The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. —Isaiah 40:8
There is an “indestructible toughness” to the Bible. It is a blaring contrast to “the incredibly short shelf-life of the ever-changing remedies and treatments and schemes of hope in our day.”
So John Piper begins in a sermon on Isaiah 40:8. He goes on to name four eternal realities of the Bible: God, sin, Jesus, and faith.
Of Jesus, the central character in history, he writes:
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, eternal, without beginning, but with the Father from everlasting to everlasting, truly God. And yet, he was made flesh, that is, became human. Why? Because without a human nature he couldn’t die. But his aim in coming was to die. He lived to die. Why? Why would God send his Son to die? Because God’s heart toward us is not only wrath flowing from his justice, but also mercy flowing from his love. And to satisfy both justice and love, God substituted his Son to die in our place. Jesus said, “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). He came to give his life as a ransom to rescue sinners from hell.
This is the center of Christianity. God sent his own Son to provide a substitute for all who would be saved from sin. A substitute life, and a substitute death. Jesus Christ lived a perfect life of faith and obedience to God. And he died a totally undeserved, horrific, and obedient death by crucifixion. Therefore, all of us who are saved by him from the wrath of God are saved because our sin is laid on him, and his righteousness is credited to us. “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). “For our sake [God] made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
This is the center and heart of Christianity. This is the deepest need of every human being that no medicine and no therapy will ever touch.