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Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Grace of Good Friday

The greatest grace of Good Friday, I think, is not simply that Jesus died to take away our sins.  He died so that we wouldn't have to.

I realized this yesterday, at the Good Friday service led by my future father-in-law.  (Church is really a family thing when we're with my future in-laws!)

He read Isaiah 53 as part of the sermon.  "He was pierced for our transgressions..." instead of us.  "He was bruised for our iniquities..." instead of us.  "The punishment that brought us peace was upon him..." instead of us.

In a real time and place in history, Christ hung on a cross and bore every sin of every person who ever lived.  He endured the wrath of God his Father, experiencing hell so that we wouldn't have to.  He felt what it was like to be completely separated from God.  He felt the pain, the guilt, the shame of every sin ever committed.

And he did it out of love for mankind, because he wanted us to be able to spend eternity with him.  He wants me to live in heaven with him forever!  And he made it possible for that to happen.

He even, in his death, took away the sins I haven't committed yet.  When I do sin, I'm forgiven the second I repent.  My debt has already been paid.  My guilt is gone.  Because of Christ's sacrifice.

Not only did he sacrifice himself, the perfect Lamb of God, the sacrifice for all sin, in his Deity he conquered sin and death completely and was not bound by it.  The power of Satan is no power against the might of God.  Christ did not stay dead; he rose and lives and reigns in heaven, for all eternity.

This is love.  This is forgiveness.  This is grace.  This is Gospel: Jesus.

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