I like Bible verses that say a lot in just a few words. 2 Corinthians 5:15 is one of those
verses: “And he died for all that those who live, might no longer live for themselves but for him who, for their sakes, died and rose again.”
This point of this verse is simple: Jesus died for us so we live for him.
Jesus’ death on the cross was no ordinary death. It was a death “for all.” We are all not
just sinners but slaves to sin and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). Jesus, who was
without sin and completely free of sin, died to pay the death penalty for all our sins when he died for us on the cross.
This is a truth about which Scriptures have a lot to say:
“For the death he died he died to sin, once for all.” (Romans 6:10)
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32)
“For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all.” (I Timothy 2:5-5)
And finally, “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.” (Hebrews 10:12)
How many people do you know who would be willing to die for you? I know one for
sure, Jesus, the Son of God, because he has already done so.
When we realize what a great blessing Jesus’ death was for us we want to live for him:
“that those who live might no longer live for themselves.”
One of our most prevalent sins is living for ourselves. We all must admit that, even when
we are doing good things for others, we are thinking of ourselves. What’s in it for me? It’s my life; I’ll do as I please. The death of Jesus for us makes us die to ourselves and live for him, to strive to honor him in everything we do, all our thoughts, words and actions.
It is common during the Lenten season of the church year for people to “give up”
something for Lent. Someone pointed out that a better term would be to “sacrifice” something for Lent. That’s because Jesus didn’t just give up something for us; he sacrificed his entire being for us on the cross that we might live for him.
This verse says that, “those who live” no longer live for themselves. While it is true that Jesus’ death was truly for all people, not all people believe in Jesus. Those who don’t believe in Jesus are still dead in their sins. Faith in Jesus makes us alive in a whole new way.
And it means living for Jesus in good times and in bad. We don’t just live for Jesus when the sun is shining and things are going our way. The death of Jesus for us makes us want to live for him even when we struggle.
Knowing that Jesus died for us also assures us that our lives are worth something. How
can we ever feel worthless when we remember that Jesus gave his very life for us?
And there is even more to this verse. It also points us to Jesus’ resurrection. We would
not live for Jesus if he was still dead. If he had died on the cross and been buried and stayed in his tomb we would have forgotten about him long ago.
But Jesus did not stay in the tomb. Three days after he died he rose from the dead, never
to die again. We live for someone who is not just alive but who is alive forever. Because he rose from the dead he can be with us today and throughout our lives. Because he rose from the dead we too will someday rise from the dead to eternal life.
Can it really be this simple? Jesus died for us so we live for him? Yes and no. Living for
Jesus in this world will never be easy. The devil, the world and our own sinful nature will constantly entice us to go back to the sinful slavery of living for ourselves. That is why the Lent and Easter seasons are such a blessing. With their intense focus on Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, they motivate us to re-dedicate ourselves to living for him and remind us that our lives are very precious in God’s sight.