Today we will begin to study the final aspect of the exchange, summed up in the words: from death to life. Jesus died our death that we might enter into his life.
In the previous days, we’ve seen that it was our sin that caused our rejection. The same applies to death. The original cause of death is always, and only sin. If there'd never been any sin, there would never be any death. This relationship between sin and death is stated many times over in the Bible. I'll just select three passages which sum it up very briefly.
The first is in Ezekiel, Chapter 18, verse 4: "The soul who sins will die". That's very clear. Romans 6:23: "The wages of sin is death". The due, just reward for sin is death. And, James 1, verse 15: "When sin is accomplished, it brings forth death". The final outcome of sin is invariably and inevitably death.
Death in the Bible is not merely physical death; that's just the first part of death. But the Bible speaks of something far worse, the second death which is not just the death of the body but its final and eternal banishment from the presence of God. That's the second death.
In every child of Adam, from Adam himself onwards, there has dwelled a rebel, a person; he's called "the old man" or "the old self." He's incorrigible. He cannot be reformed. He is in continual, ineradicable rebellion against God and God's holy Law and God has only one remedy for that rebel. He doesn't reform him. He doesn't send him to church. He doesn't teach him the Golden Rule. He doesn't teach him to memorize scripture. God's remedy is very simple, very radical; it's execution. That must be the end of that rebel. But the gracious message of the Gospel is that on the cross our old man, our old self, was executed in Jesus. Jesus identified himself with that rebel. God made to meet together upon Him the rebellion of us all and all its evil consequences, so we might be delivered from this rebel, this ‘old man’, to live in obedience to Him, and for His glory.
Both the physical death of the body and the second death are the inevitable consequences of sin, but in this also, on the cross, Jesus was our substitute. Hebrews. chapter 2, verse 9 says this:
"We see Jesus...made a little lower than the angels...that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone." (NIV)
Notice, this is the grace of God. It's not something we can earn or claim as a due reward for our obedience because we have been disobedient. We have broken the law. Our due reward, the wages for our sin was death but, by the grace of God, on the cross, Jesus tasted death, personally entered into the death that was due to every one of us.
Father, thank You with all my heart that I no longer need to give in to that rebellion. That on the Cross, that power of rebellion, of my ‘old man’, has been broken completely. Thank You, Jesus, that You took my place on that Cross. Please help me, through Your Holy Spirit, to enter completely in all You have for me, so my life will give You honour and glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!