Christ Died on the Cross to Save Us (1)
There was no other way for God to
forgive our sins
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
— Isaiah 53:5-6
Isaiah 53 is one of the most remarkable prophecies in the entire Bible, accurately speaking of the death and resurrection of Christ 700 years before He was crucified. It is also one of the clearest statements in the Bible as to what actually happened on the cross, namely, that in that awful hour God “laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” as the verse quoted above says. In this same chapter we read that He was stricken “for the transgressions of my people,” and that God “made His soul an offering for sin.”
But why did God do this? Because, as a God who is love (1 John 4:8, 16), God desired to forgive our sins. However, at the same time, as a holy and just God, He also had to punish our sins. If we ask God to forgive our sins without punishing them, we are not asking Him to be merciful, we are actually asking Him to be unrighteous, and this something He cannot do, for it would be a violation of His divine nature.
And the punishment had to fall on mankind, because we were the ones who were guilty of the sins. In the Old Testament, God had ordained through Moses a system of sacrifice to atone for sins, but those sacrifices only “covered” the sins–the Hebrew word for “atonement” means “to cover”–they could not actually take them away. As the writer of Hebrews says:
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
But, if God punished us directly for our sins we would be cut off from Him for all eternity, and He would not allow that to happen.
So, the only way God could reconcile the demands of both His love and His justice was to give up His Son to bear our sins on the cross. This is spoken of in perhaps the most famous verse in the entire Bible:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
— John 3:16
Will you receive this gift today? This is a one-time, once-for-all decision. We call this series “Salvation Step-by-Step,” and that applies in terms of how we reach God’s ultimate goal for us. However, to receive the forgiveness of sins is not a matter of any “steps.” Don’t feel you must improve yourself before you can come to God; the Lord told Moses, “Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar!” (Exo. 20:26). We all must come to God, as the wonderful hymn says, “Just As I Am.”
Because, in His infinite love for mankind, God gave up His only Son to die on the cross for our sins, the way is now open for all who believe to have their sins forgiven, once and for all, and to receive God’s free gift of eternal life. Again we would ask, will you receive this free gift today?