When we received Christ, what He accomplished on the cross became ours by faith in Him. But did you know Christ’s death is not something only in the past? We can actually apply Christ’s death right now in our daily living.
In this post we’ll consider three aspects of Christ in His death for us as revealed in the Gospel of John—the aspects of the Lamb of God, the bronze serpent, and the grain of wheat. Then, with each aspect, we’ll look at how important Christ’s death is for our daily Christian life and how we can apply it.
Christ’s death as the Lamb of God wiped out the record of our sins before God
In John 1:29, John the Baptist declared who Jesus was:
“The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”
To the Jewish audience who heard John the Baptist make this declaration, the expression “Lamb of God” was not foreign. They were very familiar with the Passover lamb and the Old Testament sacrifices for sin. But to refer to a person as the Lamb of God was entirely new to them.
Jesus being the Lamb of God meant He was the fulfillment, the spiritual reality of those sacrifices in the Old Testament. As the book of Hebrews tells us, the blood of animals cannot in reality take away sins. But Christ as the real Lamb of God is uniquely qualified to remove our sins and reconcile us to God. He could shed His sinless blood to redeem fallen, sinful mankind.
Christ is our Redeemer, the Lamb of God who bore all our sins on the cross. When we believe in Him, the record of our sin before God is wiped clean. How we thank Him for that!
How can we apply Christ’s death as the Lamb of God today?
Though we are saved sinners, we realize that having eternal salvation doesn’t stop us from sinning again.
In fact, the apostle John, writing to believers, said in his first epistle,
“If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)
But he goes on to say,
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (v. 9)
The top way for us to apply Christ’s death as the Lamb of God in our Christian lives today is to confess our sins to the Lord.
Our sins can never annul our eternal salvation as Christians, but they do interrupt our fellowship with the Lord and our enjoyment of His presence. When our conscience is bothered because of a sin we’ve committed, we cannot approach the Lord, we grieve Him, and He cannot fellowship with us freely. Confessing our sins to the Lord deals with this interruption.
This is why, every day, we still need to apply the blood of the Lamb. The Lamb’s death reconciled us to God for our eternal salvation, and also made His precious blood available to us for the maintenance of our fellowship and relationship with Him every day.
So as soon as we become aware of an offense in our conscience, we should take a moment to confess to the Lord,
“Lord Jesus, I confess that I did [……]. Lord, thank You for shedding Your blood for my sins. Thank You for forgiving me and cleansing me of this sin so I can continue to enjoy fellowship with You.”
When we apply the death of Christ as the Lamb of God by confessing our sins, our conscience is cleansed and our fellowship with the Lord is restored. What a blessing!
For more on confessing, you can read our post Why We Need to Confess Our Sins and How to Do It.
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Christ’s death as the bronze serpent dealt with Satan’s nature within us
In John 3:14, when speaking with Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews, Jesus said,
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”
Here, Jesus referred to Himself as the bronze serpent. This term was very familiar to Nicodemus. He would have remembered the record in Numbers 21 of the rebellious children of Israel, dying in the wilderness from being bitten by the poisonous serpents. God told Moses to lift up a bronze serpent on a pole. Whoever looked at it would be healed and live. The bronze serpent was in the shape of a serpent, but without its poison.
The note on John 3:14 in the Recovery Version is very helpful:
“Nicodemus might have considered himself a moral and good man. But the Lord’s word in this verse implied that regardless of how good Nicodemus might have been outwardly, he had the serpentine nature of Satan inwardly. As a descendant of Adam, he had been poisoned by the old serpent, and the serpent’s nature was within him. He needed the Lord not only to be the Lamb of God to take away his sin (1:29) but also to be in the form of the serpent that his serpentine nature might be dealt with on the cross and that he might have eternal life.”
And Romans 8:3 says,
“God, sending His own Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh.”
By these two verses we can see that Jesus was the real bronze serpent. He was a genuine man, sharing in the likeness of sinful man, yet He did not have the poisonous element of sin within. As such, He was lifted up on the cross to save us.
Today we need to believe in Christ who was raised up as the bronze serpent to deal with the poison of our sin, not only on the day we first believe, but also every day of our Christian lives afterward.
Self-improvement cannot deal with our sinful nature. We need Jesus as the bronze serpent to deal with Satan’s poisonous nature within us.
How can we apply Christ’s death as the bronze serpent today?
We must realize that like Nicodemus, we are sin-poisoned people. Even if our outward behavior were perfect, we would still have the poison of sin within us. Most of us realize something still causes us to sin, no matter how hard we try not to. That is the nature of Satan at work in us.
For example, we might truly love someone and yet we find we’re easily offended or annoyed by them. We may even feel hateful toward them. At such times, we’re more than conscious of the poison of sin in us.
When we consider ourselves in this light, we may feel discouraged. But just as the Israelites looked on that bronze serpent, Hebrews 12:2 says that as believers we should look away unto Jesus. We can’t heal ourselves, but we can look away from ourselves, our situation, our temper, our sin, and look at Christ, the real bronze serpent, and open to Him as the One who can heal us.
We can stop and pray something like this:
“Lord Jesus, I confess, I’m angry and offended. Lord, I can’t change myself. I look to You as the bronze serpent who was lifted up for me. Thank You, You annulled the poison of sin on the cross and gave me Your eternal life to deal with the sin within me. Praise You, Lord! Dissolve this offense and anger and replace it with more of You.”
Merely suppressing our anger or attempting to “forgive and forget” is ineffectual. But when we contact Christ, the real bronze serpent, we allow Him to nullify the poison of sin within us and enliven us with His life.
Christ’s death as the grain of wheat released the divine life to enliven us
In John 12, Christ referred to Himself as the grain of wheat. The other two aspects mentioned above deal with something negative, but this aspect of His death deals with something positive. As the grain of wheat, Christ through His death releases His divine life into us for our enjoyment.
John 12:24 says,
“Truly, truly, I say to you, Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
After raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus received much praise and honor. In effect, He became popular. But at the height of this popularity, Christ compared Himself to a grain of wheat that must fall into the ground and die in order to produce much fruit.
We might think, “Aren’t these people His fruit who welcome Him with palms and crowd around Him?” But verse 37 explains that though they had seen the Lord perform many signs, they did not believe into Him. The Lord Jesus did not want to produce merely an interested crowd; He wanted to produce genuine, living fruit.
Fruit is a product of life, and a seed is the container of that life. When a seed is planted in a garden, the only way the life inside can be released is by its shell being broken. When the seed is buried in the soil, the life inside can burst forth from its broken shell to produce a living, growing plant. From a single grain of wheat, what comes forth is a plant bearing many grains. By being buried, the grain of wheat reproduces itself many-fold.
In the same way, when the shell of Christ’s body was broken in death, the divine life within Him was released. Before His death, Jesus was the only human being on the earth who had this life. But through His death as the unique grain of wheat, this life became available to every person for all time! Released, this divine life produces the “much fruit,”—millions of believers brought forth as the many sons of God, sharing in His divine life.
How can we apply Christ’s death as the grain of wheat today?
When we received the Lord Jesus at our initial salvation, we received His divine life in our spirit. Praise the Lord! But this life doesn’t want to remain only in our spirit, our deepest part. It wants to grow, enlivening our mind, our emotions, and our will, even our body, and to be expressed through us in our living today.
We can help this life grow in us in many ways. Spending time with the Lord every morning is an excellent way to receive more of Him and allow His life to grow more and more. We can also call upon His name in all our different situations to nourish the life within us and enjoy Christ as our spiritual breath, drink, and food.
When we practice opening to the Lord in every situation, good or bad, we apply Christ’s life-releasing death in a practical way. We’re filled with His divine life so we can express Christ individually and be formed into the one Body of Christ, the church, corporately as God’s people.
Let’s take a moment to pray,
“Lord, thank You, You died to redeem me from my sins and to save me from the poisonous element of sin within me. And thank you, Lord, You also released Your divine life to enliven my spirit, to make me one of Your ‘much fruit,’ and part of Your Body. Lord, keep me continually open to You, receiving You as the life supply I need to live the Christian life.”
Enjoying Christ as the Lamb of God, the bronze serpent, and the grain of wheat daily
Briefly, here’s how we can enjoy Christ in these three aspects of His death right now:
- We can come to Christ as the Lamb of God each day to apply His cleansing blood through confessing our sins (1 John 1:7-9). This will keep us in uninterrupted fellowship with the Lord.
- We can look upon Christ as the bronze serpent lifted up for us on the cross so the devil’s poisonous element within us can be annulled and so we can receive more of His eternal life.
- We can enjoy Christ as the grain of wheat every day by continually receiving His released divine life to grow individually and as part of the Body of Christ.
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