Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
NUMBER 15, PAGE 4-5a

The Sin That Crucified Jesus


Henry J. Ficklin

A few years ago I heard a sermon on the subject: "THE SINS THAT CRUCIFIED JESUS". More recently, I have read an article on this subject. In both the sermon and the article mention was made of the malice of the chief priests and elders, the moral cowardice of Pilate, the treachery of Judas, the mockery of the soldiers who put the crown of thorns upon his beloved head, and the injustice of the trials before the Sanhedrin, when he was unjustly condemned. These sins made our Lord's death more shameful, and caused him needless suffering and grief. But these were not the sins that crucified Jesus. Had these sins not been committed, Christ would have been crucified, anyhow.

Let us not say: "THE SINS (plural) THAT CRUCIFIED JESUS", but "THE SIN (Singular number) THAT CRUCIFIED JESUS" What was that sin? It was "the sin of the world" "Behold," he said, "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1: 29) Seven hundred years before Christ died, Isaiah wrote, in the vivid past tense, "All we, like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one of us to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 5:36). This is the sin that crucified Jesus- "the iniquity of us all". When Jesus died on the cross, he tasted "of death for every man"(Hebrews 2:9).

Christ's death was to atone for the sins of others. It is truly called "the substitutionary atonement." "Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted" (Isaiah 53:4) "and as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?" (Isaiah 53:8) We are all saved through the cross of Christ. Paul realized that, personally, for he writes "But far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world hath been crucified unto me, and I unto the world" (Galatians 6:14) I once heard brother Grubbs say, when speaking at the communion table: "We are saved, brethren and sisters, at Calvary, and not along the shores of the lake of Galilee". What he meant was that we are not saved by the teachings or parables of Jesus, but by his atoning death.

We must fasten on to this idea that Christ died for us, and that we must be saved "Down at the cross." We must realize that we have to look for what Jesus did at Calvary for our redemption. We were all under condemnation, for the Lord had said: "-for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die:' (Genesis 2:17.) And we are told that "-all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). What was to be done? If we were all punished as we deserved, we would all be lost eternally, for we were all dead spiritually. But God loved the world and would have us all to be saved. But if nothing was done about it, after we had sinned, what would become of God's authority if there was no punishment for our sins? God found one that was a man, and yet was sinless and he caused him to die. Thus, his justice and mercy and love were all preserved. Thus:

"Mercy and truth are met together,

"Righteousness and peace have kissed each other (Psalm 85:10)

We are grieved at the sins that were committed at the time of Christ's trial and crucifixion. They made his death more shameful and cruel. Pilate's emptiness and moral cowardice make him look so base in the presence of Jesus. Gambling never did seem so sinful to us, as when the soldiers cast lots for his garments. For that seamless robe may have had on it the fringes that the woman touched by faith, when she was cured. Worst of all, we may think, was the hypocrisy of the chief priests and elders, and their envy. For there never was a worse mixture than that of malice and religion. The thrust of the spear into the Saviour's side was cold-blooded and useless. But John finds in seeing the blood and the water, a blessed assurance that our Lord actually died. Christ did not swoon, as some modernists would have it.

These acts of sinfulness and cruelty seem all the worse to us, as they stand over against his innocence, meekness, and his dying for those who wronged him, and since he prayed for them. But, let us fully understand that it was not these sins that crucified Jesus. Peter would have prevented his arrest, for he drew his sword and struck off the ear of the servant of the high priest. But Christ said to him: "Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Or thinkest thou that I cannot beseech my Father, and he shall even now send me more than twelve legions of angels? How then should the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?" (Matthew 26:52-54) "It must be" he tells Peter. In one of the most memorable comparisons ever written, we are told "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life." (John 3:14,15). His "must" expresses a divine necessity. When preaching on the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter told his audience that Jesus of Nazareth was "delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23). Christ's death on the cross was no accident, it was a part of the "ETERNAL PURPOSE" of God to save men through Christ. (Ephesians 3:11).

The merits of Christ's death reached back to those before who had served the Lord under the first covenant, for in Hebrews 9:15 we are told: "And for this cause he is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance". And the merits of his death reach forward to us, also, Who, then, crucified Christ? The chief priests and elders and scribes had a part, we know. The soldiers drove the nails, but they were acting under military orders from the Centurion. He did what he did at Pilate's command, who heeded the multitude. The Jewish rulers incited them. But God allowed it, and it took place because of the sin of the world. You and I had a part in it --- "Thou art the man". Its guilt lay upon our souls. But its saving power reaches us, also.

-Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, 40353 P. O. Box 173