April 8, 2009
The Message of the Cross
1 Corinthians 1:17-25
Unbelievers cannot make sense of the cross as a symbol of God’s love. How could affection motivate a Father to sacrifice His Son? Many decide to ignore such "foolishness." Instead, they expect to enter heaven because of their strong character and decent acts. According to the Bible, that belief is truly unwise (Is. 64:6). But the prevalence of a “good works gospel” reveals that the church needs a stronger voice in delivering its message of truth to the world.
We must explain holy justice in tandem with divine care: God does love the world, but He cannot overlook mankind’s sin
(John 3:16). He is righteous, which means He is perfect. No taint of wrongdoing can enter His pure presence. A person cannot show up at heaven’s gate hauling a lifetime of sin baggage and demand to be allowed in. God does not excuse sin; however, He provides a way to deal with it.
There are three fundamental facts undergirding His plan to make sinful people righteous. First, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). Next, the soul that sins shall die (Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 6:23). Finally, a perfect sacrifice offered on behalf of a sinner pays his or her debt (John 1:29). God satisfied His own justice by placing our sin upon Jesus and allowing Him to die in our place.
We humans oftentimes try to simplify God’s character, but the truth is, all of His attributes make up one perfect Father. Realize that the cross symbolizes more than His love; it also represents His wisdom in creating a plan to maintain His holiness without diminishing His perfect justice.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org
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Used with permission from In Touch Ministries, Inc. © 2009 All Rights Reserved.