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The death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ are the two most important events in the history of the world. They are also the two central facts on which the Christian faith is founded.
There are at least four clear truths that we can learn from the death of Christ on the cross of Calvary:
1. There is a life after death
If this life were everything, Jesus Christ would never have died. He had Divine power and could easily have escaped from the hands of His enemies had He wanted to. He need not have handed Himself over to them willingly to be crucified by them.
The reality of life after death and of the immediate entry of the soul at death into the eternal state is also revealed in the words of Jesus to a thief who was crucified with Him, "Today you will be with Me in paradise". Jesus and that repentant thief entered paradise that very day.
These words of Jesus have validity because Jesus came back from the dead after three days. That was the clearest proof that what Jesus had said about death and about life after death were literally true.
Remember, there is a life after death which is more important than this one.
2. God is Holy
A second lesson we learn from the death of Christ is the fact that God is infinitely and absolutely Holy and can never tolerate sin. On the cross, we see that when the sin of the world was placed on Jesus Christ the sinless Son of God, God turned His face away from Him and forsook Him, because God could not look upon sin. As the Bible says, "God's eyes are too pure to look at evil". The judgement of God fell even upon His beloved Son, when He bore the sins of the world. God's love does not make Him overlook sin. This teaches us something of the horribleness of sin in God's eyes. God may love you greatly, but if there is sin in your life, He will just as surely forsake you as He forsook His Son on the cross of Calvary. Many have the idea that because God loves them, He will overlook sin in their lives. But don't forget that sin is sin, no matter in whom it is found.
God is like a consuming fire. Those with sin in their lives will be consumed by Him. The mere fact that we are better than others in our own eyes will be of no value in that day when we stand before a Holy God to give an account of our lives to Him. Sin is worse than leprosy, cancer of insanity. It can destroy us for eternity.
3. God is Love
A third lesson we learn from the death of Christ is the fact that God is Infinitely Loving. The Love of God is seen not merely in kind words that He speaks to us or in kindness shown to us, but in the fact that He gave His Son to die, to save us from our sin and misery. There is no greater manifestation of love on this earth than a man laying down his life for another.
Jesus Christ went through all the agony of crucifixion, only because He loved us and wanted to take the judgement for our sin and thus save us from it. He suffered physically, mentally and emotionally. Above all, He suffered spiritually when He was forsaken by the Father in Heaven.
All that agony that the Son of God went through on the cross is an indication of how greatly God loves and values man. In this world, man is cheap. But if you want to know your real value, you have got to look at the cross where Jesus the Son of God gave His life for you. That's how much God values you.
The Bible compares God's love for man to that of a mother's love for her child. As a mother would long to take into herself any disease that her child has, so that her child can be free, so God took upon Himself the penalty of man's sin so that man might be free.
The perfect holiness and perfect love of God meet at the Cross. Perfect holiness demanded that man be punished with death - the penalty for sin. Perfect love took man's place and took that death upon itself.
4. There is no other way of salvation
A fourth truth that becomes crystal clear through Christ's death is the fact that there is no other way of salvation.
If any other way of salvation had been possible, God would have chosen that way and not allowed His beloved Son to suffer so much. If we could have gone to heaven and into God's presence merely by living a good life, then God would have been foolish to have permitted His Son to go through the agony of the cross unnecessarily.
We are not wiser than God. Infinite Wisdom could think of only one way to save man from his predicament without compromising the demands of Infinite Holiness and Infinite Justice. And even though that way meant suffering, Infinite Love was willing to tread that pathway to save man.
To imagine that there can be some other way of salvation is to consider ourselves wiser than God, and is only an indication of the utter foolishness of our thinking.
Have we understood what the death of Christ teaches us? If so, there can be only one adequate response from us - a complete yielding of our lives to Christ for time and for eternity. An intellectual acknowledgment alone is meaningless. The response of our will is our will is what God seeks.