The Necessity of the Cross

     

For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but committed Himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (I Peter 2:19-25).

From the very beginning of history, the human race has been bound to God through belief in and obedience to His word as absolute truth. The Lord our God is a righteous God, and He demands that His people live according to His will. The relationship that existed between God and Adam was based on the principle of living life through faith and obedience to God’s will. When Adam transgressed God’s will, the fellowship that he shared with God was severed. Thus, the fall of mankind. God demonstrated to mankind that His desire was to dwell continually in the midst of His people when He shed the blood of an innocent animal to provide a covering for Adam, and to bring His creation back into fellowship with Himself.

The Day of Atonement – The need for atonement, “to cover over”, arose from the fact that Israel’s sin, if not atoned for, would subject them to God’s wrath. Therefore, the purpose of the Day of Atonement was to provide a comprehensive sacrifice for all sins that may not have been atoned for in the sacrifices offered throughout the preceding year. Because God’s desire was to save the Israelites and reconcile them unto Himself, He provided a system of sacrificial offerings in order to cleanse them of their sins. The Day of Atonement is replete with symbolism pointing to the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Old Testament sacrificial rituals had to be repeated every year, which indicated that the cleansing which occurred was temporary, but they pointed to a time when Christ would come to permanently take away all confessed sins by shedding His blood on Calvary’s Cross! Jesus suffered and died in our places, thus, His death was vicarious, in that it was in the place of others. “It pictures one throwing His body over another to take the punishment in and upon Himself.” Jesus did this for lost men. On the cross, He endured in Himself the whole of God’s wrath against sin. His death was voluntary; no man took His life from Him. He gave it freely. John 10:17-18 says, “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.” Almighty God, took upon Himself sinful flesh, that He might die in my place, because there was none worthy, no not one! Jesus became the ultimate sacrifice!

I Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” The sacrificial blood that Jesus shed, reconciled sinners unto Himself, which opened the door to bring sinners into a right relationship with God! He paid a debt, He did not owe, and I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to wash my sins away! Herein lies the realization of the Necessity of the Cross. The atoning blood of our Lord and Savior, paved the way for us to enter into the Holy of Holies, into the very presence of Almighty God! Because of the vicarious suffering of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we now have an opportunity to spend eternity with Him! Praise God! For without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sin! Our Savior suffered, bled, and died, but Hallelujah, He rose again, just for you, and for me. What manner of love is this? John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Romans 5:7-10 says, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

Dear heavenly Father, I thank You and I praise You for this wonderful plan of salvation, that was purchased by Your atoning blood. Jesus, I can never thank You enough for the vicarious suffering You endured, that I might have a right unto the tree of life. You are the propitiatory sacrifice to the Father, for the sins of the world. Lord, I thank You for Your mercy and Your grace, so undeserved, yet You gave to prove Your love for me! Lord, the voices of one million angels, cannot express my gratitude. All that I am, and ever hope to be, I owe it all to Thee! Thank you Jesus! To God be the glory, to God be the glory, to God be the glory, for the things He has done! Lord, I worship You, I adore You, I give You glory and honor, in Your great name, amen.