Our worship team at Harvest had a very good discussion last night prior to rehearsal. It centered around the cross and making sure we don’t forget, or take for granted, the truth that we celebrate during Easter. Today I read Kevin DeYoung’s blog from www.gospelcoalition.org and thought it would be appropriate to share.
Here’s a sentence that really hit me… “I believe many of us have not begun to grasp just how good the good news is, just how secure our salvation is, just how completely and unalterably justified we are through faith in Christ.”
Please reply with comments… B.
KEVIN DEYOUNG|5:25 AM CT
Though few would put it this way, it’s easy for Christians to think the cross is where love overcame holiness. Or to put it more prosaically: God saved us because he loves us so much he decided to look past our sins. God is love and he loves to forgive our sins.
But that’s not exactly how justification works. We are not justified because God’s mercy triumphed over God’s justice. We are justified because in divine mercy, God sent his Son to the cross to satisfy divine justice. Mercy triumphs over judgment, but it does not remove the need for justice. We were saved not by the removal of justice, but by the satisfaction of it.
A Loud Declaration
The resurrection, then, is the loud declaration that there is nothing left to pay (cf. Rom. 4:25). Peter says in Acts 2:24, “God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” Why was it impossible for Jesus to remain dead? Because God is more powerful than death and the devil? That’s certainly true, but there’s another reason. The grave could not hold the Son of Man because it had no claim on him. The wages of sin is death. So when sin is paid for, there is no obligation to pay the wages of sin.
Here’s how Charles Hodge puts it:
Our sins were the judicial ground of the sufferings of Christ, so that they were a satisfaction of justice; and his righteousness is the judicial ground of our acceptance with God, so that our pardon is an act of justice.
Think about that. Our justification is not an act of legal fiction, but an act of justice. God would be unjust if he did not pardon those who belong to Christ. It would be a denial of his name, his character, his own justice.
I believe many of us have not begun to grasp just how good the good news is, just how secure our salvation is, just how completely and unalterably justified we are through faith in Christ. Mark this: God did not set aside the law in judging us; he fulfilled it. Christ bore the curse of the law so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Not because we possess this righteousness, but because God credits it to our account. So that, in one sense, at the moment when Christ died, it was what he deserved (by imputation). And now by faith, blessing and mercy and favor are what we deserve (by imputation).
Justice is shot through the entire plan of redemption. People go to hell because God is just, and people go to heaven because God is just. We are not forgiven and justified because God waved his magic wand and decided to whitewash your faults. He has not overlooked the smallest speck of your sin. He demands justice for all of your iniquities. He demands justice for every last lustful look and proud thought and spiteful word. He demands justice for all of it. But praise God: the resurrection of the crucified Son of God assures us the demands of justice have been met.
The Resurrection Gospel
The resurrection is not a sentimental story about never giving up, or the possibility of good coming from evil. It is not first of all a story about how suffering can be sanctified, or a story of how Jesus suffered for all of humanity so we can suffer with the rest of humanity. The resurrection is the loud declaration that Jesus is enough–enough to atone for your sins, enough to reconcile you to God, enough to present you holy in God’s presence, enough to free you from the curse of the law, enough to promise you there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Something objectively happened on the cross, and that objective work was broadcast to the whole world by an empty tomb. The good news is not a generic message of love for everyone or hope for all. The gospel is the theological interpretation of historical fact. You might put the good news like this: Faith will be counted to us as righteousness when we believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification (Rom. 4:24-25).