At the Heart of the Matter

How the Crucifixion Saves Us

By Charles F. Stanley
  • July 14, 2021

The cross is the heart of the Christian life. The crucifixion is the divine transaction that saves us. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse us from sin and reconcile us to the Father. Although the Jews and the Romans viewed the crucifixion as the execution of a criminal, God saw it as the perfect atoning sacrifice that allowed Him to justify sinful mankind.

Christ’s sacrifice surpassed all the previous sacrifices (Heb. 9:24-26). The Old Testament priests entered the temple to offer the blood of animals year after year. But Jesus entered one time into the holy place in heaven to appear before God and “put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (v. 26).

Sin is so evil that we cannot ignore, excuse, or rationalize it. Those who die in their sins without the Savior will pay the penalty of eternal separation from God. Our sin cost the heavenly Father the death of His beloved Son whom He willingly sent to die for us so we could be justified and not have to pay for our own sin.

The crucifixion was the only moment in eternity when the Godhead was separated. As Jesus hung on the cross, He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). In those horrible moments when the sins of the world were laid on Him, He bore the weight of all our guilt, and for the first time since eternity past, He felt the separation from His Father.

The crucifixion was an event that can never be duplicated and will never need to be repeated. Christ’s atoning death happened on one day and in one moment in history. It was sufficient to pay for all the sins of everyone who’s lived or will live from Adam until Jesus returns. Christ never has to suffer and die again.

The death of Christ covered everything. Nothing can compare with what Jesus accomplished on the cross, and nothing else is required to pay for our salvation. Christ’s crucifixion makes forgiveness possible for everyone who believes in Him. And for those who do, their future is secure because their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

There were three crosses on the hill that day. On one was a blaspheming criminal; in the middle was the Son of God paying the penalty for sin; and on the third cross hung a repentant sinner saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42). There was nothing he could do except believe that Jesus was the Messiah, and Christ answered him, “Today you shall be with Me in Paradise” (v. 43).

The only way to be saved is through faith in Jesus Christ.

This article was originally published on July 10, 2016, and is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message “Your Convictions About the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ,” which airs this weekend on TV.

Related Topics:  Becoming a Christian  |  Sovereignty  |  Judgment

24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;

25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.

26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.

46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?" that is, MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?"

42 And he was saying, Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"

43 And He said to him, Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

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