- Text: Rom. 1:16,17.
- On the road to Emmaus, Jesus explained to two disciples that the crucifixion of the Messiah was not an unexpected problem — it was a thing that “ought” to have happened — Lk. 24:25,26.
- Among many other things about the cross that we need to think about more carefully, we need to understand that our salvation could not have been made possible without the cross.
- If we were to be saved, it was necessary for Christ to die. Why so?
I. The Problem of Sin and Death
- “Death” is not only the penalty — it is the inevitable consequence of sin — Gen. 2:17; Rom. 6:23. Cf. Gal. 6:7,8.
- Every accountable person who has ever lived is involved in the problem of sin — Rom. 5:12. Cf. Rom. 3:23; Gal. 3:22.
- And what a terrible problem it is: to be dead in sin is to be in a wretched condition — Rom. 7:22–24.
II. God’s Answer to the Problem of Sin and Death
- We can be thankful that God did not abandon us to our sin. He is “not willing that any should perish” (2 Pt. 3:9) — and, in love, He chose to make salvation possible for us.
- No sooner had sin entered the world than God announced His intention to conquer it through One who would bruise the head of Satan — Gen. 3:15.
- The plan for man’s redemption reflected in Gen. 3:15 was a plan formulated by God before the foundation of the world — Eph. 3:11. Cf. Rev. 13:8.
- God’s eternal purpose came to fruition in the “fullness of the time” (Gal. 4:4,5; Eph. 1:10). Cf. Rom. 5:6.
- The plan God made to save us from sin and death involved giving His Son to die for us — Hb. 2:9,10,14,15. Cf. Mt. 1:21–23; 1 Pt. 2:24.
III. The Cross as the Only Way for Us to Be Saved
- The cross was necessary, first of all, in that it did for us what we could never have done for ourselves — Rom. 5:6.
- If we had never committed but one sin, not even a perfect life from that point forward could have atoned for our sin — we could never have earned our own salvation.
- But beyond that, the cross was the only way God could bring about our salvation and not violate His own character — Rom. 3:25,26.
- Jesus drank the cup of His suffering because it was not possible for it to be otherwise and our sins be forgiven — Mt. 26:39,42; Hb. 5:7–9. Cf. Mk. 14:36; Jn. 18:11.
- The cross was not merely an expedient means of salvation that God chose out of other alternatives — it was the only way we could have been redeemed.
- But as we consider the “necessity” of the cross, we should keep one thing clear: though the cross was the only way for us to be saved, Jesus did not have to save us at all — Jn. 10:17,18; Hb. 5:8. Cf. Mt. 26:53,54; Phil. 2:5–8.
- That it took the death of our Lord to deal with the problem of sin ought to tell us much about the seriousness of sin in general — and, more important, about the seriousness of our own sins personally. Cf. Prov. 6:16–19.
- In the message of the cross is revealed God’s “righteousness” (Rom. 1:16,17) — His righteous way of making us righteous, His just way of justifying us.
Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com