If there is one symbol that people associate with Christianity what would it be?
Wouldn’t you agree that it would be the cross – It sits proud above church buildings, it is the backdrop of many pulpits, it is impressed on the front cover of Christian bibles and it is worn as a jewelry pendant all over the world.
And yet, the message of the cross is misunderstood by so many. So, what is the message of the cross? Why is it so important? and what does it mean for you and me?
I love the way the Apostle Paul explains it in 2 Corinthians 5:21
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (ESV)
“For our sake”… If you ever doubt Gods love for you just look at the cross. The reason our heavenly Father sent Jesus into the world was for our sake, the reason Jesus endured the horror of the cross was for our sake, for our benefit, because we are in need of him. Doesn’t this tell you God loves you? “For our sake…”
he made him… God had a purpose in Jesus coming to earth. Jesus was sent on a mission, for a specific purpose. Gods purpose was for Jesus to endure the cross and become something that he never was. “For our sake he made him…”
to be sin… At the cross the sin of you and me, and all mankind of all time was poured into Jesus. Everything we have ever done to dishonour God or our fellow man, every thought, every spoken word, every action, every evil intent of our heart, body and mind was poured into Jesus at the cross. In taking on our sin upon himself he also took on the punishment our sin deserves. “For our sake he made him to be sin…”
who knew no sin… Unlike the rest of us, Jesus lived in complete obedience to his heavenly Father here on earth. He did face temptation and trials; however, when tempted he chose obedience. While Jesus didn’t deserve to die, he chose to die. Not only that, but he was also the only acceptable substitute to take our punishment upon himself on our behalf. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin…”
So that… Why would Jesus do that? “So that…”
In him… In the person of Jesus Christ, not in our own efforts, not in our own reputation or by our own intellect or skill, but in Jesus Christ. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him…”
we might become… You and I and all of humanity, we might become something we will never be without Jesus Christ. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become…”
the righteousness of God… Free from the punishment of our sin, at peace with God our heavenly father and made right in our relationship with him.
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
So, does this mean that everyone is forgiven and made right in their relationship with God?
As we say in Australia – “Yeah… Nah…”
God has made a way for mankind to be at peace with him, but he will not force us to accept his gift of love towards us. We all make a choice.
All who choose to turn from living sinful lives and surrender their life in obedience to Jesus will “In him… become the righteousness of God.”
All who choose not to turn from their sinful lives and continue living life their own way are not in Christ and therefore remain separated from God. They have not received forgiveness and do not have peace with him.
The good news is that God wants all mankind to be in right relationship with him, that’s why he went to such great lengths: for our sake!
Today, if you want to explore more about the message of the cross and the Christian faith please contact us at [email protected]. We would love to journey with you.