Saturday, January 30, 2010

Christ our Sin-bearer

It’s late in the week, but I thought I’d go ahead and post on last Sunday's message to refresh our minds and prepare our hearts for worship tomorrow.

As we continue to study the work of God “behind the scenes” in our salvation, we looked last week at the atonement of Jesus Christ upon the cross. Thinking about the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in our salvation, Christ had perhaps the most central and visible part to play. In our text for the morning, 1 Peter 2:24-25, we saw three points:
  1. Christ took our place. Borrowing heavily from Isaiah 53, Peter uses many pronouns in these verses to signify the work Christ did for us. It was our sin He bore. It was our healing He achieved. It was our life He accomplished in death. This was only possible because He was a perfect, spotless substitute for our sins.
  2. Christ took our penalty. We took some time last week to really stop and consider what it meant for Christ to bear our sins. It meant that He took our full penalty and endured our curse, with all its physical, psychological, relational, spiritual agony. Here’s the quote I read by Wayne Grudem that captures so well just how much Christ must have suffered for us: “… to bear the guilt of millions of sins even for a moment would cause the greatest anguish of soul. To face the deep and furious wrath of an infinite God even for an instant would cause the most profound fear. But Jesus’ suffering was not over in a minute—or two—or ten. When would it end? Could there be yet more weight of sin? Yet more wrath of God? Hour after hour it went on—the dark weight of sin and the deep wrath of God poured over Jesus in wave after wave. Jesus at last cried out, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Why must this suffering go on so long? Oh God, my God, will you ever bring it to an end?” (Systematic Theology, p. 576) The thought of Christ’s penalty really is staggering.
  3. Christ took our particular sins. We ended last week by asking, “for whom did Christ die? For all mankind, or specifically for the elect?” I shared several reasons for you to consider Christ’s atonement as being “limited." This includes Jesus dying for the sheep (Jn. 10:11), Him standing as the representative of a new people (Romans 5:12, 17-18), and the idea that His atonement really did accomplish its purpose in purchasing our redemption. I believe His death was infinite in value and sufficient to save all, yet His blood was applied only toward those whom God had chosen for the Savior to deliver. I then encouraged us all not to grow bewildered by this theological debate, but astounded at Christ’s finished work, and His promise of eternal life to all who will believe.

As Charles Spurgeon said, let us continue to “abide hard by the cross, and search the mystery of His wounds.”

Questions for thought and discussion:
  • Am I trusting alone in the finished work of Jesus upon the cross?
  • How should the cross “shrink us to true size,” as John Stott put it?
  • According to 1 Peter 2:24, what is the purpose of our salvation? So that we might do what?
  • What is one sinful pattern I need to “die to”?
  • Write out a prayer to Jesus, thanking Him for the penalty He paid and atonement He bought with His own blood

Last Sunday’s sermon is now available for free download on our podcast site.

Tomorrow, we will look at the Holy Spirit’s role in our salvation. I’m very excited to share about the Spirit and His quiet yet very important part to play.

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