On the cross, we see the greatest act of love ever demonstrated, its effects reverberating down through history and permanently altering the lives of those who believe. The importance of the cross will never diminish. In heaven, Scripture tells us, the majestic beings around the throne of God worship by saying, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:12) When the love of God is extolled, both in heaven and on earth, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is always the focal point, for there God showed his love in the most real and powerful way imaginable—by dying for those who hate him.
But the cross did not simply display love. On the cross, Jesus performed a real, tangible, beneficial action on our behalf. Though we are by nature children of wrath, Jesus died in order to achieve something for us. He “died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3), so that we can be “justified by his blood” and “saved by him from the wrath of God” (Romans 5:9).
Perhaps no writer in Scripture says it better than the prophet Isaiah, despite the fact that he preceded Christ by centuries: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:4–5). Scripture plainly and clearly teaches that Jesus died in our place, as our substitute, taking from God the punishment for our sins.
On the cross, Jesus performed the ultimate act of love, and that act genuinely accomplished something—the Son of God absorbed the wrath of God on our behalf, taking our guilt away and enabling us to receive Christ’s perfect righteousness credited to us, so that we might be presented before him as righteous.
Adapted from Casey Lute, “But God…“ (Kindle Edition)