J.C. Ryle urges us to never forget “the mightiest truth in the Bible.”
Christ’s death was an atonement for sin. What saith the Scripture? “The Son of man came to give His life a ransom for many.”
This is the mightiest truth in the Bible. Let us take care that we grasp it firmly, and never let it go. Our Lord Jesus Christ did not die merely as a martyr, or as a splendid example of self-sacrifice and self-denial; those who can see no more than that in His death, fall infinitely short of the truth; they lose sight of the very foundation-stone of Christiainty, and miss the whole comfort of the Gospel. Christ died as a sacrifice for man’s sin; He died to make reconciliation for man’s iniquity; He died to purge our sins by the offering of Himself; He died to redeem us from the curse which we all deserved, and to make satisfaction to the justice of God, which must otherwise have condemned us. Never let us forget this!
We are all by nature debtors. We owe to our holy Maker ten thousand talents, and are not able to pay. We cannot atone for our own transgressions, for we are weak and frail, and only adding to our debts every day. But, blessed be God, what we could not do, Christ came into the world to do for us; what we could not pay, He undertook to pay for us: to pay it, He died for us upon the cross. “He offered Himself to God” (Heb. 9:14). “He suffered for sin, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18). Once more, never let us forget this!
J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthew, The Banner of Truth Trust: 2009, 258.