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How Jesus' Death Redeemed Us
Study: Gentiles and the Law
How Jesus' Death Redeemed Us
Removal of Condemnation (Part 1)
Removal of Condemnation (Part 2)
Introduction of Obedience and Regeneration
from the Carnal Mind
can we tell others about Jesus if we can't convincingly explain
why they need him? How can we convince a skeptical generation
that they need redemption from sin unless we can explain how
This four part article is the product of years of conversation,
thought, and study. It gets to the heart of exactly how our
redemption was accomplished by the death and resurrection
of Jesus Christ. Of course, this is the central issue of all
of Christianity. If we cannot adequately and clearly explain
this then what else is the foundation of our faith? There
is no greater responsibility for every believer than to understand
what God did for us on the cross and how he did it.
Our struggle to understand this issue trails back into our
days in college. At that time, we were away from the charasmatic
church we attended during high school, but the influence of
some of the sermons we heard there were still lingering in
our doctrine, even on essential issues such as this one. We
took it upon ourselves to become apologists for what some
in the Christian community have termed "The Faith Movement."
An essential part of our defense was bound up in the issue
of how exactly Christ redeemed us by his death.
As usual, in the absence of a simple, logical, Biblical explanation,
false doctrines will grow up and abound accompanied by all
sorts of related false teaching. This is precisely what has
happened on the issue of redemption and it is precisely why
understanding the process of our redemption is so essential.
In time our persistent devotion to objective Bible study and
logical analysis thankfully led us out of "The Faith Movement."
Part of that process involved developing an accurate understanding
of what no minister or teacher or Christian brother had undertaken
to teach us in simple, logical terms - the redemptive work
of Jesus Christ.
In college we were involved in a large nonCharasmatic Christian
ministry. There we had the opportunity to discuss and debate
this and other issues with our fellow believers from time
to time, but sadly an adequate explanation could not be found.
The fact is, the issue of Jesus Christ's whole being (ontology)
is at stake in how we perceive the redemptive act. Shorthand
explanations and fastfood understandings of this act inherently
require a direct substitutionary process that creates a very
Without going into detail, when we say that Jesus' death took
the place of "my death" we invoke a direct substitutionary
system wherein the death of one individual can substitute
for the crimes of another. But if this is true, then how is
it possible for Christ to atone for more than one individual
while dying only one time?
Additionally, the act of sin has two effects on human beings.
One, we will die physically. Two, we die spiritually and are
cut off from fellowship with God which is eternal life and
therefore condemned to eternal hell. Christians readily understand
that Christ died physically for us, but did he die spiritually
Orthodox scholarship unanimously and correctly answers with
a solid "no." But as to why they say "no" we have found no
adequate explanation. Most commentaries on this subject resort
to complicating the issue rather than simplifying it. On this
point, we have even found Hank Hanegraaff's apologetics greatly
lacking. (Hank Hanegraaff is the host of a radio program called
"The Bible Answer Man" and is president of the Christian Research
Whether modern orthodox theologians actually recognize it
or not, the problem is that in a nut shell Jesus cannot be
both God and spiritually dead at the same time. This is the
heart of the redemption debate. For Jesus to die spiritually
in our place and redeem us from spiritual death, he must be
separated from God and therefore (at least for a time) could
not have been God.
In this study, we have taken a strictly Biblical approach
to the issue that refutes the necessity of Jesus' spiritual
death by explaining how the redemption process works in simple,
easy-to-understand language. Citing chapter and verse step
by step we demonstrate exactly how redemption works and how
it was completed on by his death on the cross.
In the process we also demonstrate how the death of Christ
is substitutionary only as a form of short hand. In other
words, we will show that from the Biblical perspective, Jesus
Christ does not substitute for each of us as individuals.
That is not to say He would not have died if there was only
one, however. We believe that Jesus would have died even if
each of us were the only one and in that way his sacrifice
is still personal for each one of us.
We should think of this in much the same way we think of short
and long division. The principles involved are the same no
matter which way express it. It is both expedient and accurate
to say Jesus' died in our place, but the "long hand" shows
there is more going on than that simple statement alone conveys.
Short division is simply an abbreviated expression of all
the work involved in the process of long division. So, when
we say, "Jesus' died for me," we are speaking in short division.
If we were to look at exactly how his death redeems us, we
are looking at the process of long division. Only as an abbreviated
short hand can we say that Jesus' death is a substitute. Biblically,
it does not work in such a way that Jesus undergoes the specific
individual physical and spiritual death sentences assigned
to each one of us for our sin. When we take a look at the
Biblical language on the issue as a whole and the logic of
the process, we see that such expressions are only short hand
division. To be completely Biblically accurate, Jesus' death
substitutes for us only in the sense that if he did not die,
the redemptive process could not have taken place. So, either
he could die physically, or each of us would die physically
We sincerely hope our study will clarify all these points
and refute the faulty reasoning that has arisen in the absense
of a clear, simple, Biblical explanation from modern Church
Our study is completely orthodox. It is also relatively short,
12 pages, not book length, not a month or two of sermons or
Bible study classes. It can be read and understood in a single
setting. We believe that in itself is a testimony to the simple
accuracy of our explanation. And we are confident this study
articulates how redemption was accomplished in a simple, concise
manner relying on and taking into account all the relevant
When we get down to it, there's nothing complex or mysterious
or groundbreaking about it. It was there for us in the Bible
all along. Given all the books and sermons on this subject,
perhaps the only remarkable, groundbreaking aspect of it is
how briefly, simply, and logically it can be explained once
we put our minds to it.
Please review it and decide for yourself. We think it will
help our testimony to an unbelieving world.