Q. I was asked this question and don’t know how to respond. Since Jesus died for our sins that should have brought eternal separation from God. How is it that He is sitting at the right hand of the Father and not still serving “time” for us now?
A. On the cross Jesus was made sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). This caused Him to be separated from God for the only time in eternity and He cried out, “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”(Matt. 27:46). The Earth was made dark for three hours until He died, and then the light returned. Since the sins He was bearing were not His, the beatings He took and time He spent on the cross were sufficient, and His last words were, “It is finished” or literally, “Paid in full” (John 19:30).
When He descended into Hell it was not for the purpose of finishing His punishment for our sins, because that was finished on the cross. 1 Peter 3:18-20 tells us He preached to the disobedient spirits who are imprisoned there, and 1 Peter 4:6 says He also preached the gospel to the spirits of the believing dead.
The fact that Jesus was resurrected and is seated at the right hand of the Father today is proof that His death paid the full penalty for all of our sins, because had it not been, He would still be “doing time” in Hell for us today. This is why belief in the resurrection is so important to our salvation.
Paul said, “If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).