Not in honor of Easter season, but in honor of the day of the cross of Christ I write this.
It is that time of the year all over the world. On this day, Jesus Christ with humble obedience laid down His life to save our souls from God’s wrath. On this day, a perfectly righteous man bled because of false accusations. On this day, a sinful people hated that man and shouted in order for him to be crucified. On this day, those same sinful people did not know what Jesus was doing. On this day, redemption was born and a gift of freedom was presented to mankind.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-26)
It’s so true that we are sinners. We deserve death, each and every one of us, but because God is merciful, he wanted to give us a different path. This path leads to Him. Why else would he choose to do this other than because he wants to be with us for eternity? God wants us! And the only way it is possible for him to have us is that we believe that his son died on the cross for us, being resurrected from the dead three days later, saving our souls from eternal condemnation. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8)
The cross is where our faith begins, where our hope restarts, and where our joy is found.
Our faith begins in the cross because we learn that Christ died just the way it was prophesied in Isaiah 53. We see that Jesus really does love us and that we are able to depend on him because he was innocent and did not deserve the death, yet gave himself up as an offering for us. Our faith is surely safe in Jesus Christ because he did what we could not do ourselves.
Our hope restarts in the cross because we are sinful, ungodly, filthy people that can’t possibly earn our way into heaven, yet God makes a way for us despite our unrighteousness. It is uplifting to know that God creates in us a new heart and grants us new mercies every day. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16)
Our joy is found in the cross because Jesus died with the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2), which is to spend eternity with his Father. We are heirs of Christ, meaning we have eternity ahead of us just like Jesus did. Our joy is the truth that our home is really a heavenly dwelling. “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” (2 Cor. 5:5)
We must not forget the whole gospel though. The cross is extremely significant, but so is the resurrection. What is the cross without the resurrection? Simply death.
“And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:17-22)
Our lives should be pitied above all men if Christ was not raised. It lays it out clearly for us. Our faith is futile if Christ was not raised. We must know the last part of that passage to be true, that all will be made alive. We are raised up with Jesus Christ and resurrected spiritually from our sins and justified once and for all!
Lastly, I want to leave you all with a passage written by Charles Spurgeon in his book, All of Grace: An Earnest Word with Those Seeking Salvation.
“THIS MESSAGE is for you. You will find the text in the Epistle to the Romans, in the fourth chapter and the fifth verse:
‘To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.’
I call your attention to those words, ‘Him that justifieth the ungodly.’ They seem to me to be very wonderful words.
Are you not surprised that there should be such an expression as that in the Bible, ‘That justifieth the ungodly?’ I have heard that men that hate the doctrines of the cross bring it as a charge against God, that He saves wicked men and receives to Himself the vilest of the vile. See how this Scripture accepts the charge, and plainly states it! By the mouth of His servant Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, He takes to Himself the title of ‘Him that justifieth the ungodly.’ He makes those just who are unjust, forgives those who deserve to be punished, and favors those who deserve no favor. You thought, did you not, that salvation was for the good? that God’s grace was for the pure and holy, who are free from sin? It has fallen into your mind that, if you were excellent, then God would reward you; and you have thought that because you are not worthy, therefore there could be no way of your enjoying His favor. You must be somewhat surprised to read a text like this: ‘Him that justifieth the ungodly.’ I do not wonder that you are surprised; for with all my familiarity with the great grace of God, I never cease to wonder at it. It does sound surprising, does it not, that it should be possible for a holy God to justify and unholy man? We, according to the natural legality of our hearts, are always talking about our own goodness and our own worthiness, and we stubbornly hold to it that there must be somewhat in us in order to win the notice of God. Now, God, who sees through all deceptions, knows that there is no goodness whatever in us. He says that ‘there is none righteous, no not one.’ He knows that ‘all our righteousness are as filthy rags,’ and, therefore the Lord Jesus did not come into the world to look after goodness and righteousness with him, and to bestow them upon persons who have none of them. He comes, not because we are just, but make us so: he justifieth the ungodly.”