by Eugene Higgins
I grew up reading the KJV, still use it for my daily Bible reading, and shall, I hope, until I shuffle off this mortal coil or until the Lord cometh, for truly it pleaseth me much. So this is not a criticism of the version I use and love. (Some insist that this is the version that will be extant in Heaven; I am unable to verify that at this time).
The King James Version is just that – a version, and it is a good one; a translation from (in the case of the NT) the Greek. Now if a Greek-speaking man wished to tell his wife that he loved her, there are many ways that his original words could be translated into English, none of which would be a mistranslation. For example: “I love you”; “You are the one whom I love”; “I have great affection for you”; (warning to husbands: Do not use that last one on your anniversary. Trust me, just don’t.)
Similarly, translators have the option of translating a passage in more than one way in order to express what is being said. The verse in 2 Co 5:15 reads: “And that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.” But there is a slight variation, true to the original Greek, that suggests a wonderful truth. It can also read: “And He died for all, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him Who for their sakes died and rose again.”
The passage in 2 Corinthians is saying that the Lord Jesus not only died for you but also rose again for you – “for our sake.” Granted, there was SO much more (than our redemption) involved in, depending on, and determined by the mighty Cross-work of our blessed Lord –
- He was putting away sin “by the sacrifice of Himself,” (Hebrews 9:26).
- He was displaying His love for His Father, (John 14:31).
- He was enabling God to “reconcile the world to Himself,” (2 Co 5:19).
- He was propitiating God by enduring the totality of His wrath, (Rom 3:25; 1 John 2:2).
- He was allowing His soul to be made “an offering for sin,” (Isaiah 53:10).
- He was securing all God’s purposes for eternity by tasting “death for everything,” (Hebrews 2;9)
And so much more! But through it all – His sinking beneath the waves, His being crushed for our sins, His being smitten by God’s fearful sword – you were in His heart. Only an infinite Being could have endured all He suffered in those hours on the tree. Only an infinite Being of infinite grace would have been willing to do that for us. Only an infinite Being of infinite intelligence could have endured all He suffered and still held each of us in His mind and heart. Only an infinite Being of infinite love could have gladly endured all that “for our sake,” and done so without a moment’s regret.
But, equally wonderful, on that unforgettable Sunday morning – when He shattered death, rose with a glorified body, and stepped effortlessly through the stone walls of the sepulcher – you were in His heart then as well. It was “for your sake” that He rose from the dead. He died for you so you could have a Savior. He rose for you so you could have a living Savior. He died for you so you could be saved from Hell. He rose for you so He and you could be together in Heaven. In fact, just now, what He is doing is also for your sake. Hebrews 9:24 records: “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us” (Hebrews 9:24). He is not appearing in the presence of God for angels; He is not there for cherubim, seraphim, or the heavenly “living creatures” around His throne. He is there for you, for your sake.
I am writing this on what is called “Good Friday,” and if the Lord has not come, and if I am spared to send it, you will likely be reading this on what is called “Easter Sunday.” But this is not the only day that we exult in the fact that Christ died and rose again “for our sakes.” For those who have trusted Christ, the reality is that there is not a day when we are not thankful for the One Who died and rose again “for us.” If I have it right it was not Matthew Bridges but Godfrey Thring who composed this verse of the hymn and captured the truth that the Savior’s resurrection was also for our sake.
“Crown Him the Lord of life, Who triumphed o’er the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save:
His glories now we sing, Who died and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die …
All hail, Redeemer hail, for Thou hast died for me.
Thy praise shall never, never fail throughout eternity.”
“Christ is risen … Christ is risen indeed!”