Jesus died at Calvary. We all know that. We also know that He was resurrected from the dead three days after He had been put to death because Jesus could not be held by death.
But why? What was the reason why He could not be held by death? And also is there a way that we can likewise find the way so that we too cannot be held by death, just like Jesus?
Well the answer to the last question is…Yes. We can find the way to be freed from the bondage to death that afflicts all of mankind. It’s funny when you consider the billions of dollars going into medical and scientific research to try and find ways to extend people’s lives, and yet the solution has already been given to us for free.
Paul wrote the following, which is a dynamite piece of scripture when it is fully understood.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Jesus did not sin and that is why He could not be held by death. People die because they sin, for death is what you earn by being a sinner. But if you don’t ever sin, which Jesus achieved, you will not die. You will not earn the wages of sin if you do not do the work of sinning.
People die because they earn the right to die. They work throughout their lives by sinning to earn…death. When you work at a job you receive wages. You don’t get a wage for not working but only if you do work. You have to expend some kind of effort to receive your wages. And wages are not a gift, they are your right for you earn them through what you do.
It’s the same with death. Death is given as the wage for working at sinning and earned through what you do. All people sin and so they have all done the required “work” to earn death. They have done the deeds and so they earn the wages they are justly and duly entitled to receive; death.
But then when we look at the rest of this scripture we see that you do NOT have to work to receive eternal life. Life is given to you by God as a free gift. You cannot earn it because you cannot work for it. There is no good deeds you can do to get eternal life, no great and mighty works and no acts or work that you have to do before receiving it.
Life is a gift to those who are set free from sin and who do not sin. If you do not sin, you are entitled to life. Sinners earn the right to die, but the righteous receive the free gift of life because they have not sinned. To sin is to earn death, but to be righteous is to receive life.
And we can receive righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ and escape the wages of sin that leads to death.
Now before people say, “Well so far everyone on earth has died so it must be impossible to be righteous!” We need to understand a little about death.
There are two deaths spoken of in the Bible; the death of the body and the death of the spirit.
When people talk about death they speak about the death of the body. The body dies and is buried and people mourn and weep for the loss of a loved one and so on.
But when Jesus spoke about this event He did not consider the death of the body as anything important at all. In fact He said on several occasions about some who had died that they were “only sleeping.” Jesus did not consider the death of the body as anything of consequence at all and He had the power to “wake the dead” and to bring them back to life.
But the second death is the destruction of the spirit of a man as spoken of in Revelation at the final judgement. That is the REAL death when the spirit of a person is destroyed and they die in the spirit.
When Paul said the wages of sin is death, He is talking about the second death of the spirit, not the putting off of the flesh. All people die in the flesh because they inherited the sin factor from Adam and Eve, but we do not all have to suffer the second death of the spirit. We can escape that death through finding righteousness by faith in Christ Jesus and receive the free gift of eternal life.
Jesus could not be held by death because He was righteous and He did not sin. But He suffered the death of the body at Calvary for us, so that we could have freedom from sin, freedom from the law and receive the gift of righteousness by faith.
When we are baptised we are baptised into the death of Jesus Christ and we put on His death and take it on as if it is our own. We do this by faith for we believe that through Jesus we have died to sin and been resurrected and born again as new creations to serve God.
Now if we are set free from sin and God forgets all of our past sins, which He does, and if He sets us free from the law because the law is binding on a person only while they are alive (Romans 7:1), and sin is the breaking of the law, then we receive righteousness because we can no longer sin against a law that we are no longer under. If God has removed us from the law, which He did in the death of Jesus Christ and which we receive by faith through baptism, then the law ceases to exist for those in Christ Jesus. And we cannot break a law we are not under.
This is true freedom in Jesus Christ, not because of anything we do but what He did for us and gave to us by faith. We are not set free though to do whatever we like. We do not break the law just because we are not under it. As Paul said, “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.” (Romans 3:31)
You can uphold the tenets of the law without being under it. You would not go out and kill someone because you are no longer under the law that says “Thou shall not kill.” The reason we uphold the law is because it is the right thing to do. The law contains the morality and wisdom of God in it and it teaches us the difference between right and wrong. But if we are set free from it we are no longer under the power of sin that comes from breaking it for when or if we do something wrong, we are covered by God’s grace until we are transformed by the Holy Spirit into the fullness of the image of Jesus Christ.
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