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Catechism Class: The Cross Changes EVERYTHING

06/10/2021

What did the Suffering and Death of Christ Achieve?

LORD’S DAY 15, Q37

The suffering and death of Christ had a profound impact.  It was the most significant event in the whole of human history.  The death of the God-Man, God in human flesh, crucified for our sins affected:-

Will Gretta and her Political Manipulators save the World?

1 The Whole of the Created Universe.

The curse of sin fell not just upon Adam and Eve, but upon the environment in which they lived.  Genesis 3:17-18.  Sin ruined everything.  But it wasn’t just the habitat of man that suffered at the fall.  The whole of creation was blighted with sin.  Paul expresses this in Romans 8:22 A picture of a world and a universe that is cursed, and in agony, waiting for its deliverance.    What can we do? Greta Thunberg is not the saviour of the world, even if she’s disillusioned enough to think that she and her political manipulators are able to save the Earth.  

Jesus is the Saviour.  At the cross, he paid the price for sin, and he took upon himself sin’s curse, as we shall see in a future lesson, and that includes ALL of sins curse; including the curse of the Earth.  There’s nothing we can do to save the planet, and certainly not a cull of humanity.  Jesus has already done the work for us, and one day, when he returns to this Earth, the created order will be remade, re-created, made to be finally what it was meant to be.   Romans 8:19, 2 Peter 3:4b-7, 2 Peter 3:12-14, Revelation 20:1  So, the first profound effect of the cross is upon God’s creation.

2 God Himself.

There is a God-ward effect of the cross.  God is rightfully angry with our sin.  We have rebelled against our Creator, and wilfully and deliberately broken his law, the rules given to us for the proper ordering of our lives, and in order that our lives would bring glory to God, and we would enjoy eternal fellowship with him.  Because God is intrinsically JUST, he cannot simply overlook our sin and rebellion, and because is is HOLY, he cannot allow anything unclean, like us, into his presence. His justice demands that He must punish sin.  God’s righteous anger, his wrath falls upon every unrepentant sinner.  That’s where PROPITIATION comes into the equation.  The word occurs just three times in the NT:- Romans 3:25 and 1 John 2:2.

In these verses, we learn that at the cross, Jesus fully satisfied God’s demand for justice, and appeased his wrath, thus providing reconciliation between God and mankind.  At the cross, God’s wrath was fully assuaged!   Jesus willing took upon himself all the terrible anger of God against our sins, sin is punished, justice is satisfied and God’s wrath turned aside.  Q37, …our Lord Jesus Christ, who bore, in his body and soul, the wrath of God against the sin of the whole human race; God’s wrath burned out on the cross when His only Son Jesus died as the propitiation for sin the sin of mankind. Here’s the third of those verses.  1 John 4:10 

3. Fallen Mankind.  Let’s remember that catechism answer:- …by His suffering, as the only atoning sacrifice, He might redeem our body and soul from everlasting damnation, and obtain for us the grace of God, righteousness, and eternal life.  Our catechist teaches us that Christ suffered:

  • To reveal the love of God to us.  At the cross we see God’s love put into practice, for as Paul wrote, “God has demonstrated his love for us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us!”  
  • To redeem us.  He bought us back, paid the debt that we couldn’t pay, the debt of sin owed to God, – he paid my fine.  But note that he redeemed us both in BODY and in SOUL. Our Christian faith affects us inside and out, orthodoxy issues in othapraxy,  
  • To obtain God’s righteousness for us, 1 Peter 2:24  Romans 5:6   There is another important, unfamiliar word we need to learn.  It is the word Expiation.  E-X-P-I-A-T-I-O-N.  It’s just another way of interpreting the Greek word ἱλαστήριον (hilastērion). – the place of propitiation. When he died at the cross, Jesus blotted out all our sins – he took them away.  Psalm 103:11-13  He did this by covering all our sins with his righteousness.  The reformers called this the ‘Great Exchange’. At the cross, Jesus took our guilt, and gave us his righteousness. 2 Corinthians 5:21.  Because our sins are now covered – atoned for, we can come into the presence of God, we are accepted in the beloved!  Paul wrote in Romans 5:1,  Here’s some more texts to look up: Ephesians 2:13, 1 Peter 1:2 , 1 John 1:7, Romans 3:25-26.  
  • To change our spiritual nationality.  Colossians 1:13  By nature, by birth, we are children of the devil, who live in the darkness of this world, the kingdom of the devil. John 8:44.   Because of the Cross, we, God’s elect, are taken out of that dreadful state and are given a new allegiance.  We are members of God’s kingdom!  Ephesians 5:8  
  • To grant us the gift of eternal life.  John 3:16,   It’s not the only benefit, but its the one we think of so much.  We are His for all of eternity.  We belong to him, and we will dwell with him forever.

Christ died for sinners!  We are the recipients of his unearned love, his unmerited favour, or as our instructor teaches us, his GRACE.  Let’s worship him, him in the words of Psalm 103:-  

1 Praise God, my soul! With all my heart
Let me exalt his holy name.
2 Forget not all his benefits;
His praise, my soul, in song proclaim.
3 The LORD forgives you all your sins,
And heals your sickness and distress;
4 Your life he rescues from the grave,
And crowns you in his tenderness.

5 He satisfies your deep desires
From his unending stores of good,
So that, just like the eagle’s strength,
Your youthful vigour is renewed.
6 The LORD is known for righteous acts
And justice to downtrodden ones.
7 To Moses he made known his ways,
His mighty deeds to Israel’s sons.

8 The LORD is merciful and kind,
To anger slow, and full of grace.
9 He will not constantly reprove,
Or in his anger hide his face.
10 He does not punish our misdeeds,
Or give our sins their just reward.
11 How great his love—as high as heaven—
Towards all those who fear the LORD!

It is right that we should worship our Lord and Saviour. In his death on the cross, God’s Son Jesus is highly exalted and God is glorified.  Let’s return again to the great Christological hymn in Philippians 2:8-11  All of that is why I say that the suffering and death of Jesus is the most significant event in all of history, and it was all because of God’s love for sinners. 

The Cross changes everything.

© Bob McEvoy (Podcast to air on 23rd November 2021)

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