Christian Foundations 2
Christian Foundations 2 is part of a study series on the foundational truths relating to Christianity. The second study looks at: Is the Cross of Calvary Necessary?
Is the Cross of Calvary Necessary?
Have you ever wondered, why the cross? The cross is recognised as the central element of Christianity. Why? The short answer is that the cross points to the death of Jesus Christ.
The Bible points to the death of Jesus Christ. Although the Bible teaches many things, the focal point of the Bible is the death of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament foreshadowed the death of Jesus Christ. The gospels proclaimed the death of Jesus Christ. The Epistles affirmed the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Jesus came into the world to die on a cross. That was His central purpose for coming into the world. "He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" (1 Peter 1:20). "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law" (Gal 4:4). Jesus said, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life..." (Matt 20:28). Jesus came into the world to die upon the cross.
Why is the cross so important to Christianity? To answer this question we need to ask another question: What makes His death on the cross so important? The answer to that question is that He died as a substitute, a sin-bearer and a Savior.
1. Jesus the Substitute
A. Jesus died on the cross as a substitute for us.
He died in our place, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit" (1 Peter 3:18). This is a demonstration of God's everlasting love. The Apostle John said, "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world..." (1 John 4:9).
B. Why did God send His Son into the world as a substitutionary sacrifice? Why died Jesus Christ died in our place?
Godís holy law demands punishment for every sin. "For the wages of sin is death..."(Rom 6:23). Sin brings forth death as it penalty. Someone had to paid the penalty for the sins of the world. Man could not do it! Jesus Christ is the only one who could bear the just penalty for sin.
C. We only need to go back to the cross to see that God was doing a special work (Mk 15:33).
Jesus hanged on the cross for three hours in the daylight (9am-noon) but at noon something happened. A miraculous darkness came over the land. This supernatural darkness indicated a supernatural act was taking place. This darkness announced to the people that Godís Son was giving His life for the sins of the world. What makes His death so important? He died as a substitute!
2. Jesus the Sin-bearer
A. All sin, every sin, must be punished.
"Jesus Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree...by whose strips you were healed" (1 Peter 2:24). This is a demonstration of God holiness...because only Godís sinless Son could bare the sins of the world. Again we need to go back to the cross to see that God was doing a special work. As He hung on the cross He cried out, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" (Mk 15:34; cf., Psalm 22:1). At that moment Jesus endured the curse of sin and the judgment on sin.
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us..." (2 Cor 5:21). "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us [for it is written, cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree]" (Gal 3:13). Moses wrote, "for he who is hanged on a tree is accursed of God" (Deut 21:23). At that moment Jesus experienced the horror of separation from God. God cannot look upon sin (Hab 1:3). This is why Jesus was forsaken.
B. All sin, every sin, was dealt with by Jesus.
He became sin for us. Jesus dealt with sin once for all. What makes His death so important: He died as a sin-bearer.
3. Jesus the Savior
A. Jesus is our Savior.
The Bible says, "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Lk 2:11). "And she shall bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Matt 1:21). "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ĎBehold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29).
Jesus is our Savior! He is the One who died in the place of sinners as the full and perfect payment of sinís penalty. Christ is the one who reconciled us to God. "Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ...that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them..." (2 Cor 5:18-19).
B. Jesus did a special work for us.
Again we need to go back to the cross to see that God was doing a special work (Mk 15:37-38). The veil was torn in two from top to bottom. This was God's supernatural work! The tearing of the veil was a sign that Jesus' death ended the need for repeated sacrifices for sin. The tearing of the veil was a sign that Jesus opened a new and living way of free and direct access to God. "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil..." (Heb 10: 19-20). The tearing of the veil was a sign of reconciliation between God and man.
What makes His death so important: He died as our substitute, our sin-bearer, and our Savior.
Why the cross? Because it points to the death of Jesus Christ, but also it points to our inability to deal with the penalty of sin! Jesus has made it possible for us to be reconciled to God, but we must accept what He has done for us on the cross. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (Jn 14:6).
Christian Foundations is a series of studies that discuss the important tenants of the Christian Faith. These studies are in sermon format.
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Christian Foundations 2 - Is the Cross of Calvary Necessary?