We are all hopelessly lost in our sin. In a fallen world, we are incapable of living in a way that is pure and holy; we miss God’s standard for us. As we have discussed in previous articles, the punishment for this sin is death. So why would God send his only Son to earth, have him live for 33 years or so, just to be ruthlessly murdered on a wooden cross?
Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, which meant that he didn’t inherit man’s sinfulness when he became human (Rom. 5:12-21). Though he was faced with all the trials and temptations that we face, he was, is, and will be the only human ever to live totally without sin (Heb. 4:15). This is crucial.
Because Jesus was “righteous”, he was able to take the punishment that we deserved (death), for himself – the righteous for the unrighteous (1 Peter 3:18). He carried the weight of our sins on his shoulders in order to bear our “iniquities”, another word for sin (see Isaiah 53) Although he was totally innocent, he took the punishment that we deserved: death. Our sin had created a legal debt that stood against us, and our lives were the payment. In his infinite love, God sent his own Son to be the solution. The Bible says that our punishment was set-aside with Jesus on the cross (Col. 2:14). When he rose from the dead, he didn’t just take the punishment of death; he completely overcame it!
What does this all mean for us?
This is the most exciting news in the history of the universe! The cross is why Jesus came into the world (John 10:11; Matt. 20:28)! Jesus taught us that in order to be restored into the relationship with God that we once had, all we need to do is understand and believe in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross (John 3:16-17; 1 John 5:11-12). When we do this, we are declared righteous, our past, present, and even future sins are forgiven (this is known as “justification”), and we inherit eternal life (Romans 5). Not just that, but this eternal life is in the wondrous presence of God!
This incredible truth is the pivotal focus of the Christian faith, and is known as “The Gospel”, or “Good News”. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, you have the opportunity to step into a relationship with the living God and inherit eternal life through the work of the cross. All you need to do is accept your need for Jesus in your life and choose to follow him!