6. How God Redeemed Mankind
I. The Perfect Sacrifice
II. The Cross
III. The Cup
IV. The Resurrection
I. The Perfect Sacrifice
“He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of His own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”
“He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.”
1 Peter 2:24
“We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”
“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.”
1 Timothy 2:5
“Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.”
How can the death of one man pay for the sins of every believer who has ever lived? Jesus Christ had to be both God and man. As God, He is of infinite worth and as a man, He lived a righteous, perfect, and holy life; obeying and loving God the Father perfectly every moment of His life on earth. Any other person or angel attempting to sacrifice himself for the sins of others would be insufficient. It is the infinite worth of Christ that makes His sacrifice more than sufficient to pay for the sins of every believer who ever lived. A man living a perfect life would only be able to save himself. Only God Himself, Jesus Christ, can pay for the sins of mankind.
Jesus says this about Himself in Isaiah 43:11:
“I, I am the LORD, and besides Me there is no Savior.”
Peter says this about Jesus in Acts 4:12:
“And there is a salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
The Old Testament teaches us that the only sacrifice acceptable to God the Father is a perfect and unblemished sacrifice. Jesus Christ, God the Son, was the one and only perfect sacrifice that could be our propitiation (something that satisfies the wrath of God the Father). Hebrews 12:29 says, “Our God is a consuming fire,” who “dwells in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16). Sinful man has no hope of standing before a holy God. The seraphim were created beings who could barely approach the holy presence of God, and even then only with the holiness given to them by God. They did so with much fear and with their faces and feet covered and hidden by their wings. The only mediator in the entire universe who could reconcile and bring a holy God and unholy mankind together was the God-man, Jesus Christ.
If only God can save, then why did Christ become a man?
“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery…Therefore He had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
Hebrews 2:14-15, 17
“For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.”
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.”
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. It was necessary that Jesus die as our perfect sacrifice and that His blood be shed in order to satisfy God’s wrath and to pay for our sins:
“Knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
1 Peter 1:18-19
“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”
“Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood.”
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”
“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then He would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”
The high priest in the Old Testament presented an offering to God for the sins of the people. This offering was the blood of bulls and goats, but it was not sufficient to pay for man’s sins—it only covered them up temporarily, hence the need for continual sacrifices.
“In these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
“And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until His enemies should be made a footstool for His feet. For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.”
The payment required to sufficiently pay for sins was for the blood of a man to pay for the sins of a man. Jesus came to earth as a man and it was His blood that was able to pay for the sins of His brothers and to propitiate and satisfy the wrath of a holy and righteous God. His sacrifice was of infinite worth, and it was more than sufficient to once for all pay for the sins of all believers. The blood of bulls and goats only covered sins, but they did not make one righteous in God’s sight. The precious blood of Christ is how we are made to be righteous in the sight of God.
“Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up His soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.”
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
“For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:21
Christ not only died for us, He lived for us. He lived a perfect, holy, and righteous life on our behalf that we are given credit for. Without this holiness, we would have no access into heaven. We were sinners and still are sinners, and yet those who are His are now credited as being righteous before a holy God. There is a transfer that occurs: Christ is made to be sin and we are made to be righteous. Christ did not become sinful, He has always been and always will be perfect. Ephesians 5:2 says He was a “fragrant offering and sacrifice to God,” made on our behalf. Christ is imputed with our sin and we are imputed with His righteousness. The result is that God the Father sees us as having lived the perfect life of Christ, and Jesus was given our debt of sin, which He paid for on the cross.
We must always remember and treasure in our hearts the fact that we are not saved merely by what Christ has done for us, but by who He was, is, and will be forever!
II. The Cross
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE."
“At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’”
When Jesus said these words on the cross, He was directing His hearers to Psalm 22. There were no chapters of Scripture to give others in those days, so a teacher of the law would instead recite the first words of the text. These words were also told in the original Hebrew for added emphasis.
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, and from the words of My groaning? O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent. But You are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.”
God the Son was forsaken by God the Father, causing Jesus much agony as prophesied in Psalm 22. God the Father always heard the prayers of a righteous man and delivered them, except for this one instance. Jesus affirms that God the Father is holy, but says that He is a worm, a reproach, and despised.
The color purple was associated with royalty in ancient times because it was so rare. It came from a certain type of worm that was crushed to produce the color. Jesus compares Himself to a worm because for our sins He was crushed under the holy and righteous wrath of God the Father.
The Bible also compares Jesus to a snake and two goats in the Bible, as well as a worm. Israel’s rebellion in the wilderness caused God to send fiery serpents to bite the people, which stopped when the people repented and Moses prayed for them. God then told Moses to make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole and whoever was bitten could look up at it and live. I had always thought this was one of the weirdest sections of the Bible and for some time I never fully understand its significance.
Paul Washer explains in The Gospel’s Power and Message that, “At first, it seems contrary to reason that ‘that which was cured was shaped in the likeness of that which wounded.’ However, it provides a powerful picture of the cross. The Israelites were dying from the venom of the fiery serpents. Men die from the venom of their own sin. God commanded Moses to place the cause of death high upon a pole. God placed the cause of our death upon His own Son as He hung high upon a cross…The Israelite who believed God and looked upon the brazen serpent would live. The man who believes God’s testimony concerning His Son and looks upon Him with faith will be saved.”
The goat is typically used in the Bible to represent unbelievers, whereas sheep is used to represent believers. Why then is Christ compared to a goat? The high priest would use two goats to make atonement for the sins of the people. The first goat was killed and its blood was sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies. The high priest then put his hands on the other goat, called the scapegoat, and confessed over it the sins of all the people and then he sent the goat away into the wilderness to bear the sins of all the people.
Jesus was like the first goat in that his blood takes away our sins and He is like the scapegoat in that He bore our sins and was forsaken and sent away from the rest of the people.
It is amazing to think that a worm, a venomous serpent, and a goat should be symbols of Christ. It seems like blasphemy to do so except that these images come from the Old Testament as well as the New Testament.
“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.”
“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God...For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness.”
1 Corinthians 1:18, 21-23
The Jews expected Jesus to be a political savior and to deliver them from Roman oppression. The fact that Jesus was crucified was a stumbling block to them, because they thought that He couldn’t be the promised Messiah if He died on a cross. Isaiah 53:4 says, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” The Greeks loved wisdom and thought it foolish that anyone who was crucified could have the power to save. “He couldn’t even save Himself,” they surely said. Today, we find the message of the cross to be foolish because we think it to be unnecessary.
Unconverted man is not able to recognize his own depravity and sinfulness. When he hears that Jesus died for his sins, he thinks, “That was kind of stupid. He didn’t have to do all that. I’m not that bad of a person. He did all that for nothing.”
When unconverted man does hear about how he is a sinner, he either dismisses it because he thinks himself to already be “pretty good,” or it causes him to be offended and to hate God. He cannot think any other way because he is blinded by Satan and by his own sin and he cannot understand the truth. Only the Holy Spirit can transform his mind to understand the truth of the gospel for the first time and to see God’s holiness and righteousness in contrast with his own wickedness and depravity. It is only after this work of the Holy Spirit that man can repent and believe in Christ. Human wisdom dismisses the cross as foolishness—only the Holy Spirit can reveal the need for Christ to redeem us from the wrath that our sins deserve.
The greatest problem in the Scriptures is: How can a holy and just God forgive the sinner and still remain just? This is the Great Dilemma. Man's problem is that he does not recognize God’s holy and just nature that must hate and punish all sin. He also does not recognize his own depravity. Therefore, to sinful man, there is no Great Dilemma; and this is the Great Problem. Man is self-righteous because he is blinded by the Devil and his own sin. He thinks that he is already good enough to get into heaven and that God should be loving enough to forgive him—regardless of if he repents of his sin and believes in Jesus.
“23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed; 26 for the demonstration, I say, of His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
(From the sermon The Meaning of the Cross by Paul Washer):
Many preachers talk about the Cross of Christ, but they emphasize the wrong things and do not truly explain the meaning of the cross. The church at large is basically missing the point about the Gospel of Christ. Why? Because of what the Bible says and 2,000 years of church history.
Theology is the study of God. There is a difference between a theologian and a “pop” theologian. You ever heard of pop music? It’s music that is popular and is pretty superficial. Pop theologians are not really trained, they just have a following. They dedicate themselves to preaching, not studying. They have a lot of illustrations, stories, and cute sayings, but not so much theology.
Both pop theologians and true theologians will claim that they teach what they teach “because it’s what the Bible says.” So how do we know who is right? There’s two things that you need to look at. One is called context, the other is called history. If the Bible says “the barn is red,” that means the barn is red!” I’m so tired of preaching and having students say, “Well, that’s your interpretation.” It’s not interpretation if it’s spelled out in black and white.
The other thing is comparing what the theologian says compared to 2,000 years of church history. If what I say is different from them, you have to decide: “Who is right, Paul Washer, or 2,000 years of Christian history?” Well obviously 2,000 years of Christian history and teachers are right. If nobody in 2,000 years agrees with them, they’re probably wrong, aren’t they? If we as Americans come up with a new way to do Christianity, yet it disagrees with 2,000 years of Christians from all over the world, who’s probably wrong? We are. That’s why I say on the cross that most people are missing the point.
Many preachers when they preach on the suffering of Jesus, what is it that you hear about? Physical suffering. He’ll start crying and the whole congregation starts crying as he talks about how the nails went through a certain part of the wrist because that’s the only thing that could hold him up, how the nails went through the feet, and how you would have to push up to get a breath of air, because when you die of crucifixion, you die of suffocation, the spear in the side, the crown of thorns on the head, the pieces of metal on the ends of the whip that tear the skin on the back, how He drug His cross, blood flowing down; they’ll talk about all these things and say that by all of these things Jesus suffered we are saved.
The movie, The Passion of the Christ, shows all of these things that Christ suffered physically at the hands of men, but it too misses the point. Many preachers teach that the physical sufferings of Jesus are what paid for our sins. Now, a lot of people say, “Yeah, that sounds good.” Actually, that’s heresy when we compare it to what 2,000 years of historical Christianity has taught. That’s the deepest form of heresy. You can be wrong about a lot of things, but if you’re wrong about the cross, you’re in trouble.
God is righteous and just. He must punish sin. The only way that God can forgive sinful men is if God, who made the Law and demands justice; if He Himself comes down and pays the penalty. The only way the Law of God can be satisfied is by God. Only God can satisfy God’s justice and pay the price.
God, in order to forgive the wicked and still be just, must die in the wicked’s place. That’s the only way He can forgive.
God, in order to forgive the wicked and still be just, must die in the wicked’s place. That’s the only way He can forgive.
How does He die? What is it about the death of the Son that leads to our forgiveness? How does His death satisfy the Law? When a seminary student tells me that he has been saved, I ask him, “From what?” People usually say, “Sin.” Nope. Sin wasn’t after you. Sin wasn’t going to throw you in hell. Sin is not a person or being that’s going to judge you.
This is really going to rock your boat. From what you have been saved is not a “what” but a “who.” You have been saved; not from sin, but from God. You see, God is the Judge over all the universe. You have sinned and made yourself an enemy of God, who being just, will throw you in hell.
You have been saved; not from sin, but from God.
You hear a lot of people say, “Well, God doesn’t throw anybody in hell.” That’s a nice saying, but it’s not in the Bible. Jesus said, “Do not fear men who can kill your body, but fear God, who can kill your body and throw you in hell.” This God of ours is not very politically correct.
Have you ever seen the statement in Romans, “enemy of God” and “hater of God?” When the Bible says “we were an enemy of God,” it means that literally. God was also our enemy.
“God is a righteous judge and a God who has indignation every day. If a man does not repent, He will sharpen His sword; He has bent His bow and made it ready.”
This God in the Bible that has been preached through 2,000 years of Christian history is a lot different from the “god” that’s being preached today. The One from whom you need to be saved is God.
We have broken God’s Law; now, we deserve to be punished. We have to be saved from God and His punishment. How can we do that? When Jesus died, it was not the nails or the spear or any of those things that save you or pays for the crime.
“But the Lord was pleased to crush Him.”
It’s funny when you hear a sermon about Isaiah 53, it’s always verses 3-6 that talk about the suffering of Christ heaped upon Him by men. Very rarely do you hear verse 10. It pleased God the Father to crush God the Son.
Imagine you’re standing in front of a huge dam and the walls were removed, what do you think is going to happen to you? It’s over. Your body’s never going to be found.
How is it that the cross can save you? It’s because on that cross, all of the punishment for the sin that God hates and has held back before, was unleashed and released on His Son. All the sin of God’s people from all of history was placed on Jesus. All of God’s hatred for all of our sins, everything that we deserved, God used to crush His own Son.
How is it that the cross can save you? It’s because on that cross, all of the punishment for the sin that God hates and has held back before, was unleashed and released on His Son.
III. The Cup
(Paul Washer continued:)
Jesus said, “Let this cup pass from Me.” He was not afraid of the physical experience of dying on the Cross. Listen, there have been martyrs who have been burned at the stake, and as they were burned, they lifted their hands and sang out with joy and praised the Lord. Do you think they’re greater than our Lord Jesus? Do you think Jesus would be afraid of a punishment that some of His followers were able to endure with joy? You have a low opinion of our Lord.
When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemene, he wasn’t thinking about the cross or the nails in His hands or a spear in His side or Romans or anything else. What He was thinking about was this: “Father, I have never been out of Your bosom. I have always been in the most perfect, beautiful, and wonderful relationship with You.” Jesus experienced anguish because of the thought of being separated from God and having the Father turn His face from Him.
We hear that God the Father turned His face away because He couldn’t bear to see His Son suffer. That’s wrong. He turned His face away because His Son became detestable. His Son had become sin.
Because of our sin, you and I are an abomination before God. In order for us to be forgiven, God has to die as an abomination in our place. We deserve to be crushed under God’s wrath, but to save us; Jesus was crushed under His wrath. That’s what the cross is! That’s what it means.
Because of our sin, you and I are an abomination before God. In order for us to be forgiven, God has to die as an abomination in our place.
If you ever get a heavenly vision of what truly happened on that cross, it will affect you for the rest of your life. You will become a prisoner to that thing. You won’t be able to get away from it.
The biggest argument I get when I speak at universities is that, “A loving Jesus would never send anyone to hell.” Do you want to know something? If it were not for the loving Jesus, we would not even have a doctrine of hell. There’s hardly anything in the Old Testament that talks about hell. Virtually everything we know about hell comes from Jesus. The loving Jesus spoke more about hell than everyone else in the Bible put together.
Why? I believe that hell is so horrible that man cannot comprehend it. The only One who can truly comprehend it is God Himself.
Now, when you hear about Jesus dying for you, it was more than whips. I don’t want to take away from His physical suffering, but the cross was about God the Son being crushed by His own Father. When He cried out, “It is finished,” that meant paid in full. Do you know why God can never pour out His wrath on you if you’re a Christian? He can never pour out his wrath on you, He can only act toward you with the greatest love with which he loves His Son. The reason why is because His Son drank it, it doesn’t exist anymore. There’s no more punishment for you if you are a Christian.
But if you’re not a Christian? You don’t even want to know.
There are some questions about the cup that we will never be able to comprehend until we get to heaven. What exactly was in the cup? How horrible really is our sin? How horrible was the wrath of God in that cup? It is something in which I still feel ignorant, but I need to understand more so I can better comprehend what Jesus did for me so I can grow in my love and devotion for Him.
There was no literal cup that Jesus drank. The cup is a figure of speech that is used to represent the wrath that God the Father pours out upon the wicked. It is this same cup that Jesus willingly drank. The issue of our ignorance is not what was in the cup, but the magnitude of what was in the cup. Consider Nahum 1:6: “The mountains quake before Him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before Him, the world and all who dwell in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the heat of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken into pieces by Him.”
Who then can stand this wrath? Only Christ Jesus, who said in Isaiah 43:11 that, “I, I am the LORD, and besides Me there is no Savior.” Only Jesus, being God, could be able to withstand the wrath of God the Father being poured out for a multitude of sins.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed.”
We know the Bible talks about the wrath of God the Father being in the cup, but more specifically it is the wrath of God for all of the sins of every believer who ever lived in that one cup. The punishment of one man’s sins is an eternity in hell. Eternity is not a couple hundred of years, it is infinite! We cannot imagine what suffering would be in that cup for just one person, much less the one that Jesus drank. You would have to take the magnitude of that one-person cup and multiply it times all of the believers who ever lived. We think those little cups of Cuban coffee are strong, they are ridiculously impotent compared to the fury of God that Jesus drank.
What was in that cup? It is the wrath of God for all of the sins of every believer who ever lived.
Psalm 75:8 says, “For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup with foaming wine, well mixed, and He pours out from it, and all the wicked of the earth shall drain it down to the dregs.” The dregs of the cup are the bitter part left at the end that Jesus drank all the way down. The New Oxford American Dictionary describes it as, “the remnants of liquid left in a container, together with any sediment or grounds, coffee dregs.” It also has a figurative definition of, “the most worthless part or parts of something, the dregs of society.”
Revelation 14:9-11 talks more about the cup of the Father’s wrath that Christ drank, “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
Carl Haake described the cup in his sermon The Cup Our Savior Drank, “It is the picture of the cup of God's wrath unmixed with mercy or pity, poured out upon Him. It was this cup which was presented to Christ, the cup all the elect would have to drink personally if Christ did not drink it in their place. A cup composed of all the elements which the righteousness and justice of God demanded as He beheld the sins of God's people. Those sins were imputed or reckoned or given over unto Christ, the Lamb of God, so that the cup that He must drink is the undiluted wrath of God against the sins of God's people, the cup which began to be filled in Adam, his original sin, and is still being filled with every sin you and I commit, filled with the sins of all of God's elect, the burning lava of God's holiness against their sins.”
“What was Jesus to do with that cup? He was to drink it. He was to drain it until empty and not an ounce left within.” He said in John 18:11: “Shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Carl Haake also said, “Sin has blinded us so we do not see what sin deserves. We do not fear the wrath of God as we ought.” Jesus did know what sin deserves and He did fear the wrath of God the Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed in Matthew 26:39: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Why was Jesus not looking forward to the cup? Why did He agonize at the thought of it so that He sweated drops of blood? It is because it contained the holy, righteous, and furious wrath of God the Father, something that we cannot comprehend, but Jesus knew perfectly. It is because Christ the Holy One, who has never known anything of sin, would become sin! It is because of the closeness of God the Son with God the Father that would be violently separated by this sin when Jesus said on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Jesus and God the Father were not only separated by the sin that Jesus took on, but God the Father cast Jesus away and said in essence, “The Lord your God damns you!” as He poured out His holy wrath and hatred upon Jesus for an incredible multitude of sins.
Despite the agony of being forsaken by God and the fear of the wrath of God, Jesus willingly drank the cup of God’s wrath in our place. Why? Jesus came in flesh for this very purpose! Psalm 40:8 says, “I delight to do your will, O my God.” Jesus came to do the will of God the Father and take our punishment. He was able to drink the cup that would take us an eternity in Hell to drink.
Carl Haake said, “There on the cross the eternal flames and burnings earned by our sins were quenched by the Son of God in our place, quenched by the Son of God drinking it, taking it to Himself…He drank the cup of fury dry, every little ounce of it until the cup was empty. Then the cup, being empty, may be smashed at the foot of the cross. For that cup no longer exists for the people of God. That cup cannot be refilled. It is not only empty, it is broken at the foot of the cross!” He drank down all the punishment for our sins. Romans 8:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
He drank the cup of fury dry, every little ounce of it until the cup was empty. Then the cup, being empty, may be smashed at the foot of the cross.
Carl Haake said, “What a wonderful word. It is a very sobering word. When you begin to view your sins in the light of the sufferings of Jesus Christ, and when you look into the cup which caused Him to be sore amazed, can you talk then about little sins? Can you look into the cup of His sufferings, the very sight of which caused Him to stagger to His knees in intense agony, and can you talk then of little sins?...Here is the true estimation of your and my sin which we readily minimize and justify and overlook. You want to know what sin is? Look into the cup! That is what our sins deserve! Bring the cup He drank before you and see if you can talk yourself into the idea of little sins.”
The undeserved grace we enjoy is so unbelievable. He drank this cup willingly and He drank it down completely! Lord, help us to not take it lightly and help us to remember it—that we would not sin and add another drop to that cup. What joy should we have that He drank the wrath of the Father down to the dregs and then smashed the cup, never for us to have to drink even a drop of it! What phenomenal gratitude, love, and obedience should it stir up in us for Him!
For those of you who do not know Christ, consider how even He agonized at the thought of the wrath of God the Father and fear. Repent and flee from the wrath of the holy Judge so you will not have to drink of the cup for yourself for all of eternity.
For those who do know Christ, rejoice that He has replaced the cup of wrath that should have been yours to drink with a cup of blessing instead, as described in Psalm 116:13: “I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD.” Amazing grace. Amazing grace indeed.
IV. The Resurrection
"Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."
“He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”
"If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved."
(from John MacArthur sermon on Romans 10:9-10):
But what were they to believe? What was the point of their faith? What was it about Jesus Christ that they were to accept? It was the resurrection. Because the resurrection from the dead proved that Christ was and did all He said He was and said He would do. I mean, that's the whole thing, folks. The verification and the proof and the validity of the ministry of Jesus Christ is the resurrection—that's the key. The resurrection from the dead is the way that God fully and finally declared that Jesus was His Son, in an utterly incredible display of divine power and divine approval. When God raised Jesus from the dead, He was saying this indeed is My Son in whom I am well pleased.
But what were they to believe? What was the point of their faith? What was it about Jesus Christ that they were to accept? It was the resurrection.
The resurrection was Christ showing that He had won the battle over hell and won the battle over sin and won the battle over Satan. He came out of the other side of the grave. He showed His power. He showed His victory. He showed that He had indeed accomplished our salvation and won the battle and the Father approved by receiving Him to Himself and setting Him at His own right hand.
"And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins."
1 Corinthians 15:17
We must believe the resurrection because the resurrection proved that He accomplished our salvation on the cross. What happens if He dies on the cross and never rises? He lost. He didn't purchase any salvation. He didn't conquer death. He didn't conquer sin. Sin killed Him. Death killed Him. Satan did hold Him in bondage. If Christ doesn't rise there's no hope for anybody any time anywhere; but if He did, if God lifted Him up then He had done His work, He had conquered death, conquered sin, conquered hell, conquered Satan, and is delivered and lifted and exalted because of that perfect work being accomplished.
We must believe the resurrection because the resurrection proved that He accomplished our salvation on the cross. What happens if He dies on the cross and never rises? He lost.
The resurrection was the Father's stamp of approval, an infinitely holy God put His stamp of approval on the work of Jesus Christ.
"Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendant of David according to the flesh, who was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord."
So when you say you are to believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, now you can go back to Romans 10—that you believe in your heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, you're saying something that's far more than just believing in an isolated event. In essence, what you're saying is that you believe that this is the incarnate God who came into the world. God in human flesh, lived a perfect life, died a substitutionary death, went into the grave and conquered death, came out the other side having purchased salvation for us, is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, and some day will come as the Father's appointed Judge and King to judge men and to rule the world forever. That's all bound up in the resurrection.
The resurrection was the divine verification of all that Jesus claimed to be and do. The issue is believing that.
You were born an enemy of God and a slave to sin and to the devil and deserve to be punished by a holy and just God for your sins; but thanks be to God, Jesus Christ came in the flesh to Earth as our perfect sacrifice to redeem us and pay the price for our sins. He paid this price not with nails, or whips, or a crown of thorns, nor by hanging on a cross for a few hours. Those things He suffered physically were significant but they did not redeem us. He redeemed us by drinking down the cup of the wrath from God the Father containing the infinite punishment for the sins of every believer who ever lived!
Why would He do all that? We take this for granted, but why would the King of the Universe come to Earth and take the punishment that we deserved? We are not worthy. But…His grace and His love are beyond what we can comprehend.