The Cross of Christ – Part 1
Read and Discuss:
Our problem is that God is holy, hates sin and will punish it; and that we are sinful, love sin, and so will suffer the eternal wrath of a holy God. Though there is no way for us to solve this problem, God in His great love for His enemies has made a way so that we cannot only escape the wrath of God, but so that we can receive eternal life as well. This gift of forgiveness and eternal life comes through Jesus Christ.
God in His mercy sent His Son to die in our place. The Son of God willingly laid down His life for us. When He was hung on the cross people assumed He was an evil man who had been forsaken by God and handed over to be tortured physically, emotionally and spiritually by wicked men and demons. But He was not allowed to suffer such things for His own sins, He did it willingly for us according to the gracious plan of God.
We had sinned against God’s law again and again. For this reason we were under the wrath and curse of God. We are worthy of eternal punishment. But Christ, who was well pleasing to God His entire life, was under the blessing and favor of God. But Christ became accursed for us so that we might be blessed.
We have all sinned, and God hates sin. His righteous character doesn’t allow Him to just overlook and ignore sin. In Christ He doesn’t just overlook or forgive sin, but He punished it justly so that He can be both righteous and forgiving. The cross of Jesus Christ is the solution to the problem of God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness. How can a holy God forgive sinful men and allow them into His presence? The answer is by punishing their sins on the cross of Christ so that both His righteous standards and His mercy can be fulfilled. Jesus died to make it possible for an infinitely holy God to show His infinite mercy and grace without compromising His righteousness.
What Jesus did, He did perfectly. Since He is God’s Son His sacrifice is infinitely perfect and sufficient. There is nothing else that is needed to cleanse away our sins. Not only is there nothing else that could wash away our infinitely wicked sin, there is nothing else that is needed. Jesus’ one perfect sacrifice perfectly redeems His people from sin.
Summary: God has provided the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. Jesus willingly took the just punishment for our sins. Though He was perfectly obedient to His Father, Christ was willing to become a curse for us so that we could be blessed. On the cross God demonstrated both His infinite righteousness and His infinite mercy; the cross of Jesus Christ is the infinitely wise solution to the problem of man’s sin and condemnation. Since Christ is the eternal Son of God, His sacrifice is perfectly sufficient to wash away all sins.
Discussion: Why do you think God provided a way of salvation for His enemies? (Because He is gracious and loving.) Why do you think Jesus willingly died for us? (Because He is one with the Father, and so is gracious and loving.) Why did God need to offer a sacrifice; why didn’t He just forgive people without out it? (God is righteous and can’t overlook sin, but He must deal justly with it.) Why is Jesus’ sacrifice enough to cover all people’s sins? (Because He is the perfect and eternal Son of God.)
The Resurrection of Christ – Part 2
Read and Discuss:
1 Peter 1:3
There is a second part to our problem. Not only have we sinned and earned the wrath of God, but we are also in love with sin and in bondage to sin. We don’t only need forgiveness, but we also need a new heart and life. Jesus did not only die so we could be forgiven, He rose from the dead so that we could be born again and live in a new way.
Romans 6:4, 2 Corinthians 5:17
On the cross of Christ our old life was crucified, and at the resurrection our new life was born. We no longer need to live according to the old sinful and rebellious desires, but we can live a new life in obedience to the will of God. Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ we can become new creations.
Romans 7:4-6, John 8:34-36
Jesus is resurrected from the dead and is not in bondage to sin. By joining ourselves to Him He can set us free from all the old sinful desires that bind us. We can be free indeed through the resurrected Son of God.
Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 2:32-33, Ezekiel 36:25-27
Jesus Christ is risen from the dead and has been exalted to the right hand of His Father’s throne. He pours out the Holy Spirit on His people so that they can bear godly fruit in their lives. The power of God’s Spirit sets us free from rebellion and sin.
Jesus Christ is alive from the dead, and He has the power to turn people away from sin so that they can submit to God.
Summary: Besides providing for the forgiveness of our sins through His death on the cross, He also provides us with a brand new life through His resurrection from the dead. He rose from the dead to make us into new creations so that we don’t have to keep living in our old sins but can live a new life of obedience to God. Those who are joined to the resurrected Christ can be set free from slavery to sin. Christ gives them the Holy Spirit so that they can bear godly fruit. The risen Christ turns people away from sin and rebellion so they can serve God.
Discussion: Do you recognize that you need grace from God to live a new life? Jesus defeated the power of sin by obeying His Father all the way to death; do you understand why He has the power to give you a new heart and life?