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‘The crucifixion of Christ was also the greatest act of divine justice ever carried out. It was done in full accord with “the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23)—and for the highest of purposes: the death of Christ secured the salvation of untold numbers and opened the way for God to forgive sin without compromising His own perfectly holy standard.
Christ was no mere victim of unjust men when He hung on the cross. Though murdered unjustly by men whose intentions were only evil, Christ died willingly, becoming an atonement for the sins of the unjust, just like the murderers who killed Him. It was the greatest sacrifice ever made; the purest act of love ever carried out; and ultimately an infinitely higher act of divine justice than all the human injustice it represented.
Every true Christian knows that Christ died for our sins. That truth is so rich that only eternity will reveal its full profundity. But in the mundane existence of our daily lives, we are too inclined to take the cross of Christ for granted. We mistakenly think of it as one of the elementary facts of our faith. We therefore neglect to meditate on this truth of all truths, and we miss the real richness of it. If we think of it at all, we tend to dabble too much in the shallow end of the pool, when we ought to be immersing ourselves in its depths daily.
Many wrongly think of Christ as merely a victim of human injustice, a martyr who suffered tragically and unnecessarily. But the truth is that His death was God’s plan. In fact, it was the key to God’s eternal plan of redemption. Far from being an unnecessary tragedy, the death of Christ was a glorious victory—the most gracious and wonderful act divine benevolence ever rendered on behalf of sinners. It is the consummate expression of God’s love for us.
Yet here also we see the wrath of God against sin. What is too often missed in all our songs and sermons about the cross is that it was the outpouring of divine judgment against the person of Christ—not because He deserved that judgment, but because He willingly took it upon Himself on behalf of those He would redeem. In the words of Isaac Watts, “Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?”
Christ’s death is by far the most important event in human history. It is the focal point of the Christian faith. It will be our one refuge in the final judgment. It ought to be the main sanctuary for every believer’s private meditation. All our most precious hopes stem from the cross of Christ, and our highest thoughts should be rooted there. It is a subject we can ill afford to neglect or treat lightly. It is the shame of the modern church that our focus is so often fixed elsewhere.
May we never take the cross of Christ for granted or miss its depth. It was there that mercy and truth met together; righteousness and peace kissed each other (Psalm 85:10).”
(Excerpted from The Murder of Jesus by John MacArthur.)