If you have stayed with us this week, you've noticed we've had a sort of mini-series on the atonement, let me close with this.
All of us should be sorrowful that Jesus died on the cross. He was innocent and we are not. But we know from Scripture that what He did, He did for His people. In fact, we are so wicked in our sins that if He had not done taken our place there would be no way to heaven.
Our hearts are prone to wander. No matter how often I see and hear what I need to do, I do not do it. I needed a heart transplant from the heart of sin to a heart that has the Holy Spirit in it. But this could not come about without something paying the penalty for my sins. Jesus did this. Jesus was obedient in my place and that lead Him to the cross for Me. He did the will of the Father when I did not but for Him that will of the Father lead Him to willingly and lovingly take my place.
It was a grave evil that He was put to death. But while man meant it for evil, God meant it for good, for good on our behalf. He uses it to save people. I should see my sin as murdering Jesus--but God intends that sin against Jesus would be used by Him to defeat sin and death. Therefore God sees the payment and is satisfied. In that satisfaction accomplished many others can in turn be justified (Isaiah 53:11). My guilt puts Jesus their, but God exhausts His wrath against me because Jesus willingly, as part of His plan with the Father, stands in my place. God judges sin in Jesus so he can in turn justify me without ever being an unjust God.
If with the Old Testament sacrifice a lesser innocent lamb or bull without a will could stand in the place of the greater body of people in Israel and this was not unjust, how much more can a greater King willingly represent His lesser people by standing under God’s curse in their behalf? And if that greater life is laid down willingly will it not be just both for both God and us to receive it in our place? And while my sin is the reason Christ died, and that means I put an innocent man their for me, if that sacrifice is perfect it will exhaust God’s wrath and so defeat the curse of death which comes from His wrath. If that curse is defeated by Him in what He does, then I can stand before God having Him give an account for me so that I can pass the judgment of God. Salvation is all by His representation or it is not at all.
It does not seem fair that Christ should stand for me and that I should get off scott free. Should I not be punished? Your right it is not fair. If God was fair I’d be dead not Jesus. But the cross is not fair, it is grace. It is a gift. Salvation that is not a gift is not salvation. The riches of God’s mercy come at Christ’s expense.
Look, You and I will one day stand before the judgment seat of God. Even though I deserve it, I will not be condemned, I will not be punished. I will give an account but that account will have been wiped clean of sin and guilt and filled with positive obedience because Jesus stands in my place taking sin for me and obeying the Father, doing His will, for me. In Christ, I will be given all the things of a future inheritance, things that I do not deserve in the least. But I will have them because of Jesus’ gift. This comes because of what Jesus has done as free gift and I have received this only through faith.
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?
33 Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies;
34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
In that day, I will come before God with the filthy rages of my sin and the Lord will show that He has removed my filthy rages, He will clothe me in clean garments all because the one who is the Son of God and the Son of David, Jesus, has removed my iniquity.
I hope that you will come to believe this. I hope that you will lay claim to clean and spotless robes purchased by the shed blood of the spotless Lamb of God. I hope you will turn over your garments of filth to the Son by asking the Lord to remove your iniquity because you believe in what Jesus has done. Without this, no one, neither you nor I, will be saved at the judgment.
R.C. Sproul. The Truth of the Cross. Lake Mary, Fl.: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2007.
Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears Death by Love. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2008.
The Glory of the Atonement. Edited by Charles E. Hill and Frank A. James III. Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity, 2004.
Steve Jeffrey, Michael Ovey, Andrew Sach. Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2007.
John Stott. The Cross of Christ. Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity, 2006.