“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (1 John 5:10-13).
At this time of year Christians all over the world will be contemplating the significance of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross. Many sermons will be preached about the benefits that come to the believer for accepting the Saviour who died to redeem us from Hell, but what if Jesus had not died on the cross? If He had died by through some other means or through old age, would His death atone for our sin? Simply put, we would not know the grace of God for His wrath would not be satisfied, and we would be doomed to a lost eternity. In this study we will look at two truths we would know nothing about if Jesus had not died as the Scriptures said He did.
We could never be justified
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
The sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ was perfect and satisfied fully the demands of the Law of Moses. Until then man was obligated to perform the intricate rituals, ceremonies and offerings to cover his sin, but since they had to be repeated daily, monthly or yearly, they could never cleanse a soul or make it fit for Heaven. “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4). There could be no way, despite trying to obey everything the Law commanded, to have assurance or know justification. What if God chose to reject our offerings because of some sin we have committed in ignorance? Therefore we needed someone who could pay the price and free us from bondage. He had to be perfect otherwise His offering for sin would not be sufficient. “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Hebrews 10:11-12).
Our justification is in Christ alone rather than in religion, good works or morality for “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). It was His bodily death on the cross that forever set free those who accept Him and this important truth. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith” (Romans 3:24-27).
We could never know the love of God
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
There is no greater or fuller expression of God’s love than that revealed in Jesus. Though God’s love is spoken of throughout the Old Testament, nobody was in a position to experience it in its fulness. It is not until Jesus came that such love was truly manifested. “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10).
1 John 4:8 says that “God is love.” This love cannot be earned, nor is it offered to us because we are nice people. “The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you” (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). This love was like a stored treasure that God was eager to pour out upon those who truly believed in Him. He was able to shower us with this love the moment we accepted Christ as Saviour. “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us” (Ephesians 2:4) … “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Romans 5:5). Such a love as this is beyond our comprehension because we simply do not deserve it. “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:19). Armed with the knowledge that God loves us in Christ, we are equipped to face any problem in this world. “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).
Though the world dismisses the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross, we as believers realise that it would be a poorer place if He had not done so. It would not be possible to have a relationship with God if He did not send His Son to establish it. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Without Him there would be no salvation, no sins forgiven and no hope of Heaven. We would be performing countless and endless rituals to placate the God we have offended, and never know if He is pleased with us. In a word, our lives would be miserable. God chose to send Jesus so that we can be reconciled to Him. “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18). Let us thank God for what He has done by reminding ourselves of what a privilege it to know Jesus as Saviour. “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies” (Psalm 103:1-4).