Introduction: For hundreds of years Christians have debated
the reasons why Jesus’ death on the cross saves us. Two weeks
ago, I suggested to you that a logical reason arises from the
operation of the “rule of law.” Alert readers let me know I
was not clear about what the rule of law meant, and that this
overlooked another logical explanation of Jesus’ sacrifice.
Both concerns are right on target, and our study this week
allows us to explore again what the Bible has to say about
both. Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible!

  1. The Rule of Law

    1. Read Deuteronomy 17:14-17. What did God see was in
      the future of His people? (That they would want to
      have a king like the other nations.)

      1. What characteristics did God say were essential
        for the king? (He had to be one of God’s people.
        He should not disobey God and he should not
        acquire too many things.)

        1. What does having too many things have to do
          with being king? (It would distract the
          king from God.)

    2. Read Deuteronomy 17:18-19. Who writes the king’s
      personal copy of the law of God? (The king does!)

      1. Why? (Writing something down helps to remember

      2. What is to guide the king in his decision
        making? (The words of the law.)

    3. Read Deuteronomy 17:19-20. What is not supposed to
      guide the king? (To start thinking that he is better
      than his subjects and thus he has authority to
      deviate from the law.)

    4. There are two great and opposing theories about how
      a king should rule. One theory is that the king is
      some sort of god, better than his subjects, and thus
      the king is entitled to make up the rules as he goes
      along. The second theory is that the king, just like
      everyone else, is subject to the law. Either the
      king is law or the law is king) Which approach to
      ruling did God require? (He required the king to be
      subject to the law. “Lex rex,” the law is king. That
      is what is meant by the “rule of law.”)

  2. Jesus’ Death On Our Behalf

    1. Two weeks ago we looked at a story in 2 Samuel 14.
      It revealed that when the king “corrupted” the rule
      of law, by not following it, the king had to take
      responsibility. Thus, if a king failed to impose the
      proper punishment on someone who committed a crime,
      the king had to answer for it. Let’s look at the
      conclusion to a similar story. Read 1 Kings 20:41-43. What sentence was pronounced on the king who
      released someone sentenced to death? (The king
      corrupted the rule of law by not imposing the death
      penalty, and therefore the king should lose his

      1. Is this thinking consistent with the rule of
        law? (Yes. If the king decided what would be the
        law, he could decide anything. But, the rule of
        law said that when the king deviates from the
        law, another law comes into play which requires
        the king to take personal responsibility. The
        law always has the final say – not the king.)

    2. Read Isaiah 53:4. Who is referred to in this
      prophecy? (Jesus!)

      1. What has Jesus done?(He carried our failures and
        our sorrows.)

    3. Read Isaiah 53:5-6. Why was Jesus punished? Why did
      He die? (He died for our sins.)

      1. Does this reflect the sanctuary system? (Yes!
        The animal died for the sin of the person.)

      2. Does this reflect the rule of law? (Yes! God
        changed the rule that sin brings death. Thus,
        God (the King) accepted the punishment for our

  3. Our Death With Jesus

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:23-25. Something odd is contained in
      these verses. Look at verse 24: “so that we might
      die to sins and live for righteousness.” What do you
      think this means? (This is the other part of the
      logic of the atonement. When Jesus died, we died.
      When Jesus arose to life, we were given the promise
      of life after death.)

    2. Read 1 Corinthians 15:22. and Romans 5:14. What did
      Adam do for us when he sinned? (He condemned us to

      1. Why? This is not the rule of law! Read Ezekiel
        18:20. (I do not understand it all, but Adam was
        the representative of the human race. Thus, we
        were all sentenced to death when he sinned.)

    3. Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-22. How is Jesus like Adam?
      How is He unlike Adam? (Adam’s sin plunged us all
      into death. Jesus’ perfect life and death on our
      behalf, gives us life. However the rule of law
      operated to give us death when Adam sinned, the rule
      of law gives us life based on Jesus’ perfect life,
      His death for our sins, and His resurrection!)

    4. If Jesus, as King, died for everyone, does that
      logically mean that all humans will escape eternal
      death? Jesus paid the price for everyone, so all
      have a “get out of jail (out of death)

    5. Read Romans 6:1-3. How did we die to sin when Jesus
      died on the cross? (We die with Jesus when we are
      baptized. Thus, baptism is key to participating with
      Jesus in His death for our sins.)

    6. Read Romans 6:4. What does it mean that we were
      “buried?” (Just as Jesus was buried after He died,
      so when we are buried in the water of baptism, we
      are buried with Jesus.)

    7. Read Romans 6:5. What does our coming up out of the
      baptismal waters mean? (It means that we are united
      with Jesus in His resurrection.)

    8. Can you see the two lines of logic here? King Jesus
      was pulled into our mess when He, in love, decided
      to change His rules and not leave us to eternal
      death. He suffered the penalty of the law, but when
      we are baptized we die with Jesus, we are buried
      with Jesus and we rise to the promise of eternal
      life with Jesus!

  4. Paying Attention

    1. Read Hebrews 10:28. Do you agree that some criminals
      should be given the death penalty?

      1. What kind of crimes qualify?

    2. Read Hebrews 10:29. Can we simply say that we are
      not buying what God is offering? Can we claim that
      we are not involved one way or the other?(Romans
      6:23 tells us that the “wages of sin is death.”
      Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned.” We
      learned that when Adam sinned, he pulled all of
      humanity into sin and death. No one is innocent. No
      one is uninvolved.)

      1. When we reject Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf,
        what are we doing? (Jesus died in our place. We
        are not only guilty of our own sin, but our sins
        caused Jesus to die. In addition we have ignored
        this great sacrifice on our behalf. God says we
        deserve death – because we are sinners, because
        we are ungrateful, and because we have insulted
        God and trampled Him under foot!)

    3. Friend, God has given us an offer no sensible person
      should refuse! Will you accept it right now?

  5. Next week: Christ, Our Priest.