Today I read through the crucifixion with my family. One of my sons had never heard the account of the death of Jesus while the other was able to recount to us what happened. The one who had never heard said “I know that Jesus died so that we wouldn’t go to hell but I don’t know why we would go to hell without him.”
The innocence of the statement spoke volumes. Because we all think naturally that we stand innocent before God. We all think pretty much the same, while we’re not mass murderers we surely don’t deserve eternal punishment or hell. Therefore the death of Jesus seems more like an option rather than an absolute of any type. Everyone has messed up somewhere along the line (and I more than anyone know that I have) but really isn’t it kind of over the top?
What people fail to realize is that God doesn’t see this “problem” the same as we do. We don’t even see God the way we should. We think we are indifferent or that we are okay with God. But the reality is we hate Him. The reality is that we want anything except the truth of Him. We would prefer the perversion of the truth to the wholeness of it. It seems tiring, the same old message. “Sinners, Hell, Jesus, yada” But really the church shouldn’t preach a message that is all that different.
Thinking of our problem from a different perspective gives a different light to the cross. God knowing who His children were going to be, long before the world was created sees our hopeless situation. We stand guilty before Him and there is no hope. We can’t stop telling lies, committing blasphemy or having adulterous thoughts. Therefore these “crimes” must have a punishment. There must be justice. But God, in His mercy rescues His people. He enters into creation and suffers the punishment due to His children. The defeating of death demonstrates power over death and sin. Giving His children hope to their own resurrection.
God now holds the cross before all man. He holds it before all men not passively but active. He commands repentance to all men. There is no room for indifference. There is no option to have no opinion. He hold the cross before you and commands a response today. To those who come, they come sorry and heavy hearted for their grievances. They now trust in the love God has demonstrated to them and come in faith.
To those who continue to reject the cross before them, God’s anger is now two-fold. First for the rejection of that which was most precious to Him, His son. Rejecting His son can only be offensive. Secondly, their sin still saturates them. It permeates through every pore of their being and the odor is wretched.
God though angry at our sin, is patient and loving. The Holy Spirit is moving throughout bringing people to repentance by the Father’s will. The Spirit is still wooing. But one day, it will be over. And when Christ comes back as Judge there will be none that are held blameless.