1 Peter 3:18 – “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit.”
The fact that Christ died only once is very important. In the old testament, sin offerings were offered with astounding frequency. Not only were sacrifices offered every year by the priests (Exodus 30:10, Leviticus 4:21) for the sins of the people as a whole, but every time one sinned a sin offering was to be given to remove the offense (Leviticus 4:14).
But Christ’s death as the sinless lamb and the Son of God is so powerful and transcendent that it needed only to be offered once and then Jesus sat down at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 10:11-13). And this sacrifice is on behalf of everyone who believes that they may have eternal life (John 3:14-16, John 6:40).
Christ died not only for those living at that time, but also those who died before Him who trusted God and looked for the Messiah, and also for those of us who die after Him who trust God and believe in the One He sent. He did this to bring us into a right relationship with God. While we were still enemies, Christ died for us. We are now clothed with the righteousness of Christ (Philippians 3:9, 2 Peter 1:1) and have become children of God (John 1:12).
Not only did He die for us, but He was raised to life – literal, physical life (Luke 24:39). This is important in two ways: first, His physical resurrection is proof of all He claimed to be or He would have remained dead just like everyone else who ever lived. Second, it proves that we can have confidence in God’s power and in His promise that though we die we will be raised to new life (John 11:25-26, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), an eternal life with God.
So let us pray, “Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your death on the cross which paid for our sins that You might bring us to You and through You to the Father. Thank You for Your promise of eternal life – to know You (John 17:3). You have done everything for us that we may know You. Your love, oh God, is far greater than we could ever imagine – it knows no bounds and has no end, for Your love is the forever kind. As we live our lives, help us to always remember what You have done for us, and in light of all You do for us, help us to live only for You – to Your glory. Help us to know You, make us desperate for You*, draw us close to You. May You be glorified in us and through us forever. For You alone are worthy. Your name be praised in all the earth! Amen.”