Elementor #682

The Cross/Altar of Jesus Christ, Part 4

With this post, we conclude our brief look at the cross/altar of Jesus Christ.

A Testimony

There is an inseparable link between the grace of God and the love of God. Both are what He is, and both are demonstrated in the cross (Rom 5:8). With the death of Jesus, we find an undeserved Provision (grace) and a visual depiction of the lengths to which God would go to reconcile His creatures to Himself.  The manifestation of the Creator’s love for His creatures is shown in the death of Jesus Christ in place of the world, though they are fully culpable for their wrongdoing. This incredible transference (known as “imputation”) has been referenced through this series, and for each of these significant statements, we should ponder and worship the Most High God and His infinite mercy in providing a Savior for an infinitely ill-deserving people.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8).

“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Pet 2:21-24).

“For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet 3:18).

The cross of Jesus Christ is a testimony of God’s love for people even to the point of great personal cost. Jesus Christ is the substitute for our sins taking upon Himself the death that we all deserve. He loves us and He wants to be with us.

Does that sink in?

He loves you and me totally, endlessly, and sufficiently.

Only the perfect life of His Son could overcome the separating effects that sin had caused in the Garden of Eden. And now God’s precious and costly gift in the death of the Lord Jesus Christ stands as the means of providing it freely to everyone who has ever lived, for every sin, including yours and mine, having been dismissed from our accounts permanently. Let’s turn to Jesus’ words on the cross.

Seconds before Jesus took His last breath, He was offered sour wine. Looking to John 19:28 and seeing that this is a fulfillment of Psalm 69:21, Jesus took the wine. While He had refused a drink that acted as a sedative earlier (Matt 27:34), He now accepted this drink to quench His thirst so that He could declare that the sin-debt incurred before God had been settle and satisfied. In John’s Gospel, we read:

“Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).

“It is finished.”

This Greek word means, “to complete an activity or process, bring to an end, finish, complete” [1], and was found to be the stamp of a satisfactory payment rendered on many sales receipts. It has been noted that the “perfect tense denotes the certainty of the fact” [2]. Some render this as “paid in full,” having nothing left required or expected. No more lambs, no more blood, no more need or want. Jesus has finished the work that He was sent to do; to give His life, dying on the altar of the cross, as the Lamb of God, taking away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

We must remember, no one took His life from Him. No one forced their will against His and caused Him to submit to these unjust proceedings. Jesus tells us in John 10:17-18 “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.” This shows His willingness to die; His willingness to be the atonement on our behalf.
In the cross, through the selfless giving of His Life, Jesus, God in the flesh, communicates:
A picture of what the sin of mankind looks like in God’s eyes and the “covering” that we desperately needed;
A sacrifice of perfect blood that contains the very life of God in the Person of Jesus Christ, dying as our New Testament lamb;
A testimony of the ever-abounding and unceasing love of God for His creatures, supplying the very means of rectifying all offenses that we have created.

“In no way can the love of God be so clearly, beautifully and convincingly set forth as in the fact that God makes plain to the sinner his condition and peril, and then shows him the way of escape, having, in His great mercy, Himself provided it at infinite cost. Now, at this point the Gospel comes in as indeed good news, showing God’s love for the sinner” [3].
[1] BDAG, p. 997.
[2] Edward E. Hindson and Woodrow Michael Kroll, eds., KJV Bible Commentary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1994), p. 2121.
[3] Evangelist L. W. Munhall, The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth, vol. 3 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005), p. 161.

Senior Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Portage, Wisconsin.

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