It goes without saying the most important person who has ever lived in all human history is Jesus Christ. I should probably add Jesus is likely the most controversial person to ever live as well. You can ask just about anyone, and they will have an opinion about who Jesus is, whether their opinion is right or wrong.
When you consider Jesus, you must acknowledge there is no other person who was born of a virgin, who claimed to be God, who came to die for other people’s sin, who died for them, and then who rose from the dead. There is no one in the history of the world who did that. Without him coming and accomplishing what he did in his thirty-three years of earthly life, the world would be a different place than we know it. It is easy to say that Jesus changed the world but let’s go a step further and identify four ways the world drastically changed when Jesus died for our sins. I will admit upfront that some of these things are only noticeable to those who have a relationship with Jesus.
1. Jesus opened the door for access to the Father.
“With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” – Mark 15:37-38
The most important thing Jesus did was die for our sins which opened the door for our salvation. Prior to Jesus dying for our sins, our relationship with the Father was broken or maybe incomplete is a better word. If you recall when Adam and Eve were removed from the garden there was an angel placed there which blocked their access to the garden. Even when God established the temple, access to his presence was only granted to the high priest and even that could only happen once per year. One of the ways the world drastically changed when Jesus died for our sins is that he gave us access to the Father and the presence of God. Not only can we approach God, but we can also approach him without guilt because our sins have been cleansed because of Jesus. We no longer must hide like Adam did but we can stand in God’s presence because of the sacrifice of Jesus.
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.” – Hebrews 10:19-22
2. Jesus opened the door for Gentiles to come into the fold.
When God called Abraham, he made him a promise saying all the nations of the earth would be blessed through you (Gen. 12:3). This promise was fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ because he opened the door for Gentiles to come in, which ultimately was God’s plan all along. Salvation was not held within a nation, but salvation was available for all the nations. That’s why Jesus told the disciples to go into all the world with this message because it was available to everyone. When you read the book of Acts you see there is no distinction between Jews and Gentiles, they both were able to receive salvation and to receive the Holy Spirit. This is one of the ways the world changed when Jesus died for our sins because it allowed salvation to come for all people everywhere.
“Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” – Romans 5:18-19
3. His death paid for our sins, his resurrection changed the world.
While Jesus’ death was necessary to pay the price for our sins, it is his resurrection that forces people to deal with the claims he made. I would even present the argument that the world didn’t change because he died, it changed because he rose again. Had Jesus lived and died and stayed dead, he would have been like every other person who had come before him. However, he didn’t stay dead, which makes him unlike every other person that has come before or after him. Paul said it best. If there is no resurrection then our faith is useless, and we are still in our sin (1 Cor. 15:17). Because there is a resurrection it forces everyone to address who this Jesus really is. How you choose to answer that question sets the stage not only for the rest of your earthly life but your eternity as well.
4. We got to see God’s love in action.
When Jesus came, he gave us a physical representation of the invisible God (John 1:18). He made the truth of the triune God something we could understand better. The other thing he also did was give us a physical representation of how much God truly loves us. Perhaps this is the greatest way the world changed when Jesus died for our sins because we saw God’s love in action. Jesus represented the mercy of God, the grace of God, the power of God, and most importantly the person of God because he was God in the flesh. Prior to Jesus’ sacrifice, there was not one demonstration of God’s love for humanity that we could use to prove how much God loves us. Yes, God covered sin, provided for the nation of Israel, brought deliverance, and performed many miracles on their behalf. As great as that is there is no greater act than Jesus dying that proved God’s love. That’s why scriptures like these make more sense considering Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin.
“But God clearly shows and proves His own love for us, by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8 (AMP)
“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.” – Ephesians 2:1-5
Final Thought – It’s about the one
When you consider the way Jesus changed the world perhaps it’s the way of transformation that is most amazing. He didn’t lead a political revolution. He didn’t lead a military campaign, nor did he chase the fame of the crowds. While he often would address the many, he never stopped caring about the one. The change we have seen in the world is simply a result of Jesus changing one life at a time, one heart at a time. As important as it is to remember God so loved the world, it is equally important to realize that God so loved you. Every salvation experience is an individual encounter with the true and living God. May we never forget the hope found in Christ and realize that every person we see is a person that Jesus gave his life for. This hope started changing the world two thousand years ago and it has not stopped since.
Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com.