Humanity, Sin and the Cross

In the Book of Genesis, the first book in the Bible, the story of creation assures us that God created the world and it was good. At this

point God and humankind enjoyed a close relationship. Later in Genesis there is the story of “the fall”, the story of Adam and Eve, which attempts to explain how things went wrong, how relationships between people were spoilt and how the relationship between human kind and God was spoiled. “Sin” is all that spoils our relationship with God and others, it is, broadly speaking, our failure to love God and love others. Sin isn’t just about actions against God’s law, it is about broken relationships. The result of sin is that we are alienated from God.

Jesus came to heal this relationship. Jesus is both fully human and fully divines, and does for us, through his life death and resurrection, what we couldn’t do for ourselves. On the cross, Jesus deals with sin and God’s judgement on sin. Christ the son of God, on the cross, in some way, absorbs sin and deals with its worst consequences, that is, alienation from God.

There are many images given in the Bible to help us to understand what happened on the cross.

☺ The law court key word: JUSTIFIED
Humanity is guilty of falling short of God’s law, it is on trial before God as judge, (God is a God of justice as well as a God of mercy, both are part of love and so His justice has to be satisfied). Through Jesus’ obedience to God’s law humanity is acquitted, and now treated as innocent. God’s justice is met by God’s mercy.

☺ The market place key word: REDEEMED
At a time when people could by back, or redeem, what they had previously sold e.g. possessions, slaves. Humanity, “enslaved” to sin, is bought freedom by the death of Jesus. Jesus’ death was costly. We are redeemed from sin into a new relationship with God.

☺ The Family key word: RECONCILED
We live estranged from God our Father, and Jesus is the mediator who brings us together. Consider the parable of the Prodigal Son. We become children of God and heirs to the kingdom of heaven.

☺ The Temple key word: SACRIFICE
Sacrifices, in the days of the Jewish Temple, were an expression of devotion to God. They dealt with sin, and alienation from God, and relationships with other people. Sacrifice is costly. Jesus offers complete devotion to God and deals with sin and God’s judgement on sin. Jesus can be considered the perfect sacrifice on behalf of all humanity. No further sacrifice is needed. People can now enjoy right relationship with God.

☺ The cross is God acting to reconcile us to himself, giving us freedom from sin. Jesus the Son of God absorbs our sin and deals with its worst consequences – alienation from God. We’re given what we need – Forgiveness.

The cross is not: the angry Father appeasing his wrath by taking it out on his loving Son. The Son standing in my place to take the punishment that I ought to have.

☺The cross is: Something God does for us that we can’t do for ourselves. Jesus acts on our behalf (not instead of us). He suffers God’s judgement on sin (not simply retributive punishment), and alienation from God as a result of our sin. The cross is the bridge in our journey back to God.