The Cross was Foreordained
The death of Christ on the cross was foretold and foreshadowed in the OT. The first promise given concerning it is found in Gen 3.15. The prophets spoke of it e.g. Isaiah 53, David in Psalm 22 and Daniel 9.26. After His own resurrection, Christ referred to these prophecies about Himself Luke 24:25,26
But God had planned the cross long before the OT was written or even before He created the world. In his wisdom he fore knew that man would need a way of salvation and so he planned the cross, which would be the means of bringing eternal life. He promised it before creation Began Tit 1.2.
It was his purpose from eternity to save all that believe on his son Jesus Christ 2 Tim 1.9.
The Lord Jesus Christ is spoken of by Peter as being a lamb foreordained before the creation of the world. 1 Peter 1.20. God provided for a way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ before the first man ever sinned.
The Cross was Necessary
Because of Man’s Sin
God made man without sin and placed him in the garden of Eden. God had given to this man just one command, and had made very clear what the terrible consequence of sin would be. “You shall die”
When Adam disobeyed the command of God, sin entered the world Rom 5.12 and death by sin. We can say that when he fell, we all fell in him, for in a manner of speaking we were all in him at that time. (He being our ancestor). Rom5.l8a,l9a. SIN had entered the world and none of us could take it out of the world or get rid of it.
All mankind is in a sinful condition. Ps14.3. We are born in this condition. Ps51.5 We are all sinners. Rom 3.23
Because of the inadequacy of animal sacrifice
Through the OT, God taught the people that there was only one way that sin could be taken away and that was by sacrifice, by the shedding of blood. Even in the garden of Eden, after Adam sinned, God killed an animal so as to clothe Adam & Eve and this was possibly also to show them the importance of sacrifice.
God emphasised this truth to the children of Israel in many ways. Firstly, in their deliverance as a nation from Egypt-it was the blood of the lamb that protected them from the destroying angel. Later, the animal sacrifices that God required them to make in their service to Him told them of the importance of the shedding of blood for remission.
Of course, no amount of animals blood shed could ever take away sin. These sacrifices were pointing ahead to a greater sacrifice, the one made by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, where he offered himself for us.
To satisfy divine justice.
According to God’s holy law, the soul that sins must die. By death, we do not just mean the separation of the soul from the body, which is what happens to us when we die physically. We refer to that spiritual death which is eternal separation from the presence of God. This does not mean that we will cease to exist or be unconscious. Spiritual death is not oblivion – it is not nothingness. Jesus spoke of this condition as being “outer darkness” – outside the presence of God who is light. He said there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Jesus often referred to a particular place when speaking about spiritual death. He called it hell “where the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.” This death is the punishment or sentence of Divine justice upon all that have broken God’s law i.e. those who have sinned. And we’ve already seen that that’s all of us.
It should always be kept in mind that God is love, and that He Himself does not want anyone to go to this awful place of punishment. Yet as a holy God, He is of purer eyes than to behold evil. He cannot just close one eye and say, oh well it doesn’t matter, it was only a small sin, I’ll forgive you. He is the judge of all the earth. He simply cannot. So what could God do in order to save us?
The answer is substitution.
Divine justice had to be satisfied- yet God wanted to acquit the guilty, you & me. How could it be done? God had already planned it. The Lord Jesus Christ was ready and willing to come into this sinful world and be made a man like us. Although he never had one sin of his own, he was willing to suffer and to die in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve for our sins. It was on the cross that he felt the sentence for every crime ever committed against God as He was made sin for us. Every sin that every man has ever committed or ever will commit even to the end of time, He has carried the punishment for. 1 John 2.2. Heb 2.9 So now that someone else has paid for our crimes we, the guilty, can go free.
Just as sin entered the world by one man and death by sin, so sin was taken away by one man, Jesus Christ. He became sin and took it (as a whole) away, nailing it to his cross. Heb 9.26
SCRIPTURE SAYS ROM 3.26. So at the cross we see the legal grounds upon which God can meet with man and justify him. It is there that Psalm85.10
The cross, by which we mean the death and shed blood of Christ, not at all the wooden gibbet, is the only way that we can approach a holy God without being consumed.
Not only that, but it is the only ground by which God may approach us without destroying us. Throughout history up to the time of the cross, God had shown his forbearance toward guilty man, and now by the cross He has been justified in this. Rom3.25. He knew that the time would come when sin would be judged upon the cross. His forbearance is the same at present as he awaits men & women to repent and turn to him for forgiveness of sins – through the cross,
Even the healing ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ whilst here on earth was done in the light of what he was going to accomplish upon the cross – salvation for the whole man.
The fact is that whilst all God’s gracious dealings with man are originated in his love they are only vindicated by the cross. Without the cross, He had just as well have damned Adam as soon as he sinned.
But now we have a way that has been made for us into the presence of God. As Paul exhorts, let us make use of it, let us go often, let us come boldly to the throne of grace. Heb 10.19-20.
The Cross is the Theme in Glory.
It is the theme of the choirs of the redeemed in heaven. The centre of the throne is the lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.
I once heard an esteemed preacher say that in heaven, we won’t be singing “only a sinner saved by grace”, for we had been made righteous. I looked to the New Testament for my answer. Yes, we will be there clothed in garments of righteousness, but not our own righteousness. We will always remember the great cost at which they were purchased for us. Rev 5.9-12
We will have nothing else ever to boast of but the cross. Gal 6.14