This past Friday was Good Friday. Many people wonder why in the world we would call it good. What happened was not good, but God used it for good! We think it is good to reflect on the suffering of the Savior for our sins and to remember all that the cross means for us.
Romans 5:1 says, “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The first thing that the cross means for us is peace. Every person is born lost and at war with God. This world is at war with God. Jesus said, “If you are not for Me, you are against me.” But, through the cross, Jesus reconciles us to God. “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life” (v. 10). When we come to the cross the hostility is over. Jesus said, “It is finished.” The war is over. (See also Col. 1:20)
“We have also obtained access through him by faith…” (v. 2). This term means face to face. The story is told that a soldier wanted to see President Lincoln, but the guards would not let him. “He is too busy.” But a little boy standing nearby said, “Take me by the hand,” and he walked the soldier right in to see the President. The young boy was Tad Lincoln, the son of the President. That is exactly what Jesus does for us. Jesus is the door. When Jesus died, the veil was torn and we were given access to the Father.
“…into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God” (v. 2). Jesus took care of all our sins past, present, and future on the cross. Our standing is one of grace not works. It is based on the finished work of Christ. We are seated with Christ in heavenly places. We look back and know we have been justified. We are presently at peace with God. And we will be saved from the wrath to come (v. 9). We are safe in the hand of God, and nothing can pluck us out of His Hand.
“And not only that, but we also boast in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope” (v. 3-4). The cross means for us progress through pain. In this life you will have difficulties. If you are breathing, you have problems! When you get saved, you have someone to help you with your problems. When your life became His life, your problems became His problems. We are not happy that bad things happen, but we can rejoice as we go through them. Our problems can be productive. They are part of the purifying process. We are becoming more like Jesus. The cross is a reminder that God can bring good out of bad. All things are not good, but He can work all things for good! Because of the cross, our problems are not working against us but for us.
Finally, the cross is proof of God’s love for us. “But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (v. 8). You can’t do anything to make God love you more or make God love you less. You have a Heavenly Father who loves you and is for you! Do you really believe that God loves you as His child? Do you really believe that God wants the best for you? Do you really believe that God always gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him? If ever you are in doubt, just look to the cross. Remember Jesus’ sacrifice on your behalf.