A wooden cross is made by nailing or tying two pieces of uneven-length wood together, as seen in this picture. Even a child could put one together. In years past, in Rome and other parts of the world, hanging a person on a cross was a way of punishing criminals. As to be expected, many criminals died this way, but of all the individuals crucified, only one of them had never done anything wrong. In fact, He was sinless.
A cross is a cross, but this sinless one on it made one particular cross significantly different from all the others. You see, the man on that cross was not a man at all; He was God, and he died willingly, out of love.
When God Almighty, Creator of the universe, with power to call on legions of angels to fight on His behalf, hangs defenseless on a tree, everybody needs to stop and pay attention! That act speaks volumes: of man’s ignorance and wickedness, and of God’s love and longing to forgive, redeem, and to replace a broken relationship with an ongoing Father-child relationship now, and into eternity.
The cross: there was a reason for it! Right from the beginning, God knew He would be dying a cruel death, to restore the fellowship with man that would be broken by sin.
If you are confused, be patient; I’ll explain further. The only sinless Person who ever died such a horrible death was God. Why did He die if He was sinless? He died to pay for the penalty of man’s sin. Without this act, there could be no forgiveness of sin (see Hebrews 9:22), as His death was the only acceptable payment for the sins of man. That one act covers their past, present and future failings (see Hebrews 9:28). Without it, there’d be no restoration of the relationship between man and God.
So how did we fall out of fellowship with God? Adam and Eve (our original parents) sinned against God in the Garden of Eden through disobedience, and, being their offspring, we inherited their sin-nature. So now we sin because we were born with a sin-nature; we’re sinners not because we sin, but we sin because we’re sinners (see Romans 5:12). Sin has put a separation between us and God (Adam and Eve were thrown out of God’s presence). The only way to restore our relationship with God was for the sin to be paid for, which God did through that cruel death of His Son Jesus on the cross. For “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19 NLT).
The cross! Although it represented such pain and agony, it demonstrated love and brought forgiveness and life! The cross!
How then should we respond to a sacrifice this costly? In one word, REPENT! Repentance is agreeing that we’re sinners (see Romans 5:20), deciding to turn our back on sin, and placing our faith in Jesus. When we take that step, God forgives us; because He’s promised He would if we confess and forsake our sins (see 1 John 1:9). If we choose to not repent, we’ll face God’s judgment in the future, and the verdict will be condemnation to hell.
Just so we understand that: “Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). If you haven’t already placed your faith in Jesus, what are you waiting for? Tomorrow is not promised to anyone; death could knock on your door any day, any time, and it might be too late for you to experience God’s grace and forgiveness in a personal way. You might have an elaborate funeral when you die, but that won’t change your stand with God. Please do this today; it is that urgent!
When you place your faith in Jesus, God will: remove your sins as far from you as the east is from the west (see Psalm 103:12). He’ll never again remember your sins (see Hebrews 8:12, 10:17). He’ll guide and teach you through His Word, the Bible, and through sharing with other Christians. He’ll always be available to you through prayer.
God is waiting for a response to His call; answer today!