Several thousand years ago, Abraham brought his son to a mountain top to be sacrificed in obedience to God’s command. Abraham came close to drawing blood, but God provided a substitute to sacrifice in his place. Yet, a principle was established – the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Hebrews 9:22). Fast forward several thousand years, where another sacrifice was made. This time it was God’s own Son, Jesus, who was called upon to die and there was no last minute substitute for Him. The Father made the greatest sacrifice possible by allowing Jesus to die on the cross. Jesus wasn’t guilty. He was sinless, yet He received the penalty for our sins (yours and mine), for our breaking of God’s perfect law, for our lack of love for God above all things. We are guilty before God and deserve to die (Romans 3:23), but Jesus took the punishment for us.
But He didn’t stay dead because in three days He rose from the grave. He showed Himself to His disciples and explained how the Scriptures had long foreseen His ultimate act of love. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15:13). God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).
Life is not about trying to be good enough for God. We cannot overcome our breaking of the law through prayers or acts of service. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it (James 2:10). For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23). We deserve death, but God offers life if we repent of our sin, admit we can’t be good enough for God and trust in Jesus’ completed work on the cross. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Give up trying to win God’s approval. Accept the gift the Jesus offers and have peace that you will live with God for eternity. Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).