As we saw in our last article, Jesus Christ is the only person capable of saving us from our sins. We looked at His unique role as both God and man. We also saw how Jesus was sinless and how only a sinless person could save us from our own sins.
In this article we will look at the way in which Jesus has saved us from our sins, on a cross of Roman wood. We will also see how our sins could not have the final say, and how three days after Jesus died for us, He rose from the dead.
By giving His life for us on the cross, Jesus accomplished our salvation, and by rising from the grave, He accomplished our future resurrection.
The Calvary Cross
The cross of Jesus Christ is the center of the Christian faith. It is where the entire story of God revealing Himself to us climaxes. On a hill called Mount Calvary, just outside the city of Jerusalem, the Roman authorities, and the Jewish religious leaders publicly put Jesus of Nazareth to death on a cross. The importance of this event would change the course of human history.
But, why is the death of one person in the first century so important to you or me? Because, as we have seen in our previous articles the problem of sin does not have a cure unless God intervenes on our behalf. It is in the death of his Son, Jesus, that He chose to take our sin on Himself, thereby doing away with it once and for all.
His Death Foretold
The New Testament is full of passages that highlight the importance of Jesus giving His life for us on the cross. The gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John — all tell us that Jesus was well aware of why he came to the earth: the main reason was to die.
In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus foretells His death to his disciples three times before he dies! Not only did Jesus know why He came, but He also knew what his death was going to accomplish for the world.
Concerning our sin and the cross, Paul, in his letter to the Christians in Rome, writes, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith” (Rom 3:23-24).
The Final Solution
Jesus is the final solution to the problem of our sin. On the cross, Jesus absorbed God’s entire wrath towards sin. This is why Paul can say in his letter to the Colossian Christians that Christ has, “canceled the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross” (Col 2:13-14). Christ absorbed God’s penalty towards sin in His own death. This means life for us.
Since God has done the saving work in the cross, He now opens the invitation to all of us who choose to believe. It’s as simple as believing that Christ has saved you! He requires nothing from us, because there is nothing we can bring. He has solved the problem of sin — once and for all.
Resurrection and Life
But, the good news gets even better. Jesus rose again from the dead! In the words of the Bible, “death could not hold him down” (Acts 2:24). The importance of Jesus rising from the dead is essential to the hope we can have in Jesus’s victory over sin and death. In a literal way, death was triumphed over because Jesus rose. In a spiritual way, death no longer has to bind us because we can have hope beyond the grave that we too can rise to eternal life just like Jesus did.
If you remember from our first article, the result of sin entering into the world, through Adam and Eve’s disobedience, brought physical and spiritual death into the world. Jesus has reversed this cycle of sin and death by defeating it through His cross and resurrection. Indeed, the hope of the Christian is nurtured through these two facts. So we see that the cross and the resurrection accomplished the two greatest moments in human history: the defeat of sin and the defeat of death.
God’s Holy Spirit
After Jesus’s resurrection, He returned to heaven to be with the Father. Before He left, however, He promised not to leave his disciples abandoned. He promised to send the Holy Spirit to “guide the disciples” until he returned again one day to gather his church. In our final article in this series, we will take a closer look at who the Holy Spirit is and how he works to constantly change, comfort and keep us until the Lord Jesus returns.
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