Wednesday, April 12, 2006

The "Why" of the Cross

I mentioned in Monday's post that growing up, I heard a lot of catch phrases in Sunday school that I understood in a vague way, but not specifically. One such phrase was "Jesus died on the cross for our sins." I knew that it was important, sad, and even good, but I didn't understand why.

That summer when I was at camp, I finally understood. I learned from an excellent Bible teacher that in Old Testament times, a sacrifice was required by God to atone for a person's sins. Only then could a person be "right" with God. However, it would only be for a time. Inevitably, the person would sin again, and another sacrifice would have to be made. In the words of The Bible, "No matter how many sacrifices were offered year after year, they never added up to a complete solution. If they had, the worshipers would have gone merrily on their way, no longer dragged down by their sins. But instead of removing awareness of sin, when those animal sacrifices were repeated over and over they actually heightened awareness and guilt. The plain fact is that bull and goat blood can't get rid of sin." (Hebrews 10:1-4)

In order to truly cleanse His children from their sins, God sent His perfect Son to be the once-and-for-all sacrifice, so that we could live free from guilt and shame in His presence.

"For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God." (1 Peter 3:18)

And that is the "why" that I finally came to understand. God loves us so much that He made the ultimate sacrifice--His own Son--so that we can know Him. Jesus' death on the cross was the ultimate sacrifice for ALL sin--past, present, and future. That means my sins and that means your sins are covered. The debt was paid by Jesus. We can live our lives in freedom--free from the guilt and shame of our sins. That awful death on the cross was a sacrifice made for you and me.

Below are some of the lyrics to a wonderful hymn called "The Old Rugged Cross". They seem like a fitting way to end this post. Thank You, Jesus, for your wonderful sacrifice.

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
The emblem of suffering and shame;
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best
For a world of lost sinners was slain.

O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
Has a wondrous attraction for me;
For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above
To bear it to dark Calvary.

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
A wondrous beauty I see,
For 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
To pardon and sanctify me.


Autumn's Mom said...

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not parish, but have everlasting life.

I know it's a popular one now, but it's the one that always stuck with me since childhood.

Anonymous said...

It's so bizzarre that you just have to give it a second thought. It's so strange that you can always only almost get your brain around it. And it's made the same claims for 2000 years now, so you ought at least take it seriously.