Yesterday we started a series based on the chorus of the song “Heaven came down.” We’re using the phrase found in the song, when at the cross, as the launching point for each devotional. We noticed yesterday how, thanks to the Cross we can be made whole, and that desire people have to find the answers to the questions of life can be satisfied by the salvation which Jesus offers.
Today let’s consider how, thanks to the cross, our sins are washed away.
First of all, singers of the song should be aware that the words are–being a song–a form of poetry. As such, there is a certain amount of leeway that comes with the words (it’s called poetic expression). When we sing that “at the Cross our sins were washed away” we know that’s a simplification of the salvation process. There’s a nugget of truth to the phrase, but it needs to be elaborated.
We’re not saved BECAUSE OF the death of Christ.
We’re saved BY the death of Christ and there is a huge difference between those statements.
To say that we’re saved BECAUSE OF the death of Christ means that at the moment of Jesus’ death, everyone everywhere was automatically saved. If that was the case, then there would have been no need for the Apostles of the Lord to preaching and trying to lead LOST souls to Christ.
On the other hand it is BY the death of Christ that a person who is saved is saved. By that I mean, without the death of Christ there is no salvation. Without the death of Christ everyone everywhere would be doomed to eternal condemnation. Those who are saved, however, are saved by reenacting the DEATH, burial and resurrection of the Lord.
Now let me ask and answer some basic questions in response to that:
How do we reenact the death, burial and resurrection?
Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
And what connection does that have with salvation?
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
And what are we washing our sins away with?
And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
And so we come full-circle back to the cross of Christ:
But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
It was at the Cross (John 19) where Jesus shed His soul-cleansing blood (Revelation 7), which washes away our sins (Acts 22) when we reenact His death, burial and resurrection at the moment of our Baptism (Romans 6).