...

Excellent exposition! You explained this very cogently and in a logical manner.

I may not completely agree with all of your reasoning, but there are matters that we will not know the truth of before we see God face to face. We will never all understand exactly the same thing when studying the Bible. There is nothing in your post that should cause any believer to doubt your genuine faith and knowledge of the scriptures, nor is there anything worth arguing for a different viewpoint.

Well done. My compliments to you.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

This morning, the conversation I had with my doctor’s nurse was funny. I said my ankle wasn’t getting any better. I heard her say the doctor was recommending a wheelchair.

“A WHEELCHAIR”

“No, no; wound care.”

Christiane said...

Good grief, REX RAY

your hearing is going, too

thank God what she really said was 'wound care' which means hope for healing

forget the wheelchair for now - wait until you really get old :)

Scott Shaver said...

At the "Woke Olympics", I find myself rooting for non U.S. teams.😎

Dave said...

Christiane,

After reading your description of that wild 'Q-tard' conspiracy, I couldn't help but be impressed by the tremendous self-restraint you have exhibited ...by successfully fighting-back to resist the formidable 'TDS programming' inherent to NPR broadcasts, in which 'orange man bad', is reflexively invoked! ;)

Cheers!

RB Kuter said...

I don't know, Wade. The "blood" as the life-giving source and its depiction in the Bible, particularly (as already mentioned by others) at the final supper discourse by Jesus, seem to elevate blood to being something almost mystical in its importance and value, to me, at least. This seems to take an even higher level when it involves the "divine" blood of Jesus Christ.

I wonder if natural "blood" of all living creatures is simply the symbolic presence of that "divine", supernatural blood shed by "The" Lamb? Maybe not.

I certainly agree with you regarding the humanity of Jesus and the very real, natural, aspects of His body including His blood, but at the same time that "God" aspect of His reality leads me to "feel" as though His blood was something supernatural in its existence and reality. Know what I mean?

I don't mean that I believe a drop of the blood of Jesus put on one of my tomato plants would result in it miraculously having beautiful, plump, red, spotless fruit (which NEVER happens with my tomatoes!). It's only that in depictions such as the "blood and water" flowing from His side it's a challenge for me to differentiate between the physical elements of "water and blood" and the symbolism of its application in spiritual terms.

Guess that's why "Power in the Blood" and "Nothing But the Blood" hymns always were taken in kind literal terms by me. Something really "weird" was taking place when injury was taking place by the hands of men upon that divine body of the Son of God. It breaks my heart as I consider today that "my" sin should be considered as one of those strands inflicting the blood-wounds upon the back of my Savior.

Maybe it has to do with that same sort of "power" of the blood of the lamb placed over the door posts in Egypt resulting by God's response to our assuming it's divine origins?

Deep, deep stuff.

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

HEY, I’ve had hearing aids for years. This week at men’s Bible study, I was told I was the oldest man in the church. Told them I’d like to keep it that way.

Yesterday, for Vacation Bible School, our pastor borrowed my scuba gear and a 5-foot spear gun to do some kind of skit.

Once, I speared a big fish, but didn’t keep it because all this green stuff came out of him. I learned later blood turns to green in deep water.

CHRISTIANE, I just know you’ll want to remember that. :)

Christiane said...

Oh sure, that's a keeper! LOL

thanks a lot, REX RAY

Rex Ray said...

CHRISTIANE,

Thanks for being funny!


RB Kuter,

You mentioning water and blood flowing from the side of Jesus makes me think of what hurt Jesus the most. People cry where they feel pain in their bodies, but the most pain Jesus felt was:

“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46 NLT)

He was NOT just repeating what David said: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Psalm 22:1 NLT)

Jesus said several times: “Only the Father knows.” Jesus believed his Father would never abandon him as he told his disciples:

“But the time is coming; indeed it’s here now, when you will be scattered, each of you going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.” (John 16:32 NLT)

Science states under extreme pain, water collects around a person’s heart and chest, and that’s why blood and water came from the side of Jesus caused by the spear.

RB Kuter said...

Interesting how the physiological make-up of the body results in "water and blood" flowing out together, huh? There are numerous propositions as to the symbolism of that dual mixture. Be interesting if Wade gave us one.

Speaking of Jesus saying on occasion, "Only the Father knows.", it does bring up that dynamic of the humanity/divinity of Jesus, especially prior to His resurrection, doesn't it?

Personally, I don't believe that limitation regarding "The Son's" understanding "The Father's" insights carried on following the resurrection. At least I never heard Jesus making reference to that being the case after He was resurrected. Check that out.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

I believe there’s a likeness with Abraham & son and God & Son.

“…God tested Abraham’s faith…take your son, your one and only son…and sacrifice him…” (Genesis 22:1-2 NLT)

Just as Abraham didn’t tell his son that he was the sacrifice, God didn’t tell Jesus when our sins were put upon him, God could only answer “MY God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” with tears.

Rex Ray said...

P.S.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT)

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, I think that Jesus surely knew what was ahead in knowing that He was to be the substitute and scape goat for all sinners. He knew Scripture pretty well and I'm sure He was well aware of the prophecies saying that there would be a Redeemer upon which the sins of many would be placed in sacrificial death. His cousin, John, made mentioned of it and introduced His ministry as being such and then He made a lot of references to it as well.

I "think" that the perception that you and I have are the same, though, in assessing it as His perhaps being caught off-guard at just how heavy that burden would be when it actually took place.

I like your analogy with Abraham and Isaac as displaying the symbolism of what was to take place in reality. Kind of like the comparison in Hebrews of the Temple structure being symbolic of the real Temple of God and His Holies of Holy.

Maybe the concept of "blood being shed" from animals sacrificed was a feeble attempt to display the shedding of a blood so exclusive, coming from One who is so perfect and even divine as to make it supernatural in the results of it having been shed.

I'm sure Wade would agree with all that too. It is just that it is so overwhelmingly amazing.

Christiane said...

Hello Mr. Kuter,

I read what you wrote and thought a lot about it, this:

"I wonder if natural "blood" of all living creatures is simply the symbolic presence of that "divine", supernatural blood shed by "The" Lamb? Maybe not."

You are going out into the deeper waters with that observation, yes, and in a good direction. :) Be encouraged.

Christiane said...

" 27 God intended that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. 28 ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’ "

(from Acts, chapter 17)

Rex Ray said...

RB,

I agree Jesus knew what was ahead, but he didn’t know how bad.

“Father if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine. Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him…was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood.” (Luke 22:42-44 NLT)

Without the angel’s help, would Jesus have died?

“your will be done, not mine”. RB, did Jesus NOT love us enough to die, but he loved his Father enough?

The Devil’s greatest victory was confusing his greatest defeat; Calvary.

Christiane said...

Hello DAVE,

you wrote, this:
"After reading your description of that wild 'Q-tard' conspiracy, I couldn't help but be impressed by the tremendous self-restraint you have exhibited . . . "

I don't deserve your compliment as I am definitely a never-trumper and very open about it, much to the disgust of many here;
but thank you anyway.

What I HAVE LEARNED is that people who desperately seem to need something like QAnon conspiracy theories will go ahead and BELIEVE that the theories are 'true' long after everyone knows they are not only 'false' but 'crazy'. I think it must be some kind of 'code' that IF you 'belong' you have to play along with the party line, regardless of what is 'real' or 'true'. So these people have an emotional need that their 'belief' in 'Q' seems to satisfy plus they feel they now belong to a whole community of 'believers'.

I don't pretend to comprehend this phenomenon, but I have some empathy for those folks whose lives have been disrupted by QAnon to such an extent that they now are having divisions form in their own families. Cults do this sort of thing. The damage is very painful for all concerned.

The one thing now that troubles me most is how much more contagious this new 'variant' of the Covid is, and that it is attacking people who are younger, even children. I think it may be time for folks to stop the politics and the cult-talk, and take time out to protect the little ones, the disabled, and the extreme elderly. After that, people can do as they see fit for themselves, but we cannot, we must not look away from the needs of the vulnerable for whom we are responsible, or we will answer to God, 'saved' or not. I really believe this to be true.

Scott Shaver said...

A "never Trumper" and critic of evangelicals who refuses to discuss Clonard Monastery as a contrast to her TDS-driven vitriol.😎

Scott Shaver said...

Christianne:

You sound strangely like congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee of Houston😂

Scott Shaver said...

It's pronounced "vuh nabul"😂😂😂

Christiane said...

"Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless." (Proverbs 31:8)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

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RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray brings up a lot in the question; "did Jesus NOT love us enough to die, but he loved his Father enough?"

Well, given that we both believe totally in Scripture, we know that God provided the means redemption because of His "love" for us, His creation. So given that Jesus Christ is God, I would conclude that He suffered for "us" on the cross.

In His incarnation-al state as the "Lamb of God", He submitted to the Father's mission in obedience, of course. Still, due to the attitude and reasoning of Jesus, The Christ that was displayed, particularly during the course of His crucifixion, I believe it was His love for us that put Him and held Him on the cross.

Things like,
"Forgive them, they don't know what they're doing.", or

"When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice." or

“I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." or, His words in conversation with His Father,"

“I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine; and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them." and one more,

“And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, [art] in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me."

Nah, I believe it was His love for "Rex Ray" that kept Him nailed to that tree.

Rex Ray said...

RB,

Can’t argue with you. I believe one of the great songs states this:

“He could have called ten thousand angels to destroy this world and set him free, but he died alone for you and me.”


Today, my 27-year-old Grandson, David, came by and got a new motor working to pull the sled up the slide. Then, he went down twice. (Makes his total 90, and total times 1,604)

RB Kuter said...

"WILD, WILD, RAY WORLD"!!

Rex Ray said...

RB,

Included in our ‘WORLD’:

A 14-foot diameter merry-go-round that has chairs bolted down that’s propelled by using poles pushing against the ground.

A 30-foot seesaw that goes up & down 12 feet which can hold up to 8 people. People get on the end that’s on the ground first. The others climb steps to get on the end that’s in the air. (Half-buried car tires prevent the shock from hitting the ground.)

A 13-foot-high swing made from an automobile seat that up to 3 people can use. For normal swinging, a rope is pulled and released over and over. The most fun is when it is used as a yo-yo.
Since the chains that support it are far apart, when it is twisted around, the seat is raised about 3 feet. By ‘winding’ the seat up many times and then spinning it, the people are jerked up and down. (The best is a combination of swinging and spinning.)

50 years ago, I build our father a 50-foot archway with a sign: “Long Look Homestead”. He preached and his writings was to take the Long Look in life. It supported American and Texas flags. Now a large star has been added and colored lights burn at night. Also, a sign: “Two Flags over Texas”. One kid said, “This is better than six-flags because it’s free.”

A star that’s double in size of that star burns at night 10 feet over the slide. The star changes to a cross on Easter.