Why did Christ Die?
Today’s reading: Psalm 75-77; Romans 6
6 For not from the east or from the west and not from the wilderness comes lifting up, 7 but it is God who executes judgment, putting down one and lifting up another. 8 For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and he pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs. Psalm 75:6-8
4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
Jesus Christ died to satisfy the wrath of God by drinking to the dregs the cup that all of us, sinners, deserved to drink. Now we, who believe in Him, who are buried with Him by baptism into death, are called to walk in newness of life reflecting the reality of His victorious resurrection in our daily lives.
The Psalms frequently addresses the contrast between the wicked and the righteous. The wicked are under God’s judgment although they may appear to be successful for a time (Psalm 73). God is the One who lifts up and puts down people on earth. He is a holy God and He will ultimately bring justice through His judgment. There can be no escape from justice.
It is easy to think that the wicked are never us. It’s always “them.” We’re OK. They are not OK. We think this way whenever we rate ourselves on a curve, a sliding scale that allows us to feel acceptable before God because we think we are not as bad as someone else. Sin is what others do, not what we do. A closer, honest look at Scripture quickly shows us that “None is righteous, no, not one…” (Romans 3:10b). It is not enough to be less evil than others. God is holy and demands perfect holiness from His creatures. So we all fail.
Jesus Christ came to bring grace and truth (John 1:17). The truth is we are all sinners who cannot come to God except through Him because He alone is perfectly righteous (John 14:6). Grace is His drinking our cup of God’s wrath for us so that we come to God on the basis of His work on the cross for us, His taking our place in judgment (Matthew 26:36-46).
How are we to respond to this? Paul anticipates some readers thinking that we may as well sin to the max since we have been freed from judgment. That is to miss the message entirely. Grace is given to us not to free us to sin more but to live in newness of life for God’s glory. If we have died “with” Christ, His death is our death, and we are now freed from sin to live a life that reflects our belonging to Him. Be sure you are learning to walk in newness of life as an obedient servant of righteousness. That shows you are His. That is why He died.