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Why was Jesus dead only until the Third Day?

In May of this year, a federal judge in Brooklyn sentenced a woman convicted of drug importation with intent to distribute to probation rather than prison time. The theory was, the restrictions on felons outside bars are punishment enough. The New York Times reported that Judge Frederic Block suggested anything more would be overkill.

In 1701, attorney Basil Montagu published an address to both houses of the British Parliament titled, “Hanging not Punishment Enough for Murderers, Highwaymen, and Housebreakers.” He noted that many laws had been enacted to try to reduce the tide of those crimes. With those laws, there was an increase in executions, but still the tide was rising. Hanging, it seemed, was too short a punishment for the crimes.

That is the civil realm. How about the spiritual realm? How much punishment does sin deserve?

We need to include in our computation two aspects of sin: original sin, and particular sins. We usually think of only our particular sins. Limiting the issue that way, we pick out some of our sins, ignore the rest, and go to work diminishing how bad they are. After a while, we have ourselves convinced that our sins are not so bad, and our punishment from injuries, sorrows, and disappointments in this life probably is enough, and when we die our souls will fly straight to heaven.

We tend not to see our sins the way those we’ve hurt do. How much does God love those we’ve hurt? What should He do about that?

Worse yet, Americans today have practically no conception of original sin, or think it is not really sinful sin, or think it is not such sin as condemns in and of itself without any particular sins. Of course we’d say that. We are not the victim of it. It is more realistic to consider who we offend by sin, and let that Person have a say. That Person will be in this heaven we think we’re going to. It shouldn’t be hard to imagine that He will have a say there, even if we won’t give him one here. Maybe we need to be a little more objective.

There is a goodly number of people who already have been more objective, who sense the enormity of their sin, and wonder how enough atonement ever could be made for their sin. They are fearful and doubtful. If you are one of these, it is to you that I speak now, and ignore the rest for the time being.

There is a way you can know the atoning death of Jesus was enough punishment for your sin. You can know because of his resurrection, ascension, and being seated at the right hand of the Father. You can know because, three days is not the measure of his sacrifice. His value as the Only Begotten Son is the measure. His holy, innocent, bitter sufferings and death are enough because of who He is. Because it was him, God raised him from the dead and said, “Enough,” for the whole world, for you.

Jesus “was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” Romans 4:25 “They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day.” Acts 10:39-40 “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 His value as the Only Begotten Son is more than a match for your sin.