God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:25–26)
Even though we have a flawed operating system, an incredible sense of right and wrong is ingrained in us. We tend to judge even God Himself through this lens but we would be better off looking to His Supreme Court for our views on justice and judgment.
Sin that separated God and mankind had to be punished, so He took it upon Himself. The Judge who handed down the sentence then stepped down to take the punishment for the crime. The cross is where justice started and judgment ended. Twenty-first-century Christianity has made this truth such a theological theory that the awe of this present experiential reality in Christ’s incredible sacrifice is all but lost on us.
When people step up through crowd-funding platforms to help others they do not know, we see the incredible beauty of humanity reaching out. We have lost a similar sense of awe of what Christ did on the cross because we have restricted it to a mystical theology and failed to see it as a practical biography. The cross is the expression of God’s love, justice, mercy, and judgment. The objective of God’s Supreme Court and of His judgment is to allow humanity to have a relationship with Him through a Spirit-to-spirit communion. The power of the cross is not in belief alone but in what happens when people believe.
This method of atonement—paying for sin—differs in world religions and in them all it is inconsequential in mankind for the present life. Going to the Himalayas, Ganges, Rome, Mecca, or other places for salvation have one common goal—Heaven after death. Religions of the world present a futuristic salvation based on a present event or actions of mankind. The cross of Christ offers a present relationship with God based on a historical event.
The disobedience of mankind in the garden caused him to lose his sonship. God paid the price in taking the punishment on Himself that was due to mankind. The Perfect took on the sin of the imperfect to make the imperfect perfect.
God had to be just in His demand and solution, so He became man to take the punishment for all humanity. Until the problem of sin was resolved, the relational problem between God and humanity could not be resolved. Mankind’s state of being as cosmic orphans could only be changed when God had dealt with humanity’s state of sin that separated mankind from Him. The cosmic vacuum could only be filled when the chasm that created the vacuum was filled. Human identity of the child of God could only be restored when the problem that destroyed that identity was resolved.