Friday, February 13, 2015
“To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26 KJV).
The final verse of John Newton’s classic 1779 hymn “In Evil Long I Took Delight” highlights today’s Scripture.
“Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.”
It is common today to see beautiful jewelry crosses hanging around people’s necks and arms. They give us a false impression of Calvary. It was not a pretty sight to see the Creator God hanging, suffering, and dying for people who hated Him with passion unspeakable. Calvary was a cruel hill where Father God’s wrath against our sin, was revealed. The same wrath that lost people are facing in hell right this moment, the wrath that they will experience throughout the endless ages to come, it was that wrath that was poured out on Jesus Christ at Calvary. There was no anesthetic or dilution. Yes, it was a dark, glum, terrible place, but in such circumstances of apparent weakness and defeat, there was the most amazing victory to ever “grace” the planet.
The glorious aspect of the doctrine of “vicarious atonement” is that Someone else made us “at-one-ment” with Almighty God. The God-Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, so graciously took our sin debt away because we had nothing with which to pay! Moreover, He did not merely get us out of spiritual debt (forgiveness), but His resurrection was the receipt that the debt was gone. There was not so much as one sin to hold Him in the grave. Hence, the Bible says He was “raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25). It was with Jesus Christ resurrected that we were raised again and declared righteous. Never again will God “impute sin” to us who trust Christ alone (verse 8; cf. today’s Scripture). Our spiritual debt has been paid! We are now alive “to walk in newness of life.” Now, instead of delighting in evil, we can joy in our identity in Christ! What a concept! 🙂