Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
Most people have heard of the crucifixion of Jesus. But have you ever wondered why Jesus died on the cross? The Bible tells us that He was a man whose conduct was irreproachable in every situation. His words were loving, wise, and full of truth. He cared for all kinds of people: the strong and sick, rich and poor, young and old, moral and immoral, esteemed and despised. So why did Jesus, a truly extraordinary person, have to die such a horrible death on the cross?
The problem of sin
To answer this question, we first need to realize that God created human beings in a very purposeful way. He wanted to have a loving relationship with them and share His divine life with them so that they could express Him.
But before this could happen, Satan, God’s enemy, interrupted God’s great plan. Through temptation and deception, he injected his evil, sinful nature into mankind. As a result, every human being was corrupted with sin. This is why the Bible tells us, “All have sinned.”
All have sinned. By examining history or considering the world we live in today, we can see that this is true. The pitiful state of the human race is all too evident in the hatred, violence, and cruelty present in today’s society.
In addition to observing the effects of sin in the world around us, we can also see them by examining our inward condition. Can anyone honestly say they’ve never done anything sinful or bad? What about our words, behavior, actions, and thoughts? Can we say they’re all pure? We all have to admit that we’re infected with the poison of sin. No matter who we are, what our culture or background is, or how diligent or accomplished we may be, none of us can say we’re without sin. The Bible says emphatically, “There is none righteous, not even one.”
So what are the consequences of sin? Although God loves us immensely, He’s righteous and holy; He can’t simply ignore or overlook sin. He has no choice but to condemn sin. Furthermore, the Bible tells us that “The wages of sin is death.” Death is the ultimate consequence of sin—not only physical death, but eternal perdition in the lake of fire.
But this isn’t the end of the story.
We need forgiveness
Throughout our lives, we’ve accumulated a number of sins, all of which separate us from God. We need God’s forgiveness. But how can we obtain it? In the Bible, Hebrews 9:22 tells us about the unique way for us to be forgiven by God:
“And without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”
So we see that forgiveness requires the shedding of blood. But whose blood?
The precious blood of Jesus
First, God became a man with flesh and blood named Jesus. Jesus was both God and man, a God-man. He lived a perfect human life on earth; He was the only One in human history who was completely without sin.
Then, after living for 33 and a half years, Jesus was crucified. He suffered the death of a criminal without ever committing a sin. But He wasn’t merely a martyr or a good man who died an unjust death. As this sinless God-man hung on the cross, He took on the full burden of our sins. As sinners, we should bear the consequence of our sins and suffer eternal death. But on the cross, Jesus bore the judgment of sin. He shed His precious blood to redeem us eternally and release us from all our sins.
So why did Jesus have to die? So that you could be forgiven and receive eternal life.
Receiving forgiveness and eternal life
Now, to be saved from God’s judgment, you simply need to repent by turning your heart to Him and believe in Him and what He’s done for you. When you do this, you receive God’s forgiveness and all your sins are washed away by His precious blood.
After Jesus died for our sins, He resurrected and became a life-giving Spirit. Like air, He’s everywhere. When you believe in Jesus, not only are you forgiven from all your sins, but you’re also born again with the life of God! This means God comes into you and is joined to you forever.
God loves you dearly. He has already done everything for you to be forgiven and to receive His eternal life. He’s just waiting for you to repent and believe in Him. You can do this right now by opening your heart to Him and praying a simple prayer like this:
“Lord Jesus, I turn my heart to you. I confess I’m sinful. Please forgive me for all of my sins, big and small. Thank You for dying for me! Thank You for paying the penalty for my sins and shedding Your own blood to save me. I open my heart to receive You right now. Come into me and live in me. Thank You for giving me Your eternal life. I love You, Lord Jesus. Amen.”
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