Friday, May 21

Purposes of Christ's Death, No. 4

This is the fourth in our series examining the explicit purpose statements regarding Christ's death that we find in scripture. Today's purpose statement comes from Hebrews 2:14, 15:
Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, he likewise shared in their humanity, so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death. (NET)
The purpose statement in this verse is actually a purpose statement for Christ's incarnation. Christ became human just like we are "so that through death he could destroy the one who holds the power of death (that is, the devil), and set free those who were held in slavery all their lives by their fear of death." He had to live the same sort of life we do in the same sort of body in order to represent us as our high priest (see verse 17), and offer himself to God in our place.

The purpose of this representative death is to defeat of the devil. The text describes the devil as "the one who holds the power of death". Of course, the ultimate power of death belongs to God, and Satan works only within the boundaries permitted him, but his power is always for death and never for life. He was the one who introduced death into creation. Christ's death on the cross, then, means that the devil's power of death over those who are identified with Christ is nullified. They are set free from living their lives in fear of death, because through Christ they have the hope of eternal life.

Another purpose of Christ's death is to take the power of death away from the devil, and in this way to set people free from their fear of death.
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