At the Cross (3)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

We continue to look at things that happened at the cross; space does not permit a review; see the two previous articles by this name.

At the cross, the price was paid for sin. The Hebrew writer states: “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.  It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others; For then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” The price for sin can now be marked “Paid in full!” See also John 19:32-34, Ephesians 1:7, and Revelation 1:5.

By inspiration Ezekiel wrote, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:20). How could a righteous God forgive our sins instead of requiring each one of us, as sinners, to pay this supreme penalty for sin? “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The answer is found in Romans 3:24-26. Listen as Paul explains it.  “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;  To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.” We are able to “flee from the wrath to come” (Matt. 3:7) when we “obey from the heart that form of doctrine” (Rom. 6:17-18) by the grace of God bestowed upon us due to Jesus, as the “propitiation” paying the price for our sin.  

At a time in history when the most extravagant claims are being made in regard to God’s love, it is wise to take into account Scriptures like Colossians 3:6 where the other side of the Divine nature is in view. Paul told the Colossian brethren, “For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.”  “Far from negating God’s love, His wrath confirms it. For without justice, mercy loses its meaning.”  [Earle Ellis: Wycliffe Bible Commentary]. The New Testament is full of teaching to the effect that God has a score to settle with evil and one day He will settle it. See II Corinthians 5:10-11, Romans 11:22, II Thessalonians 1:7ff. It is only because at the cross, Christ paid the penalty for sin becoming the propitiation for those who will accept the grace of God.  As we sometimes sing, “Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.”

Paul M. Wilmoth