Why does Christianity have such a violent death in the cross?

2 Corinthians 5:21, “21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

It was at the cross that Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin on our behalf. In that moment Jesus becomes sin, our sin. He becomes the liar, the murderer, the thief, the pedophile, the molester, the adulterer, He becomes the wickedness of sin. It isn’t His sin, it is our sin, so that through faith we might become the righteousness of God.

It is at that moment that the eternal weight of sin is laid upon Jesus and it is literally crushing Him to death. People will say, “Couldn’t have God just simply overlooked sin?” If God is so loving and powerful couldn’t He simply forgive?”

The Scriptures teach us that all of humanity has sinned against a Holy and Righteous God. We see evidence of that sin today in that none of us are immortal. We are all going to die. Romans 6 teaches us the wages of sin is death and sin results in death.

We see it early on in Genesis as Adam and Eve are leaving the garden for the first time after sinning against God. They have responded by hiding in bushes and covering themselves with fig leaves. God responds to them by taking an innocent animal and taking its skin to cover the shame and nakedness of Adam and Eve.

Scripture foreshadows this theme throughout the Old Testament as God teaches people to sacrifice animals. Again the blood of innocent animals is spilled out because of the sins of the people. Hebrews in the New Testament teaches us simply there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood. The result of sin is death.

As Jesus is hanging on the cross, the one who knew no sin has become sin on our behalf. Scripture doesn’t teach us that Jesus simply dies to experience a horrible death, but He dies to take our sin. He experiences our horrible death on our behalf.

2 thoughts on “Why does Christianity have such a violent death in the cross?

  1. Kyle Smith

    Lots of meat to chew on from that! This is what my in-laws pastor spoke on yesterday. The church doesn’t have a cross on the stage or on the building, etc… and he basically made the point that yes the cross is a huge iconic symbol of Christianity, but that it’s not Jesus and it wasn’t a pretty scene at the cross. So if we were to really display the cross to represent Jesus we should have bloody rusty nails and blood stained wood, so that’s why their church doesn’t have the cross in it. I’m kinda curious on your thoughts on this…

  2. Michael Dennis Post author

    It seems more and more common for churches to shy away from the cross because it is so violent and maybe irrelevant. However, it is only irrelevant or violent because we don’t understand the purpose of the cross.

    If it just remains an iconic symbol then it has lost meaning and purpose and I could understand wanting to remove the cross, but I guess I don’t think we need to remove the cross as much as we need to better understand the cross.

    I can understand the heart of his point because I didn’t grow up around church and was really confused by the cross as a symbol and see how people end up idolizing the cross, but I think it is better when we explain it…


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