The scriptures teach us that Jesus gave up His place of equality with God in Heaven in order to come to this earth and live as a man for a time. He came as the Savior for all mankind and willingly allowed Himself to be crucified on a cross (Phlp. 2:5-8). In so doing, His death served as the perfect sacrifice to cover for the guilt of our sins (Heb. 9:28). Jesus lived on this earth as a man, a form a little lower than the angels, in order to suffer death for all men (Heb. 2:9). Did Jesus do all of that, did He go through all that He went through to be the Savior, in vain?
The obvious answer is, “No!” Jesus did not die in vain. Just a casual look at the souls of this earth portrayed in the seventh chapter of “The Revelation” as being in Heaven demonstrates that He did not die in vain. Those souls would not be in Heaven had Jesus not gone to the cross. There is no salvation anywhere but in Christ (Acts 4:12). There is no forgiveness except through Christ (Acts 22:16). Those souls being in Heaven shouts out the power of the sacrifice that Jesus was willing to be.
But what about all of the people who have gone to their graves without submitting to Jesus as their Savior? What about all those today who refuse to surrender their will to His will? What about those who fail to take advantage of the sacrifice Jesus made for them and continue to live in the condemnation of sin? Since there is no salvation outside Christ, it would appear, in the cases of individuals who refuse to turn to their Savior for forgiveness, that Jesus died in vain.
Such individuals show disrespect for the death of Christ. Indeed, they show disrespect for Christ Himself. While His death on the cross is still powerful to save anyone who will obediently follow Him as their Savior, for those who will not do so He apparently died in vain.
What a tragedy! Man was lost in sin, helpless to get out of his state of condemnation. There was nothing that he could do, in and of himself, to change his spiritually lost condition. But God, in love and through grace, did for man what man could not do for himself.
God sent His own Son to die on the cross as the payment for the guilt of our sins. Jesus paid the price! We can be forgiven, saved. But instead of embracing this blessing of all blessings, most people do not follow their Savior faithfully. Will they ultimately come to their senses and repent, or will they live and die in such a state that they will make the death of Jesus, for them, a death in vain?
Sadly, Jesus prophesied that most people will spend eternity in condemnation (Matt. 7:13-14). It does not have to be that way; it will be by their own choice. We shake our heads in wonder. How foolish, how foolish! Why would anyone risk missing Heaven?
But what about you, my friend? Are you following the Savior? Is your life surrendered to your Lord? Do you live daily according to His teachings? Or, as far as the way you are living right now is concerned, did Jesus die in vain?
Gary L. Hutchens