Lesson 10: A Humanitarian by Dying For Us
Study Guide Pages 74-82
It’s an incredible sight when lightning hits a building. At first, people are frightened because they think the building will be damaged or even destroyed. But then, when they see it emerge unscathed, their fright turns to amazement. How could the building not be damaged? The answer? It had a lightning rod which deflected the lightning down into the ground.
A lightning rod is one way to think of Christ’s cross. At the cross, God unleashed his wrath over sin – all sin. He rained down his fearsome anger on Jesus because, as the prophet Isaiah said, “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Therefore, God figuratively hurled down lightning bolt after lightning bolt on Jesus. He punished Jesus for everybody’s sin.
This is what the word “atone” means. Atone means to appease somebody who is angry. And God was extremely angry because of sin. It’s easy to forget just how horrendous sin is. It is nothing less than a horrific affront to God’s majesty. It is defiantly rebelling against him.
Therefore, God had to be appeased. This is what Jesus did for us on the cross. His cross served as a lightning rod, deflecting God’s wrath away. There Jesus made atonement for everybody’s sins.
Because Jesus appeased God, all that remains for you is to experience the glow and warmth of Jesus’ saving love.
That is if you are connected to the cross. Just like a lightning rod protects only the building, it’s connected to, so also here. You are only protected from God’s anger by the cross of Christ. It is essential to be connected to it. And only it. If you think God won’t rain his wrath down on you because you are good enough, you are sorely mistaken. Nothing you do can protect you. The same holds true for anything else you look to for protection. Absolutely nothing will protect you except Jesus.
Be sure you are always connected to Christ’s cross. Do that by trusting him completely for your salvation. Do that by abandoning trust in everything else: your goodness, your heritage, or any religious rites or rituals. Christ’s cross stands alone as your only effective lightning rod. Trust in his atonement and be safe.
Key Bible Verses
We all deserve punishment for our sins, both temporal and eternal punishment. Nearly 700 years before Jesus was born, the prophet Isaiah talked about Jesus’s suffering and death as if he were an eyewitness to it all. The beautiful thing that Isaiah points out that everything Jesus went through and everything he suffered was for us. Jesus was indeed our substitute.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Sin has the consequence of death, but Jesus paid for sins consequence for us. Notice the contrast between the death we deserve because of sin and the eternal life given as a gift in Christ.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Questions to Consider
- Agree/disagree: By nature, most people are good. (see Isaiah 53)
- Sin is a terrible thing in God’s eyes. When he gave the law, he made it very clear that any person who violates or breaks his law would be cursed or condemned by God. According to Romans 6:23 what are the eternal consequences of sin?
- Agree/disagree: When Jesus was on the cross, he deserved to die.
- How does the work of Christ’s atoning sacrifice become ours?
- What does Jesus’ atonement mean for us? What does it do?
- The protection that Jesus provides through the cross is our only protection from God’s wrath. In what other ways do humans seek to protect themselves from God’s wrath?
- How does the atonement show God to be the ultimate humanitarian?
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