Friday, March 30, 2018

On The Cross As Our Substitute

For most of the Western world today is known as Good Friday, a seemingly odd qualifier for a day when Jesus was crucified. What is so good about a tortuous death? It wasn't good for Jesus but for those who have faith in His substitutionary death it is the best of all days. It was at the cross where Jesus took my sins in His own body and paid the penalty for my sins on my behalf. He made Himself sin for me....

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

And on that cross as He cried out to His Father....

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Something happened. He paid what I owed, He forgave my trespasses, He canceled my debt. My Lord and my sins, both were hung on a cross.

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14)

God made those who were dead alive with Him as He had purposed to do before time began. His wrath was turned away and satisfied by the propitiation of His Son.

...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:23-25)

The day after He ate the Passover with His disciples, He then showed that the Passover was a mere shadow of the greater passing over that was to come, the Lamb of God without blemish sacrificed for His own people. That is why we celebrate the Lord's Supper and declare His death and resurrection rather than celebrating the obsolete Passover. 

By this we know that God loves us, by sending His own Son to die for us to atone for our sins.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

The central truth of the cross is that God Himself in the body of His Son bore our sins in our place, a doctrine we call penal substitutionary atonement.

Check out this brief video on penal substitutionary atonement. A lot of people don't like PSA, mostly because they don't understand it or just misrepresent it, but I think it is one of the clearest doctrines in Scripture.

It is the great truth of the great Savior that He died in our place. This was foretold long before He took on flesh in the writings of Isaiah the prophet...

Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 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. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:1-12)

Good Friday is not about the Jewish Passover. It is not about social justice or capital punishment. It is not about Mary. It is all about Jesus and what He did on the cross.

If you know and are known by Jesus through grace by faith today, it is a good day to remember and give thanks for what He did on the cross to save His sheep. Praise Him!

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