God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. —Romans 3:25-26
15 Apr, 2022
Raya, a nine-year-old girl, lives with her parents in a village in North Luwu, Sulawesi, Indonesia. In Raya’s village, they have a tradition of celebrating Easter with a torch relay. “Walking at dawn was like the morning when Jesus ’disciples found the empty tomb,” says Hermin, director of the local Compassion centre. “We want to teach the children that Jesus has risen, and He is no longer buried in the grave—He is resurrected and lives!”
The tutors at the Compassion child development centre helped Raya to know and understand the meaning of Easter.
“Easter is a moment to remember the meaning of Christ’s resurrection,” says Raya. “Why did He have to die on the cross? Because He wants me to be saved.”
This is the good news of the gospel. And while we are on our way to celebrating the risen Christ, today we stop to remember that, just as Raya said, Jesus had to die to save us from our sin.
In Romans 3:25-26, Paul outlines God’s heart for justice. The punishment for sin is death, and because God is just, He cannot ignore the sins of humanity. So God sent us his only beloved Son Jesus as a “sacrifice of atonement” and, through the shedding of His blood, He paid the penalty for our sin and freed us from its power. In doing so, Jesus paid for all sin: past, present and future. While in the ancient days, the people of Israel offered animal sacrifices to make atonement for their sin, this was but a temporary covering that Jesus paid for in full at the cross of Calvary. It truly is finished, once and for all.
The cross is unique in that God is both the aggrieved party and the One who takes the punishment for our injustice. When God sent Jesus to die in our place, He took on Himself the price and the penalty that rightly belonged to us. He took our place on the cross. This is God meeting His own righteous demands through the person and work of His Son, Jesus, sparing us the punishment that we deserved.
God demonstrated His righteousness by offering us justification, He pronounced us ‘not guilty’ and yet He remained completely just through the righteous penalty of sin that was paid on the cross. So God is the only One who is both ‘just’ and the ‘justifier’ of humankind: of those who put their faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
In John, Jesus tells his followers, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:29). And on Good Friday He did just that.
The troubles in our present age are temporary, but God's promises of something better are eternal.
A day is coming when there will be no death or mourning or crying or pain. The old order of the world will have passed away, and instead God's dwelling place will be among his people (Revelation 21:3).
This is the hope of eternity to which we are called as followers of Jesus Christ. The hope that is now restored to us.
Allow the Holy Spirit to examine your heart and free you from any guilt or condemnation you may carry. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross has paid for it all so you don’t have to.
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus to die on the cross for my sin. Thank You for the restoring my hope of eternal life. Thank You that I am assured of my salvation because of the sacrifice of Jesus. Today, on Good Friday, I stop and pour out my gratitude to You that You have justified me and freed me from the bondage of sin. Please help me to live in Your freedom. Amen.
While we wait in hope for the coming of a better day, in this present world we see so much injustice around us. What step can you take today to be a part of God’s restorative work in the world?
Looking for more? Read our Easter devotional from last year and be encouraged by God’s extravagant love and grace towards us.
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