Jesus Lived For You Too

Picture from: The Passion of the Christ

Guest Blogger: Ben Baker

Did you know that? Did you know that Jesus not only died for you, but He also lived for you too? I didn’t know this for so long. I grew up in a Christian home and I’ve gone to church for as long as I can remember. I was raised in two Bible-believing churches and yet, somehow, I missed this part. I knew that Jesus had died for my sins. I was told that. But I never knew that Jesus lived for me. Not until I was at AFLBS (Association Free Lutheran Bible School) and I was in a class on the Gospel of Luke, led by Pr. Phil Haugen. He would tell us over and over again as we looked at what Jesus did – both with how He overcame temptation and how He would go and spend time alone with His Father and with everything that He did in accordance with the Law of God – Pr. Phil would tell us that Jesus did this in our place. Over and over again he would tell us…and I finally got it. I finally understood. Jesus lived for me – in my place.

So what’s the significance? How important is this? Of utmost importance. You see, for many years I knew that Jesus had died for my sins and that by believing in Him I would be saved. However, I thought that I had to do good things and live up to the Law in order to be pleasing to God. You know how often I did this? Let’s see…how about never. I failed all the time. I would try so hard and fail so quickly. I got depressed; I despaired. I thought God was angry with me and I wondered how He could ever use a failure like me. I would look at what Jesus did and I tried to copy that. I failed miserably. All the time. The Law is a heavy burden to carry. I can’t carry it. It crushes me. I am too weak even when I think I am strong. I didn’t know what to do with my predicament so I just lived with it. Until God used Pr. Phil Haugen to open my eyes to what I had been missing. Jesus lived for me.

You see, Jesus is my substitute not only in His death but in His life too. He did everything I cannot do: He lived in perfect obedience to God and to His Law. He didn’t do everything I could do: He didn’t sin. All I can do is sin until Christ makes me new by grace through faith in His finished work on Calvary. His finished work? What work? Dying on the cross? Yes that’s part of it. The other part is that His work was living perfectly under the law in my place because I could not ever do it. Not even close. After maintaining His righteousness under the Law He went to Gologotha. And there something absolutely incredible happened. There was an exchange. All my sins and filthiness were transferred to Jesus and Jesus’ righteousness was given to me. We often talk about Jesus’ death with two words: 1) Propitiation and 2) Expiation. We also speak of it as a penal, substitutionary death. Penal because He died as punishment from His Father upon sin – not His sin, but mine. And yours. And the whole world’s sin. At that point Jesus became the vilest thing in the eyes of His Father because my sin and yours was placed upon Him, along with the sins of the world, and the Father executed just punishment and put His Son to death. Substitutionary because it was done in my place, in your place. Propitiation and expiation take their imagery from Leviticus 16 and the Day of Atonement. There were two goats – both without blemish. One was killed on the altar to satisfy God’s wrath – propitiation. The other was the scapegoat. All the sins of the people were transferred to it and it was led outside the camp to the wilderness never to return – expiation…the removal of sin. Jesus did both at Golgotha. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “For our sake he (God the Father) made him (Jesus) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The Great Exchange. Jesus for me. Not only in death but also in His life.

So what does this mean? It means I am free! I do not have to keep the Law for God to be pleased with me because He is pleased with me on account of Christ’s work. Christ’s righteousness. My chains are gone. My burden is gone. I understand the Gospel. Jesus for me in His life and His death and so that through faith I may be made righteous and live with my Lord forever – His resurrection gaurantees that. I never had felt so free as I did that day in Luke class when I understood that Jesus lived for me. Do you understand? Jesus not only died for you but He lived for you. Do you believe it? Or are you trying to please God on your own? It won’t work. Despair of your attempts to please God through your good works. Rest on the work of Christ. Do you understand? Let me tell you again: Jesus lived for you.

1 Timothy 1:15a: “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…”

1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit…”