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Part A: Summary

A. Summary

1.  God is perfect and so is His law, which we cannot keep since we are imperfect.

2.  Any gap between God's perfect law and our imperfect obedience is called sin, which everyone has committed: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."*

3.  The penalty God mandated for sin is death: "For the wages of sin is death, ..."** We think we are good people based on our standard of goodness, but based on God's much higher standard (and He judges by His standard, not ours), all of us are convicted death row inmates. That's the bad news.

The good news is that God loves us and didn't want to wipe us out. But because God is good, He couldn't simply turn a blind eye to sin.

Why not?

Imagine something horrific. Imagine finding a man raping and murdering your beloved mother. Instead of taking vengeance on the murderer, you drag him to a judge and demand justice. If the murderer is convicted but the judge declares himself a merciful person and simply lets the murderer go free, would you consider him a good judge who upheld justice?

A good judge must punish crime according to the law. Likewise, God, who is perfectly good, must punish sin according to His perfect law. Otherwise, He wouldn't be perfectly good - i.e., "Holy."

So what did the Holy God do about our sin?

He hurled the punishment required by His law - the death penalty - at us, and then stepped in front of us to take the full brunt of that punishment.

If that is tricky to understand, imagine you committed a crime that carries the mandatory death penalty and have been convicted. You rise at your sentencing and the judge hands down the death penalty. As you start to tremble in fear, the judge rises from his seat, walks down to you, takes off his robe, and tells you:

"Because I am a good judge, I sentenced you as the law requires. But I ... am also your father and I love you, so I will take upon myself the death penalty you deserve, and die to grant you life."

That is why Jesus engineered His own death on the cross: "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again..." (John 10:14-18)

The details of the steps Jesus took to engineer His own death