Why we need the cross

The-Cross-of-ChristJohn Stott begins Part III—The Achievement of the Cross—with this question:

What did God accomplish by his self-sacrifice, his self-substitution [on the cross]?

He offers three results from the New Testament:
     1. We are rescued
     2. God is revealed
     3. Evil is defeated

This week, Chapter 7, “The Salvation of Sinners,” deals with the first result—the rescue.

Stott sits us in four places to show our rescue by the cross more clearly.

1. In the temple court
    - To appease God’s wrath
(Propitiation)

altar_burnt_offeringGod took his own loving initiative to appease his own righteous anger by bearing it in his own self in his own Son when he took our place and died for us.

…we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:1-2

2. In the slave market
    - To free us through blood
(Redemption)

manaclesBought by Christ, we have no business to become the slaves of anybody or anything else. Once we were the slaves of sin; now we are the slaves of Christ, and his service is the true freedom.

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Mark 10:45

3. In the court of law
    - To make us righteous
(Justification)

court of lawWhen God justifies sinners, he is not declaring bad people to be good, or saying that they are not sinners after all; he is pronouncing them legally righteous, free from any liability to the broken law, because he himself in his Son has borne the penalty of their law-breaking.

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

4. At home
    - To restore the relationship
(Reconciliation)

ReconciliationReconciliation means peace with God, namely adoption and access. …it was Jesus himself who always addressed God intimately as “Abba, Father,” who gave us permission to do the same, approaching him as “our Father in heaven.”

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.
More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Romans 5:10-11

Our need
Each setting, each theme, highlights how much we need the cross. As Stott so bluntly states, These metaphors do not flatter us. They expose the magnitude of our need.”

But they do flatter our Savior.
To him be all glory and praise for saving our souls!

* * *

For further reading, I recommend:
Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray

More on Chapter 7 at Challies

All chapter summaries

3 comments:

Hazel said...

Hi Lisa, I'm dropping by from your 'I'm afraid of being stupid' post. Now this one is deep but I trust I will understand this better bit by bit.

“These metaphors do not flatter us. They expose the magnitude of our need.” Thanks for the overview. I'll remember this.

Barbara H. said...

Interesting way of looking at it, through the different places. Love this: "'These metaphors do not flatter us. They expose the magnitude of our need.' But they do flatter our Savior."

Lisa notes... said...

Hazel,
Don’t feel bad. This chapter had lots of parts that went way over my head. Sometimes I’d try to figure it out; sometimes I’d just keep on reading anyway.

Yes, bit by bit we understand the lesser things, but I’m thankful God always lets us understand the important things.

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