In this passage of Acts 3:15, Life is in contrast with the dead and condemning to death is in contrast with awaking. The living, not focusing on ψυχή (psuche, the soul), but on that which is not dead. The formal condemnation of death was a cutting off from the people. It is not personal like waking someone up.
The Question of Authority
The people were acting in an official capacity where they had no right. God, who had that right, acted in a personal and intimate capacity.
Also, ἀρχηγός (archēgon) indicates an initial and ongoing authority, which the people assumed the right to condemn. The people had no authority with which to condemn Him. There was no authority among men which was above Him. Yet, He Himself humbled Himself underneath this lower authority [Phil 2:6-8]. Jesus Christ, the Originator and Sustainer of all Life took responsibility for that Life which had sinned against God. Even though Jesus had no sin in Him at all, He took responsibility for that which He was responsible in His authority and action of both creating and sustaining this Life, which had become infested with sin. So Jesus Christ was executed in all righteousness, contrary to His spotless and holy nature. The irony is that His flawless person was the most perfect and ultimate sacrifice for all sin. Only He could be the universal sacrifice for all Life, having been the One creating it and also sustaining it. This sacrifice and execution of righteous judgment was the ultimate blow to sin. Yet sin in us was the actor that moved us to do it.
Sin’s Mission Annihilation
It revealed sin’s mission of annihilation and God’s righteous judgment and ultimately His mission of Salvation. Sin caused us to disobey the Living God. Then sin took advantage of that disobedience to execute righteous judgment against us, through the Crucifixion. Sin in and among men condemned and crucified the Originator and Sustainer of Life, of their own life and of all life in existence everywhere on the planet and throughout the universe. We condemned to death all Life that was in existence when we condemned Jesus Christ to death. God had caused sin to trap itself in checkmate with its last move, that of crucifying Jesus.
Who Did We Crucify?
John 1:3-4a says Everything through Him came to be, and at a gaping distance from Him came to be not even in what has come to be. In Him was Life! And Acts 17:28 In Him indeed we live and are stirred into motion and are! In HIM!!! In Jesus Christ, the Word of God, Who commands all things into being and Who commands their continued existence. This is Who we crucified!
The Crucifixion of Life Itself
When Christ died on the Tree all of Life should have died at that moment. In God’s absolutely amazing grace He sustained us and all life during those 3 dark days. Truly, God extends this same grace thousands of years to today, where we should not even be here! The judgment we ourselves cast for God against sin within all Life, put on Jesus Christ in the Crucifixion stands against all Life even to this day.
We cast our own judgment when we condemned the Originator and Sustainer of Life to die. Yet, we also were ignorantly executing the Father’s judgment on all Life because of sin. Jesus took responsibility for sin as the Originator and Sustainer of the Life, all of which had sin against God. But in killing Him we condemned ourselves, since He was sustaining Life. But in this we cast the righteous judgment of God against ourselves and all Life with sin, through Christ’s death.
God’s First Mercy to Us, Physical Life
God stayed our execution and provided a way for all who were born under this sentence to die, a way to be pardoned. God is Himself holding back the executioner from annihilating all Life, an annihilation which is equitable judgment that we ourselves confirmed by condemning Jesus to death.
All who have not believed and those who do not believe should be dead already. However, Christ’s resurrection brings eternal life to all who believe. But why? We do not deserve it in any way. WHY? Even before we believed we should have never have been alive. Only by God’s unbelievable grace – the great miracle of MERCY extended to us before we believed, extended to us in the very fact that we were allowed to be born after we crucified the Originator and Sustainer of Life, the King of Grace.
This same undeserving grace of physical life has been extended from generation to generation through the ages from the Crucifixion as the Blood of Jesus Christ flowing from His Body throughout the centuries down to us. Yes, the Blood of Christ is the reason God has stayed our execution, to give us one last chance. If we accept the substitution that already cost Him dearly in His Son, Jesus Christ, then our execution will be canceled.
And what can we say?
God’s Second Mercy to Us, Eternal Life Without Sin
Now we have that Great Ark, the Body of Christ, within which we pass through this Great Deluge that we brought on ourselves. This Deluge will be completed by the Wrath of God. Instead of a great flood, this time God will execute His wrath in the Last Great War and the Final Battle [Revelation 19:11-21; 20:7-10] and the Fire that finally burns everything in place [2 Peter 3:10].
The Mercy of God in the Sacrifice of Christ carries us through [1 Peter 3:18-22]. And if we only believe in Jesus the Christ and hold strong this persuasion to the end [Hebrews 3:14], this life will be made permanent, but without sin and without suffering. We will be welcomed richly into the Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ [2 Peter 1:10-11] to live with Him forever.