When we Christians say that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay for your sins and my sins, please don’t let your mind hear the message this way: “Jesus is sometimes portrayed in gold, silver, or plastic on a little piece of jewelry, so my little peccadillos are behind us; Jesus is cool with me now. Let’s go do something fun!”
Logic Check: If your sins and my sins were only trivial little bumps in the road, would it have taken such an extreme measure on God’s part to make possible our restoration to Him?
Jesus said, “No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13) Jesus wasn’t just talking cheap talk. He said this the night He was going to be arrested, and He knew what was in store for Him.
As though commenting on this very point, the apostle Paul wrote, “(For rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person perhaps someone might possibly dare to die.) But God demonstrates his own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:7-8)
The point is this. At the time when Jesus hung on the cross bearing my sins, I was not a future “good person.” My future sins (and yours, too) were so bad that they required God Himself to leave His throne, His due glory, and His due honor in the perfection of heaven. The “little” rebellions that we tend to trivialize are so deadly that sinless Jesus Christ had to humble Himself to endure excruciating, humiliating, shameful abuse and torture at the hands of sinful men to release us from dead-certain everlasting destruction.
My sins and yours are that bad, and His love is that good!
Just to Be Perfectly Clear
I don’t say these things to shame you. I say them to make a point regarding how BIG and incomprehensible God’s love for you and me is! (Ephesians 3:16-19) This is what love looks like.
Love always costs something. Love is not self-seeking; it is other-seeking. Love is not demanding; it is giving. Love does not hold grudges; it forgives.
Love always costs something, but never more than what God paid in giving the very life of His beloved Son. God loves you!
And now the resurrected King Jesus has returned to His rightful place of honor at the right hand of God the Father. And it’s as though He says, “All that suffering I endured, it was worth it for the joy of having you restored to me.” (Hebrews 12:2) His love is not spent. “…He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)
You Can Understand
Maybe you have loved someone with Christ-like love. If someone you love has continued to offend you and hurt you, and you have continued to do good to them, to bless them, and to pray for them, then yes, you have loved with Christ-like love. This is an approximation of the love that God has for us. You cannot make that person return the love or even accept the love that you pour out to them. You cannot unilaterally mend the relationship unless they accept the love you offer and return it, can you?
This, too, parallels the situation between humans and God. No greater love has anyone shown than the love of Christ in His suffering. He deserved zero percent of the punishment. We deserved 100 percent of the punishment. He didn’t pay part of what we deserve. He paid the whole bill. (Colossians 2:13-14)
And now Christ stands with the cancelled debt of our sin in hand, fully paid. And He invites us to come receive what we lost when we sinned—life through a personal relationship with Him. He is life. (John 14:6) There is life and salvation in no one else (Acts 4:12) because no one else paid the full debt for you and for me.
Why believe in Jesus? Because no one else has ever loved you and me so greatly, and no one else ever will. And belief is the avenue to receiving the salvation that Christ paid for. (John 5:24)
Enjoy Rachel Lampa’s “No Greater Love” as you think this over today.