Goal: Help the student understand how the cross of Christ makes it possible for a perfectly just God to forgive sinful people. Also help the student understand that they should hate and forsake their sins because their sin was the reason Jesus had to die.
Instructor’s Notes: 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. We earned the wages of sin which is death, but we cannot earn eternal life, it is a gift that comes through Jesus Christ.
- Please explain mankind’s problem in your own words?
- Have you recently been meditating on the problem of your sin and God’s holiness?
- What keeps you from repenting and trusting in Christ today?
Instructor’s Notes: 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.
- Would you allow your child to die for people who hate you?
- You have sinned against God every day of your life and yet He gave His Son so you could receive eternal life, what does that tell you about God? (God loves you.)
Instructor’s Notes: 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. Jesus took our place so that we could be forgiven.
- What does it tell you about Jesus that He willingly gave His life for you? (Christ loves His Father and He loves you.)
- How does it make you feel that Jesus died because of your sin? How do you feel about your sin in light of Jesus’ death for you?
Instructor’s Notes: 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.
- Why did Christ have to die, why didn’t God just forgive our sins? (God is perfectly just and holy. He cannot overlook sin. He is the Ruler and Judge of all creation. His eternal kingdom must be established on righteousness and justice. To allow sin to go unpunished would be an unjust compromise with evil. God’s holiness cannot accept compromise with evil. A just judge must judge. Consider a judge who allowed a murderer to go free. We might call such a judge merciful, but we could never call him just. And imagine the affect that such leniency would create; no one would take the law seriously anymore, they would know that the judge arbitrarily enforces the law and that evil would sometimes be allowed. God will not allow His law to be violated without pouring out judgment. But He loves sinners and wanted them to receive forgiveness, so He sent Christ to pay our debt to the justice of God. Now God can freely pardon sinners while upholding His justice. The death of Christ shows how seriously God takes His law.)
Instructor’s Notes: 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.
- If each and every sin against the eternal God is worthy of eternal punishment, how can one Man dying on a cross pay the punishment for all? (Christ is the eternal Son of God. His sacrifice is of eternal worth. His death is sufficient to justify each and every individual no matter what evil they have committed or how many times they have committed it.)
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.
Challenge to the Student: The Bible warns us to flee the wrath of God by turning from sin and trusting in Jesus Christ. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom and should cause us to turn from sin. But there is another reason you should turn from your sins. It is true that if you don’t trust in Christ you will go to hell, but also, how could you have pleasure anymore in sinning against the God who not only gave you life, but also sent His Son to die for you while you were His enemy in thought, word and deed?! God loves you so much that He made a way for you to be His child through the suffering death of His Son. Don’t reject such a generous offer of mercy and forgiveness, repent of your sin and trust in Christ!
Read and consider 1 John 4:19