At this time of year, we rightly focus on the deep, deep love of God our Father and his Son, expressed in the saving death of Jesus. As his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane showed, Jesus was sorrowful, abandoned, and in dread of the pain he would endure as he drank the cup of God’s wrath on the Cross. Yet he willingly chose it, out of love for his Father and for us whom he would rescue, by his death, from eternity under God’s wrath. Samuel Crossman beautifully puts it this way: “Yet cheerful he to suffering goes”.
Someone may ask: but why was this necessary? Why could God not simply forgive and forget, without any sacrifice? At this point it may helpful to consider human households and societies. No household can function if parents freely accept disobedience by saying, “It’s OK.” And no society can function if its authorities freely accept being ignored.
Not only that, but when a wrong is committed, the victim wants to see a consequence meted out to the perpetrator; otherwise the victim feels that they are not valued. If God, therefore, is the wronged party when we sin, then to require no punishment for sin would be equivalent to saying that God is of no value. Although this is precisely what many people think, it is obviously untrue. The God who lives in unapproachable light is of supreme value, and worthy of our praise.
All of this is why the Bible says of the sacrifice of Jesus at the Cross, that God did it “to show his righteousness” (Romans 3:26).
- There is an afternoon tea for supporters of SRE East next Sunday
- Please plan to come to our concert in two weeks’ time, Sat 4th