Victory At the Cross

Now some of you reading this, you are saying to yourself (or you have said to yourself), “I don’t really believe he is the Son of God, and I really don’t want to worship him, and I really don’t care about any of that stuff. And that is just fine for me. And I know that you (Christians) like to worship him, and believe that He is God, and say that he is the only one to worship and all that, but, you know, I just don’t buy it. I think I’m good enough as it is. I don’t need any “Savior” or any of that stuff. I’m just going to be fine, just the way I am.”

And to that I’d like to present you with the following idea for your consideration. Remember when Jesus was on the cross, that he said with respect to those that were persecuting him, “Father, Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”? Remember that? I say, that is evidence that should point you towards the Savior, and towards your need to receive him into your short life here on this earth. Let me make the argument a little more crystal clear than that. Am I not correct in saying that the reason you see “no need” to find forgiveness in God’s eyes is that you don’t see yourself as a sinner who is in need of a Savior? You see yourself as being “quite a good person” who, after all, is really “not that bad,” and “why should God not accept me just as I am?”

Now to show you and I both are sinners and that Christ really was perfect, and the only perfect one at that, and that you and I really do need him — the perfect one — into our lives, I point you towards that statement of his, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” You will remember that Jesus said that at the worst possible time in his life — when he was being crucified on a cruel, rugged, cross. Had he reason to complain at such a time as this? Sure. Did he complain? No. And why didn’t he complain? He did not complain, because he chose not to give in to sin’s temptation. For had it been you or I, especially in our unregenerate state, certainly we would have sinned, if not outwardly, then at least inwardly, in our hearts, as we cursed those who “put us there” up on that cross. But Jesus did none of that. He rather chose to forgive.

Jesus, then, did not complain in the midst of being mistreated. But what is our innate tendency? Is it not to complain when we are being mistreated, and to use that mistreatment as a type of “justification” for our own sins and misbehavior? Perhaps some of you reading this still believe the lie that the reason your kids sin and do bad things is because they are “too tired” or that the reason that you yourself sometimes “misbehave” (to put it mildly) is because you are “too tired” and in need of rest. No. That is not true at all! The reason you misbehave, and the reason your children misbehave, is NOT because you or they are “too tired” but because you and they both are sinners by their very nature. Being tired simply makes it MORE DIFFICULT TO RESIST TEMPTATION and THAT is why people sin more when they are tired! (That one was a freeby that I thought you would enjoy that God has personally taught me these past years.)

But Jesus resisted at life’s worst possible moment — the moment of his crucifixion. It is plain evidence, I say, that both you and I need him, for we would have been hard pressed to have done the same. It’s time to face up to the facts. Apart from him, we are not like him, and he is not like us. We are “sinners” by our very nature and that is the real reason that we so often hurl insults at one another, when we are hurting deep inside from feelings of rejection and pain and aguish, and when we are tired and abused and malnourished … and even when we are not! Apart from Christ, we deserve God’s judgment against our sins. Thank God, that judgment has already been put upon Jesus, as he hung there on that cross! Does this then give us justication to sin? No, but we can find forgiveness through Christ our Lord, who is able to forgive our sins.

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing!” was the heart cry of Jesus. If was because of sin that he suffered — both your sin and mine — and in the midst of that experience, he heightened the awareness of just why it was that he was put there to begin with, by crying out, virtually at the last moment, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?” It was as if all heaven were crying out, “SIN IS THE PROBLEM AND YOU NEED TO GET RIGHT WITH GOD OR ELSE YOU WILL SUFFER THE SAME FATE”! Why did God forsake Jesus? SIN was the issue. The remedy? “Father, forgive them, for they know what they are doing.” We all need to humble ourselves before our mighty Savior, who is both able and willing to forgive, if we would only acknowledge our sin to him.