The Cross — by John Stott
The two chapters for today — “Satisfaction for Sin” and “Ransomed by God” — illustrate two aspects of what Christ’s death means for us. These can be summed up in one verse of scripture — 2 Corinthians 5:21. “He made Him who knew no sin, to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
SATISFACTION FOR SIN
John Stott says, “After the fall, God faced what looked liked an impossible problem of how to reconcile His holy love — a love that abhors sin and can’t touch it — with His deep love for us and His desire to be in relationship with us.”
Read Romans 3:19-26. Paul has established that we are all sinners. What is the good news of Romans 3:24-26? According to verses 19-20, why is it impossible for us to remedy our sin problem? Since God is both the righteous judge who must punish sinners, and the lover who must find a way to forgive them, how is this reconciled? What is God’s solution?
Verse 25 uses the phrase “the sacrifice of atonement” or “propitiation”. What does this mean for mankind, and for you personally? Reflect on how this passage affects your view of sin and God’s righteousness.
RANSOMED BY GOD
When we think of an earthly ransom, we think of paying a price to free someone from being kidnapped. In Hebrews 9:11-28, scripture explains how we are set free from sin and death, because Jesus paid a ransom on the cross. How does the writer of Hebrews contrast earthly sacrifices, and the sacrifice of Christ, in verses 11-14?
In Old Testament times, the priest made sacrifices for himself and the people by offering the blood of animals. According to verses 11 and 14, what dual roles does Christ accomplish in the new covenant?
In earthly mediation, a third party resolves disputes. How is this different from God’s mediation for us? How does Christ’s finished work benefit us both now and in the future?
Verses 19-21 explain Old Testament sacrifice. According to verse 22, why did Christ have to shed His blood? In the Old Testament, sacrifices were offered throughout the year — especially on the Day of Atonement. How do verses 25-26 show the sacrifice of Jesus to be much different?
According to verses 27-28, what is our hope when Christ comes a second time?
Jesus’ death on the cross both satisfied the price for our sin, and paid a ransom for our sin.
- Pastor John