“For one would scarcely die for a righteous person- though perhaps for a good reason one would dare even to die” (Romans 5:7). The most obvious statement to follow this that is grammatically correct is, “How much less for a wicked person?” However, Paul adds that Christ died for us when we were still sinners- to demonstrate God’s love for us.
I as not just a spectator
The most humbling revelation for me in this Easter is that I was not just a spectator staring at the horrible experience of Christ on the cross, but was actually an active participant in his torment, torture, and eventually his death. I acknowledge my contribution to the pain and affliction of the Son of God. Canon Peter Green (1871-1961) once said that only the man who is prepared to own his share in the guilt of the cross may claim his share in its grace. I did ask for Barabbas my partner in crime to be released in his stead. I can see my hands striking his face in contempt, I can see my hands fabricating the crown of thorns and mockingly putting it on his head, I can hear by unbridled tongue utterings insults, curses, and slander to the Christ. And to seal his fate, I drive an iron-headed sharp spear to his side, and there gushes out water and blood.
The judicial exchange took place
Yes, I did kill him. But Jesus looked at me and my partners in crime and said, “Forgive them Father for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). We never knew that his death was substitutional and that we should have been the ones hanging there. We thought we had defeated and dispossessed him, little did we know that that was his grand moment of victory. In our eyes, we thought our hands had crucified him and the nails held him there, little did we know that God’s love, plan, timing, and purpose were at work through him. And yes, he forgave my ignorance, foolhardiness, and betrayal. He forgave my rejection of him and my denial of him. The judicial exchange took place- the sinner went away free and forgiven while the sinless faced the pangs of death.
Your sins are forgiven
Yes, I did receive his forgiveness of sins. Today I gaze at the cross with tears of joy. His light and truth have dawned on me. I stand with Paul in saying that ‘we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). I rejoice in the prestigious gift of access to the Father through his grace. My shame and guilt have been overcome by the unconditional and unending love of God. I tapped into the richness of his goodness, I have tasted this Jesus and I know he is sweet. Jesus has made me whole again and I recipient of his gift of forgiveness. How I loathe my sin, how I detest my disobedience, and long for the daily words of Christ, “Your sins are, forgiven” (Luke 5:20).