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FROM THE PULPIT: The cross connects wrath and love
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FROM THE PULPIT: The cross connects wrath and love

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James Pence

James Pence is minister of Pleasant Grove Christian Church of Martinsville.

When we see sin as God sees it, then we can understand the cross a little better.

Paul tells us in Romans 3:25-26: “God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of His blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate His righteousness because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

You see, a holy God can have nothing to do with sin. In fact, it flies in the face of everything that God stands for, and his wrath burns against all sin.

The only way there could be a suitable sacrifice for that sin had to be someone who was sinless. So God turned to his one and only son, and, as Jesus suffers the wrath against all sin, God’s sense of justice is satisfied.

There was divine punishment for the son that satisfies the punishment that should have rightly been ours.

2 Corinthians 5:21 puts it like this: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

In that way God’s sense of justice is satisfied. Now satisfied, God could forgive sinners because of what his son had done on the cross, so Christ is the meeting place of God’s wrath and his love.

Just as the middle beam becomes the connection point of the cross, so Christ is where God’s wrath and his mercy meet, and his unmerited favor is poured out for us.

You and I never fully can understand all that happened between Christ, God, sin and man on the cross. We can come close to knowing the physical pain he endured on that first Good Friday, but Jesus was bearing so much more.

He was bearing the very wrath of God against all unrepentant sin: past, present and future.

So as we think of the cross around this time of the year or any other time, we should remember this is the place where God’s wrath and his love meet perfectly in the sacrifice of our Lord.

The redemption for our sins costs the father dearly and demonstrates his great love for each one of us.

James Pence is the minister of Pleasant Grove Christian Church of Martinsville.

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