What did the cross do? For years the cross was the symbol of Good Friday and basically that was it for me. I knew what happened on the cross but I did not really learn until recently what was accomplished on the cross. That which was accomplished means something to me specifically not generally. It is not some ethereal symbol of what God wants. It is an actual accomplishment of Jesus for us. The final sacrificial lamb and the final scapegoat. The work of the cross is complete and it has done more for me than can be expressed.
My ability to lead my family is completely wrapped up in the cross. I do not have the ability on my own. The ability to support my family is completely wrapped up in the cross. I do not have the ability on my own. How do I let the Gospel fuel my life? How do I let the Gospel renew my mind?…Grace. God’s grace is what gives me the ability to do as Paul speaks in Romans 12:2 …be transformed by the renewal of your mind… That renewal is the gospel working in my life. That renewal is God’s grace changing my mind through the cross. Jesus died as a substitution for us and the debt was completely satisfied. Any understanding of the cross apart from grace is cruel and inapplicable to our lives.
I am constantly being brought back to the nature of my salvation and the power that I have through the cross to be what I have been called to be. Grace is what fills the gap between my calling and my ability. I have been called to be a Christian, a husband, a father, and a child. I can ONLY do all things through HIM that strengthens me. If the cross did not satisfactorily complete the substitution…I have nothing.
We strongly reject, therefore, every explanation of the death of Christ which does not have at its centre the principle of ‘satisfaction through substitution’, indeed divine self-satisfaction through divine self-substitution. The cross was not a commercial bargain with the devil, let alone one which tricked and trapped him; nor an exact equivalent, a quid pro quo to satisfy a code of honour or technical point of law; nor a compulsory submission by God to some moral authority above him from which he could not otherwise escape; nor a punishment of a meek Christ by a harsh and punitive Father; nor a procurement of salvation by a loving Christ from a mean and reluctant Father; not an action of the Father which bypassed Christ as mediator. Instead, the righteous, loving Father humbled himself to become in and through his only Son flesh, sin and a curse for us, in order to redeem us without compromising his own character. The theological words ‘satisfaction’ and ‘substitution’ need to be carefully defined and safeguarded, but they cannot in any circumstances be given up. The Biblical gospel of atonement is of God satisfying himself by substituting himself for us.
John Stott – The Cross of Christ
This will indeed be a long post and hope to follow up this thought with others in the same vein. My mind is getting blown up every day as the Gospel digs further and further into my soul.
What do you think? Too heavy? Just right? I’m thinking I need to either lighten it up or shorten it up but I had a lot going on in my head tonight.