Drinking Deeply

Saturday, April 15, 2006 at 10:03 PM

At the Cross

It’s Easter weekend (if that’s a term I can use), and I had to post on something else prior to addressing the Trinity. And that something else has to be on the thing that’s on everyone’s minds right now. It will be preached on on Sunday, and ideally, it should be touched upon every week.

But this Sunday is special in a sense. We will gather together in a special remembrance of our Saviors resurrection. We like to talk about the resurrection, but before we get there, we have to talk about the death.

Why did Jesus die? Why did the God, creator, and sustainer of the universe come in the form of flesh in order to suffer and die?

John Piper writes an excellent book entitled Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die. It was formerly called “The Passion of Jesus Christ.”

I want to look at one: Jesus died to suffer the condemnation we deserve, thereby setting us free and reconciling us with God.

Romans 8

1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.[a] 2For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[c] he condemned sin in the flesh, 4in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
The beauty of Christ’s death is many-fold. There is a lot we could talk about. This passage talks about a few, but they all relate to one:

v. 3) God has … condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us.

Remember who God is? God is righteous and Holy. He does not permit sin in His presence. Our Lord is a consuming fire. Yes, God is also love. I’ll get to that in a moment. But we must understand that God’s love does not contradict His wrath. If this isn’t entirely clear, Theocentric posted an excellent post on the wrath of God earlier. Go and read it now and come back to this.

So God is holy. God is also just. God must act in accordance to His character, which is the very definition of justice. Sins against God must be punished. They must be punished with blood and death. John Piper said it best: Satan doesn’t damn people. God damns people. Our sins deserve damnation. The law deserves damnation. We deserve death.

But Paul in Romans 8 busts out with this amazing claim: 1There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Why? How is there no condemnation? Because of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was our sacrifice. You remember in the Old Testament there were always these many many sacrifices for almost everything? Because God demands blood for sins. But God has done what the law could not do. What couldn’t the law do? The law could not fulfill it’s own requirements. It could only lay out those requirements. It could not punish. It could not set free.

(But) God has done what the law could not do. God has set us free. He has condemned sin in the flesh. Fulfilling the righteous requirements of Himself. This is where the love of God is so sweetly demonstrated. Sin condemned in the flesh. Righteous God demonstrates His righteousness. Loving God demonstrates His love.

Never forget this. This is the crux of Christianity. We, sinful man, deserved wrath. God, righteous God, punished our sin. Upon His Son. And thereby set us free from the condemnation and bondage of sin, and free (with the help of the Holy Spirit) to pursue righteousness.

Yes, we will stumble. We will fall. But, by the grace of God, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Happy Easter

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