Calvary Road Baptist Church


First Corinthians 15.3

 Almost two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified, buried, raised from the dead, and exalted to heaven. Tonight, I would like to review the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in a concise manner. My text is lifted from First Corinthians 15.3, where we read, “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” I want to focus on Christ’s death, and leave consideration of His burial, His resurrection, and His exaltation for another time.

There are two logical portions to our text. The phrase “Christ died for our sins” is the object of our consideration, with the phrase “according to the scriptures” providing the authority the Apostle Paul cites for his assertion that “Christ died for our sins.” The scriptures referred to here, of course, are called the Hebrew Scriptures, what we frequently refer to as the Old Testament. There are two reasons that come to my mind why the apostle valued the testimony of scripture more than the testimony of the hundreds of eyewitnesses to the resurrection he mentions in verse 6.

First, the Apostle Paul wants to make sure his Gentile Christian readers are well grounded in the realization that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was not a new thing. To be sure, it was a surprise to those who witnessed it. However, in retrospect, it is very clear from the numerous references to it in the Hebrew scriptures that God’s plan all along had been for the Messiah to die for sins. Thus, the crucifixion of Christ and the Christianity that arose from it is not some new contrivance of the Apostle Paul, but the next phase of the outworking of God’s plan.

Second, the Apostle Paul wants his readers understand that though the New Testament may complete God’s explanation of Jesus Christ’s death, make no mistake about recognizing that at least the first installments of explaining Christ’s death are to be found in the Old Testament. With the “according to the scriptures” portion dealt with enough for our purposes this evening, let us bore in on Paul’s assertion that “Christ died for our sins.”

Four simple points:

 First, CHRIST

 The Greek word transliterated Christ is pronounced cristoV. If the word had been translated instead of Anglicized to sound like an English word it would have been translated anointed or anointed one.[1] The Hebrew word that means the same thing is transliterated to sound like messiah. Thus, Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One.

The implications of Jesus being identified as the Jewish Messiah are enormous. God’s prophets were anointed in the Old Testament. God’s priests were anointed in the Old Testament. God’s kings were anointed in the Old Testament.[2] Further, there was predicted in the Old Testament One who would simultaneously be Prophet, Priest, and King.

When He was baptized by John the Baptist, a priest, and anointed by the Holy Spirit at the time of His baptism, Jesus was inducted into His priestly office. During the course of His earthly ministry, He functioned as the spokesman for God, the Prophet. Moreover, when He offered up His own blood for our sins, He performed the office of our Great High Priest.


Though many deny that the Lord Jesus Christ died, though all but the most prejudiced person finds sufficient evidence that Jesus died, to satisfy the Old Testament prediction, and to concur with the New Testament historical record. The Romans were not novices when it came to executing people, yet they took Christ’s body down from the cross and permitted His burial, something they would not have done had they not been absolutely sure He had died. As well, Christ’s enemies among His own people were so determined to see Him dead that they would never have allowed His body to be removed from the cross unless they were satisfied He was, in fact, dead. Then there are His own followers, whose despondency cannot be explained except by their conviction that their leader was actually dead. Who would know better than those who prepared His body for burial?

So, Jesus did die on the cross. The question of why He died is as important as the fact of His dying.


The Greek word translated for is the Greek preposition uper. The word is a marker that indicates something about the word that is used with. Here in First Corinthians 15.3, uper is a marker indicating that Christ’s death was an event that occurred for the sake of someone else, or for the benefit of someone else.

This fits perfectly with what we find in Isaiah 53.4-10:

4      Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5      But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6      All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7      He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8      He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9      And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10     Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

The Apostle Peter’s take on Christ’s crucifixion? First Peter 3.18 is conclusive: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.”

So you see, the word for shows that Christ’s death was vicarious. It was substitutionary. The reason for Christ’s death did not lie in Jesus Christ, but in others.


The words our sins, two words in English, translate three words in the Greek New Testament, twn amartiwn hmwn, literally the sins of us. Please look up. Jesus died for the sins you committed, the offenses you are responsible for, the spiritual crimes that you committed all by yourself. The guilt is yours. The blame rests squarely on you. Are you sure you know what a sin is? Sins are those things you did that you were not supposed to do, as well as all those things you were supposed to do that you did not do, along with your heart attitudes and inclinations that are in any way contrary to God.

Your sins, you see, have so defiled and corrupted you that you cannot possibly repair the damage caused by them yourself, or in any way clean up the mess caused by them yourself. For your sins to be forgiven, for your sins to be cleansed, for your offenses to be eradicated and then forgotten, someone completely sinless, completely innocent, completely pure had to do for you what you cannot possibly do for yourself. That someone was Jesus.

My friend, it is only when you are prepared to personalize what Jesus did, to recognize, realize, and then admit that your sins are defiling, destructive, and damning to your soul, as well as being hurtful to others and outrageous crimes against God, and then own Him as yours who suffered and bled and died on the cross for you that you can be saved from your sins.

What about other people? What being offended by someone? What about being wronged by a Christian once? What about finding fault with a third party? My friend, there are only two people involved in this issue, the sinner and the Savior, you and Jesus Christ. No one else enters into this. To be saved from your sins, you need to come to the One who died for your sins. No one else will do, and no one else is involved.

The week of Christ’s crucifixion, He celebrated Passover on Thursday night and was crucified Friday morning. He was taken from the cross and buried just before dusk on Friday and rose from the dead sometime just after sundown Saturday night, which is the beginning of the Jewish Sunday, fulfilled His promise.

Sunday morning we will celebrate our Lord’s resurrection once again. If you know Jesus, Easter is a celebration of the victory over death of your Savior. If you do not know Jesus, Easter is a testament to the victory over death of your Judge.

[1] G. Abbott-Smith, A Manual Greek Lexicon Of The New Testament, (Edinburgh: T & T Clark Ltd, 1986), pages 484-485.

[2] Gerhard Kittel, Editor, Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament, Vol IX, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974) pages 496-509.

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