The reason for the cross

The season of Lent is a journey to the cross. As we travel the Via Dolorosa, literally "the sorrowful way," we should contemplate the reason for the cross, human depravity.

Perhaps no book of the Bible helps us understand this reality better than Paul's letter to the Romans. As we read Romans we understand we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and we inherit a depravity of nature which is continually propagated in the entire race of Adam.

This corruption of nature so far removes us from the original righteousness of man that, of ourselves, we have no ability to recover from our fallen condition, but are continually inclined to do that which is evil.

The doctrine of original sin could be summed-up in one rather humorous sentence: "Help, Adam has fallen and I can't get up!"

Another way of stating this doctrine is simply we sin because we are sinners. Read that again. It does not say we are sinners because we sin, but rather, we sin because we are sinners.

Thus, as we read Romans Chapter five, verses 12 to 19 in particular, we see that "When Adam sinned, sin entered the world." and "the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death" and as a result of Adam's sin we all enter the world with a fallen nature.

The terms "original sin" and "imputed sin" refer to the two main effects Adam's sin had upon the human race. Original sin is something inherent in us, a morally ruined character.

The original sin we are all born with manifests itself throughout our lives in our sinful choices the actions, thoughts, and feelings we have that violate God's moral commands.

Imputed sin means the guilt of Adam's sin is charged not just to Adam himself, but to all of humanity. We are regarded as having sinned in Adam, and hence as deserving of the same punishment.

Imputed sin is the ruin of our standing before God and is thus not an internal quality but an objective reckoning of guilt, whereas original sin is the ruin of our character and thus is a reference to flawed internal qualities.

The reason this is so important to grasp is both original sin and imputed sin place us under the judgment of God, and thus, in need of help beyond ourselves.

Paul goes to great lengths explaining this and at the same time gives us the good news that Jesus is the remedy for sin, the cure for the curse.

With a joyful heart Paul writes, "But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man (Adam),how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ,overflow to the many.

"Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man's sin; the judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.

"For if, by the trespass of the one man, deathreigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in lifethrough the one man, Jesus Christ."

"Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people,so also one righteous act [Christ's death upon the cross] resulted in justificationand lifefor all people.

For just as through the disobedience of the one manthe many were made sinners,so also through the obedienceof the one man [Jesus] the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:15-19)

Friends, these truths are a significant piece of the foundation of our faith. Let us journey together to the cross, resting our hope in the righteousness of Christ and not in our own, and let us find great joy on our Lenten journey as its ending is not at the cross, but an empty tomb.

Rev. John Friedlund serves Grace E.C. Church in Ninevah and replies can be sent to johnfriedlund@gmail.com.

Heavenly Father, it is with sincere hearts that we thank You for who You are and all You have given to us, by Your grace.