Why the Cross? (Part One)
This Passion Month, we are pleased to post excerpts from John Piper's excellent book, "The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons He Came to Die". Our prayer is that as you ask, "Why the Cross?" and consider what Jesus accomplished, that it will stir your heart to marvel and worship in light of God's redemption. May God use these thoughts to prepare our hearts, as we look forward to a global remembrance and celebration on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.
Why the Cross? Some reasons to meditate on...
To Reconcile Us to God
The reconciliation that needs to happen between sinful man and God goes both ways. Our attitude toward God must be changed from defiance to faith. And God’s attitude to us must be changed from wrath to mercy. But the two are not the same. I need God’s help to change; but God does not need mine...The Bible describes it like this: “The mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” (Romans 8:7). While we were still like that, God put Christ forward to bear our wrath-kindling sins and make it possible for him to treat us with mercy alone. God’s first act in reconciling us to himself was to remove the obstacle that made him irreconcilable, namely, the God-belittling guilt of our sin. “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (II Corinthians 5:19).
To Bring Us to God
When all is said and done, God is the gospel. Gospel means “good news.”...But what is the ultimate good in the good news? It all ends in one thing: God himself. All the words of the gospel lead to him, or they are not gospel. For example, salvation is not good news if it only saves from hell and not for God. Forgiveness is not good news if it only gives relief from guilt and doesn’t open the way to God. Justification is not good news if it only makes us legally acceptable to God but doesn’t bring fellowship with God. Redemption is not good news if it only liberates us from bondage but doesn’t bring us to God. Adoption is not good news if it only puts us in the Father’s family but not in his arms...This is the greatest thing Christ died for. “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
So That We Might Belong to Him
The ultimate question is not who you are but whose you are...Most of the time we are free to do what we want. But we are not free to want what we ought. For that we need a new power based on a divine purchase. The power is God’s...And the purchase that unleashes this power is the death of Christ. “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). And what price did Christ pay for those who trust him? “He obtained [them] with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Now we are free indeed. Not to be autonomous, but to want what is good. A whole new way of life opens to us when the death of Christ becomes the death of our old self. Relationship with the living Christ replaces rules. And the freedom of fruit-bearing replaces the bondage of law. “You also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (Romans 7:4).