“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:1-3)
As we have enumerated the lists in the previous chapter that support the truth of the crucifixion, we shall discuss the importance of the redemptive work of Christ on the cross. Christ endured the cross for a joy that was set before, says the Apostle Paul. However, why is Christ’s death on the cross so important for us, and how is it relevant? How does it affect our lives as human beings who have fallen short from the standards of God? Why should I heed to the work of the cross and consider it? And most importantly, what would happen should I decide to ignore it, and go on with my life? Let us examine by the light of the Word of God all these questions and see if the Bible gives us a clear and direct answer.
The Crucifixion of Christ is the only Solution for the Original Sin
“Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…. For if by the one man’s offence death reigned through the one, mush more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. Therefore as through one-man offense, judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:12; 17-19).
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).
The Cross of Christ is the only Solution for the Daily Sin
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Christ His son cleanses us fro all sin. If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1: 7-9).
The Cross of Christ is the only Solution for the Curse of the Law
“For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, cursed is every one who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them……. (but) Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having became a curse for us, for it is written , cursed is every one who hang on the tree” (Galatians 3:10,13).
The Cross of Christ is the only Satisfaction for the Justice of God
The God whom we worship is a holy God and He could not justify the sinners without penalty, for He has said “The soul that sins it shall die”…“The Lord God merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty” (Exodus 34:6-7) The apostle Paul in Romans chapter three he was dealing with the problem of “How could a just God be justified in justifying the guilty one without the guilty one pays for his guilt?. The answer to this question is the death of Christ on the cross for by His death Christ paid the penalty of sin (which is death) and by this action He satisfied God’s justice. “For God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation…For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin (offering) for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthins 5:19,21).
The Cross of Christ is the only Revelation of the Love of God
“But God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but has everlasting life” (John 3:16).
The Cross of Christ is the Fulfillment of the Old Testament Sacrifices
When Adam and Eve sinned the Bible said that God made for them tunics of skin and clothed them. Then their children Abel and Cain learned from their parents to offer sacrifices to the Lord as atonement for their sin. Able offered a lamb, but Cain offered from the fruits of the earth, God accepted the sacrifice of Abel and refused the sacrifice of Cain because the sacrifice of Cain did not meet the demand of God who decreed:
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the alter to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11) and He also said: “For without shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” (Hebrews 9:22).
When Noah got out of the Arch, he offered unblemished animals and birds as sacrifices, which symbolizes the two natures of Christ, the earthly and the heavenly as well.
In Exodus we observe that each family had to offer as a sacrifice a lamb or a sheep and from this sacrifice they would spread blood on the upper threshold and the two doorposts of the gate of their home, for the Lord told them “take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and the lintel of door so when I see the blood I would over pass them.”
When John the Baptist saw Christ walking he pointed to him and said, “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said:
“Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you have prepared for me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure. (Hebrews 10:4-7). And it is written, “the world became flesh and dwelt among us….” (John 1:14). In the volume of the book it is written of Me: to do your will, O God” (Hebrews 10:7).
“Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of the heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the lining God?" (Hebrews: 12-14).
Muslims around the world still offer sacrifices and offerings, and the people of the old testament also used to offer sacrifices. In the book of Leviticus we see the priest in the day of Redemption takes a lamb, puts his hand on it, then confesses the sins of the people after that he slaughters the lamb. But we should not forget that the sacrifice should be of equal value to the sacrificed with or even better. Could a lamb or a bull equate the human being? That is why the sacrifices are only symbol to the great sacrifice who is the Lamb of God who will carry the sin of the world.
Christ says about himself: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11) and Paul says to the Ephesians, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”(Ephesians 1:7).
It is very important to know that the One Whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins. The following is also said about Him:
He was in the world, and the world was made through him. (John 1:9)
He is “Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting. (Micah 5:2)
In Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth. (Colossians 1:16)
He is: In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)
He who loved us and washed us from our sins with his blood. (Revelations 1:5)
He who said to the sea “Peace, Be still” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39-40)
He who rose up the dead
He who said to the sick to be healed and they were.
He who commanded the evil spirit to leave and they did.
He who said to the rooster to crow, and it did.
He who told the fish to come forward and it did. He who said to the fig tree to be dried from the roots and it withered away.
He who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.’
The Cross of Christ Reveals the Evil of the Human Heart
However, it is strange to see that Jesus Christ, who wandered among the people doing good, healing all who are overpowered by Satan and their sickness, raising their dead, forgiving their sins, after they witnessed enormous number of miracles that he performed, and taught them holy teachings, although they proclaimed that no human being ever spoke like Him, yet, they have forgotten all these, and stood before Pilate screaming crucify Him, and declaring that there is no king over them except Caesar.
Indeed the apostle Paul was right to declare: “They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one….Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:12-18).
The Cross of Christ is the only way to overcome the Power of Satan
Satan’s declared war on God. In many instances the believers and the people of this earth were not only soldiers in this battle, but sometimes they were the battleground. Christ’s victory over death, constituted a victory over Satan. Death is the final mystery, the “final frontier”. Jesus died and rose again, and whosoever chooses to believe can now sing the song, “Death where is your victory.” The hold of death on us was through sin, Satan’s grip on our lives in strengthened through sin as well, with the cross of Christ we have victory because of His ability to overcome, and not due to any power we claim. By faith in his death, we are actually accepting that we also died, and his victory is bestowed upon us as a gift. “And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the hand writing of the requirements that was against us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2:13-15).
The Cross of Christ is the only Declaration of the Wisdom of God
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews as stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stranger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty” (1 Corinthians 1:12).
The Cross of Christ is the Accomplishment of the Determined Purpose of God
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by god to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-Him, been delivered by the determined purpose and fore-knowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it…. therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will you allow your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in Your presence” (Acts 2:22-24 & 26-28).
The Cross of Christ is the only Assurance of the Resurrection of the Believers
Paul writes in this letter to the Corinthians saying:
“For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of al men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by mean come death, by man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1Cor. 15:16-22)
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put incorruption” (1 Corinthians 15: 52).