The Truth of The Cross

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us Galatians 3:13

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us' Galatians 3:13

‘If it is true that the cross is of central importance to biblical Christianity, it seems that it is essential for Christians to have some understanding of its meaning in biblical terms. That

R C Sproul

R C Sproul

would be true in any generation, but it’s particularly necessary in this one. I doubt there has been a period in the two thousand years of Christian history when the significance, the centrality, and even the necessity of the cross have been more controversial than now. There have been other periods in church history when theologies emerged that regarded the cross of Christ as an unnecessary event, but never before in Christian history has the need for an atonement been as widely challenged as it is today.’ R. C. Sproul, The Truth of the Cross

“I’ve heard sermons about the nails and the thorns. Granted, the physical agony of crucifixion is a ghastly thing. But thousands of people have died on crosses, and others have had even more painful, excruciating deaths than that. But only One received the full measure of the curse of God while on a cross. Because of that, I wonder if Jesus was even aware of the nails and the thorns. He was overwhelmed by the outer darkness. On the cross, He was in hell, totally bereft of the grace and the presence of God, utterly separated from all blessedness of the Father. He became a curse for us so that we one day will be able to see the face of God. God turned His back on His Son so that the light of His countenance will fall on us. It’s no wonder Jesus screamed from the depths of His soul.” R. C. Sproul, The Truth of the Cross

“Nowhere in Scripture is the reality of God’s wrath more sharply manifested than in the forsaking of His Messiah. To be cursed of God is to be cut off from His presence and all of His benefits. The Incarnate Christ who enjoyed intimate personal fellowship with the Father, such as no man had ever enjoyed, was suddenly and completely cut off. Once the sin of man was imputed to Him, He became the virtual incarnation of evil. The load He carried was repugnant to the Father. God is too holy to even look at iniquity. God the Father turned His back upon the Son, cursing Him to the pit of hell while on the cross. Here was the Son’s ‘descent into hell.’ Here the fury of God raged against Him. His scream was the scream of the damned. For us.” R.C. Sproul, Tabletalk magazine, “My God, My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?” (April 1990), p. 6.

‘The figure of a cross is the universal symbol of Christianity. The concept of atonement reaches back to the Old Testament where God set up a system by which the people of Israel could make atonement for their sins. To atone is to make amends, to set things right. Both the Old and New Testaments make it clear that all human beings are sinners. As our sins are against an infinite, holy God who cannot even look upon sin, atonement must be made in order for us to have fellowship with God. Because sin touches even our best acts, we are incapable of making a sufficient sacrifice. Even our sacrifices are tainted and would require a further sacrifice to cover that blemish, ad infinitum. We have no gift valuable enough, no work righteous enough to atone for our own sins. We are debtors who cannot pay their debts. In receiving the wrath of the Father on the cross, Christ was able to make atonement for His people. Christ carried, or bore, the punishment for the sins of human beings. He atoned for them by accepting the just punishment due for those sins. The Old Testament covenant pronounced a curse upon any person who broke the law of God. On the cross, Jesus not only took that curse upon Himself, but He became “a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). He was forsaken by the Father and experienced the full measure of hell on the cross.’ R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of The Christian Faith, 1992, 137-138

“On the cross, God’s wrath was poured out on Christ. God did strike Him, smite Him, and afflict Him – but not for any evil in Christ.” R. C. Sproul, The Truth of the Cross

‘Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned–every one–to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all……By oppression and judgment he was taken away; … he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? …….although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. ‘ Isaiah 53:4-6,8,9

“If all that happened was the single transfer of our sins to Jesus, we would not be justified…..We must see that the righteousness of Christ that is transferred to us is the righteousness He achieved by living under the Law for thirty-three years without sinning.” R. C. Sproul, The Truth of the Cross

‘Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. ‘Isaiah 53:10-12

‘Atonement involves substitution and satisfaction. In taking God’s curse upon Himself, Jesus satisfied the demands of God’s holy justice. He received God’s wrath for us, saving us from the wrath that is to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). A key phrase in the Bible regarding the Atonement is the phrase, “in behalf of.” Jesus did not die for Himself, but for us. His suffering was vicarious; He was our substitute. He took our place in fulfilling the role of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. While the Father’s wrath is real, it should be noted that the atonement Christ made was not a case of the Son working against the Father’s will. It is not as if Christ were snatching His people out of the Father’s hand. The Son did not persuade the Father to save those whom the Father was loathe to save. On the contrary, both Father and Son willed the salvation of the elect and worked together to bring it to pass. As the apostle Paul wrote, “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Corinthians 5:19).’ R.C. Sproul, Essential Truths of The Christian Faith, 1992, 137-138

To Download FREE MP3 Sermon “The Curse Motif of the Atonement” by Dr R C Sproul delivered at the T4G08:

The Curse Motif of the Atonement (from T4G’s site)

To view or listen to a short video extract from the sermon “The Curse Motif of the Atonement” by Dr R C Sproul delivered at the T4G08 Session V:

The Curse Motif of the Atonement (a video extract on YouTube by Truth Crossing)

Related Post: The Essence of Gospel Evangelism Is To Proclaim the True Doctrine of the Cross by Martyn Lloyd-Jones


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1 thought on “The Truth of The Cross”

  1. Ant Andersson said:

    Very good & brief, succinct pieces. I have started reading them. They are a breath of fresh air apart from the religious doctrines being preached by modern day pharisees & scribes. Well done.

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