The facts of the gospel are stated in a nutshell by the Apostle Paul in writing to the Corinthians.  “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor 15:3-4 NASB).  Those three facts of the message of salvation have profound meaning and are essential to understanding and appreciating the work of redemption.  There is a greater spiritual meaning to these three events than just the physical.  Much attention is often given to the physical aspect of Christ’s crucifixion.  However, a close reading and examination of Scripture reveals that salvation was accomplished before his physical death. A spiritual death occurred He became sin for us. He separated from the Father.  Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah would experience two deaths. (Is 53:9)  Unfortunately, translators of the English text tend to ignore that the Hebrew text states the death of Messiah in the plural.  Two deaths were necessary, each one unique and never to be repeated again for all eternity.  The first death, spiritual in nature, was necessary to pay humanity’s sin debt to a righteous God. “He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son] who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).  That once for all time sacrifice removed the barrier of sin between God and man. Mankind could now be reconciled to God through faith in Christ.   After declaring that salvation was accomplished with the words TETELESTAI, Jesus dismissed His spirit and died physically.  “When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!"  And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).  Note that salvation was completed while He was still alive and then He experienced another unique death, this time physical -- He dismissed His spirit.  You and I are unable to exhale, refuse to inhale and then dismiss our human spirit.  His physical death required that in order to fulfill His own words.  "I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.  "And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd.  "For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.  "No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father."  Yes, Jesus Christ is the unique Person of all history.  Only He could go to the Cross and provide salvation through His once for all time spiritual sacrifice for sin.  Only He would be able to experience a unique physical death so that burial and resurrection could follow, giving undeniable proof that the Cross was an historical reality, that the Person on the Cross was God in the flesh, and that the Father was satisfied with the payment for sin so that whoever believes in Him [Christ] has eternal life. (John 3:16)

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