“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Cross as Revelation of God

We’ve come to answers of the three questions posed: where did we stand before God, what happened between God and man, and what happened within the persons of the Trinity when Christ died? Christ paid the price, he drank the cup of suffering, he received the wages of sin (Romans 6:23), and thus he satisfied the just divine demand for retribution, atoning for our sin and making us righteous in him. For Christ the greatest part of the price of taking up our sins, though, was being forsaken by the Father. For a moment God was, in a sense, not himself – the sinless Son was sin itself, he who was one with the Father in love was accursed by the Father.

And yet a deeper level, God based his actions on who he was – his nature and character –in every way and at every step in this great event. Even in the moment of God taking sin on himself and being accursed, the Son was fully obedient before the Father, faithful to the end, never once sinning himself. Even when the Son was cut off from the Father, both were acting according to the justice and love of their common divine nature, and thus testifying to their divine unity. Furthermore, in all these paradoxes which God has structured from eternity into redemptive history and the event of the cross – mysterious yet beautiful and elegant paradoxes – we witness another facet of who God is. We glimpse reflections of the deep wisdom, knowledge, and beauty that is inherent to his being, and with which he has imbued his Story. Perhaps most significantly, in the cross we have the supreme revelation of God’s love and justice – his love for us, so vast and endless that he would die for us (John 15:13), and justice, so strong and steadfast that he would deal it out at any cost to himself. We see God’s mercy, grace, forgiveness, righteousness, and holiness. We see Christ’s faithfulness and obedience, and his incomparable humility, as an example for us. Indeed, it is in the cross that we actually find out what love, justice, obedience, and humility really are. God has taken all that he is and poured it into his Story, and the cross in particular, so that his creatures might see him more fully.

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