Peter, the Apostle would know. After all, he was an eyewitness of Christ's sufferings. What does he say?
Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God . . .
- 1 Peter 3:18
Christ died . . .
It's true. Jesus Christ died. The wounds inflicted in His torture and crucifixion were fatal. The spear thrust into His side proved it. And what a horrible death! Yet, Jesus is not the only person ever to be crucified. The Romans crucified many people. Nor is he the only one to die a horrible death. So, what makes his death unique?
Christ died for sins . . .
Christ's death is unlike any other -- ever. This is true for three basic reasons, which taken together are truly powerful!
1. Jesus Christ is God and Man. (What a mystery!)
It's pretty clear. Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God. 1 In doing so, He actually claimed to be God. Imagine! God as man, dying!
2. His death was voluntary.
Jesus said it himself: ". . . I lay down my life -- only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again . . . " 2 Jesus was not simply a victim or martyr. He is God in the flesh, laying down His life!
3. He died for sins.
As God, Jesus is sinless; yet he died for sins. What an extraordinary death! No doubt, He suffered much. Yet his visible suffering could not compare to the suffering he experienced in dying for sins. It is no wonder that he cried out to his Father in heaven, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 3
Christ died for sins once for all . . .
Most often we don't get things right the first time. Yet Jesus' death does not need to be repeated, for he died for sins once for all. This should bring us great comfort. Because He paid the price for sin in full through death, he does not need to die again. His death is sufficient. There is no need for some other sacrifice! In fact, we could not even make such a sacrifice for sin even if we wanted to! For how can we who sin atone for sin? It's impossible! Thankfully, it's not necessary; for Christ who is perfect died for sins once for all!
Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous . . .
Why did Jesus Christ die for sins? After all, he is not a sinner! Pilate could find no fault in him. So why did he die? As one who is righteous (right with God), he died for those who were not. So, in suffering and death (which includes separation from God), God treated Jesus as though he were a sinner so that he could treat us as though we were not! Christ died for sinful people, just like you!
Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
What could possibly motivate a sinless Christ to willingly suffer and die as a sacrifice for sin on behalf of sinners? He did this to bring you to God! Our sin and guilt condemn us. We are guilty before a holy God and there's no hope! We cannot rid ourselves of evil; it's in our hearts! Yet, Jesus Christ suffered and died in our place. He took upon himself the punishment for our sin. And he did this to bring us to God! Without Jesus as our suffering Savior, God is not our friend, he is our judge! So what can we do with our sense of shame and guilt in the face of a suffering Christ? Nothing, but seek forgiveness. Turn to God. Ask him to forgive your sin and deliver you from judgment based on what Jesus did for you in dying for sin, and surrender yourself to his authority over you. Think of it; Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God! Can you imagine any greater display of love, than one person willingly laying down his life for another? Who could resist such love?
What suffering! What a Savior!
As a local fellowship of Christians, Grace Bible Fellowship exists to spread a passion for God and His glory in Jesus Christ among all peoples. Please let us know if we can be of spiritual assistance: email@example.com
The following God-centered principles serve as the foundation to our approach to ministry at Grace Bible Fellowship as we spread a passion for God and His glory in Jesus Christ among all peoples.
A Fundamental Commitment to Fulfill Our God-Given Mission.
God prescribes our core mission as disciples of Jesus Christ. Defined biblically, we are commissioned to make disciples of all nations as we go into the world, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus Christ commanded. As the Church in the world, this mission distinguishes us from all other entities, and we fulfill it with the confidence of Christ’s continued presence and empowerment as we obey Him (Matthew 28:18-20).
Fulfilling this mission involves an emphasis on engaging unbelieving people with the declared gospel of Jesus Christ as a credible witness (evangelism), as well as nurturing those who believe toward greater conformity to the character and commands of Jesus as His maturing, active servants (discipleship).
Regarding the lost, we shall declare to them the true gospel, recognizing that forgiveness that comes through Jesus Christ alone by faith and repentance is their greatest need, leading to a God-glorifying life.
Regarding the believer, our efforts shall go to both their character and conduct, as we utilize Bible-based discipleship in equipping them for Christian living, service, and credible personal witness.
A Foundational Commitment to Biblical Ministry.
A Biblical ministry is one in which purpose and practice flow out of a sound understanding of the Scriptures. The commitment to such a ministry is rooted in three fundamental beliefs:
A. The Bible is the Word of God to Mankind
God's Word comes to us by His initiative in Self-disclosure. It is not generated by human will (2 Peter 1:20-21). As such it is authoritative with respect to belief and practice. Furthermore, it is sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16-17) as our guide as well as our means of fulfilling our ministry in dependence on God. We need not turn elsewhere for a fundamental understanding of our purpose or practices, or for an effective tool in fulfilling our ministry.
B. Ministry is of God
The very existence of the Church is by God's providence, consistent with His purposes, and according to His will (Ephesians 1:3-23; 2:8-10). Subsequently, the same is true for ministry. As such, individual participation in ministry is not only dependent on God, but also derived from God. Consequently, it should be His Word that governs our practice in the ministry we have received.
C. Ministry is Ultimately for God
In His Self-disclosure, God reveals the ultimate end of ministry -- His glory (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14; 2:7). Consequently, we shall seek to glorify God in all we do. Such a possibility is ours as believers only as we conform our beliefs and practices to the commands and principles of His revealed Word. As a result, we shall strive to be Bible-based throughout our ministries.