What if Herod Succeeded in Killing Baby Jesus?

If Jesus would have died at 2 years of age then it would directly change things for us. Chief among these changes is the reality of our justification.

Justification is the glorious doctrine that sinners are declared righteous before God. It is an instantaneous declarative act whereby God says that one who is guilty of sin is declared to be perfect in his sight based upon the merit of another, namely our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 3:18-5:1).

 

“Ruthless, barbaric, and depraved.” This is a healthy reaction to the reading of Herod’s decision to kill all of the male children in Bethlehem who were age 2 and younger (Matt. 2:16). He was angry about the news of the birth of Christ and was seeking to destroy him.

But the event prompts another reaction when considering a few questions. What if Herod had succeeded and killed Jesus at the age of 2? Would this affect our salvation and standing before God? What’s the difference if Jesus lived 2 years or 33?

If Jesus would have died at 2 years of age then it would directly change things for us. Chief among these changes is the reality of our justification.

Justification is the glorious doctrine that sinners are declared righteous before God. It is an instantaneous declarative act whereby God says that one who is guilty of sin is declared to be perfect in his sight based upon the merit of another, namely our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Romans 3:18-5:1).

Is this Just Semantics?

Someone might object claiming this is just a matter of semantics. Certainly, justification is being declared righteous. But this comes from the death of Christ, what difference does it make if this death happened after 30-plus years or within the first 2?

It is far more than semantics. God’s requirement for us is absolute perfection. Failing to meet this standard is sin (Rom. 3:23). The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Jesus comes to be our substitute. Immediately we think of this when we think of Christ dying for us on the cross (1 Pet. 3:18). Jesus, the lamb of God, offered himself in our place to take away our sin (John 1:29). He endures and satisfies God’s wrath in order to take away the guilt we incurred by our sin.

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