Published on Mar 24th, 2016 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0


I find the cross of Christ offensive.  I am shaken by Isaiah 53:10, “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief.”  That someone would make it part of his plan to crush an innocent person is disturbing to me.  To deliberately bring into someone’s life the grief of the cross because of something that I have done is totally unfair.  To bring such physical anguish into your son’s life is so hard to imagine but to also forsake your son for the sake of another?  That is painful.  Especially when we are continually confronted with the truth that the Son was totally innocent and he was accepting the punishment of another one who was guilty.  To know that I was that guilty one is hard for me to accept. I could argue, I suppose, that I did not ask for the Father to do this to his Son on my behalf.  If I was asked, I would have certainly been opposed to Jesus suffering and dying on my behalf.  It is so very hard to live with the idea that one had to suffer and die such a horrible death so that I could live.  What amazes me is that the love of the Father and Son so overwhelms my heart that the offense of the cross is often overshadowed by this great love.  I find that I do not often dwell on how offensive I find the cross but I dwell on the character of God that is on display.  His amazing grace.  His magnificent mercy.  His true love.  His demanding justice.  God has put himself on display at the cross and it overwhelms my place at the cross.  I am so humbled that he would choose to shower his blessings of new life upon me.  These blessings are not cheap and they are not free.  They come from a violence that was meant for me.

Listen to how John Piper describes our lives before Jesus.

Before Jesus saved me I was under the wrath of God.  Jesus said, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey . . .the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36).  Paul puts it like this: We “were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:3). My very nature made me worthy of wrath.  My destiny was to endure “flaming fire” and “vengeance on those . . . who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus . . .and who suffer the punishment of eternal destruction” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9). I was not a son of God. God was not my Father. He was my judge and executioner. I was a “son of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). I was dead in trespasses and sins. And the sentence of my Judge was clear and terrifying: “Because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6).  There was only one hope for me—that the infinite wisdom of God might make a way for the love of God to satisfy the wrath of God so that I might become a son of God.

This is exactly what happened, and I will sing of it forever. After saying that I was by nature a child of wrath, Paul says, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:4-5). “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son . . . to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” God sent his Son to rescue me from his wrath and make me his child.

What happened on the cross of Calvary was a display of our great God.  We were the guilty ones and yet he created a plan that preserved his justice and holiness while demonstrating his great love.  That plan came at a great price to himself.  He did this for us.  He did this for me.  I am not longer a child of wrath but an adopted heir of God.  May my life, today, be a reflection of that great gift.

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