The Cross

You can know God loves you because of the cross. The word CROSS will help you to remember how you can have eternal life.

The C in CROSS is for Christ. Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross. The Bible says, "You see, at just the right time, when we were powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6b). There are three things that we need to remember about Christ.

First, the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is God. His claim of equality with God is what the religious leaders of that day finally used to send him to the Romans to be crucified. Jesus forgave sins, healed the sick, raised the dead, received worship and after he died on the cross, he rose again just as he promised.

Second, Jesus was sinless. Jesus had no sin of his own. The angel Gabriel told Mary that the Holy One to be born would be called the Son of God. On one occasion Jesus asked some Jewish religious leaders if they could prove him guilty of sin. They could not. Jesus was sinless all the days of his life.

Third, Jesus died. The sinless Son of God died on the cross. "You see, at just the right time, when we were powerless, Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6b).

A young daughter asked her father at bedtime, "Why did Jesus die on the cross?" That question is answered in the next letter.

The R in CROSS is for Reason. The reason Christ died is for sin.

The Bible says, "For Christ died for sins, once for all, the righteous [that was Jesus] for the unrighteous [that was us], to bring you to God." (1 Peter 3:18a).

The Bible tells us that everyone has sinned, "For all have sinned and have fallen short of God's glory" (Romans 3:23). Our conscience tells us we have sinned. The law of God tells us we have fallen short of God's standard.

The O in CROSS is for Outcome. The outcome of sin is death. The Bible says, "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23a).

Wages are what we earn. Wages are what we deserve. If someone hired you to work for him for one day for $100, what would this person owe you at the end of the day? He would owe you $100. That is what you earned and that is what you deserve. The outcome of our sin is death. This death is both physical and spiritual. I think you would agree that this is bad news. Yet the next letter, S in CROSS has some good news.

The S in CROSS is for Substitute. Jesus was our substitute on the cross. Jesus' sacrifice displays God's loving mercy and his righteous justice as no other action could. "But God demonstrates his own love for us: While we were still sinners Christ died for us" Romans 5:8. Jesus paid the sin-debt that we could not pay. God then raised him from the dead to demonstrate that the debt was paid and that Jesus is exalted as Lord over all.

Suppose you received your credit card bill and it was so large you could not pay it. Suppose your creditors took you to court and the judge found you guilty and sentenced you to prison until the debt was paid. How is the debt going to be paid while you sit in jail?

Then, just when all seems hopeless, a stranger walks up and asks the judge if he could pay your debt. The judge lets him pay and you go free. Justice is satisfied in the payment and mercy is demonstrated in the sacrifice of the one who paid the debt. How would you feel about this person who paid your debt?

When Christ became the substitute for sin, he satisfied the righteousness and justice of God and demonstrated the love and mercy of God. Christ's resurrection displays the power of his Lordship. Jesus offers what he has done as a gift from God. How do you feel about Jesus Christ in light of what he has done?

This gift, like any gift, must be received. That brings us to the last S in CROSS.

The last S in Cross is Salvation. Because Jesus is our substitute, he is the only one who can offer salvation. Salvation includes forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life.

But how is this possible? To have forgiveness and eternal life you must believe and receive. The Bible says "That if you confess with your mouth, that "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9). To confess Jesus as Lord means you turn from sin (repent) and surrender control of your life to Jesus. To believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead means you are trusting in all that Jesus Christ is and has done for you.

To receive Christ by faith is simply trusting Christ alone for salvation. The Bible says, "…To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).

Remember the question: "What do you think God requires for a person to have eternal life?" How did you answer that? If you chose any other answer than trusting Christ alone for eternal life, then you need to trust him now!

Would you like to trust Christ alone for salvation and discover the most important thing that could ever happened to you? Pray this prayer or a similar prayer from your heart.

Prayer: Dear God I know I am a sinner. I believe Christ died on the cross for my sin and then arose. I now confess you as Lord and trust you alone for my salvation. According to your Word I believe you and receive you by faith. Thank you for the free gift of eternal life. Amen.

Congratulations! You have just made the most important decision of your life.