In all of history, there is not one more redeeming, liberating, or costly sacrifice than the cross of Christ. For many of us, it has made a powerful difference in our lives, both now, and for all of eternity. Yet the reality is that it can be very difficult to reflect on all that Jesus was willing to suffer and endure on our behalf.
We may even find ourselves struggling through questions like these:
Why did Jesus have to die?
Was it really necessary?
How could a loving God allow this to happen?
The Bible is clear that God had a plan all along for us to live free. He made a way, and many prophecies clearly foretold all that would take place in Christ’s journey to the cross. God’s greatest desire was, and still is, to draw us to Himself, to be in relationship with us.
Of one thing we can be fully assured in life: God is loving. And He cares, so very deeply, about each and every one of us. Because of that, He knew there was only one way we could live totally free. When we begin to grasp that truth deep inside, it changes everything.
Without the pain and reality of the cross, without the sacrifice of Christ on our behalf, without the power of the Resurrection and His final victory over sin and death, we would still be bound. We would still live defeated. We would still be groping in darkness. There was no other way for the door to be opened for us to have a relationship with God but by the forgiveness of our own sin through Christ’s payment on our behalf.
Why Jesus chose to die, and what the price of the cross means for us now:
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It means we are deeply loved:
God loved us and sent His Son. The Bible reminds us of that great truth again and again. Yet, there were countless times in the journey to the cross that Jesus could have chosen to save Himself. But He didn’t. He never wavered. He stayed the course and was willing to endure all that it held—the suffering, the persecution, the betrayal, the pain. He faced all this because of His great love for us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
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It means we can be forgiven:
The gift of the cross offers us the opportunity for forgiveness of sin. Through the price Jesus paid on Calvary, we have the chance to be completely forgiven – our slates wiped clean. He took all of our sin and shame upon his shoulders. He took the blows on our behalf so we wouldn’t have to suffer. Such incredible love. Such amazing sacrifice.
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)
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It makes a way for us to come to God:
Jesus' willingness to give His life for ours provides a bridge, a way, an open door to God. It gives us an opportunity to have a personal relationship with the very God who made us and loves us more than we could ever imagine. Without the cross, there’s no way to “cross over” the divide that keeps us from a relationship with Him. Any attempt will fail. We can never be good enough in our own power or strength. It cannot be bought with money or possessions. It’s not determined by what church we are a part of, or who our parents are. Jesus is truly the only way.
“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
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It gives us the power to live free:
Jesus’ victory over sin and death provides freedom to all who believe in Him. Freedom from the shackles of sin. Freedom from shame. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from hopelessness. Freedom from despair. Freedom from addiction. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from darkness and eternal separation from God. He alone is our Hope-giver and the One who sets us free.
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
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It gives us transformed purpose and meaning in life:
Because of the cross of Christ and His sacrifice for us, all those who believe in Him are given new life. We are not only forgiven, cleansed, and set free, but we’re restored, and given a fresh new life and destiny through Christ. We are changed from the inside out. He renews our minds. He changes our hearts and desires. He gives us great purpose for every day still set before us.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
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We are given the gift of His Holy Spirit:
Because Christ is victorious, He gives that same mighty power to His children today. When Jesus died on the cross and was buried, it didn’t stop there. The final picture of all the cross provides lies in the powerful Resurrection of our Lord. He didn’t stay dead. He could never remain closed in a tomb and forgotten through the ages. He won. He rose again. His power broke through, and that same power is alive within us today. As believers, God gives us the power of the Holy Spirit, living and moving through us each day. Sometimes we forget it’s there, or maybe we don’t even ask Him for a fresh filling of his Spirit breathed into our day. We struggle to get through on our own. But the truth is, He’s still there, waiting to help us and to live mightily through our lives
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
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It provides victory in our lives today:
Because Jesus holds the victory over the enemy, we too can walk in that same power and strength. We don’t have to fear the devil or his assaults. As we live aware of his traps, the power of Christ over our lives gives us a covering and protection from his evil schemes. We’re never left to fend for ourselves in this life. God is with us always and reminds us of His powerful presence fighting for us. We can stand in the mighty Name of Jesus Christ, “for in him, we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:2).
“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
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It offers us the hope for our heavenly home:
Jesus’ death and Resurrection opened up a door to eternity for all who believe in His name. This is not all there is to life, He offers us an eternal heavenly home after our days here are over. We no longer have to fear and worry about what will happen when we die. In Christ, we are given the gift of eternal life. We are held secure in Him. The Bible reminds us that this earth is only our temporary home, yet God is preparing a place for us, with Him, to live forever. And we can be assured, it will be far greater than we could ever imagine.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
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A Prayer of thanks for Christ’s sacrifice on the cross:
Thank you for the gift of Jesus, who was willing to lay down His life so that we could live free. Thank you for the power of the Resurrection that brings victory over sin and death. Thank you, that this same power still works mightily within us today, and we have great hope because of Christ.
We ask you today for the fresh filling of your Spirit, so that we can live out your purposes in this generation and be a light in this world. Help us to be strong and courageous, to walk wisely, and to live a life of love. We’re reminded again of your great sacrifice on our behalf, and our hearts are filled with thankfulness for giving us new life in you. We love you, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name,
Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets). Join her each morning on Fresh Day Ahead's Facebook page, for daily encouragement in living strong, free, hope-filled lives. Find her also on Twitter and at her blog www.debbiemcdaniel.com.
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Originally published Monday, 01 April 2019.