>Don’t Forget the Cross in Your Thanks-Giving

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Here’s a sober quote to contemplate in these few days before Thanksgiving:

“I ought to go to Christ for the forgiveness of each sin. In washing my body, I go over every spot, and wash it out. Should I be less careful in washing my soul?

I ought to see the stripe that was made on the back of Jesus by each of my sins. I ought to see the infinite pang thrill through the soul of Jesus equal to an eternity of my hell for my sins, and for all of them.

I ought to see that in Christ’s bloodshedding there is an infinite over-payment for all my sins. Although Christ did not suffer more than infinite justice demanded, yet He could not suffer at all without laying down an infinite ransom.”

—Robert Murray M’Cheyne, quoted by Andrew Bonar, Robert Murray M’Cheyne (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1960), 175-176

>The "Justness" of the Cross

>“The Cross was at once the most horrible and the most beautiful example of God’s wrath. It was the most just and the most gracious act in history. God would have been more than unjust, He would have been diabolical to punish Jesus if Jesus had not first willingly taken on Himself the sins of the world. Once Christ had done that, once He volunteered to be the Lamb of God, laden with our sin, then He became the most grotesque and vile thing on this planet. With the concentrated load of sin He carried, He became utterly repugnant to the Father. God poured out His wrath on this obscene thing. God made Christ accursed for the sin He bore. Herein was God’s holy justice perfectly manifest. Yet it was done for us. He took what justice demanded from us.

– RC Sproul, The Holiness of God

>The Attraction of the Cross

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“The curious paradox of the atoning death of a bloody Jesus rising above the plane of human history with a mocking crown of thorns is that he is offensive in an attractive way.

It is the utter horror of the cross that cuts through the chatter, noise, and nonsense of our day to rivet our attention, shut our mouths, and compel us to listen to an impassioned dying man who is crying out for the forgiveness of our sins and to ask why he suffered.

Tragically, if we lose the offense of the cross, we also lose the attraction of the cross so that no one is compelled to look at Jesus. Therefore, Jesus does not need a marketing firm or a makeover as much as a prophet to preach the horror of the cross unashamedly.”

—Mark Driscoll, Listening to the Beliefs of Emerging Churches (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2007)

>What Happened on the Cross? This is Worth a Careful Reading

>http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=1433501295&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
Reading “Death by Love” by Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears.

The introduction addresses “Substitutionary Atonement,” which is, to some, controversial. To many, it is a pair of undefined words.

Let me try to whet your appetite for the book by the following excerpt:

What does ‘substitution’ mean?
“Substitution” refers to a person or thing acting or serving in place of another. Biblically, the concept of substitution was first practiced not by God, but by human beings. When our first parents chose to disobey God and believe the lies of our Enemy, they chose to substitute themselves for God in an effort to become their own gods. Subsequently, to save sinners God had to reverse that tragic substitution and did so by becoming a human being and dying in our place to atone for our sins.

In his marvelous book The Cross of Christ John Stott insightfully explains this fact:

The concept of substitution may be said, then, to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices Himself for man and puts Himself where only man deserves to be. May claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.”

In a time when many are denying the fact that Jesus took the hit for us, this deserves a careful re-reading.

I heartily recommend the book (as well as Stott’s book!)

>What Was The Cause of Jesus’ Death?

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There are some well-known writers and speakers who think it uncool to talk about Jesus taking the hit for us. Is this merely a weak “gospel”? Or is it rather another “gospel” altogether?

Titus 2.1 (ESV) warns, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.” The word “sound” could be translated “healthy.” If there is “sound, healthy” doctrine; there is unsound, unhealthy doctrine.

Any doctrine taught by anyone that takes away from the substitutionary death of Jesus is at best unhealthy. Jesus lived the life that we could not live; and died the death that we should have died. That is the gospel, and it is of primary, first importance (1 Corin 15).

Ponder this observation:

“To use the magnificent words of B.B. Warfield, ‘Jesus dies on the cross, but not of the cross.’ The cross was the means by which He died, but not the reason why He died. He died through being crucified, but not because He was crucified. He was nailed to the tree, but that wasn’t the cause of His dying.

The cause of His dying is precisely because He is there as the substitutionary atonement for the sins of His people. He dies bearing my sins in His body to that tree, so that I might live; so that through His condemnation at Calvary, the Judge in heaven will say to the sword of justice as it hangs over my head for my sins, ‘Do not slay my son. Jesus has been crucified. He has been put to death’; and I am now pardoned through His dying, justified by His blood, saved from the wrath to come.”

– Iain D. Campbell

>He took the Hit for ME!

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Regardless of how trendy and popular it may be to say that the Cross, understood Biblically, demonstrates “child abuse” – (usually by people who seem to make a characteristic of their faith by cigars and brew) here is a significant and crystal-clear reminder:

“It is Christ set forth in His blood who is a propitiation; that is, it is Christ who died. In dying, as St. Paul conceived it, He made our sin His own; He took it on Himself as the reality which it is in God’s sight and to God’s law: He became sin, became a curse for us. It is this which gives His death a propitiatory character and power; in other words, which makes it possible for God to be at once righteous and a God who accepts as righteous those who believe in Jesus. . . . I do not know any word which conveys the truth of this if ‘vicarious’ or ’substitutionary’ does not, nor do I know any interpretation of Christ’s death which enables us to regard it as a demonstration of love to sinners, if this vicarious or substitutionary character is denied.”

– James Denney, quoted by J.I. Packer in “What Did the Cross Achieve? The Logic of Penal Substitution” reprinted in In My Place Condemned He Stood (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2008), 75.