For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
– 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
In the last post we considered the idea that if we were to conclude the same things Paul had concluded – that is, if we were to take hold of these realities for what they really are – then we, too, could experience what it means to be controlled by the love of Christ. To that end, we will be stopping to consider each of the things that Paul had concluded, so that they might find their way into our minds and hearts.
One died for all. That one, of course, is Jesus. And the fact that He died for all means He died for you and for me. We were guilty and needed to be cleaned, and Jesus came to offer Himself as a guilt offering (Isaiah 53). We could not clean ourselves, either by the law or by our own sincere efforts or by any other means.
Sin is so serious that it requires death as its punishment. It is a capital offense. That is what the sacrificial system in the Old Testament was designed to communicate. As Hebrews 9:22 puts it, “without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” But we also know from Hebrews 10:4 that “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins”. God graciously allowed the sacrifices in the Old Testament, when they were combined with faith in the hearts of the ones offering them, to cover sin. But ultimately, covering sin is not sufficient. Sin must be taken away. And that is the difference between what animal sacrifices could do for us, and what the sacrifice of Jesus does for us. His sacrifice – the blood he shed in dying for us – takes away our sin.
The death of Christ paid for all the sins that you and I have committed; and if He had not died, we would have had no way to remove those sins from ourselves. We would have stood before God covered with the filth and shame of our own choices; we would have had no remedy for it, and no escape from His righteous anger.
The only one who could have died for you did just that. Do you have fifteen minutes this week to stop and consider this one reality? If we don’t chew our food, we don’t digest it properly, and we don’t get the nourishment from it that we could. It works the same way with spiritual truth. If we don’t slow down enough to consider it carefully, we will never absorb it in the life-changing way Paul describes here.
Let’s make time to integrate Christ’s death for us into our understanding of everything, that the love of Christ might control us.