He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21
Our focus this week is upon the cross. The cross is important to Christians no matter the time of year. But it has a heightened import during Holy Week.
Why does the cross matter? What happened there that is worthy of remembrance and thanksgiving? Paul mentions three things in this verse that I will use to answer these questions.
1) At the cross, God’s plan for redemption was accomplished. The verse begins with the phrase “He made Him.” Christ’s death upon the cross was not accidental or incidental. It took place by the sovereignty and expressed will of God for the salvation of all who will believe.
The promise of Genesis 3:15 was fulfilled in the Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Satan was defeated and Christ is victorious. Jesus cried out “it is finished.” All that the Father had decreed for our redemption was fulfilled. All of it!
2) At the cross, Christ died for sinners. Jesus bore in His person the very sins of the world. He died as our substitute. He died vicariously in our place. Though He was perfect, He “became sin” for us. In doing so, Jesus fulfilled His words when He cried “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
3) At the cross, we become the righteousness of God. We are justified through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Our sin is forgiven and our guilt is removed. Also, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us. We are declared righteous by the decree of God Almighty. We are made fit to stand in God’s presence not by our own goodness and works. We stand fully in Christ’s righteousness for all of eternity.
Yes, the cross matters. Without it we would be doomed forever. But through Christ’s sacrifice, we are made new and brought into His glorious kingdom. To God be the glory, great things He has done!