Why We Call Good Friday Good



three-crosses

Ever wonder why it is that we can call Good Friday good?  Death takes center stage and it does it in the form of one of the worst forms of execution ever created – crucifixion.

But we can call this day very, very good.

From the words of John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion:

Suppose [a man] learns, as Scripture teaches, that he was estranged from God through sin, is an heir of wrath, subject to the curse of eternal death, excluded from all hope of salvation, beyond every blessing of God, the slave of Satan, captive under the yoke of sin, destined finally for a dreadful destruction and already involved in it; and that at this point Christ interceded as his advocate, took upon himself and suffered the punishment that, from God’s righteous judgment, threatened all sinners; that he purged with his blood those evils which had rendered sinners hateful to God; that by this expiation he made satisfaction and sacrifice duly to God the Father; that as intercessor he has appeased God’s wrath; that on this foundation rests the peace of God with men; that by this bond his benevolence is maintained toward them. Will the man not then be even more moved by all these things which so vividly portray the greatness of the calamity from which he has been rescued?

This Good Friday we remember the extent of God’s love for us.  Romans 5:8 says, “but God shows his love for us in this while we were still sinners Christ died for us,” (ESV).

But it goes even further than that.  We were by nature, children of wrath, (Ephesians 2:3), and that wrath needed to be satisfied.  That is love.  We don’t deserve what Jesus did.  We deserve the wrath.  But while God is a God of wrath, He is also a God of love.  For in the act that is marked today, this act of sacrifice made 2000 years ago is love of God made manifest for us, (1 John 4:9).  “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, ESV).

Jesus satisfied God’s wrath on the cross with His death.

That is how we even know what real love is, and those who have placed their faith in Christ can be thankful because as we understand, as Calvin put it, “the greatness of our calamity” we know that we have been rescued from much.

And that is why we can call today good.  Besides, Sunday’s Coming.

Adapted from the original post written on April 2, 2010.

Photo Credit: Andy Melton via Flickr (CC-By-SA 2.0)