It seems as though winter has finally given way to spring. In North Carolina, that means piercing blue skies and writing from the back porch. There is nothing quite like spring, the flowers bud after a long, dead winter. The grass is greener after months of dying in the cold. Bare branches make room for new leaves.
Everything about spring cries out about our Creator and the magnificent work of His creation.
“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
The creation of God speaks His name.
There is no coincidence that Easter falls within this season of renewal after the death of winter, just as Christ rose to life after His death on the cross. “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now” (Romans 8:22). Jesus is the firstborn of all creation, and it is by Him and through Him that all things exist (1 Corinthians 8:6).
Why did God choose this way to bring about salvation? Why did God choose death, when He, as God, could have chosen any other way? The answer is found within the character of God. Each attribute of God points to the inevitability of the cross and the need for Christ to put on flesh, to dwell with His people, die upon a cross, and experience a bodily resurrection.
Within His very nature, we find the reason why the cross was required.
The story of the cross goes back to Genesis, all the way to creation. God laid the foundation of the world ,knowing redemption would be necessary. Jesus was not a secondary plan because God doesn’t make plans that way. He is all-knowing, sovereign, just, yet also full of love, grace, and mercy.
The character of God can be a great mystery to the human mind. The revelation of His character is wrapped throughout the pages of Scripture. He is revealing Himself to us in His way and in His time.
God is gracious. “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17
Through Adam, sin and death entered into the world. Back in the garden in Genesis, just as God knew it would His creation would fall, and when it did, sin would enter in and thus death as a result. Not just physical death, but spiritual death that separated His creation from Him.
This separation was why Christ needed to come and die upon a cross, to fill the gap left by sin between God and man. Through Christ, God pours out His grace. Pure grace that offers us a life and connection back to the Father at the expense of the Son.
Grace is an undeserved and unmerited gift.
God is loving. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We live in a world that wants to make God’s only attribute love. God is not only love. He is equally wrath, mercy, grace, etc. Yet, without the love of God, there would have been no need for the cross either. For it was the very love of God that propelled God to give up His Son, Christ to the cross.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10
God is just. “Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” Romans 5:9
The cross satisfied something we often don’t think about, the wrath of God. God doesn’t change. He cannot change and will not change. Sin required payment, whether that payment came from our hands or the hands of Christ, it is necessary for all.
The cross satisfied the payment for sinners, thus proclaiming those saved as righteous. This justice for believers covers their penalty, but those who reject the Lord will still come under the wrath of God. Each one needs their sins covered, will we be able to say paid in full through Christ? Or will we face judgment for rejecting Christ?
God is all-knowing. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29
From the beginning in the Garden, God knew that He would need to send His Son Jesus to right every wrong. Even from Genesis 3, when God tells the serpent that Eve’s offspring would crush his head, He was telling of Jesus.
The knowledge of God is limitless.
God is glory. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 9:23
All of this, the cross, the resurrection, the redemption of the lost has an ultimate purpose, to glorify God. The Westminster Catechism says, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
His name will be glorified over all the earth, and one day every knee will bow and tongue confess that He is God.
As winter turns to spring, and the days seem longer, and the air thicker with warmth, we see the beauty and power of God taking place around us. We see what was once dead has now come to life again. The buds of Spring proclaim Christ risen from the dead, for His glory and our benefit.