Why the Cross?

1 Peter 3:18

Adrian Rogers

Sermon Overview

Scripture Passage: 1 Peter 3:18

The cross is the most recognizable and beloved symbol by those who trust in Jesus. The cross reminds us of Jesus Christ our Savior, and the Good News of the Gospel; but why the cross?

1 Peter 3:18 says “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit…”

First, there is a substitutionary purpose for the cross.

We are sinful by birth, by nature, and by practice. God, who is infinite in love, has a holy hatred for sin; He is the exact opposite of sin. If God were to overlook sin, He would no longer be a holy God. God forgives, but someone must pay the penalty for sin.

Throughout Scripture, we see the examples of substitutionary deaths. But these stories are mere vignettes pointing to the need for the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ—Christ died for us, and instead of us.

Second, we remember the suffering passion of the cross.

Sin brings suffering, and no one has ever suffered like Jesus did when He became sin for us. He suffered emotionally in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He battled with His own humanity; He drank the metaphoric cup of suffering.

Adrian Rogers says, “Jesus knew that He—who had been in the bosom of the Father from all eternity—would now become the object of the Father’s wrath.”

Scripture also details His physical suffering: the scourgings, beatings, and mockery, and the weight of carrying His own cross. God did not mediate or dampen down the punishment; Jesus died the sins of the whole world.

He suffered spiritually, as the Father looked away, and He walked the valley of the shadow of death by Himself.

Through the cross, the righteousness of God is completely satisfied in Jesus.

“It is finished,” means “once and for all.” Christ’s death satisfied the payment for our sins; it purchased our salvation.

The reason for the cross is that we might be reconciled to God.

There is no other way to God except by way of the cross. The cross’s saving power is our only hope: by Jesus Christ’s death alone, we can come to God.

Apply it to your life

Are you unashamed of Jesus Christ—ready to give an answer for why you believe in the cross? Thank Him today for His sacrificial love; spend time with Him in prayer.