Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross is His one momentous act that set us free from sin. This sacrifice, as horrible and painful as it was, is what gives us our Salvation. So shouldn’t we celebrate on Good Friday too?
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another post.
Today is Good Friday, the day when we honor the sacrifice of our LORD and Savior and Love on the Cross. Today is the day when we reflect on His agonizing and humiliating death, a punishment reserved for the most heinous criminals. Certainly not a punishment for someone who healed the sick, the blind, threw demons out of people, and more. But that’s how it went.
Today is the day we honor Jesus’ sacrifice. And because of the horrific nature of His death, Good Friday is often a somber occasion for many. But should it be? Does it need to be?
My answer is: Yes and no. Yes we should reflect on the pain of the horrible death Jesus endured for us. But at the same time, we should celebrate on Good Friday too. When Jesus died on the Cross for us, He paid the price for our sins and set us free. He took the punishment we deserve. And not only that, our sins will be Forgiven if we have Faith in Jesus and accept Him as our LORD and Savior and Love. On Good Friday we remember the act that was Jesus’ ultimate victory, the act that offers us Salvation if we believe.
Isn’t that worth celebrating? That’s what I have in mind as I write this post for Good Friday, the day we honor the death of our LORD Jesus on the Cross.
He Died for Our Sins … but We Can’t Stop Sinning
Jesus died for our sins. He suffered a brutal and humiliating execution. So if we love Jesus and believe in what He did for us, we should never sin, right? Because we don’t want to dishonor His sacrifice—we want to live up to what He did for us. We want to stay worthy of His sacrifice, don’t we??
Heh. Good luck with that.
On the day we honor the sacrifice Jesus made, we need to understand (as best we can with our human minds) the Spiritual significance of what Jesus did for us on the Cross. What it means for us believers. Because as we all know full well, it’s impossible to live a life completely free of sin. Everyone sins, and we all fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23). So if that’s the case, are we all disrespecting Jesus’ sacrifice?? Are we all acting unworthy of the blessing of His Forgiveness??
No. Jesus knows our imperfect human nature and died for us anyway. He loves us and says we’re all worthy of Salvation through Him. He does expect us to battle our sins and use His help to stop doing them, but sin does not disqualify us from Salvation. That’s because Salvation does not depend on what we do (our works), but our Faith.
I’ll return to that point in a second. First, let’s read a famous passage from Romans 7. Paul himself struggled with sinning, even when he knew he shouldn’t and didn’t want to. Sadly, sinning is a part of our imperfect human nature. Any idea of trying to be worthy of Jesus’ sacrifice through our own perfect behavior simply won’t work. We’re bound to fail, even when we don’t want to, as Paul explains about himself in Romans 7.
(14) We know that the Law is spiritual, but I’m made of flesh and blood, and I’m sold as a slave to sin. (15) I don’t know what I’m doing, because I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do the thing that I hate. (16) But if I’m doing the thing that I don’t want to do, I’m agreeing that the Law is right. (17) But now I’m not the one doing it anymore. Instead, it’s sin that lives in me. (18) I know that good doesn’t live in me—that is, in my body. The desire to do good is inside of me, but I can’t do it. (19) I don’t do the good that I want to do, but I do the evil that I don’t want to do. (20) But if I do the very thing that I don’t want to do, then I’m not the one doing it anymore. Instead, it is sin that lives in me that is doing it.Romans 7:14-25 (CEB)
(21) So I find that, as a rule, when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me. (22) I gladly agree with the Law on the inside, (23) but I see a different law at work in my body. It wages a war against the law of my mind and takes me prisoner with the law of sin that is in my body. (24) I’m a miserable human being. Who will deliver me from this dead corpse? (25) Thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then I’m a slave to God’s Law in my mind, but I’m a slave to sin’s law in my body.
It’s nice that Paul, such an important Christian forefather, is so honest and open here. Because his words give hope to countless Christians so many years later, myself included. If Paul couldn’t reach perfection, no one can.
His struggle sounds like my struggle with chronic sin. No matter how many times I battle the sins that are my addictions, I keep getting defeated. I keep doing the things I know are wrong. If Paul, one of the greatest Christians ever, had this same problem, that makes me feel much better. Because that lets me know that it’s just how life is here on this fallen world. We all have this struggle. As long as we’re stuck in this corruptible flesh, our bodies will lead us to sin.
Thank God, then, for Justification through our LORD Jesus Christ. As soon as we put our Faith in Jesus and believe He died on the cross for our sins, we are Justified. God puts Christ’s Righteousness on us. When God looks at us, He will see Christ’s Righteousness and not ours. Our own Righteousness is nothing, and we all deserve judgment under the old law. But Jesus does not condemn us, even for sins that carry the death penalty (John 8:11), and we have free Salvation through our Faith in Christ.
Again I say, thank God for this amazing gift. Without it I’d be doomed. I’ve been sinning a lot lately, even when trying not to, so I feel shame over it. But I’m reminded that, thanks to Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the cross, my sins are Forgiven and Salvation does not depend on acts but on Faith.
I don’t want to abuse the Forgiveness of Jesus Christ, and I desperately want to stop sinning!! But I’m under heavy Spiritual assault by demon spirits right now and it’s causing me to fall into sin. Thank God then, that Salvation is not based on our good works (our actions). Salvation comes from our Faith in Jesus and nothing else. If our Faith is healthy we’ll also have a remorseful heart over our sins and a sincere drive to get better. And we will get better if we are sincere and giving it our best effort. But the Faith is what matters for our Salvation.
By Faith, not by Works
This idea is explained in a few places in the New Testament. First let’s look at Galatians 2:16. It says people aren’t made Righteous by works of the Law—in other words, by a life of perfect behavior—but through Faith in Christ.
(16) However, we know that a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. We ourselves believed in Christ Jesus so that we could be made righteous by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works of the Law—because no one will be made righteous by the works of the Law.Galatians 2:16 (CEB)
Another, more famous passage is Ephesians 2:8-9. This passage makes it crystal clear: We are saved by God’s grace because of our Faith. Our Salvation has nothing to do with anything we did. We don’t earn our Salvation. It’s a free gift from God, given when we believe that His Son, Jesus Christ, died for our sins on the Cross.
(8) You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith. This salvation is God’s gift. It’s not something you possessed. (9) It’s not something you did that you can be proud of.Ephesians 2:8-9 (CEB)
As someone who grew up in the works-mentality Catholic Faith, this idea of grace and Faith-based Justification and Salvation is new for me. Sometimes I feel condemned or intensely ashamed of my sins because this idea hasn’t fully sunk in yet.
I feel this shame more on days like today, Good Friday. After all, this is the day we remember Jesus died an excruciating death on the Cross, for us. I don’t want to abuse the blessing of Jesus’ sacrifice!! I want to stop sinning, and be a better person and Christian. I feel guilty, and unworthy of Jesus’ sacrifice. Anyone else out there ever feel the same?
Those feelings show a lack of full understanding of Justification and what Jesus did for us. He paid the price for our sins. We need not feel any guilt—Jesus, an innocent man, took the guilty verdict we rightly deserved. And He did this willingly, for us, because He loves us. On days like Good Friday, that is what we should focus on instead of our guilt or shame. That Jesus Christ took our punishment and set us free, because He loves us.
Salvation: Something Worth Celebrating
For many people, Good Friday is a somber occasion. They deny themselves even more that day or even fast the whole day. They spend a lot of the day in holy prayer and think about the horrible death Jesus suffered on the Cross. The humiliation He endured. The pain of the beatings and torture leading up to His crucifixion. And finally, the incomprehensible suffering of the crucifixion itself. The pain of having nails driven through the wrists and feet, and being hung on the Cross.
It’s good and Pious to contemplate the pain of Jesus’ horrible death. But is it really necessary for Good Friday to be a completely sad, somber occasion? Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross is His one momentous act that set us free from sin. This sacrifice, as horrible and painful as it was, is what gives us our Salvation. So shouldn’t we celebrate on Good Friday too?
Shouldn’t we celebrate too? This day, Good Friday, honors when Jesus Saved us. When He suffered the death penalty for our sins. This is the act that declares us: Innocent in God’s eyes as long as we believe in Jesus. This is when Jesus set us free, the act that enables us to be born again in Him as new people. New people who aren’t slaves to sin, but to Righteousness.
Our individual Salvation and Justification come when we put our Faith in Jesus Christ and accept what He did for us on the Cross. Since Jesus did that for us, because He loves us, why would He be mad if we chose to celebrate Salvation on Good Friday? Jesus would want us to be happy about this blessing, after all. The day does not need to be a completely somber occasion.
Most of all, Good Friday is the day when we should release ourselves from shame and guilt. It’s understandable if we think a lot about our sins on Good Friday, since it’s a day to remember how Jesus died for our sins. If you, like me, struggle hard against sin then maybe you know what I mean when I say I feel shame about it. Especially when thinking about the blessing of Forgiveness, and Jesus’ sacrifice. Oftentimes I feel like I’m abusing the blessing of Forgiveness, abusing Jesus’ sacrifice, because I just can’t seem to stop sinning for long. I keep on failing, and asking for Forgiveness for the same sins, over and over. It makes me feel like I’m unworthy of what Jesus did for me.
But that feeling of unworthiness is a lie, from the devil. On Good Friday, sinners like me should quietly rejoice. Jesus paid the price for our sins and took the punishment we deserved. He would never have done that if He didn’t love us and know we were worthy. So we are worthy.
We aren’t abusing Jesus’ blessings if we fail, and fall to sin, because everyone does that (Romans 3:23). We abuse the blessings if we use them as an excuse to sin, and don’t care about fighting our sins. We can never repay Jesus for what He did for us, so what He asks of us is that we have Faith in Him, love God, and love one another. Jesus never asked or told us to be perfect, because He knows that’s something we can’t do. If we have a remorseful heart and are trying our best to conquer our sins with Jesus’ help, we’re doing the right thing.
Jesus sacrificed Himself for everybody. Everybody. He knows every one of us is worthy of what He did, because He did it for everybody. You, me, we’re all worthy. Yes, we all fail sometimes, some of us more than others. But remember that our Salvation does not depend on our works (Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-9). Our Faith is what Saves us; our actions can’t earn or lose us our Salvation. When we sin, we confess and REPENT!, and we’re Forgiven (1 John 1:9). Jesus died for us, He says we are worthy of His Forgiveness. We do need to do our best to be our best and defeat our sins. But our sins do not make us unworthy of Jesus’ sacrifice in God’s eyes.
On Good Friday, the day that honors Jesus’ sacrifice, remember that the price for our sins has already been paid. Jesus took the punishment meant for us, and we are Justified and Saved by our Faith in Him and what He did. Consider celebrating a little, because of that. This moment of ultimate humiliation and pain was actually Jesus’ ultimate victory. It was His victory over sin and death. We should be happy for this, because without His victory we would all be doomed, condemned to death under the Law.
So instead of spending the whole day today mourning the terrible suffering of Jesus’ death, let’s be sure to thank and praise Him too. It’s true that we’re remembering His death, but we’re also remembering the act that set us free. That’s worth celebrating too, not only mourning.
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
Your new best friend in Christ,
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