Why The Cross?From the very beginning men began to sin. The Bible defines sin as the transgression of the Law, the breaking of the Ten Commandments (1 John 3:4). The Apostle Paul wrote “. . . all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “. . . The wages of sin is death. ” (Rom. 6:23). God is a God of mercy, but He is also a God of justice. A penalty must be paid for sin. Jesus came to the earth in human form. He lived a perfect life; He did not sin (1 Pet. 2:21-22). He did not deserve to die. But He willingly took our penalty upon Himself. Jesus Christ was the Creator of mankind (Col. 1:16). Therefore, His death was of a greater value than the sum total of human beings who have lived, or will ever live. It is not possible for human beings to live without sin. This is why the Scripture states: “. . . God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). Christ was the perfect sacrifice sent from heaven. He gave His life as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind.
Jesus Christ was chosen as the sacrificial Lamb of God before the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8). As the atoning sacrifice, His blood was shed for the sins of mankind. Isaiah wrote, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth” (Isa. 53:7). The Apostle Peter tells us: We have been redeemed “. . . with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:19).
Jesus knew an important part of His mission here on this earth was to die for the sins of the world. He foretold His own death and resurrection. He said, “. . . The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day” (Luke 9:22). “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14).
The penalty man has brought upon himself is not because of Adam and Eve. What took place was that when Adam and Eve sinned, mankind was cut off from God, left without help. Human nature being what it is, it is impossible for man not to sin.
Jesus Christ was God incarnate, God in the flesh. He endured the same things all of us endure. But He did not sin one time (1 Pet. 2:22). As the Son of man Jesus knew how important it was to rely on God for the spiritual strength He needed.
He completed what He set out to do. He accomplished His purpose on the earth. He said to the Father, “I have glorified you on the earth I have finished the work which you gave me to do” (John 17:4). This did not come about without intense anguish and great stress. “And being in agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:44). “And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39). “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). Jesus Christ understands what the human experience is all about. “Let us come to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:14-16).
Christ’s sacrifice bought back our lives which most surely would have ended in eternal death had not God and Christ make evident this supreme act of love. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). God did indeed so love this world of helpless sinners that His only begotten Son became the atonement for our sins.