In Greek and Roman mythology, all the gods—like Zeus, Jupiter, and Apollo—have human frailties. They get angry. They lust. They’re impatient. They zap people with lightning bolts. They are inconsistent and unreliable.

But the real God, the God who created the universe, is 100 percent pure, just, and unpolluted. He’s never done anything wrong, impure, or imperfect. That’s called holiness. Habakkuk 1:13 says, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing” (NIV).

Because God is 100 percent perfect, you can trust him, unlike the gods of mythology. But his perfection also means that he cannot stand to be around sin. So, at the cross, God took every sin of the world and poured it all on his perfect Son, Jesus Christ, who volunteered to do it. It’s why he came to earth!

What Jesus did for you on the cross is called substitution. If Jesus hadn’t been your substitute, then you would’ve had to pay for your own sins. God didn’t want you to have to pay for them, so he sent Jesus to be your substitution. Jesus satisfied the law. He did what justice demands.

But it wasn’t easy for Jesus. In fact, it was torture. You know how bad you feel when you feel guilty over one sin? How would you like to carry the guilt over every horrific act ever done, every sin done against another person, all the sins done in secret? That would be mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual torture.

On the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 NIV). He was not just experiencing physical agony. He was experiencing the torment of being separated from his Father.

A God who is holy could not stand even to look at his Son, full of the sins of the world. God looked away because he is perfect. Can you imagine what this cost Jesus?

But he was willing to go through that pain because he wanted you to have a way to be in fellowship with a holy God.

Somebody had to take the punishment, and Jesus did it for you. Jesus became your substitute so that, when God looks at you, he doesn’t see your sin. He sees the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

And, because of that, you can experience both eternal life and a full and purposeful life here on earth.