Photo credit: Andy Melton (CC-By-SA 2.0)
Photo credit: Andy Melton (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Today is Good Friday when we remember the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross.

The apostle John put it this way.

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

He initiated because He was the only one who can. The apostle Paul described how amazing this is.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but G0d shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:6-8, ESV).

Friends, why was Good Friday good? Because without it, our future it bleak.

There is not one person who, by his merit, is righteous in God’s sight. Not one and that is what is required to be in His presence as we see below.

“For there is no distinction: 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. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus,” (Romans 3:22b-26, ESV).

Now we’ve seen this word “propitiation” twice.

John Calvin in the Institutes of the Christian Religion offers an excellent description of propitiation and why it should invoke sheer gratitude:

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?

Because of this R.C. Sproul calls this Christ’s supreme achievement on the cross. In his book, The Truth of the Cross, Sproul writes:

Therefore, Christ’s supreme achievement on the cross is that He placated the wrath of God, which would burn against us were we not covered by the sacrifice of Christ. So if somebody argues against placation or the idea of Christ satisfying the wrath of God, be alert, because the gospel is at stake. This is about the essence of salvation—that as people who are covered by the atonement, we are redeemed from the supreme danger to which any person is exposed. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of a holy God Who’s wrathful. But there is no wrath for those whose sins have been paid. That is what salvation is all about.

There’s no wrath for those whose sins are paid. Amen and amen.

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