Jesus Died in Sins
It is not normally understood even by theologians that when Christ Jesus died on the tree of crucifixion carrying all the sins of mankind on his back, he died in those sins! He died with sins on him and without the slightest repentance being expressed to God for those sins that were on him. In fact, it was absolutely necessary that he die in those sins or else the penalty for sins which God had established at the beginning ("the wages of sin is death") would never have been carried out by Christ and all of us would still be in our sins at the time of our deaths. Christ had to die as a sinner (with all the sins of the world on his back) and to die without having repented of those sins. Thus, the satisfaction for paying the full penalty for the sins of the world could be effectively accomplished. This was an important part of the Gospel and it is essential that we know it.
This brings us to a meaningful theological point that preachers, evangelists and priests normally overlook, but it is a principle that is of prime significance in the salvation of all mankind to God. Today it is usual for most ecclesiastical authorities to be very quick to point out that if any person dies in his or her sins (that is, without having first repenting of their sins and changing their ways of living), then they in no way can hope to be saved and pass the judgment seat of God after death. The belief of most preachers is that there is no hope for anyone who dies in his or her sins if they have not got right with God before they died. Even a deathbed repentance and asking God to forgive them of their sins is sufficient to get them saved if they also accept Christ into their hearts. Yes, this is almost the universal belief of Christian ministers and priests. They teach that if people do not get right with God in this life, then there is no hope for them in the afterlife, because God will not allow them to repent of their sins after death. Only in this life can a person be saved, so the preachers tell us.
But the preachers are as wrong on this point as they can be. There is not a verse in the Bible which says that the only time people can repent of their sins and accept Christ is in this earthly life that we now experience. "This is a day of salvation" (as the Greek text actually says in 2 Corinthians 6:2), but it is not the only day. Indeed, Paul said there were time periods (plural) in which all mankind would be saved (1 Timothy 2:6) which we have pointed out in earlier parts of this book (see chapter 4).
The fact is, when Jesus died on the tree of crucifixion, he died in sins! He died like most of the world dies, and like most of the world has died from the time of Adam and Eve onward. There are people in China today who have never heard of Christ or his Gospel and they die by the millions without having repented of their sins or accepted Christ as their savior. They die just like Christ died when he died on the Mount of Olives almost 2000 years ago.
It is in this manner that Christ identifies himself with every person on earth. He died the death that the vast majority of people on earth die — even the death of those who have never repented of their sins. That’s right. Christ did not die the death of Christians who have the privilege of knowing they are now in Christ and who have already repented of their sins. Christ died the death like the majority of mankind undergo. Most die in their sins, not having repented of their ways. And this is the way Christ died.
Christ died like all evildoers die. Indeed, God made him to be the very epitome of sin. He was made to be sin incarnate (2 Corinthians 5:21) without the slightest part of his body, soul or spirit being free of sin. Though he himself was sinless, God placed on him the sins of all the world lumped together into one big heap and then deposited them all on the back of Christ. This made Christ to become the most sinful person the world has ever seen. Christ far out paced Nero, Genghis Khan or Hitler, because he not only carried all the sins of those three men, but he was filled with all the sins of the billions of other members of the human race who had ever lived or who ever would live. It is like God the Father taking a huge vacuum cleaner and with a vacuum force he extracted all the sins from every person who ever lived on earth (leaving them vacuum clean). He then placed every single one of those sins into the person of his Son. As Martin Luther said, no human on earth has ever been more despicable in the eyes of the Father than his Son while hanging on the tree of crucifixion. He was total sin!
And what kind of death did Christ die? Did he die as a fully repentant person? No, he did not. Christ died a death like the majority of humans die — he died with all those sins still within his person, without repenting.
But though Christ died unrepentant of the sins he carried (like most people in the world who do not know the Gospel), what happened with Christ Jesus? Preachers, evangelists and priests will assure anyone that if a person dies in his or her sins then there is no hope for them. They must pay the penalty themselves for their sins and suffer for them. But this is precisely what Christ did. He died in the sins he had within him without once repenting of them. Did Christ miss out on salvation by dying in those sins? Absolutely not! Three days later he was standing before the bar of God at the time of his judgment, and he passed the judgment of God with flying colors as being sin free and as being perfect in the eyes of the Father. This is because he was in fact sinless in what he did on earth (he had never sinned once during his earthly life). So perfect was he while he was on earth that he was exalted to glory by the Father immediately after his judgment (because all persons must undergo a judgment after death to be judged for their sins — Hebrews 9:27).
Christ passed the Day of Judgment triumphantly and without any sins remaining on his back. Why? Because the penalty for sins is death (Romans 6:23) and when Christ died at his crucifixion, the penalty for all the sins of mankind was then paid in full. Since Christ had no sins of his own for which to ask forgiveness (1 Peter 2:21–22), the judgment he faced was one in which he showed a perfection of life to the Father in everything he did on earth. Because of his perfection, at the judgment of Christ, he was immediately accepted of the Father as perfect and quickly exalted with all the pomp and ceremony associated with his perfection. He was given a majestic royal crowning which allowed him to sit on the right hand of the Father himself because of his perfection that was displayed by his life on earth.
And what is important to realize is the fact that Christ was doing all of this as a substitute for you and me, and as a substitute for all mankind. All the sins of the world were dealt with at that moment in time when Christ died on the tree of crucifixion for every man, woman and child who has ever lived on earth, who now lives on earth, or who will ever live on earth. With Christ dying unrepentant of those sins he carried, he identified himself with the types of death that most humans undergo. Most die unrepentant like Christ did. But since Christ was mankind’s substitute, all mankind will share with Christ in the salvation he obtained. This is why salvation is guaranteed to all mankind through the works of Christ Jesus. All humans are given salvation by grace.
© 1976-2019 Associates for Scriptural Knowledge ~ ASK is supported by freewill contributions