Part 1 of 5
The sacrifice of Jesus Christ—that is to say, the death of Jesus—is the essential foundation of Christian faith, life, and proclamation. This series explores various aspects that highlight the importance of Christ’s sacrifice for believers.
Defeat or Victory?
The Catechism reads as follows: “The core of the gospel is Jesus Christ who, through His death on the cross and His resurrection, created eternal salvation. Thus the cross of Christ became the epitome of God’s reconciliatory actions toward sinful mankind. The words of Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 1: 18 demonstrate a conflicting understanding of Christ’s death on the cross: ‘For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.’
Death on the cross was generally considered a defeat, the ignominious end of a despised person who had been cast out of human society. But here, according to the wisdom of God, the apparent defeat is really a victory which laid the foundation for an immeasurably great work of redemption. Through the resurrection, God acknowledged the Crucified One as the Christ (Acts 2: 36). In Him alone eternal salvation is given” (Catechism 188.8.131.52).
A New Relationship with God
Jesus’ death on Golgotha established the new covenant into which both Jews and Gentiles can be incorporated through baptism with water. Salvation thus has its foundation in the sacrifice of Christ, which is granted to human beings in order to liberate them from remoteness from God. “Through the sacrifice of Christ, mankind’s relationship with God has been set upon a new foundation.
The merit Christ thereby acquired makes liberation from sin—and the undoing of permanent separation from God—possible: ‘Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation’ (2 Corinthians 5: 17–19)” (Catechism 4.4.2).Faith Read part 2 of this series