"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone" (Hebrews 2:9)
Part 1 of 2
Several years back I was in a small group discussion and the topic was salvation. Most everyone in the group believed the same thing about Jesus. But there was one individual that did not believe in absolute truth, so the fact that Jesus was the only way to heaven was impossible for her to accept. Rather she believed that there were several ways to get to heaven and whatever you decided to follow would work for you. So if you liked the teachings of Buddha then by following His way, it was possible to achieve salvation. If the Hindu teachings are what you believed then somehow God honored that if you remained true to those things and wholeheartedly followed that way.
However the Bible says in Acts 4:12, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." This is a hard truth for many, like my friend, but it doesn’t nullify the fact; Jesus is the only way to heaven. Today we will look at the punishment for sin and how Jesus experienced death for everyone so we can be free from its accusation.
Jesus Tasted Death for Every Individual Person
With the fall of mankind, death entered into the picture. Not just physical death but eternal death - eternal separation from God. Sin ruined everything. God, being Holy, could not tolerate sin and its effects nor could He allow it to taint Heaven as it did this earthly creation. But He still loved us and wanted to fellowship with us just as He did with Adam and Eve. This is why He sent Jesus to deal with the issue of sin once for all. I John makes this very clear, "But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins. And in him is no sin" (I John 3:5). John goes on to explain why he came to do this, "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work (I John 3:8b). He wanted the power of sin over us destroyed so it would no longer be a barrier between us and the Father.
The prescribed punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23) so Jesus tasted death for everyone so that we could escape it. When He died for the sins of the entire world (I John 2:2), He took them on his body and essentially became sin (I Corinthians 5:21). He dealt with the sin issue once for all. This is a radical statement for some, but sin is not an issue with God. Every sin, past, present and future has been paid for by Jesus and forgiven by God. The punishment for sin was placed on Jesus. He tasted death in our place. "All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation" (II Corinthians 5:18-19). This is an amazing truth; God does not count mankind's sins against them. Even those who do not believe in Jesus are forgiven. All that remains then, is the requirement that we accept God’s gift of forgiveness through Jesus.
This is why Jesus is the only way to God, because He is the only one who provided the way to be reconciled to the Father by taking our punishment for sin. "For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died" (II Corinthians 5:14). If death is the prescribed punishment for sin, then by dying the punishment has been satisfied. Through Christ the penalty is fulfilled.
Over the next two days we will look at Hebrews 2:9. We have looked why Jesus tasted death for everyone so tomorrow we will look at why sin does not send you to hell only rejecting the savior can.
Tomorrow we look at Part 2: Sin Does not Send you to Hell, Rejecting Jesus Does