Jesus' death was central to God's plan of salvation. Scripture tells us the Son of Man had to be lifted up and all who trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior would be saved.(John 3:14-16) The cross was essential for God to accomplish His desire for us-that we would be redeemed and have a personal relationship with Him for all eternity.
Every one of us has violated God's law, and justice requires that a penalty be paid. When we labor for the Lord and serve Him faithfully, we want Him to be just in rewarding us. But what about when we transgress against Him? We have a sin debt that must be paid, and because He is perfect and just, God cannot simply overlook offenses-atonement must be made.
In order for us to have a close personal relationship with God, there must be a way for imperfect, sin-stained man to approach the perfect, holy Creator. Therefore, the Father provided a substitute-His Son Jesus Christ-who took it upon Himself to pay our penalty. If we accept that payment on our behalf, God declares us no longer guilty, reconciling us to Himself so we can enjoy a right relationship with Him eternally (Rom. 8:6-10). There is no justification apart from the blood of Jesus Christ.
To be justified means to be declared "no longer guilty." With His death on the cross, Jesus paid the price for our reconciliation. Through His shed blood, we are now sanctified. If we accept this priceless gift, it enables us to enjoy communion with Almighty God in this life and the next.