Recently, a young person asked me why God sent His only son to die – why was it necessary? Not a real unusual question for someone learning about Christianity to ask. And as someone who was “raised in the church,” it seemed so basic to our Christianity that I remember thinking that it should be a relatively easy question for me to answer. But to my surprise, I found that the spontaneous explanation I was able to come up with in an admittedly brief time seemed wholly inadequate to me – and I vowed to prepare myself to do a better job. What question could be more important for us as Christians to answer? So, as I begin to study and prepare for that “better answer,” I am beginning this series on “Understanding the Cross,” which will be featured on selected Sundays for the next few weeks.
To be sure, the first thing that popped into my head (“to save us from our sins”) was absolutely the correct answer. But it was also one that my young student in his own limited study of God’s word, already knew. After all, the words are in practically every prayer he has ever heard. But standing by itself, it really isn’t much of an answer, is it?
Admittedly, a real study of this question could be made into countless individual lessons, articles, and discussions. It is, after all, what the entire Bible from the Genesis to Revelation is all about, right? So let’s begin in part one of this series, with a brief outline and some more questions; and see if we can provide a meaningful answer to my young friend’s question that is not too difficult to call up to memory when needed. Let’s start by separating the questions into four categories:
What is the problem with sin?
- What is sin, and how does it affect us?
- Why does sin matter so much to God?
- What is its importance to us?
What is God’s response to sin?
- What are the consequences to us?
- How was sin dealt with in the Old Testament?
- Why does God demand a price to be paid for our sin?
How does Jesus fit into God’s plan?
- Where did Jesus come from?
- Was He all that everyone expected the Messiah to be?
- What did his death on the cross accomplish?
What must we do to be saved?
- What \ Who is a sinner?
- What can a sinner do to earn salvation?
- What is the importance of baptism?
Be watching for part 2 of this series, where we will examine the first category of questions above: “What is the problem with sin?”
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog. All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility. When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com. For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.