Today is Good Friday, which is the day where we celebrate the fact that Jesus died for his people. To some, this notion that Jesus needed to die for someone else’s sins may seem radically absurd.
But John Stott wrote in The Cross of Christ that the cross reveals two things. First, the absolutely blinding perfection of God. And second, the deep sinfulness of human beings.
If we bring God down to our level and raise ourselves to his, then of course we see no need for a radical salvation, let alone for a radical atonement to secure it. When, on the other hand, we have glimpsed the blinding glory of the holiness of God, and have been so convicted of our sin by the Holy Spirit that we tremble before God and acknowledge what we are, namely ‘hell-deserving sinners,’ then and only then does the necessity of the cross appear so obvious that we are astonished we never saw it before.
The essential background to the cross, therefore, is a balanced understanding of the gravity of sin and the majesty of God. If we diminish either, we thereby diminish the cross.