“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

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Victory of God: Summary, part 2

What is it, though, about the cross that makes it so deep and mysterious and yet so high and majestic and glorious? It is a terrible event – we have cause to fear and tremble at the death of God. The roots of the cross go down deep, to the foundation of reality – to God himself, who fills the cross with beauty and wisdom and riches and treasures, and with the power of resurrection. At the cross God showed his love for us (Romans 5:8) and at the same time vindicated his justice and holiness. Evil, justice, forgiveness, and love come together in this mystery.

By dying on a cross God turned this fallen world’s “wisdom” on its head and revealed himself in a sharp, paradoxical contrast with human expectations of what victory would look like (1 Corinthians 1:18-2:5). Here we see most brightly the beauty of paradox that comes from God. By bearing sin, God eliminated sin and showed himself to be holy and sinless. By dying our death, he gave us his life. By being forsaken by the Father, Christ showed himself to be one with the Father in wisdom and power. By becoming weak and powerless, Christ unveiled incomparable power. By dying on a cross, he conquered death and showed himself to be the Living God. By being defeated, God is victorious. By submitting to suffering and death, God solved the problem of our sin, reconciled us to himself, turned Satan’s schemes backwards, and conquered death and evil forever. It is at the cross that the ways of God – his “treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3), made known in this great revelation of his character, are shown to be deeper and stronger and more original than the ways of the Enemy.

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