Without Christ’s death and resurrection as the incarnated God/man, Christianity would be nothing more than rules and rituals – just another religion. But because of Christ’s death, we have eternal salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord! By His death on the Cross, Christ made it possible for man to be reconciled to God: “… Who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 5:18; see also Romans 5: 10; Ephesians 2:16). Christ’s substitution for mankind on the Cross satisfies for all time the demands of God’s justice and Law in regard to our sin. To simply illustrate this reconciliation, imagine God and man standing and facing each other at creation. When Adam sinned, he chose to turn his back toward God. Then God, Who cannot condone sin, had to turn His back to Adam. Christ’s death satisfied the requirements of a holy God, so God turned back to face man. Now the choice is man’s to accept Christ’s sacrifice and salvation and thus “turn around” (repent) to face God again in relationship.
Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was foreshadowed in type by the Levitical sacrifices commanded in the Old Testament. The animal to be sacrificed for sin had to be perfect, without blemish (Lev 9:2,3). This was a fore¬ type of the sinless and perfect Lamb of God, Who would come to earth to give His life as a ransom for our sin (Matt 20:28; John 1:29). His death was necessary (Lev 17:11; Heb 9:22) because the penalty for sin is death (Ezek 18:4,20).
A sinner cannot be forgiven only on the basis of his or her repentance. God can forgive only when the penalty for sin has been paid and His justice has been satisfied. Christ paid that penalty for our sins at the Cross. This allowed God, Who is righteous and just, to forgive us based on om repentance and our faith in Christ.
Christ’s death provided a covering over (or atonement) of the guilt of the sinner, making the sin invisible to the eyes of a Holy God. This concept of God no longer recognizing our sin is conveyed in Isaiah 38:17: “For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.” (Read also Psalm 51:9; 103:12; Isaiah 43:25; Micah 2:19.)
Jesus Christ’s substitutionary atonement has satisfied God’s justice, freeing God to be merciful in offering us the free gift of salvation (Rom 6:23) by grace through faith in Christ (Eph 2:8).
WHY ARE NOT ALL SAVED?
Scripture clearly teaches that Christ died for all humanity, not for just a privileged few (read John 1:29; 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:9;2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:2). The question might then arise, “If Christ died for everyone, why then are not all saved?” The answer to this question is quite simple.
Yes, Christ died and made payment with His own blood for the sins of all mankind. But in order to receive and enjoy the benefits of this “paid-in-full” salvation, each person must believe in and receive Christ and His work for himself or herself personally.