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The Cross andSin

by Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

Good morning, radio listeners. It is a delight for us to come to you by way of this religious broadcast of The Words of Life, bringing to you good news from our Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior.  We are glad you have tuned in this morning.  If this is your first time to hear a broadcast, we ask you to just give us this few minutes and you will hear some beautiful gospel music and we will share a word of hope from the Word of God. So thank you for joining us in this Words of Life broadcast.

Reading this morning one verse of Scripture from the holy writ. In the book of 1 Peter chapter two and verse 24 the words that he gives to us that are so precious, listen, talking about the Lord Jesus.  ‘He bore our sins himself in his body, upon the tree, that we who have died to sin might live unto righteousness, by whose stripes we were healed’.  The cross has a lot of different meanings to different people. Some will wear it as a gold thing around the neck or a pin on their lapel, others will raise it up on the church steeple or erect it over a tomb or grave. But I want you to know this morning that the significance of the cross is inexhaustible.

When we think of the Cross of Calvary there are at least three things that we must keep in mind. When you think of Jesus, the perfect Son of God, God in the flesh, going there. This cross reminds us, number one, of the uttermost of service, that Jesus served those years here upon the earth and he served to the uttermost to the laying down of his life. Secondly, the cross reminds us of the supreme love of God. And thirdly, we learn the utmost of self sacrifice, that Jesus went to the cross willingly, knowing it was the Father’s will, knowing that it was necessary to do so in order that he could provide an answer for those who are living with sin all over them.

Whatever else the cross says and whatever else it teaches us, the New Testament makes it clear we must always view the cross in relationship to sin. It is when we understand this that we begin to understand its significance and its purpose.

Several years ago my family and I were vacationing in the beautiful mountains of Colorado and we were camped out at a campground there.  We got up one morning and after breakfast we were just visiting around. They had sort of an amphitheater out in the rough area and I noticed a young man sitting on the ground and I just happened to walk by as he was arranging some little sticks into the shape of the cross. I took the opportunity as an open door from the Lord to sit down and talk with him and he did not have a lot of interest in conversation, but he certainly thought something about the cross.  And as we chatted, he reached out with his finger and just shook those sticks and broke up the cross.

I don’t know what happened with that young man. I tried to talk to him about the cross and its significance. He was not very open to that. But what does the cross tell us about sin? Think about it.

Hear this interesting statement. Sin is tremendously important. It is a part of all of our lives, has been since Adam and Eve in the garden. God does not just tell us what sin is and warn us about it. He gave his Son to die because of our sin, the sins of the world.

There are many things in the future we will have to pay taxes for that haven’t been discovered yet, but they are not taxing us in that way. We have been willing to give our sons to die for many different things. When war broke out, we willingly gave our sons to die for our liberty here in the United States of America, many other nations as well.  We did so because liberty is so important.

So it is that sin is important to God because of what sin does to us because God loves us and he understands our destiny if he does not intercede in our lives. It is sin that keeps us from the best in our living. It is sin that tricks us and robs us of our heritage. It is sin that disables and enfeebles us.

Think of those whose bodies are wracked with all sorts of disease and weakness because of their living and practicing sin. Sin ruins our character and wrecks homes. Oh, what a sad state of affairs that is.  The wonder is that God bothers about sin.  But sin destroys those that are precious to him and the cross is God’s demonstration of his love and his concern. Sin is important as the cross reminds us.

But it also teaches us that sin is neither helpless or hopeless nor incurable.  For into a hopeless and despairing world came the hopefulness of Calvary. It is like a surgeon being called in to diagnose a physical problem and he presents the remedy that will cure that problem. And he will operate on that patient, but only if that surgery offers some hope, hope of a cure, hope that it will ease the pain or whatever it might be.  The surgeon acts because he hopes and the patient submits to that for the hope that is given.

The very fact that God has intervened through the cross, and powerfully so, tells us, this intervention of God, that sin can be dealt with. It can be defeated.  It can be forgiven. This disease can be cured. The person who is guilty can be redeemed form its guilt and power and penalty. Redeemed means bought out of the slave market of sin.

The despair that holds the world in its grip has come down through the ages of time and how prevalent it is today. Until the message of the cross comes, until that sure word is heard and the cure is received and what a difference it makes. A heavenly surgeon saw fit to operate, if you please, going to the cross of Calvary, and doing that he said, “There is healing and hope and the joy of eternal life for the vilest sinner.” The cross reminds us of the importance of sin in the eye of God. the cross reminds us that sin is not a helpless or hopeless or incurable condition. Oh, what good news that is. But the cross also reminds us that God entered the battle against sin. If sin is going to be grappled with, if we are going to have victory over sin and want to be assured that we can defeat it, it is God who must provide the power by his personal intervention.

All of us will confess, if we are honest, that in our past we have committed sin.  Sometimes we didn’t want to. We really didn’t like it, but we did it anyway. We know we are struggling with it in our present time, in our daily experience. And we know if life continues in the future, we will experience sin.   We have tried a multitude of methods to help us. We want to get rid of the guilt. We know how heavy that weight of sin is upon us.  And we know that eventually we are going to die and we are going to have to give an account to a holy God. Oh, what a problem. Aren’t you glad God entered the battle against sin? For I can do nothing about that problem.  I cannot discipline myself by my own strength, but I can come to Jesus and get rid of that sin, that terrible disease that sends us to an eternity apart from God.

The sick, the blind in the very darkest jungles of any nation of the world have the same need that we have. If help is going to be realized for them, if they are going to have any hope, if we are going to have any hope, there has to be an intervention from God, from a higher realm. Science can’t do it. Just knowledge can’t do it, but God stepping in and our submitting to him will bring that healing. Just drugs and medicine are not enough for those folks over on the other side of the water.  They must hear the gospel story.  What a cure, indeed, God has provided.  Along with the medication, when we go to those far countries, someone comes with the skill he has learned with his head and his heart and his hand how to treat that disease. And so it is with sin.  All the philosophies of the world, all the religions of the world cannot deliver us from the power and the penalty of sin.  God himself had to come, and he did, in the person of Jesus, God in the flesh. His beloved Son lives the life that we could never live, perfection. And he died in our place at Calvary. Even our death would not pay a sin debt but the death of Jesus could pay it in full for all who would believe.

God continues today to show his love and his power the same as when he raised Jesus from the dead on the third day and has now received him back to heaven. And he is showing that love and power to you and to me.

Are you a believer? If not, this radio broadcast comes to you as a provision of hope that God has cut into your busy day, into your life to let you get rid of that sin disease and become a Christian by having a faith relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ.

The cross of Calvary, then, can be understood only as we view it in relationship to sin.  We learn from the cross that sin has an importance to God.  Think about that as you consider what we know as the cruel cross of Calvary.  God recognizes what sin does to his prime creation, mankind. God understands that we were created in his image, but that image has been marred by sin and God has come to provide what we need, the supreme sacrifice of his Son.  We learn that sin is not hopeless. It is not incurable, but the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ can come in to drive out the great darkness of despair. There may be a listener to this broadcast today that is in horrible despair, maybe desirous of taking your own life, looking for help in alcohol or in drugs or whatever it might be.

God knows about your need and he wants you to know that the remedy for your condition is able to be supplied through the person of the living Lord Jesus Christ.  Victory for you, for me, can be assured because God has entered the battle. He has come into the fray with us.

We need to see ourselves, then, as that penitent thief on the cross did. He admitted that he was rightly being crucified because he had broken the law. He had sinned. And there is a picture there for us to consider as we think about him.  He hung there condemned because of his undisciplined lawless life.  Turning his eyes upon Jesus he saw what we have learned about the cross and about sin and about God’s intervention and he allowed Jesus to have an effect upon his life in these closing moments of living upon the earth.  He recognized his true condition and that is something you must do, something that I have done, seeing myself as a sinner apart from God, coming to the Lord Jesus to be saved and to be cleansed.

We recognize the sacrifice of Jesus is the remedy for our problem.  Jesus didn’t just say, “Well, you have a really serious problem,” and speak some sweet words and wave his hand over us.  No, he came and brought comforting words. He came to make clear that the Father can forgive. His head, his hands, his feet, his side were all punctured and pierced that the very life blood of the Son of God could flow out. He shared in that suffering. He took our place. He suffered in our place. I needed to be there. I deserved to be there just like the thief.

But God grappled with sin on the cross of Calvary. How did he do it? He bore that sin in his own body on the tree.  He has shared in its condemnation.  He has taken the agony that sin produces in our lives and he took it into his own heart by letting himself be pierced, not just by the nails and the thorns and the spear, but all of the agony and sorrow of the sins of the world. Mine would have been bad enough. Maybe yours would have been bad enough, but to combine all of the sins of the world, what a load Jesus endured.

No wonder the apostle Paul cried out as he faced a decadent and rotting world of his day. What was his answer to the dilemma? Hear his words.  God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. And he adds.  I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

You are no doubt aware that there are many trees that are known for their medicinal value.  Many of the early pioneers in our nation of America and people around the world, our American Indians and others in the tribes of Africa and wherever they might be understand there are certain trees or bushes that have medicinal value. Sassafras, witch hazel, turpentine in the pine trees, eucalyptus oil are all things that are used as medicine.  Tannic acid from the bark of a tree helps treat burns. Quinine was learned to be a treatment for the disease of Malaria. There is an oil that treats Hanson’s disease, what we call leprosy, and I think it is called Chaulmoogra oil.  I don’t know anything about where it comes from, but all of these come from a tree of some kind.

Well, my friend, we have introduced you this morning to another tree, the Calvary tree. It provides healing for sin and it is by the stripes that Jesus received that we are healed.  Is he your Savior? If not, would you repent of sin, would you confess Jesus as Savior and Lord? Would you find someone who can lead you to the watery grave of baptism and have you born again into the family of God, raised in newness of life?  May God bless you today as you consider the cross.  Oh, dark and evil though it was, look what God did with it. Look what he brought out of it, hope for you, forgiveness of sin, healing and eternal life.
Thank you again for tuning in and God bless.

 

 




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I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13