Jesus Is God’s Sacrifice For Our Sins

Jesus Is God’s Sacrifice For Our Sins

April 11th, 1995 @ 12:00 PM

1 Corinthians 15:3

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
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Dr. W. A. Criswell

1 Corinthians 15:3

4-11-95    12:00 p.m.


The message today is God’s Atoning Sacrifice for Our Sins.  Our background text will be the first part and the last part of the fifteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians:

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,

and by which also you are saved. . .

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.

[1 Corinthians 15:1-4]

Then, the last part:

So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory”. . .

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of the sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

[1 Corinthians 15:54-57]

Do you notice how he phrased that?  “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received” [1 Corinthians 15:3].  Paul avows he is not an innovator.  He is not an originator.  He is not an inventor.  He is a messenger.  He received the gospel message, and that’s the one that he says, “I delivered to you” [1 Corinthians 3].

I remember in the Second World War the king of England addressed America.  I sat there and listened to it, a wonderful address.  And the next day, in the paper, I read where the cable carrying that message to America broke just as the king began to speak.  And a dedicated workman seized one end of the broken cable and the other end of the broken cable and the entire message passed through his body.  That’s exactly what Paul is referring to here.  “I received this message from God” [1 Corinthians 15:3], the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

And, do you notice, that he calls it the “gospel”? [1 Corinthians 15:1].  That is an old English medieval word for the “good news.”  God’s seal.  God’s word.  It is also the translation of the Greek word euaggelion, which means exactly the same thing, the good news.

When you send out a missionary to preach the gospel, that’s what he preaches, the good news.  And when a man stands in a sacred pulpit like this, and if he’s true to the faith, that’s what he will preach, the good news: “Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures.  He was buried, and the third day He was raised for our justification” [1 Corinthians 15:3-4; Romans 4:25]. 

The gospel.  Do you know?  Do you see?  It’s called the good news, the most marvelous word that even God from heaven could bestow upon us.  When you go to church and it’s dead and dull and dry and dreary, and you go out and forget it, how opposite that it is to the purpose of God for the message from heaven.  It is the good news and ought to bring indescribable, infinite joy and happiness to us as we listen to it, and then as we go out and share it with the world.

I again so well remember, in the days of that last great war, the death march to Bataan.  When the Japanese overwhelmed our army in the Philippines, MacArthur had to flee with the soldiers that he could gather around him for escape.  But some of them were imprisoned there in the Philippines and marched in death to Bataan.  Well, as the days passed, those men died one after another by exposure, by tragic treatment from the Japanese.  It was one of the saddest things you could imagine.

The chaplain, who was with the group in Bataan there, imprisoned in a barbed wire area, I visited with him here several times.  And he said, “Upon a darkening night we heard snippers cutting that barbed wire.  And then we saw, in the shadow of the night, men coming toward us.  We thought it was the Japanese coming to slay us.  And when they approached we couldn’t help but exclaim.”  And he said, “Those American soldiers, when they came close, said, ‘Steady there boy, steady there.  General MacArthur has come, and the Yanks are here, and you are saved.’”  That is the good news.  That is the gospel, the finest, sweetest, dearest announcement that ever fell upon human ears.

In the first part of this century was the tremendously glorious Welsh Revival.  And here is a song that they sang:

The Lord was slain on Calvary!

That’s the news. That’s the news.

That set a world of sinners free.

That’s the news!  That’s the news!

‘Twas there His precious blood was shed,

‘Twas there He bowed His sacred head,

But now He’s risen from the dead.

That’s the news!  That’s the news!

His work’s reviving all around,

That’s the news!  That’s the news!

And many have salvation found—

That’s the news!  That’s the news!

And since these souls have caught the flame,

They shout hosannas to His name,

And all around they spread His fame—

That’s the news!  That’s the news!

Where’er we meet, you always say,

What’s the news?  What’s the news?

Pray what’s the order of the day?

What’s the news?  What’s the news?

Oh! I’ve got good news to tell!

My Savior has done all things well,

And triumphed over death and hell—

That’s the news!  That’s the news!

[“What’s the News?” anonymous]

There is nothing in human speech that compares with the glory of the triumph of the gospel of Jesus Christ over sin and death and the grave.  So, let’s speak of it for this moment.  What’s the news?  God in Christ has done away with our sin.  As the one hundred third Psalm says, “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us” [Psalm 103:12].  That’s the news.

I sometimes think of the gospel message and its marvelous effect in us.  As you read in the prophet Zechariah, chapter 3, he sees Joshua the high priest in that day standing before the altar of God, and he is dressed in dirty garments and filthy.  And by his side stands Satan to condemn him.  And then, the prophet says, “I saw an Angel.”  And God placed in the hands of that Angel beautiful, precious, glorious, white garments.  And God said to the Angel, “Go to the priest, and take off those dirty, filthy robes, and clothe him with these glorious garments, pure and white from heaven” [Zechariah 3:1-4].  That is exactly what Jesus has done for us. Our filthy, dirty garments, stained with every thought and kind of sin, God in Christ has taken away and clothed us in the white, pure  righteousness of Jesus our Lord [Psalm 103:12].

What’s the news?  That He has triumphed over death and the grave [1 Corinthians 15:55-57].  There are two things that characterize the death of the Christian.  Number one: he exchanges this old body, aging and decaying, he exchanges it for the new body, the one like Christ, glorified, transfigured, raised from the dead [1 John 3:2].

And number two: for the Christian, death is our entrance into heaven and into glory [1 Thessalonians 4:16-17].  Never could I forget being with my father the last time, just before he died.  He loved to sing, and he sang me a song.

I will meet you in the morning, by the bright riverside,

When all sorrow has thus fled away;

I’ll be standing at the portals, when the gates open wide,

At the close of life’s long, dreary day.

[“I’ll Meet You In the Morning,” Albert E. Brumley, 1936]

And after I left to come back here, my father died.  That’s death to the Christian: I’ll meet you in the morning.”  It’s the way and the entrance into heaven.  What’s the news?  That the terrible judgment has passed for the Christian.  You know, when I read that text, the sting of death, what could that apply to but to the lost?  There’s no sting of death,” he says, “to the Christian; just our triumph in Christ over the grave” [1 Corinthians 15:55-57]. 

The sting of death is that ultimate confrontation that the lost man faces in the judgment day of Almighty God.  O Lord, the infinite, indescribably tragic death of one who goes into that other world without Jesus!  But for the Christian, that judgment has already passed.  Jesus, Jesus, Jesus died for us and accepted that judgment upon our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3].  He did it on the cross, and now we are free [Matthew 27:32-50; John 19:28-30].  The judgment for us has already passed [John 3:18].

Out there in West Texas where I grew up, once in a while would be an indescribably vast prairie fire from horizon to horizon, a devastating thing.  And I think of one of those ranchers.  There’s his home, and there’s all of the accouterments of his ranching life, and that terrible storm is coming.  And what does he do?  Around his house and around his barns and around his cattle, he burns.  He burns.  He burns.  He burns.  And his house now stands in a great area already burned, already fired.  And when that terrible West Texas prairie fire comes, it touches him not at all.  It’s already burned.  That’s exactly what Jesus has done for us.  The great judgment has already passed [2 Corinthians 5:21].  Jesus faced it for us on the cross [Isaiah 53:5].  And we are free.  We are alive [Romans 5:8-10; Galatians 2:20; Revelation 1:5].

One other: the good news is the blessing of our salvation, and our entrance into heaven and our eternal life is for anyone, everyone.  Do you notice when I read here, the plural, the plural pronouns, that he uses?  He says, “Thanks be to God, who gives us,” plural, “us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” [1 Corinthians 15:57].  God’s arms are outstretched as wide as the world is wide.  And like the angel said in the Book of Luke, the good news is addressed to all mankind, to all men everywhere [Luke 2:10].

You know, thinking about that, the greatest text in the Bible has a “whosoever” in it.  “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever” [John 3:16], anybody.  And then I remembered again: the last, last concluding invitation of God in the Bible is the same way.  “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.  And let him that heareth say, Come.  And let him that is athirst come.  And whosoever will, anybody, me, you, them, let him come and take the water of life freely, let him come, anybody” [Revelation 22:17].

Simon Peter, who cursed, swore that he never knew the Lord [Matthew 26:74], if he will come, Jesus will forgive him [1 John 1:9].  Thomas, who doubted the Lord could even be raised from the dead [John 20:19-25], if he will come, he will be forgiven [1 John 1:9].  The high priest who presided over the Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus to die [Mark 14:53, 60-65], if he’d come, he’d be forgiven [1 John 1:9].  That awful critter, whoever he was, that beat our Lord with many, many stripes [Mark 15:15], if he’d come, he’d be forgiven [1 John 1:9].  Those contemptible, contemptuous men who spit on Him and plucked out His beard and mocked Him [Matthew 27:29-31; Isaiah 50:6], if they’d come, they’d be forgiven [1 John 1:9].

I often think of that man who drove those nails in His hand [John 20:20, 24-27].  Great God!  But, if he’d come, he’d be forgiven [1 John 1:9].  And that soldier who thrust that spear into His side and heart [John 19:34], if he’d come, he’d be forgiven [1 John 1:9].  It’s anybody you.  It’s anybody me.  It’s anybody us.  Welcome! [1 John 1:9].

As some of you know, last Friday night I delivered the closing address at the State Sunday School Convention in Alabama.  In a beautiful and expansive sanctuary, it was crowded with three thousand people.  And when my address was done, the presiding officer, the president of the convention said that I was going to be down there at the front, seated at a table, and anybody wanted to bring a Bible, I’d sign it for them.  So, I set me down.  And among those that came forward with a Bible was a big fine-looking man.  And as he stood there, I never heard a testimony so full and complete in so brief a moment.

He said to me, “When I was a young fellow, I murdered a man.  And when I was tried, I was sentenced to life in the penitentiary, with the codicil that I had to be there for at least fifteen years before I was a candidate for a parole.  Then,” he said, “Confined to a jail, before they had prepared for me to be removed to the state penitentiary, a beautiful young woman led me to Jesus.  Then,” he said, “for fifteen years, I fell in love with her, and she wrote and came to see me.  And,” he said, “she waited for me for fifteen years.  And at the end of the fifteen years I was paroled, and we married, and God called me to preach.  And,” he said, “I am now pastor of a God-blessed, Christ-honoring, Spirit-filled Baptist church here in Alabama.”

Oh, I don’t think I had seen anything like that or heard it before!  And, as these days have passed I’ve turned that over and over in my mind, that murderer, that murderer, now the pastor of a Baptist church in Alabama.

And you know what?  I’ve kind of had an experience since then.  He, a murderer, and now pastor of the church.  And then I got to thinking about me.  I cried so when I was converted as a little boy.  I cried.  Why did I cry?  Then when I stood up on a Wednesday night to testify of the love of God and His grace toward me, I broke down and cried.  And for thousands of times since then, I have prayed before God, “O Lord, forgive me my sins, dear God, and strengthen me by Thy love and grace.”  I guess I’ve prayed that several times every day of my Christian pilgrimage.  And then I thought of that murderer, and that’s me.  Anybody can come and be saved and be welcomed and be redeemed and be forgiven [John 3:16-18].  Anybody can, no matter who he is, and that includes us all [Romans 10:9-13].  All of us sin, come short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23].  He, a murderer.  Yes.  I, a sinner.  Yes.  And that is the good news.  O God, O God!

Saved by the blood of the crucified One!

All glory to the Father, all praise to the Son,

All love to the Spirit, the great Three in One!

Saved by the blood of the crucified One!

[“Saved by the Blood,” by S. J Henderson]

He and me and you praise His name forever.  Now, in His presence, may we stand?


Dr. W.
A. Criswell

Corinthians 15:1-4, 54-57


I.          This is the gospel

A.  Paul
not an originator – he delivered what he received

“Gospel” – old English word for “the good news”; euaggelion in Greek

True minister will preach the good news, that Jesus died for our sins, was
buried and raised for our justification

D.  The
good news ought to bring indescribable joy and happiness

1.  Dry, dull, dreary
church service opposite the purpose of God

2.  Soldiers rescued
from Bataan

3.  Welsh revival song,
“What’s the News?”

II.         The good news

A.  God
in Christ has done away with our sin (Psalm
103:12, Zechariah 3:1-5)

He has triumphed over death and the grave

1.  Two things
characterize the death of the Christian

a. He exchanges this
old body for the new – one like Christ

b. Death is our
entrance into heaven and glory

Sting of death is ultimate confrontation lost man faces in the judgment

C.  The
blessing of our salvation and entrance into heaven and eternal life is for

Good news is addressed to all men everywhere (Luke
2:10, John 3:16, Revelation 22:17)

State Sunday School convention in Alabama – man led to the Lord in prison for