I read a devotional recently that spoke of a young boy taken by his mother to church. At the front of the church hung a cross on which was nailed a man. The boy asked his mother who that was. When told it was Jesus, the Son of God, the boy asked his mother who would have done such a thing. The mother turned to her son and declared, “You did.”
When the boy protested, his mother explained the gospel. She told him of God’s love for sinners, and the need for the cross to satisfy divine justice. She explained how Jesus was a substitute, a sinless sacrifice for all who would trust in Him for their salvation.
That mom got it right, except for one point, but it’s a big one. She told her little boy that our sin “caused” God the Father to send His Son to die for sinners.
But that’s wrong, profoundly wrong. Certainly, if our sin was to be atoned for, it would require God giving His Son. There is no other way provided. There is no only way possible, other than for God Himself to meet His own righteous requirements. We would not. We could not.
But it was not our sins that “caused” God to give His Son. The only cause was the love of God set on sinners, who deserved only condemnation. Despite our sins, God’s hand was not constrained to save. But He did, and did it out of love.
“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” (Romans 5:8–9)
(For an understanding of the gospel, click here for God’s Good News.)