This second in a series of articles on the substitutionary death of Christ on the Cross vividly brings to mind the necessity of divine intervention to remedy the hopeless and helpless condition of humanity, in total depravity and alienated from the Creator.  Such a condition requires both a Plan and a Person to bring about a redemptive solution.   Thus in eternity past, before the creation of the world and the first man, the Godhead decreed to provide a Savior whose sacrificial work on the Cross would reconcile fallen man to God.  This redemptive work would be accomplished totally by God Himself and would be appropriated by man on the basis of faith alone in the finished work of Christ on the Cross.  To the churches in Rome, the Apostle Paul wrote … “So then, as the one sin condemned all mankind, in the same way the one righteous act sets all mankind free and gives them life.  And just as all people were made sinners as the result of the disobedience of one man [Adam], in the same way they will all be put right with God as the result of the obedience of the one man [Jesus Christ]” (Rom. 5:18-19 TEV). The end result of God’s solution to man’s dilemma would be the Cross.  God’s Plan required that He enter the human race as true humanity but not possessing the sin nature transmitted to all men through Adam.  The promise of the seed of the woman given in the Garden (Gen 3:15) was humanly impossible but not with God.  The prophet Isaiah announced … “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Is. 7:14 NIV).  Mary would become pregnant by the spoken word of the Holy Spirit thus preventing the transmitting of Adam’s sin to the humanity of Christ.   Luke, a medical doctor records this immaculate conception … “And behold, you will conceive in your womb, and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.”  …  And Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?”   And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:31, 34-35 NASB).  The journey to the Cross had begun.  This Jesus, God’s provision to reconcile man back to God would have to fulfill the Father’s Plan in every detail -- obedience to the Father, be able to resist temptation in the power of the Spirit, accept rejection and humiliation from His own creation and willingly become the substitute to bear the penalty and punishment of the sins of the world.  The Cross was to be accomplished as a demonstration of God’s love for man who was still in a state of condemnation, and separated from God by spiritual death.   Again it was Paul who would reveal the divine plan … “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for” (Rom 5:8 NIV).  God the Holy Spirit through the apostle describes the substitutionary sacrificial death of the innocent Lamb of God. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21 NASB).  Isaiah foretold the outpouring of God’s wrath on the Son … “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him and by His scourging we are healed” (Isa 53:4-5 NASB).  With the song writer we lift our thanks and praise -- what love and what grace!

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