If there was ever a day in all of history to be called “good”, Good Friday is such a day for mankind. This is the day in which Jesus, the lamb of God, was slain for the sins of the world. This was the day in which the holy wrath of God against sin was poured out on the Son of God who was dying in our place.
You see, it was us, me and you, and every single person in the world who should have been the ones receiving the wrath of God. We are the ones who have turned our back on our creator and have lived for ourselves instead of seeking to live for Him. He is not just a loving God, but He is first of all holy. As a matter of fact, the attribute of His holiness is far more expressed throughout Scripture than His love. The only time in Scripture where an attribute is ascribed to Him in a repeated form is when it mentions His holiness. Isaiah cried out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord…” The angels and saints of God in the book of Revelation continuously cry out “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty…” So, God’s holiness is reflected in everything that God is and everything that God does. That is why when He made us, He commanded us to be holy so that we might walk before Him.
But man fell. Man fell to the temptation in the garden of Eden through the wiles of the serpent to the same temptations that man falls to today…autonomy and the quest for power and control. Man turned his back on His creator and chose to follow his own desires. Yes, I am talking about Adam and Eve, which as a result, the Scriptures teach that we are all condemned because of their sin. It’s called Federal Headship…Adam was our representative for all mankind. He represented the whole human race. When he fell, we all fell. So many people hate to hear such a thing. The fact that we could be blamed for the sin of somebody who lived thousands of years ago seem absurd to them. But that is what Scripture teaches us. But the truth is, my friends, we don’t need Adam’s sin to place us guilty before God. We have all sinned and turned our back on the God who loved us and created us for His good pleasure. We have spurned His goodness and decided that we could do better on our own. So, whether you want to attribute your sin to Adam or not…the fact is that we are all guilty of turning away from the living God to live instead for our own selfish purposes. Should we be surprised that God’s wrath should burn hot against us? He gave us everything we have…everything we are…our very existence is owed entirely to the sovereign God of the universe. And He commanded that we obey Him, yet we decided instead to obey our own carnal desires. Yes, God has every right to pour out His wrath on such sin. We fully deserve it for all the ways in which we have rejected God and sought to live life apart from His prescribed way that was given to us.
But back to Good Friday. We see that we as the created fully deserve the wrath of the creator because of the way that we have repeatedly turned our backs to Him and rejected His prescribed way of holiness. And a God who is both perfectly holy and perfectly just must punish such a grave act of disobedience. But now we must understand also that as well as being perfectly holy and perfectly just, He is also a God of incredible mercy, grace, and love. He loved us so much. His desire has always been to have on-going fellowship with Him forever. He created man and woman simply to enjoy their fellowship for His glory. And so, in perfect justice and perfect mercy, He provides the way for sin to be punished and a way for His children to be forgiven and brought back into perfect fellowship with Him.
The cross. It is not just an icon of antiquity. It is not just a religious symbol. It is not just a fine piece of jewelry. It is the place where justice and mercy came together in the most glorious way ever known. It is the place where Jesus took our place so that we could be pardoned from our gross offenses. God had to punish sin otherwise He could not be considered holy and just. But God loved us so much that He did not want us to be lost forever in hell, forever separated from His love and goodness. And so, in the greatest act of love, God became man in the person of Jesus Christ. And Jesus was sent to earth for one purpose…not to be a great religious man…not to be one of the world’s greatest philosophers…not to be a good moral teacher. No, He came to reconcile fallen man back to right relationship with God. And the only way in which this would be possible would be to first fulfill completely the holy law of God, satisfying the requirement of holiness and obedience, and then also to suffer Himself for the penalty of not following God’s perfect law of holiness and obedience…the penalty that we ourselves deserved, not Jesus who fulfilled all righteousness. But He suffered in our place.
The cross was the place of the great exchange. Jesus took our death penalty upon Himself. Our sin deserved God’s holy wrath and fury…a wrath and fury that will one day send the unrepentant sinner to hell forever separated from all that is good and light. That is what we deserve for turning away from the living God. But instead of us getting that punishment, Jesus took our place. All the righteousness that was in Jesus from perfectly obeying and fulfilling the law was given to us while all our sin and rebellious acts against God were placed on Him when He hung on the cross. He was our substitute. He gave us His life while taking our death. O what love we have in Christ our Savior!
Now, the sinner can be set free from the condemnation that he was under. Now, fallen man can be reconciled back to God. Now, the redeemed person has been credited with the perfect righteousness and obedience of Christ and has had his filthy garments of sin and rebellion forever taken away. When God looks at the redeemed, He sees them as being perfectly complete in the righteousness of Christ, and He is well pleased to look upon them and dwell with them forever.
Remember the concept of Federal Headship? Many people don’t want to buy into the fact that Adam’s sin was credited to our own account even though we had nothing to do with it. I can understand that. But the Bible says that that’s the way it is. All those who were under Adam, being the whole human race, inherited what Adam inherited…condemnation and death. But now, in Christ, the concept of Federal Headship shines gloriously. For all those who are under the headship of Jesus also inherit what Jesus inherited on our behalf…forgiveness, righteousness, and eternal life. This is given to all of those who are in Christ…all God has called to Himself. He has redeemed them…bought them back from the penalty of death that they were once under. The punishment against their sin has already been paid in full when Jesus died on the cross. His last words were “It is finished”. This signified that the penalty of God’s wrath was forever satisfied. All those whom Jesus died for have been forever free from God’s wrath. The believer will never experience God’s wrath against their sin because Jesus already bore the fulness of that wrath when He hung and died on the cross. It is indeed Good Friday for all those who have their hope in Christ. Redemption has been accomplished. Justice has been served. Mercy has been given! Thank you Jesus!
My final word is a plea to all who will read this who have not completely yielded their lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ…those who, Scripture says, are still dead in their sins. Remember, God’s wrath was fully satisfied for the believer only…not for the whole world. If His wrath was already satisfied for the whole world, then nobody would ever have to fear the penalty of hell for rejecting God. But the truth is that hell is real and it is a place where all those who reject God will go. Why? Because God’s wrath against sin must be punished. Christ’s death, the shedding of His precious blood, will cover every single microfiber of the believer’s sin. The believer will never experience one iota of the wrath of God. The believer stands secure forever that he is at peace with God and will dwell with Him for eternity. But the one who rejects this offer, which is simply an offer of grace because nobody can earn it or deserves it, has only a fearful expectation of a future judgment…a judgment in which they will have to give an account to God for the way that they have rejected His offer of mercy…a judgment that will show clearly that their own sin and rebellion has rightly condemned them forever. It would be no different for the believer were it not for the righteousness that he will be clothed with…a righteousness that comes not from themselves or anything they have done, but rather that comes from Christ Himself, and was purchased for them by His precious blood. The believer will stand secure on that final day, having the judgment of his sins already atoned for by what Christ has done. The non-believer will have to still pay for his sins…and that payment will be the full wrath of God set against him as he is forever separated from His love and goodness. To you who read this who have not yet trusted in Christ…your sin has not been covered! You cannot save yourself by anything that you do…You are not nor ever will be righteous enough on your own…What will you do on the day that you stand before God and give account? I plead with you today, this very day that we call “Good Friday”, surrender your life to Jesus. Plead to God that He would open your eyes so that you would see your great need of Him, and that you would truly see that His blood is the only sufficient means of being forgiven and accepted by God. Turn your hearts to Him today. Turn away from living for yourself and turn at once to the living God. He is worthy to receive all glory, honor, and praise. With His blood, He has rescued sinners from every nation, tribe, and tongue to be gathered to Him for eternity forever living in His glorious presence. Do not wait, my friend. Today is the day of salvation. Will it indeed be for you a Good Friday?
(To all who read this and are part of the fellowship of Christ, please feel free to pass this on to any whom you know that need to hear the message of salvation in Christ. God bless you.