TODAY’S SIGNATURE VERSE ••• For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 ESV)
PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• Let’s imagine that someone stole $100 from you. You went to court and it was determined that yes, a crime was committed. You’re sitting there… waiting for that swift hammer of justice… but then, the judge said to the defendant, “You stole, it was wrong, hope you’re sorry, now go home.” No punishment. No restitution. The criminal got up, maybe smirked in your direction, and left. Free as a bird. While you felt robbed all over again. Where was your justice? Where was the penalty?
Maybe you don’t think $100 is a big deal. Maybe $100 isn’t going to break you. But for someone it is. Value is entirely in the eye of the beholder, and even if that money doesn’t make or break your budget, you’re likely not going to just toss it away, right? If you feel like splitting hairs about it, substitute $100 for whatever holds value to you. Whatever it is, $100 or otherwise, there’s a determined value. And our unfair judge just let someone take it from you and he didn’t make things right.
See the problem? Wrongdoings need restitution.
And that brings us to today’s hard question, “Why did Jesus have to die for our sins?”
Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Let’s breakdown the first part — the payment for sin automatically comes with a death penalty. We see that all the way back to the original first sin in the Garden of Eden. When Adam and Eve sinned, and recognized their nakedness, what happened? Genesis 3:21 tells us, “And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.” Before their sin, Adam and Eve were wholesome and innocent — free of the burden of shame and guilt. They didn’t recognize their nakedness. But after they sinned, they lost that innocence, and therefore, God covered them with skins. This verse tells us about the very payment for sin… the animal (or animals) were sacrificed in order to cover Adam and Eve’s nakedness and shame.
Then, of course, we can move into Levitical law which outlined in great detail how sacrifices were to be made to atone for sins. There are parts of the Bible that talk about thousands of animals at a time being slaughtered for sin offerings. I cannot even fathom the stench — the tabernacle, and later, the Temple, were basically a slaughterhouse. Can you imagine going to church like that??
Because Jesus later told the disciples that God cares for the sparrows (Matthew 6:25-34), I have to believe that it hurt God to let these animals be the payment for sin. After all, He created all things and called them good (Genesis 1:24-25). But God is a just God — the sin debt had to be paid. Unlike the unfair judge in my illustration who sent away the thief without settling the debt, God will not let sin go unpunished; it’s too offensive to His holiness. Earlier in this series, we talked about God’s love for justice. Isaiah 61:8 says, “For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.” Because God’s character is consistent, He expects and demands restitution. I cannot even fathom how many animals were sacrificed over the years for the people’s sins. The death of the animals were never enough to offer a permanent solution.
Now, the world has the perfect, spotless Lamb of God. The One who takes away the sins of the world. The One who was strong enough to cover ALL the sins for once and for all — from the tiny white lie all the way to horrific atrocities. Jesus came to offer grace.
So for the thief who stole $100—a fair judge would have condemned him and sent him for punishment. Jesus stood up before sentencing and said, “Hang on. I’ll pay the price.”
And that’s where we get into the second part of Romans 6:23, “but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And for this verse, we go to what is arguably the most well-known verse in Scripture, John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” But let’s look at verses 17 and 18 — “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
Was it fair that Jesus died for you? Absolutely not. We deserve the death sentence, not Jesus. Maybe you think your actions aren’t so bad… you try to do one nice thing a day and be kind. Most people like you and you aren’t a murderer or a liar or a thief. Well, friends, yes you are. Jesus told us in Matthew 5:21-22 that murder begins in the heart with hatred. John wrote it too in 1 John 3:15. And even the “smallest” sin is still an abomination to our holy and perfect God. So yes — you deserve the death penalty. So do I. But Jesus stepped up and said, “No — I’ll pay the price.”
That’s why Jesus had to die. Because there wasn’t another option. He was the only one who was qualified to pay our sins for once and for all. And He did it because He loves us and wants us with Him for eternity. He did it because His grace and mercy were bigger than our shame. He bore the pain and humiliation of the cross just to be with YOU forever! Is that not the most humbling truth ever??
Before I close, I want to encourage all of you to either read the book, “Hell’s Best Kept Secret” by Ray Comfort (Living Waters Ministries), or listen to his sermon by the same name on YouTube. It’s a dynamic message and He has some really great points about how we are all sinners in dire need of a Savior.
Today, as you pray, thank Jesus for being the perfect Lamb of God, and His extraordinary love for you that kept Him nailed to the cross. Thank Him for paying YOUR sin debt for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you a spirit of awe and appreciation for all Jesus went through on your behalf. Ask Him to help you share the love of Jesus with others so they too can accept His free gift and be overwhelmed by His grace and mercy.
SHARING ••• Please share with others! Visit www.MyGraceFullLife.com to read past blogs. ***Unless noted otherwise, all Scripture references are from the ESV translation.