Devotional Thoughts

Abhorring All My Sin

We are just a few days away from Good Friday, the time when Christians all over the world remember our Savior’s death. While billions will take note of the day, views on Jesus’ crucifixion vary widely. 

For some, there is nothing good about this particular Friday. They see the crucifixion as an absolute tragedy—the murder of the best of men.

Most view Christ’s death a bit more positively. It wasn’t a tragedy. Rather, it was a heroic, exemplary act by which the Savior—again, the best of men—willingly laid down His life. This is the key understanding of theological liberalism. The key word here is exemplary: this group views Jesus’ death as simply showing us the kind of sacrificial love which we should emulate in our relationships with others.

Roman Catholicism has a higher view of the cross. They view it reverently, as a true sacrifice for sins. Yet, the Catholic view still falls short of complete propitiation—the absolute satisfaction of God’s just wrath by the substitutionary death of His Son (1 John 2:2; 4:10). Catholic doctrine says that sin’s full expiation requires other “contributors,” including the water of baptism, a life of obedience, penance for disobedience, last rites before death, and purgatory after death. Jesus’ death, they say, was precious—just not sufficient.

Jesus’ death, they say, was tragic or exemplary or even precious—just not sufficient.

The evangelical doctrine of the cross is that Jesus took our sin, our punishment, our place—“the righteous for the unrighteous” (1 Peter 3:18). We sing of the vicarious atonement by which our sins were entirely removed: 

      • “On that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied.”

      • “Your blood has washed away my sin; Jesus, thank You! The Father’s wrath completely satisfied; Jesus, thank You!”

      • “Jesus paid it all; all to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow.”

    This full, one-time substitutionary payment for sin is the message of Jesus’ death on the cross. It magnifies our Savior. And it reveals the exceeding sinfulness of our sin. These words from J. C. Ryle (Holiness) haunt me, and I trust they will deepen both your love for your Savior and your hatred of your sin.

    No proof of the fulness of sin… is so overwhelming and unanswerable as the cross and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and the whole doctrine of His substitution and atonement. Terribly black must that guilt be for which nothing but the blood of the Son of God could make satisfaction. Heavy must that weight of human sin be which made Jesus groan and sweat drops of blood in agony at Gethsemane and cry at Golgotha, “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt 27:46)

    What grace!

    Good Friday Meditations

    Meditate on the full propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus this week with these songs.

    “His Robes for Mine”

    His robes for mine: God’s justice is appeased.
    Jesus is crushed, and thus the Father’s pleased.
    Christ drank God’s wrath on sin, then cried, “’Tis done!”
    Sin’s wage is paid; propitiation won.

    “My Jesus, Fair”

    My Jesus, pure, was crushed by God,
    By God, in judgment just.
    The Father grieved, yet turned His rod
    On Christ, made sin for us.