“… we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ …” (Romans 5.1 NIV).
One of the more difficult truths revealed in Christ is God’s being against us. Of course, at the same time he is against us he is also for us. That’s the reason for the cross. It is an expression of God’s love, in that he takes his being against us upon himself.
But make no mistake God is against us because he is ever and always against that which is evil. As I’ve been reflecting on the cross and Good Friday I’ve been once more drawn to the work of Gustaf Aulen, a former bishop of the Church of Sweden. He describes God’s opposition to sin so well.
The will of God stands in unbroken opposition to everything which is not in harmony with it, or hostile and indifferent to it.
God is always and under all circumstances hostile to sin. His wrath expresses the intensity and radical character of his repudiation of sin.
The God of faith is a God who wills, and his will in reference to evil is a radical indignation and unmitigated severity (The Faith of the Christian Church).
I’ve also been helped by the work of an American theologian, J. Rodman Williams. He points out that God is always true. He says that God’s being wrathful has to do with God’s always being wholly true.
Because God is wholly true and completely reliable he would never tolerate sin. To do so would be a lie, but God is love, and he loves us. Because he loves us he demonstrates his love by sending his son to be a sin offering for us.
A key passage describing what Jesus did for us comes from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
–Isaiah 53.5 NIV
This is what Good Friday is all about. It’s about God expressing the truth about our sin in the death of his son. Jesus bore the punishment for us! In Christ all condemnation is gone (Romans 8:1)! With the death of Jesus God is both just and the justifier of those who have faith in Christ (Romans 3:26b).
Praise God! As Romans 5:1 says we have peace with God. We need not fear God’s opposition to our sin! In Christ we are forgiven! This is good news!
May you understand more fully God’s love for you expressed in the death of Jesus, and may you live for him as one set free from all guilt and shame.