by Kevin Burton
Welcome to the ninth installment of our series Ten Questions from the Bible. No humans are involved in today’s question except as witnesses.
This question comes from Jesus Himself, to God the Father.
The gospels of Matthew and Mark record the question. Here is Matthew 27:46 in the KJV.
“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Far greater minds than mine have puzzled over this utterance for centuries. I think it possible that I might not get to the bottom of it at this sitting.
But I do want to address the question and linger here long enough to see another question that emerges.
The one-word answer to that question of course is “sin.” Sin is why the Father had to turn away from Jesus on the cross. The longer answer is that this is God’s plan of salvation for the human race.
Let me be clear, Jesus never sinned. But he willingly went to the cross to pay the penalty for your sin and mine. In that moment, God placed our sin on Jesus.
“He was made a sin-offering, and He died in our place, on our account, that He might bring us near to God,” is the explanation on the website www.gotquestions.org. “It was this, doubtless, that intensified His sufferings and part of why Jesus said, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ It was the manifestation of God’s hatred of sin, in some unexplained way, that Jesus experienced in that terrible hour. The suffering He endured was due to us, and it is that suffering by which we can be saved from eternal death.”
Don’t miss the phrase, “God’s hatred of sin.”
But what ever happened to sin? This is the question that emerges in my mind. You don’t hear people talking about sin so much these days.
You hear about “doing your own thing” and that’s not limited to which breakfast cereal you choose. It’s extended to just about everything, redefining God’s laws or ignoring them altogether.
Have you ever heard a non-believer ask how a loving God could send a person to hell?
Well first, God never sent anyone to hell. God the Son, Jesus, died on a Roman cross to make sure people had the option to be saved from hell through Him.
There is one big thing people who ask that question have lost track of; the holy God’s hatred of sin. Sin has to be dealt with, first.
It’s not a “my bad” and move on. Good intentions won’t do it. Only the blood of the sinless Christ qualifies as an atonement for sin because we are sinners by nature. That’s the problem.
To modern man, sin is about eating rich chocolates or some other silliness. The word sin has been stripped of its meaning in large degree. Therefore man does not have the ability, does not see the need, to diagnose sin.
“Through Adam, the inherent inclination to sin entered the human race, and human beings became sinners by nature,” reads the website. “When Adam sinned, his inner nature was transformed by his sin of rebellion, bringing to him spiritual death and depravity which would be passed on to all who came after him.”
“We are sinners not because we sin; rather, we sin because we are sinners. This passed-on depravity is known as inherited sin. Just as we inherit physical characteristics from our parents, we inherit our sinful natures from Adam.”
That is why humans are in desperate need of a savior.
I’ve heard preachers say that before you can get a man saved, you have to get him lost. This is what they mean. Sin is a big deal to God. For entrance into Heaven, it’s a deal breaker.
You and I have to see sin for what it is. A cancer undiagnosed, does its damage nonetheless.
If God turned away from his Son on the cross because at that terrible moment our sin was placed on Him, how much more will He turn away from a human who ignores God’s free gift of salvation through Jesus?
Paul writes in Romans 6:23 (KJV) “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”