Crossexamined.org, Friday April 15, 2022 - Despite intense personal and political division, we all agree on one thing: something is terribly wrong with this world. Pain, suffering, injustice, and death affect us all at some point because we live in a broken world. And we live in a broken world because we are all personally broken.
Why Good Friday offers 'the best news ever' for Easter and always
Who hasn’t committed any moral wrongs? (If you claim you haven’t, you just committed a moral wrong—lying!) The truth is we are all fallen. While we hate the evil done by others, we rarely notice the evil we do. We may call our political opponents hypocrites, but we don’t even live up to our own standards much less God’s. None of us are perfect. We are all guilty of something.
It’s only when we admit our guilt can we fathom the liberating and eternal implications of Good Friday. That’s when the innocent and perfect God-man took the punishment you and I deserve on Himself so we could be forgiven of our moral wrongs and reconciled to God.
“Why do we need to be forgiven and reconciled to God?” you ask. “Can’t God just grade on a curve?”
No, because God is an infinitely just Being. If He didn’t punish moral wrongs, then He wouldn’t be the infinite standard of justice. We know this standard of justice exists because without it we couldn’t even recognize any of the injustice we complain about—anything wrong in our society or any evil that has been done to us personally. Injustice can’t exist unless justice exists, but justice can’t exist unless God exists. Without God as the moral standard every behavior would just be a matter of opinion—even murder, rape and child abuse!
Thankfully, God is also the infinite standard of love which compels Him to find a way to allow unjust people like you and me to go unpunished. He does that by punishing Jesus of Nazareth—who volunteers for the mission—in our place.
“The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His live as ransom for many,” Jesus revealed (Mk. 10:45). Just before he went to the cross, Jesus also declared that there’s no greater love than “to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
On the original Good Friday 1,989 years ago, Jesus suffered and died not to turn us into nice people but forgiven people. Jesus isn’t merely a moral example like other religious leaders; Jesus is our substitute. Since we’ve already committed moral crimes, we can’t work our way to God by being a “good person”. Jesus was that perfectly good person in our place. He’s done all the work for us and offers His life for ours as a gift. When you accept His gift, you are not only forgiven but given the righteousness of Christ. You are a new creation adopted into the family of God by grace, apart from works (2 Cor. 5:17-21, Eph. 2:8).
Without grace we will each get justice. If you think about your life and every hidden thing you’ve ever done, do you really want justice from God? Justice is getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. The only way to avoid justice is to accept the grace Jesus provides by putting your trust in Him.
Accepting the sacrifice Jesus made on Good Friday liberates you from your past, present and future wrongs by making forgiveness and eternal life possible (John 3:16). That’s why Good Friday is truly “Good”. In fact, it’s the best news ever.