Summary: “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that bought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5.
The Gospel means the good news of the grace of God. It revolves around one unique historical event: the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the Cross. The Gospel is almost too good to be true as it does not depend on anything we do but on what Christ has done and by that “one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.” (Heb. 10:14) Perfected and forever speak of a sacrifice that takes care of every human need and its effects extend throughout time and into eternity. A single sovereign act of God brought together all the guilt and suffering of humanity and offered one all sufficient solution, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. The cross was God’s chosen way of salvation planned from the beginning of the world and the finite mind cannot even begin to imagine the extent of Christ’s suffering.
Step One: God’s remedy for sin
a) The Law revealed sin
The death of Jesus Christ on the cross was God’s remedy to deal with sin. God gave the Law to the Jews to reveal sin and the need for a Saviour. The Law was holy and perfect and apart from Christ, no one was capable of keeping it.
b) “All have sinned”
The truth is that in Adam “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23) The Law revealed sin, condemned it and demanded a just punishment for the guilty.
c) “The wages of sin is death”
God’s remedy to deal with sin is death “For the wages of sin is death”. (Romans 6:23) When Christ was made sin because of our sin it was inevitable that He also die to pay the penalty for sin.
The Law was not given to make man righteous but to reveal sin and man’s inability to earn righteousness by the works of the Law. The Law was holy but it demanded that man first keep the Law to receive a response from God. It therefore lacked the power to make anyone holy. The only way to be made holy is by grace when we receive a response from God, not because of anything we have done, but because of what Christ has done. “The Law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ”. (John 1:17)
The Law was given through God’s servant Moses but Grace and truth came through God’s Son Jesus Christ. Why do we continue to value what the servant came to say more than what God Himself came to say?
Step Two: The victory of Jesus Christ on the cross
a) Christ’s victory over sin
The cross is the place of Christ’s victory over sin where He paid the full penalty for sin. Christ was made sin with the sin of the whole world, past, present and future and judged. There He endured the full judgement of God till He could finally cry out “It is finished”.
b) Christ’s victory over Satan
Christ’s victory over sin was also a victory over Satan since he no longer had any reason to accuse and condemn us or question the righteousness of God. How can he when “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”? (Romans 8:1)
c) Christ’s victory over death
Christ’s victory over sin and Satan was also a victory over death. God’s righteous judgement demanded the death penalty for sin, the shedding of blood. At the cross, the sinless Son of God died in our place that we might have His eternal life.
The sacrifice of Christ gives life for “As in Adam all die, even so in Christ all will be made alive”. (1Co 15:22) Salvation is only a free gift because Jesus Christ paid the full price for sin. It does not cost us anything but it cost God all He had, His only Son. Jesus Christ took our place on the cross and bore the full judgement of God on sin so that we would be spared God’s judgement. The cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified was meant for the crucifixion of another person, a man named Barabbas, who had been found guilty of rebellion against the Roman government and sentenced to death. When Jesus Christ took his place, it meant that Barabbas was declared not guilty and set free. Barabbas represents each one of us. We are all guilty of rebellion against God and deserve to die. But Jesus Christ, the sinless Son of God took our place on the cross, that we might be freed from the sentence of death and set free. Christ paid a great price for our redemption. The price was the most horrible form of death - crucifixion - described as a merciless form of torture that deliberately prolonged the pain and postponed death for as long as possible. To the Romans it was so shameful that it was reserved for slaves and the worst criminals but it was God’s chosen way of salvation. Christ died as our substitute. He died instead of us, so that we might not have to die for our sins. But He also died as our representative, so that when He died we also died with Him.