Once again, Oswald Chambers opened my mind to something that I never thought about with regard to reaching the lost. Sometimes in sharing the love of God we allow that message to overshadow the reason Jesus died on the cross.
There is a perception that because God is our Father He will forgive our sins because He loves us. Often that is the message that unbelievers hear, which overshadows the truth regarding Jesus’ death. His death on the cross wasn’t something that happened to Him, which could have prevented, it was the very purpose for which He came.
Many believe that Jesus was a good man who was crucified for His teaching and preaching. They view His death as the result of man placing Him in judgement for preaching “heresy.” In their view Jesus died as a martyr. But nothing could be further from the truth. God does not forgive our sin because He loves us. He forgives our sin because of the death of Jesus; He couldn’t forgive us in any other way. Jesus death didn’t just happen, it was the reason why He came.
Jesus did not become a curse for us on the cross out of sympathy, He became a curse for us by the divine decree of God. The message the lost need to hear is the truth. The only way that God could forgive our sin was in His mercy to die for us on the cross and pay the price for judgement.
Chambers put man’s response in perspective: Our portion of realizing the terrific meaning of the curse is conviction of sin, the gift of shame and penitence is given us – this is the great mercy of God.
No, Jesus did not die a martyr’s death on the cross. He fulfilled the plan the Father put in place in the beginning.
John 17:1-5 “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. ESV
Jesus’ last words validated the reason for His death… It is finished.