The Cross of Christ: Part VI

After a one-week break, I’m back! During that time I did a number of other things, including celebrating Thanksgiving (was invited by my pastor and his wife) and braiding my hair (which I have done every winter since 2003). On to chapter eight, then.

8. The Revelation of God

Through the cross, God was speaking to the world. What did the cross proclaim about God?

a) The glory of God

In the gospel of John, Jesus often referred to his death as the event through which he and his father would be glorified, e.g. John 12:20-28, 13:30-32, 17:1.

b) The justice of God

A question that has perplexed humanity for centuries is, “Why do the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper?” If God was truly just, this wouldn’t be the case.

The Bible gives two answers to this problem. The first, prevalent in the Old Testament,  looks forward to the final judgment, e.g. Psalm 73. The second, frequent in the New Testament, looks back to the judgment that took place at the cross.

In light of Scripture, God’s inaction isn’t indifference. It is patience. Romans 3:21-26 tells us that God previously left sins unpunished in order to demonstrate his justice. Now, in justice, God has punished those sins by condemning them in Christ—he demonstrated his justice by executing it. And he did it publicly. No one can accuse God of condoning evil.

c) The love of God

God’s love also seems to be incompatible with all the injustice in the world. The Bible offers no answer to the question, “Why does God allow suffering and injustice?”, but instead provides proof of God’s love. This proof is found in the cross (1 John 3:16, 4:10, Romans 5:8)

In what does this demonstration of love consist, as seen in Romans 5:8?

  • God gave his Son for us: He did not send a third party. How could his love have been demonstrated if he sent someone else, and not himself?
  • God gave his Son to die for us: The Sinless One was made to bear our penalty
  • God gave his Son to die for us: For undeserving sinners like us. The Bible describes us as being powerless and ungodly, as God’s enemies—not flattering terms.

“The value of a gift is assessed both by what it costs the giver and by the degree to which the recipient may be held to deserve it. In giving his Son, God gave everything to those who deserved nothing from him.”

The rest of the chapter, on Christ’s being a moral example and on the wisdom and power of God (1 Cor 1:17-2:5) is beyond my wisdom and power to summarise.