Date: March 26, 2023
Speaker: Trent Thompson
Series: The Power Of The Cross
Team, Hey, good morning. If you’ve got a Bible, you can go with me to to Romans chapter three. We are going to be in a number of places in the Scriptures this morning. So you can either kind of prepare your fingers and make them nimble. Or you can also look up to the screens, we’ll have the texts up there as well. But Romans three is where we’ll start. So we began last week, a series called the power of the cross. In preparation for Good Friday and Easter, we are reflecting on the work of Jesus at the cross wanting to understand it more fully, and kind of dive deeper into it. I’ll just encourage you in a couple of ways. I mean, the reason we do that is in you know, the church calendar is meant to be a really helpful and useful thing to you, I don’t mean the calendar of our sermon planning, I just mean that the church historically has followed rhythms throughout the year, like the rhythm of Advent, where we think about the incarnation of the Son of God, come to save us. Then in Lent, as we prepare, you know, for Good Friday and leading up to the cross, the reason to take time and pause and reflect is that on those entities, not just to remember what was done, but because almost like, you know, fa teens get slung shot off a carrier, you know, in the ocean to launch that these seasons are really meant to launch and propel our faith forward. They’re meant to be these moments that we seize and take hold of, so we treasure Jesus more so that we grow in obedience to Him. Now, that’s really what we’re after, as we prepare our hearts for Good Friday. For Easter with this series of a couple of weeks, we’ve said that our application every week is that we treasure Christ and His work on the cross more. Now if you’re a part of a life group, and I would highly encourage every single one of you to be a part of one because it’s where we try to live out and apply God’s Word together. We need to do that together, not just individually. So one of the questions I asked you last week to ponder in your life group is why as Christians do, we need to learn to treasure the cross more. The thing that we talked about in our group, the reality is that we really need to learn to treasure the cross, not just because it’s the place where we’re justified the place where we receive salvation in believing in the work of Jesus on the cross, we are saved. But also it becomes our ethic for life, the thing around which we were evolved the entirety of our life. So far too often in the world and symptom, sometimes you treat it as if it’s a modern world problem. But it’s been a, it’s been a pre modern and modern and postmodern world problem, that we are prone to attach faith and attach Jesus on top of a life that we designed to our own liking. That’s just the normal course of human history. Yet Jesus demands and calls us to place him at the center of life, says, I want your faith to not just be one more thing you add to a life of your own design that you kind of like and you say this enhances it, I want you to revolve everything around it. I want everything to be born out of it, I want you to understand that life cannot be full of joy and blessedness unless it starts with me, unless I’m at the center of that thing. if Jesus is at the center of our life, and the pinnacle work of Christ is his cross, than the cross must always be at the center of our lives, which is what I mean when I say it’s the ethic by which we live. The cross is what helps us make sense of what is moral and good. The cross is the lens through which we view all of our decisions. Does this decision I’m about to make? Does this thought that’s in my mind? Is this feeling in my heart? Is it a cross shaped thought? Is that a cross shaped feeling? Does it reflect the very nature of the cross? Is it humble? Is it sacrificial? does it seek the glory of God above all things? This is what it means for the cross to be the ethic by which we live our lives. Does that make sense? It’s not an easy ethic by which to live. So when I asked that question of you and your life groups, the thing I was hoping you might see and discuss a little bit is to say, unless I treasure the cross, unless I really see it for what it is and treasure what it accomplished and see its power. Its super naturalness. Unless I see that. I’m not going to treasure it because I do not by nature, treasure sacrifice. I do not by nature, treasure, humility and want to be humble. I do not by nature, want to love my enemy. I am by nature against those things. Therefore unless I learned and in the power of the Spirit treasure the cross, I won’t take it up as the ethic by which I live. It’s much more than just justification. It’s the working out of faith. It’s the growing in Christ’s likeness. The cross is central to that. This is it makes sense. So that’s why we’re about to work we’re about now in these weeks now. Last week, we talked about Jesus doing a substitutionary work of the cross for us that there was a penalty, penalty of death that was due to us because of our sin and that he took our place and paying it into the cross. He hung on I should have been there and he took my place. I intentionally did not talk in more detail about the The nature of that penalty in depth because that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So it’s a weighty subject. We’re talking about the cross as a propitiatory work as a work of propitiation, and I’ll explain that to us. It’s not as intimidating as it sounds. But I don’t have silly illustrations for you, I don’t have fun stories, we are going to deal with a subject of deep weight today. So I just want to, I want you to, almost just in this moment, invite the Lord prepare my heart, to receive it and to hear it. Because it’s not light, but it is necessary. So as we think about the cross as a place where Jesus bore the wrath of God, that that was actually the nature of what was taking place. The penalty that was being born was the wrath of God for sin and sinners, falling upon Jesus and the cross. I want to help us understand that more.
So we’re just going to do a couple things run to answer a couple questions today. We’re gonna just say, what is propitiation? So let’s just get that intimidating word out of the way and help make it plain. So what is that the scripture? There’s more references to it than you think, in the Bible. So we’re going to talk about that. What is it? Then I want to ask, I want to linger a little while in asking the question, why is it that God has wrath towards sin and sinners? Why is that the case? Might we think of him as you know, sort of flying off the handle and angry and capricious? When help us understand that a little bit more, because I know it’s a natural question to ask. Some of you have pondered that I’m sure. Then we’ll talk about what is it we need to understand about the cross that will help us treasure it more as a place where Jesus bore the wrath of God? Then the simple question that we always want to ask is, what should we do? How should we respond in understanding? So those are four questions today to give us a bit of a roadmap. So let’s start with that first one. Which is what is propitiation? What is it? Alright, so to propitiate it can be a noun or a verb, right? So if I say, Jesus is a propitiation, I’m saying that he is something that’s a noun. If I say he propitiates We’ll start with the verb. Here’s what that means to propitiate is to appease someone’s anger, to appease someone’s anger, and turn it into favor. Second part’s really important. Okay. It’s to appease someone’s anger, and turn it into favor whether it’s appease their anger towards me appease towards someone else, that’s what it means to propitiate. So a very simple definition of Jesus being our propitiation is that he was our wrath bearing object. So listen to the Scriptures out Romans 325 says, speaking about Jesus in that he justifies his by faith through the cross. It says, Jesus whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. So there’s a way in which we receive Him as this thing as this wrath bearing object bearing the wrath of God. We receive it by faith, so he can be that for us, if we believe in him. Then First John chapter four, verse 10, says In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. That’s gonna become a key text for applying this idea today, but just stay there for a moment. So we see this idea with him as a propitiation. So here’s what these verses are saying, at the cross. God poured out all of his hatred of sin, on Jesus at the cross, one of the things that was taking place he was conquering sin and death in the devil. He was serving as our substitute. He was reconciling us to the Father. But all of that was accomplished because he bore the wrath of God, the hatred and anger of God, towards all that is evil, and wicked, and contrary to God’s very nature, Jesus took the punishment for that at the cross. Now, that’s what it means to be a propitiation, the best illustration I can give you. is, if you imagine, you know, when you walk outside in the rain, you put up an umbrella to shield yourself from the rain, right? So if you think about that, that Jesus is like an umbrella that he is shielding you from what is coming down, which is not rain, but the wrath of God. It’s directed at you. But Jesus serves as that wrath bearing object that umbrella to cover you in all who would believe in Him or coming underneath his protection from that wrath being poured out. But that’s an incomplete illustration. Because to be a propitiation doesn’t just mean he shields us from wrath, it means he turns that wrath into favor. So if you can now to complete that analogy, just imagine for a moment that you’re holding that umbrella over yourself and you are scarred and beaten by sin and your body is completely pulverized because sin destroys and kills do we know that us, we’ve got the scars to prove it, don’t we? So you’ve got all these open wounds. You’ve put this umbrella of Jesus up and you said, I believe, and so you’ve taken them as your propitiation, your wrath bearing object, but now the wrath of God, that rain comes down upon that umbrella and it just and just roll off of it, it goes through it, and the umbrella of Christ transforms it into a healing balm. So that what now comes through the umbrella and does land upon you doesn’t just shield off and go away. But what comes down now is that rain of wrath is transformed into anointing oil. It comes upon you and it heals and restores, and makes whole because Christ as your propitiation has transformed the wrath of God into blessing into favor. Who that picture helps you. That’s what it means for Christ to be our propitiation.
Now, let’s go to the second question. Why is God full of wrath towards sin and towards sinners? Why? Because you might have conjured up in your mind a picture of a god as just sort of flying off the handle and always angry, you might have a picture that he just sort of reacts. That is not what the wrath of God is like. So let me help us understand it. I just want to make some observations. These are going to be born out of that Romans three passage, but let’s start with this. Romans three helps us understand it, okay. God, first observation is God’s hatred of sin comes from the fact that he is perfectly righteous, and he is perfectly just. So when we say God is perfectly righteous, we mean he is without fault without sin, He is perfectly pure, he is holy, therefore, all that is sinful. He despises, now he is just we say he is righteous, and he’s he’s completely pure. He is just in his personhood, which means that to be just, he must punish them that which is contrary to him, he must punish what is evil and what is wicked. Now, let’s pause there for a moment and read Romans three, because it tells us why it gives us the reason this is crucial. We’re going to talk about why this is the answer to this question. So in Romans 3:25 and 26, he says, this, Jesus whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith, this was to show God’s righteousness. So do you see these giving us the reason there? Why did he put him forward as a wrath bearing object to show His righteousness, God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance, or patience, he had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness, not just in the past, but at the present time, so that he might be just, and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. So now, let me tell you what he’s just said. Let me make one caveat, I said that God’s anger, hatred towards sin is is directed towards sin and sinners. The reason I said not just sin is because I don’t want you to think of sin as an immaterial thing, that God will punish, apart from punishing those in whom sin inhabits, we are culpable for our sin. Therefore, God’s wrath is directed at us, not just as some immaterial idea that he’s going to eradicate sin as this non entity or is this non material entity, without somehow causing that wrath to fall upon those in whom sin has taken up residence, that his wrath is in fact directed at people in whom sin exists, that’s important that we comprehend that now listen to what he’s just said. They’re what Paul is telling to us in God’s inerrant Word, is that the reason that God’s wrath is poured out upon us and the reason Jesus came to be our propitiation or wrath bearing object is because in his divine patience, God had not punished sins in the past. Prior to Christ says in his forbearance, he didn’t punish them. Someone might have said, God, how can you let these kinds of evils go? How can you do nothing about them, you have done nothing about them, therefore you are not righteous. Therefore you are not just because you’ve done nothing about them. So Paul writes, in order to show His righteousness, and in order to show that he is just God, poured His wrath upon Jesus, to show that sin must be punished, and therefore he revealed that he is in fact righteous, and just he wouldn’t no reverse that he would not be righteous, and he would not be just if He did not judge sin. If you did not judge evil Now, this is a very common idea, even in Greek philosophy, where there’s a very different idea of the god of God and the gods, right? So in Greek philosophy, this question got bounced around all the time. So you get the Stoics, who say things like, we want God to be, and we’re going to declare that, that God or the gods are loving, but not angry. They’re, they possess love and sort of generosity, but they don’t possess anger, or God Himself does not possess anger. Epicureans respond, it’s not possible for God to be one and not the other. You cannot have God cannot have love without also having anger for that which is evil. The argument is for the Epicureans, because it is the nature of that which is good to hate what is evil? It is the nature of what is evil to hate what is good. We sort of resonate with that, don’t we? There’s something in us that tells Yes, evil hates good, have we seen that? Good hates evil. It is by nature. Now, here’s where we part ways, okay with the Greeks, or the philosophers, because the Epicureans conclusion was, therefore God is neither angry, nor loving. That was their conclusion, right? But recognize that the Epicureans and the Stoics, and every other school of thought which the early church fathers dealt with, and spoke to, and their response was, say, No, Epicureans, he is both loving, and full of wrath, like he is both just and loving. He’s both these things. So we agree that he can’t be one and not the other. But the answer is not to say He’s neither the answer say he’s both. Now here’s why were we part ways, because what the Greek philosophers were doing was they were taking an objective standard or idea of what it meant to be good, what it meant to be just what it meant to be righteous, and saying, God needs to live up to this. God needs to live up to that, that standard, therefore, he can’t be one without the other. But we are very different, because we do not say there is some standard outside of God, to which he must adhere, in order to be just and in order to be loving. What do we say? That God Himself defines what is just, and what is loving. This is where the doctrine of Revelation is crucial, not the book of Revelation, the doctrine of Revelation, we only know anything about God because he chooses to reveal it to us. Apart from his revelatory work in creation, and in the Word of God, we wouldn’t know anything about God, we would be left out a mystery, we would not be able to comprehend anything about him. As far as the heavens are above the earth, so are his ways above our ways and his thoughts above our thoughts. In his graciousness, he reveals things to us. So when I say, God would not be just and God would not be righteous if he did not exercise wrath on what is evil on what is sinful. If he didn’t do that, he wouldn’t be just and righteous, I don’t say it. Because there’s a standard to which God must adhere. If I believe that then who is setting that standard him or me, me. If he has to live up to what I believe, like the Greeks is the standard of righteousness and justice, that God’s going to look a lot like Who, me I’m going to shape him in my own image. But the reason we can say that God would not be just if he did not punish sin, is because he has told us that he has revealed it to us about he has said himself, I would not be just if I did not punish sin. And therefore we can declare that to be true, because God has made it the standard. Does that make sense? It’s highly important that we understand that because we are not putting God on trial here. My goal today is not to justify God to you being who he is. God is completely comfortable in his own sin, and he doesn’t meet need me to make you comfortable with him. He is not interested in me standing up here and saying, Don’t you see? Don’t you see, there’s okay, that God has this way. Therefore, I’m not interested in doing that for you. What I am interested in doing is helping us see who God has told us he is who he’s revealed himself to be. Because whatever he said about himself, that’s what we want to know. That’s what we want to understand. Does that make sense? So that’s what God is telling us about themself. In order to be just, I must punish them. It’s in my very divine nature. So that’s observation number one. Let me make another observation then. We can’t play good cop, old, good cop, bad cop with the Old Testament and New Testament. So sometimes we’ll get in this way of thinking when it does violence to the Scriptures. But number two, what happens sometimes is you’ve heard this for well, God in the Old test seems really violent. But God in the New Testament seems like he fell in love and it seems like almost two different beings. If that’s just a misreading of the New Testament, I need to help you see that here for a moment. A God has not changed. He is immutable never shifts and changes. But the New Testament itself doesn’t speak that way. So let me just give you a couple of examples, right, John 336. This is John the Baptist talking. He says, Whoever believes in the sun has eternal life. Whoever does not obey the sun, through belief, shall not see life. But the wrath of God remains on him. Romans 1:18 says, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness, suppress the truth. In Revelation, chapter five, verses one through five, you guys recall, we’ve sung that song by Andrew Peterson, Is he worthy? It’s a call and response song. It’s a beautiful song. It’s based in Revelation chapter five, that sometimes we might miss something there. I want to maybe clue us in on it a little bit, that that song is born out of this text, where what’s happening in the heavens at the end of all time, in Jesus return is that there is this scroll that’s handed down from the Father, it’s got seven seals on it, and no one is found worthy to open that scroll to take the seals off and to open it. So there’s distress among the heavenly beings, there’s this like, who is worthy because the scroll is God’s purposes going forward in the world. So they want to see God’s work go forward. They’re distraught, because it seems that no one can, can make it go forward. Then the Lamb who was slain, Jesus is coming on the scene. They begin to praise him, and say, because he was slain, he’s able to open up the scroll, he’s able to take the seals off the scroll, and open the scroll. But if you keep reading, do you know what happens in the rest of chapter five, and in chapter six, he opens the scroll. What he opens is the judgment of God. So that death and pestilence and famine and sword come forth on the earth. What Jesus is praised for in that moment, is an abling God’s judgment on sin to come about. That’s what’s happening in Revelation chapter five. In Revelation, chapter six, we find these words in verse 16. Listen to this. It says, The people are calling to the mountains and rocks, falling us, and hide us from the faith face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. So whose wrath is it there? It’s Jesus’s wrath, not just the father’s. No, look at First Thessalonians. Last one, on this observation, First Thessalonians 1:10. Paul writing to the Thessalonians, he says, and to wait, since we’re waiting for God’s Son, for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come. Do you see, bring those two together now? The Wrath of the Lamb? Jesus is both the one who will be part of God’s demonstration of judgment against all sin and wickedness and the eradication of it. He is also the one who shields and saves from that wrath for all who will come underneath his work at the cross. Isn’t that a beautiful thing? So do we see that we can’t play good cop, bad cop? Old Testament New Testament, the wrath of God is pretty prevalent actually, in the New Testament. Now, let me make a third observation. His wrath is not capricious, and it’s not arbitrary. So when we talk about the wrath of God, it is not a reactionary wrath. It is not anger and flying off the handle. I mean, you and I have all had moments where we boil over in anger, where we get so tired and so frustrated that we just simply say enough, and we react, yes. Our anger comes out. It’s usually pretty unrighteous when that happens. So we think about God that way, but we need to stop. Because God is not that way. In his anger, he is not reactionary or boiling over in a moment. He has constant in his exercise of justice and righteousness toward sin, and also constant in his love. Look at Exodus 34. This is the best place I can show you this. Yeah, it’s hard. But but just listen. Exodus 34 six and seven, speaking to Moses and revealing Himself to Moses now, on the mountain he says the Lord passed before him and proclaimed Here’s what God says about himself, the Lord, the Lord, a god merciful and gracious, slow to anger. Hear that slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, that word steadfast love and the Hebrew word hesed. We do not have an equivalent translation in English, steadfast love doesn’t come close. It is this idea of a never stopping, never giving up, never ending, constantly faithful, always they’re perfectly righteous, perfectly pure. The adjectives have to go on and on and on and on to comprehend what that word means when we say that’s the kind of love that He has founding and steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for 1000s and listen forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.
The Father is God. He says about himself, I forgive, I forgive, I forgive sin, I forgive iniquity. I forgive trespasses. What, what now is the next thing that he says. But who will by no means clear the guilty visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation? Now, I know that raises a question about like generational impact of sin. There is a distinction under the New Covenant versus the old covenant of the way. Sin is brought forth, right, there’s a little bit more individualization I’m not going to go into all that today. Okay. What I want you to see is that in one breath, in one sentence, when the father reveals Himself to us, what does he say I forgive, I’m full of steadfast love. Then the very next thing is, but I don’t clear the guilty. What he’s saying about himself is I and I alone, know how to perfectly judge sin as it should be judged. I and I alone know how to perfectly forgive? I am in perfect union these things. You are not? I have not. But he is. So he doesn’t shy away. Do you see, he could have just stopped at the end? He can he didn’t have to go into but I don’t clear the guilty. But he said, No, no, I am just and I am forgiving. I am merciful. I’m full of love. So when we think about him, I want you to see that he knows how to bring these things together in such a way that’s beyond our comprehension. He’s not a fly off the handle reactionary kind of God in His anger. Here’s another observation. I know we’re lingering here. But it’s such weighty stuff that I just didn’t intentionally wanting to do this. His wrath makes his love more than mere sentimentality. If God were to say to us, I love you. But that love wasn’t a wrath bearing saving kind of love. It would really just be God’s saying if he couldn’t be directed towards us in any other way. Do you see that as love is just a sentiment, it’s just a feeling. It’s just, it’s just sort of like fluffy, and kind of makes us feel good. But what makes us love concrete? What makes it so substantial? Is that he says, I could be directed towards you in wrath that I’m directed towards you now in love because of Jesus. The fact that he is that that’s a possibility, makes his love more than mere sentimentality. That some of what the Greek philosophers are getting at when they’re thinking can’t be one and not the other and those sorts of things. Now, me ask this question, because we need to ask it ourselves. Have you ever considered if as you’re thinking about like, Why does God possess this? How else would you want him to be directed towards sin? How else would you want him to be directed towards sin? So let’s go over the options, right? The options are, he can love sin. Does anybody want that? No, we intuitively know we don’t want him to love genocide. We don’t want him to love racism. We don’t want him to love murder. We don’t want him to wink at those things, or say I take pleasure in those things we don’t. So if that’s not an option, we don’t want him to be indifferent towards it either, I would suggest right, which would turn his justice into mere sentimentality, because he would say, I don’t love those things. But I’m not going to do anything about them. I’m going to leave them on dealt with that goes back to the Romans three in order to show that He’s righteous in order to show that he’s just he had passed over those sins, but now he poured them out upon his son at the cross. So we don’t want him to be indifferent towards them, because then that makes us justice, justice, just sentimentality and we’re left particularly when we’re the one against whom sin has been done when we’re the one against whom injustice has been brought. We cry out for justice. For him to hate that injustice or that sin. So the other option would be like, we want him to hate it, but not judge it. Right. And, again, that would turn justice into sentimentality. So it’s not what we’re looking for. So it helps us to understand that the cross as a place of wrath, it gives His justice and his love real meaning and real weight.
Now, okay. Sometimes I write things down. I’m like, I don’t know if I need to do that. Well, I’ll just quickly hit this, and then we’ll move on to the next. Okay. Intuitively, all of us have been angry. Often we recognize that our anger is unrighteous. Right, yes. Yeah. But my guess is you would also recognize that there are times you’ve been angry, and you know, you were right to be angry. No one actually believes their anger is always wrong. Because at times something is done something is said, and you recognize that? No, that’s wrong. The fact that I’m angry about that, and angry at that is right, for me to feel. Now think about what that means. If you believe that there is such a thing as anger that you’ve experienced, and that was right for you to feel what you’re saying it’s possible for anger to be holy, which means that you’re saying that that anger is a result of the fact that you bear God’s image that comes from him. Your anger that you feel and experience when it’s righteous is because that’s who God is. So therefore, why would I recognize myself something that’s right for me to feel at points, often, sometimes I fail to be righteous in my anger. But if I can recognize such a thing as righteous anger in myself, then I am by definition, saying that comes from God. It’s part of my image bearing of him. If that’s true, why would I say he shouldn’t have something that I recognize is right to have in myself, when he’s the only one who can always exercise it perfectly? The last thing I’ll say is this, often you’ll get if you get into any of these kinds of conversations, perhaps you have friends that really wrestle with this. One of the things that they may offer you or suggest is that believing in God pouring out His wrath upon Jesus at the cross. Isn’t it prone to make us a violent people where we go, Well, if God is sort of violent that way, maybe it’s okay for us to be violent in that way too. I just want to say, man, just nothing could be further from the truth. Because the fact that we believe that God has poured His wrath upon his son, makes us peacemakers, not violent people, because what does Romans 12 Say? Romans 12 tells us, leave it to me. Don’t take vengeance yourself. When injustice or sin is done against you, how is it that you can not be violent in response to that, you can not be violent because you know that God will judge it one day. The penalty for that will either fall upon Jesus, for the person who repents and comes underneath his shelter, or it will fall upon them. Therefore the Lord says, Do not take revenge. But wait patiently. Show mercy. Love your enemies. Be a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper, but a peacemaker, how do you do that? It’s believing the wrath of God, the propitiatory work of Jesus happened is a huge part of how we become people who are not violent, but the exact opposite. We don’t have to take up arms ourselves, because he has done it, and we’ll do it. Alright, I hope that helps us just a bit. Again, we’re not seeking to justify God being how he is we are simply seeking to help understand it, as he’s revealed it. Now, let me get to the if that was to some degree, kind of. We’re trying to soak that up in our minds. This, that’s what we need to soak up in our hearts. Okay. I mean, keep your mind on.
All right. Well, let’s ask the third question, which is what do we need to understand about Jesus bearing God’s wrath on the cross? In order to treasure it more? Well, turn with me to Matthew 27, verse 46. It’s the story being told of Jesus on the cross and just want to look at one set of words that he speaks and help you understand it more fully. So Matthew 27, actually, I’ll begin in verse 45, and verse 46, is now from the sixth tower. There was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, Eli, Eli, lemma Subak. Funny, that is, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? Now, my guess is those words might be familiar to you. But you may not be as familiar with the idea that he’s quoting Psalm 22. So understanding Psalm 22 helps us understand why Jesus is saying what he’s saying. So we hear that and we hear this idea that God has turned his face away from Jesus and that’s correct that he has a lot of separation to occur. between him and the son in a way that had never occurred to all of eternity past, that Jesus had always been in perfect fellowship with the Father, always imperfect union with Him. In this moment now, there’s a separation between the two, as God turns his face away. But what Jesus is doing is he’s quoting Psalm 22. That’s the opening line of Psalm 22. But the psalm goes on, and as you follow it, by the end of the song, he’s saying at the beginning, why have you forsaken me? Where are you? Why aren’t you delivering me? That’s kind of the first half. In the second half, he says, you now have rescued me, you have redeemed me, you will be praised among the Congregation for what you’ve done in, lifting me up and raising me up the psalmist said in this prophetic, Messianic Psalm, here’s what Jesus is saying. In that moment on the cross, Jesus knows Psalm 22. He is not just saying, God, where have you gone? He’s saying, How much longer will this go on? Because he knows that just like at the end of the Psalm, He will be rescued, he will be raised up, he will be resurrected, the father is not going to forsake Him or leave him forever. The father is going to glorify Him, the father is going to vindicate him. He knows that. So what is he saying? He’s saying, How much longer must I endure this? Why is he saying that? Because moment by moment, Jesus wasn’t just dying of physical death, the wrath of God for all the sins of the past, the present, and the future of those who would be redeemed was being poured out upon him. He was enduring, absolute anguish, not because of physical pain, but because the wrath of God in all its fullness, in all its judgment, every ounce of hatred towards all the sin and wickedness of the world was falling upon him. He had to keep enduring it. Why was Jesus’s death so violent? So lengthy? Why not just a he needed to pay the penalty of death, therefore, he died? That was it in a moment. Why not end it quickly? Because Jesus had to stay on the cross until the last drop of God’s wrath was poured out. So that all who would come underneath the shelter would never say, well, there’s more that wasn’t endured. There’s more wrath yet to come, that Jesus has not taken. Therefore, Jesus says, After the land has been darkened, and after he’s cried out, where are you? Why have you forsaken me? What does he say right before he gives up his life, it is finished. There’s nothing left to be born. In His Spirit, Jesus knew in that moment, the last drop of the wrath of God had fallen upon Him, He had absorbed it all. For all who would be redeemed through all of time. That’s what was happening on the cross. The wrath of God, moment by moment, hour by hour, not for five minutes, for 10 minutes, for hour, after hour, after hour. Hebrews 2:17 says, Therefore, he had to be made like his brothers in every respect. In other words, Jesus had to become human. In order to pay our penalty, he had to face temptation, hunger, loneliness, all of it, so that he might become what a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. So here’s what the writer of Hebrews is saying. Saying, Jesus is not just the sacrifice being offered, he’s the one offering the sacrifice as the high priest. He came and became human in order to be the perfect high priest and the high priest is the one who makes the offering. But he didn’t just make the offering. He became the offering. He became the wrath bearing object. He became the propitiation, when he says he was a merciful and faithful high priest. What he’s saying is, he was merciful towards you and me, in that he chose to make himself the sacrifice so that you and I could receive mercy. That was his heart towards you and towards me, full of mercy. He was a faithful high priest, in that he made the perfect offering. There was nothing lacking in his offerings. He was faithful to God as a High Priest, in offering exactly what was required, everything that was necessary, and he was merciful towards us in offering him off. That’s Hebrews 2:17. First John to one and to my little children, I’m writing these things to you so that you may not sin. So here’s John.
He’s saying to His people, He said, Look, I don’t want you to keep sinning, like day in day out, I want your lives to look holy. I want him to be righteous. I don’t want you to be obedient, says But if anyone does sin, because he’s a realist, right, you’re gonna sin. So if anyone does sin, when you do sin, we might even say, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. Then what did he say? He is the propitiation for our sins. He is the propitiation, so you didn’t know it showed up this much in the Bible. Did you? Do propitiation? It’s everywhere. So what’s he saying? What’s he saying there? On a day to day basis, the fact that he was born of the wrath of God on the cross, has opened the way for him to be our advocate before the Father now, so that when you struggle with sin, and you’re fighting against it, and you’re saying, Help deliver me, I don’t want to keep walking in these ways. Who is on your who’s on your team, who’s advocating for you before the Father, the devil is accusing, and the son is advocating? He is saying, Father, you do not need to pour wrath upon them. You’ve put it on me and they’ve come underneath me. It’s done. It’s finished. Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy. They fall on deaf ears, because the son is advocating and it’s the fact that he was our propitiation that enables him now to be our advocate. Do you see that? It’s not just a he did it, then praise God, He bore it. Now it’s, it’s it has consequences for you today, when you go home and pray. When you’re fighting against sin, remember that he is your advocate, and he is your advocate because he bore the wrath of God for you. Last text, First John chapter four, verse 10, and 11. We already read verse 10. But look at how it completes in verse 11. In this is love, not that we have loved God, but that He loved us. Now, that’s a very famous verse. It’s very popular, I have it like on a bathroom wall in my house, and it stops there. This is love not that we love God but he loved us and sent His Son I think, I think it ends there. I’m gonna go scribble it with a marker on it later on today. The rest of the verse Amanda might not love it, but, uh, have theological grounds. In this, don’t don’t try to trump your spouse that way that’s not going to help you. In this is love not that we have loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son, don’t stop there to be the what? propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. Do you see what the saying is the reason you know what God’s love is like the expression the great expression of His love is his propitiation is His wrath bearing work. The fact that it wasn’t just a substitute bearing some kind of idea of a penalty, the fact that it was absolutely the wrath of God being poured upon Him is the reason you and I can experience love today, because we know what it is. The reason we can define it accurately is because we know what it is that he took God’s wrath for my sin. When I understand that, I understand what love is like. Now, how should I respond? Let me just offer a few quick thoughts and these I am going to be very quick with these. How should I respond? Number one is, I would just urge you, because some of you are not followers of Jesus, you’ve not given yourself to Christ and I would just urge you come underneath the shelter of Jesus. Just please, please, please come underneath the shelter of Jesus. You cannot bear the wrath of God for your own sin. You are not sufficient payment, which is why it will go on for eternity. If you choose to endure it, you will have to do or endure it beyond time and beyond space please he offers you shelter the great expression of the love of God that He loves you is that he has sent His Son so that if you would come underneath him, if you would say I need you. I trust you. I believe in you. He will save you He will be your shelter and he will turn the wrath of God in The blessing and favor, he will heal you. He will make you whole. I don’t know what prevents you from believing that but I’m urging you to see it. I’m imploring you to receive it. The wrath of God is fearsome. At the love of God is great. For those of you who have come underneath the shelter that Jesus provides from the wrath of God, hate your sin. Hate it. despise it. want nothing more to do with it. Do not think of it as light. See the price that was paid, and hate it, and forsake it and battle it and call upon the Spirit to empower you to love righteousness and to hate evil and to hate wickedness. forsake your sin. Be confident, because you will never be the object of God’s wrath ever again. When you sinned today, God’s wrath will not fall upon you. His disciplinary hand will come. But as a loving Father, you haven’t come underneath Christ’s propitiatory work will never bear the wrath of God ever again. There is no piece of that wrath still left to be appeased, it has been completely appeased. Romans chapter five, verse nine. Since therefore we have now been justified by His blood, much more, shall we be saved by Him from the wrath of God? Do you hear what that saying? Be confident, go to God with confidence. You don’t have to go anymore quaking and shaking, wondering if his wrath will be poured out upon you because the sun has taken it. You can approach God, this is miraculous, you can approach God with confidence that all that will be directed towards you is love. Any discipline is from love. Any correction is from love, not from wrath. The last thing, last observation is what we saw on First John 4:11. What did he say the great expression of His love is his propitiatory work his wrath bearing work. They says so let us love one another. So, love each other sacrificial. You can’t bear the wrath of God for another person. Nor can I. No one can do that only Jesus can do it. But we can love sacrificially. We can love our enemies. We can love with humility, and grace and endurance and patience. We can mirror and reflect the love of Jesus, in His work of propitiation, when we love with sacrifice, and we love with commitment and faithfulness and steadfastness. So let us love one another that way. That’s what John is saying. They’re not just he did this. So we should love. He’s saying he did this show your love should look like his love. That your love look like his love. As I said at the outset, those are some applications. But our great application is that we would treasure the cross is that you in these days leading up to Easter, I hope that this has helped you have a fuller understanding of what was taking place at the cross. Yes. A deeper valuing of it and a treasuring of it. The work that was done there was supernatural and unending and absolutely astounding. And I pray that you would have eyes to see it and treasure it.
Let’s pray together. Jesus, you astound us. Everything about you is without flaw. And we want to treasure you. It is hard for us we admit to ponder the wrath that was due to us, being poured upon you. We feel weighty even as we try to ponder that and we should don’t let us feel lightly about that price. But Jesus helped us to help us to believe that it was complete and fall in that you chose it. And the father chose it. But teach us to respond rightly. Yeah. We’re gonna sing to you now. And some of us may need to just sit and be quiet. And that’s okay. Guide us if that’s the case. Rest of Us we’re going to, we’re going to sing and we pray that we would sing from hearts that are treasuring you and astounded by you, and there would be a full throated Praise to you now that it would please you for all this in the name of Jesus, Amen.