For WHOM, and for WHAT Did Christ Die?

by James Smith

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die–but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.” – Rom 5:6-10

For WHOM did Christ die?

Christ died for the ungodly. Such was my character by nature, for I had not one spark of godliness in me. I was a stranger to the power of godliness. If Jesus died for the ungodly—then why not for me?

Christ died for sinners. Such as were entirely sinful, whose natures were depraved, whose conduct was perverse and wicked. For sinners, who had nothing to recommend them to his notice, or to warrant them to expect any blessing from his hands. If Jesus died for sinners—then why not for me? I am a sinner, a poor miserable sinner. No one ever needed a Savior more. No one ever deserved a Savior less. But as a physician gets fame and honor, by healing desperate cases—may not Jesus get honor by saving me?

Christ died for enemies. Such as were opposed to him, whose hearts were enmity against him, who never thought well of him, or had any desire to be under an obligation to him; nor ever would, if their hearts were not changed by a divine power. Awful to say—but I was an enemy to God, and showed my enmity by wicked works! I never loved him. I had no wish to know him. I dreaded him—because he was holy. I wished there was no God—except he were one that would tolerate and sanction sin; one that would be ruled by my depraved principles and passions. How awful it is to look back, and see what we have been, what we have done, what we have said, what we have been afraid to say—but have thought!

No one knows what is in a man’s heart, but himself. No one knows what is working in a man’s bosom, but himself. How fearful would be the exposure of one’s thoughts! But what can be worse than to be the enemies of the God of love? Such were all of us! Such was I—and yet if Jesus died for the enemies of God, for his own enemies—then why not for me? Yes, though I was ungodly, a sinner, an enemy of God and his Christ; yet as Jesus died for the ungodly, for sinners, for enemies, I will believe that he died for me.

For WHAT did Christ die?

To make an atonement for them. To satisfy the claims which divine justice had upon sinners. To meet all the demands of the righteous and immutable law of God. He allowed them to be placed to his account, To be imputed to his person, so that he became responsible for them. Therefore, he bore them, or the desert of them in his own body on the tree. He put them away by the sacrifice of himself. I would therefore look upon Jesus—as standing in my place, as suffering my desert, as expiating my iniquity, as meeting all the claims which law and justice could make upon me.

Christ died for our sins.

Precious Savior! I do bless your dear and adorable name for becoming my surety, for offering yourself a sacrifice for my sins, and for working out and bringing in a perfect and everlasting righteousness to clothe my soul.

To deliver us from the power of the god of this world, from the spirit of this world, and from its fearful doom. Satan possessed us and wrought in us; the customs of the world controlled us; and we were doomed to suffer with the world. But Jesus loved us, pitied us, and determined to deliver us. He therefore died for us, to remove all legal difficulties out of the way. He procured the Holy Spirit to quicken, teach, sanctify, and emancipate us.

Christ died to deliver us from this present evil world.

Therefore, though IN the world, we are not OF the world—for Jesus died to deliver us from it, raise us above it, and make us useful to it.

His death removed every obstacle, opened a new and living way, and brings down the Holy Spirit into our hearts. So that now we come to God as sinners—as sinners to be pardoned, justified, accepted, protected, preserved, and supplied. By and bye, we shall come to God as saints, as saints to be acknowledged, approved, crowned, and glorified.

Christ died to bring us to God.

Such was the design of the death of Jesus. O, Savior! but for your life and death, I must Lave perished in my sins! I must have been condemned with the world! I never, never would have come to God, until dragged before him to receive an awful sentence from him! I owe everything to you! I trace every good thing I have or expect—to your cross! Without you, I would be the vilest of men, the most wretched being in God’s vast creation! But with you I have hope, I have confidence, I have comfort, I have a prospect of everlasting glory! Blessed be your holy and glorious name forever! I will bless you while I live, and praise your name forever and ever.

I know I have come to God as a poor sinner, and though at times I can only sigh and groan before his throne of grace; yet, if you had not died for me, if you had not pitied me, if you had not sent your Holy Spirit to me—I had never, never come at all. No, I feel confident I never would. If you had not died for my sins, to deliver me from this present evil world, and to bring me to God, I had this day been as I once was, far off from God by wicked works—and had remained so forever. Therefore, I rejoice in your death, glory in your cross, and bless most heartily your dear and adorable name!

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James Smith (1802-1862) was a predecessor of Charles Spurgeon at New Park Street Chapel in London until 1848. Early on, Read his personal testimony.

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