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The Cross is Necessary for Salvation

I struggled with the cross after Jonathan died. I understood the exchange of our sins for Christ's perfection, but I suddenly wondered why salvation required such a brutal answer as crucifixion.

Jonathan's death stirred up in me the desire to run the world differently.

God was already showing me how good could come out of the evil of my son's death, but plain and simple, I wanted another way for God to bring life and hope to others. He is God, after all. Couldn't He come up with another way to change lives? As I grieved and wrestled with anger, a friend challenged me to take a walk around the cross. Look at it from all angles and hone in on the perspectives of those involved in the crucifixion story. In the process of studying scripture, God also took me on a journey through my own salvation story.

Passages from scripture really spoke to me. Like Jesus saying, "Forgive them, Father, for they don't know what they are doing." And the Centurion keeping watch at the cross who said,"Surely this must be the son of God." These phrases remind me of my own rebellion of God. Recognition of God's ultimate forgiveness, and that God is who He says He is.

From the moment I accepted Jesus as my Savior, I lived my life trying to follow what I knew of the character of God. He is forgiving, generous, patient, loving, and even has a sense of humor. By pursuing me, God convinced me that I would never know a better kind of love than His. Yes, God is all those things and so much more. He is also sovereign, judgmental, jealous, and wrathful, and those attributes are the ones I wrestle with mightily. "For the wages of sin is death." (Romans 6:23a, ESV).

There are no exceptions to the consequence for sin, but God made a way for me to tap into eternity with Him. He requires a spotless lamb (Jesus) to make me clean enough to ever be accepted by Him. Romans 6:23 continues, "But the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." The cross was necessary to bridge the gap between my sinful nature and God's perfection. As a result of that free gift, my life, desires, and outlook drastically changed. Jonathan's death, it turned out, did not alter God's love for me.

When Jonathan died, my faith walk wasn't perfect, but being a "good" mom felt like it deserved a positive outcome for my children. Living life in my early twenties, God showed me through scripture, that trying to do things to be good enough is seeking salvation by doing good works (Ephesians 2:8-9) These days are different because I see that type of thinking r