Summary: The message shows that the death of Jesus at our hands was necessary for us to be forgiven. It shows some of the reasons men have given as scriptural and shows that the do not have to understand the why of it to be forgiven
SALVATION FROM A TO Z
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Copyright 2005 by Bob Marcaurelle
2014 Revision by Bob Marcaurelle
FORGIVENESS AT THE CROSS
“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” (Heb. 9:22 / Lev. 15) “This is My blood of the NT shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt. 26:28)
God gives the condition on which He will forgive us and that is the sacrifice of the life of His Son for us and our acceptance of it by faith. Christ knew this in eternity past as the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” (Rev. 5 ). Somewhere in His young life at Nazareth Jesus found out this was His mission. After He left He said:
“The Son of Man came to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Matt. 20:28) “The Son of Man must suffer many things / They will hand Him over to the Gentiles who will mock Him, spit on Him, flog (scourge) Him and kill Him. (Mark 8:31 / 10:33-34)
At a young age Jesus knew He would undergo crucifixion described in Psalm 22 and the stripes of scourging in Isaiah 52:12 and 53: that made him not look human was His destiny. It is easy to see how He would go up into the hills and have his first Gethsemane experience, asking God, why, and if there could be another way. The important thing is He yielded to the will of the Father”
We will see in a later message why the world’s gospel of reformation – do your best, try to be good, etc. is rejected by God. One of those reasons is based on the nature of our crime. We have in us the same sins that killed Jesus (Heb. 6). We are guilty then of His death. If I killed your child, no amount of sorrow or service for you could obligate you to forgive me. Forgiveness cannot be earned. It can only be given as a gracious gift. That must come from you love as a gift to me.
“Father, if there is another way, please take this cup away / My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me.” (Mt. 26:39-42; 27:46)
We do not fully understand why Jesus has to die for us to be forgiven. If Jesus asked “Why” and wondered if there could be another way, we know the answer is not simple. There have been three basic interpretations in church history and each contains some part of the truth.
1. He is Punished in Our Place
“We are justified (declared not guilty) through the redemption (a price paid) which is in Christ Jesus; whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation (atoning sacrifice) in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness (justice-NIV) because in His forbearance He had passed over* sins previously committed.” (NASV & NIV) * (NIV= Had let go unpunished)
The normal term for punishment is never used to explain the death of Christ, but it seems to be the teaching here. We have done wrong to ourselves, others and God and if God is moral and righteous, our wrongdoing must have consequences.
Any judge who sets a guilty person free with no punishment is immoral and unjust. As God places us on the right side of the Judgment even though we have hurt others, Satan cannot charge Him with injustice. The scars on Jesus’ body were payment enough and the best song we can sing in that moment is” “Jesus paid it all / All to Him I owe”.
Martin Luther says how a just God can forgive the sinner and remain just, was a problem worthy of God, and He solved it on the cross. In describing punishment we should not set God against Jesus. God punished Himself. The Bible says, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world back to Him.” (2 Cor. 5). God drew the knife across His own heart. Paul, talking about God, not Jesus goes so far as to say, “He purchased the church with His own blood.” (Acts 20)
Luther dreamed he stood before God at the great Judgment Day. Surrounded by millions of people and angels, it became time to stand before God. All the sins of his life kept coming before him as he stared into the face of a Holy God. He knew he was guilty and had no excuse. He felt the flames of hell licking his feet. Satan was screaming to God and all the hosts at the Judgment, “He is mine! He is mine!” Luther said he felt like he began to slip into hell. Suddenly a presence was next to him. He turned and saw Jesus with the scars on His brow. Jesus smiled and said to God, “Let him in Father, he is one of mine.”