One Died for All

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.

Meditations on 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

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

Sometimes we need to be reminded of the most basic principles of the faith, and reminded in such a way that those realities grip us as they should. We can be so inoculated to Bible language that concepts often don’t get past the words used to communicate them. And that’s not because there’s a problem with the words. Rather, at least part of the problem is caused by the fact that we have habitually not lived the concepts communicated by the words, which eventually leads to dullness of ears and hearts.

Does the love of Christ control you? When you really stop and think about it, do you find that the love of Christ finds a place – any place – in the decisions you make? What do you really want out of life? What you really look forward to, either this evening or in twenty years? How much does Christ have to do with those desires?

Some of you, I hope, will find that Christ is very much at the center of all these things in your life. You are a much-needed example to the rest of us. Some of you, on the other hand, are more like me. When you and I are honest about what goes on in our hearts – and what doesn’t – it becomes difficult to describe ourselves as people who are controlled by the love of Christ. That’s not to say that there is none of this quality in us; just not nearly enough.

So if you find that the love of Christ does not control you as it should, what do you do about it? In this passage, being controlled by the love of Christ is shown to be caused by having reached a certain conclusion. If we can conclude the same things – really conclude them, and own them for ourselves – then that truth can have the same impact on us. Concluding this, though, does not come passively. It takes time, mental effort and dependence on God to work in our hearts.

Over the next few posts, I would like to meditate with you on the various aspects of the conclusion that Paul describes here. If internalizing these conclusions can lead to a life compelled by the love of Christ, it will be more than worth the effort. I invite you to join me in that quest, and in prayer that God will make His truth effective in our hearts.