Friday, March 21, 2008

We needed Good Friday

Very simply, I needed Christ's work on the cross. You need Christ's atoning work also. In stating this point this way I am using a relatively positive statement to describe a truly violent and tragic reality. Each of us, outside of Christ’s work for us, are worse than spiritually bankrupt. Before we can fully appreciate Christ’s atoning work we must understand our total inability to please God.

The human explanation for why many people to not believe on Christ is because they believe in themselves. In other words, they do not see themselves as truly in need. They are in the “scale” act. They see God at judgment holding a balancing scales whereby he puts all my good works on one side and all my sins on the other. If the good outweighs the bad, we enter His presence, if not, we might go to hell. The problem is, Scripture doesn’t teach this balancing scale idea whatsoever. In fact, what we see over and over again regarding our condition before God is our total inability. Regarding our “good works”, Isaiah the prophet writes-

Isaiah 64:6 But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.

To use the terminology of Paul- apart from Christ, we are in a state of spiritual death. We are not sick, we are not injured, we are not impaired, we are not handicapped, we are not weak, before Christ saves us, we are dead. Hear the words of J.C. Ryle on this subject-

There are very few errors and false doctrines of which the beginning may not be traced up to unsound views about the corruption of human nature. Wrong views of disease will always bring with them wrong views of remedy. Wrong views of the corruption of human nature will always carry with them wrong views of the grand antidote and cure of the corruption.

Much of the error we witness in the evangelical church today can be traced back to an erroneous view of our corruption as human beings. Scripture is clear however, consider the following:

Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

Ephesians 2:1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins...

We are dead apart from union with Christ. If we were dead before God saved us, it begs a very important question in several forms- Can the dead raise themselves? Can the uninstructable (not sure if this is a word...) teach themselves? Can the bound free themselves? Can the blind give themselves sight or the deaf hearing? Can slaves redeem themselves? Can the naturally sinful change themselves? Certainly not! Job states it-

Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one!

This spiritual death which reigns in our bodies apart from Christ renders us as hopeless sinners. Nothing we do pleases God. What was said in Noah’s day can be said of us when we are not “in Christ”-

Genesis 6:5 Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

But Tony- isn’t that harsh? Are you saying that before a person trusts Christ, they can do nothing to please God? Yes! That is what God is saying! We underestimate the seriousness of the chasm between our supposed righteousness and God’s righteousness. In fact, we insult God when we think our works gain favor with Him at any time. We have much sin.

Romans 3:10-12 10 As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;11 There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.12 They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.”

We have been created in the image of a perfectly Holy God. In Adam we have become corrupted and vile. For God to accept us into His fellowship, there must be a payment for that corruption. God’s justice demands it. For this to happen, there must be a substitute- not just any substitute- a worthy and qualified substitute.

Several years ago I worked for the parent company of a bank. I did several jobs while working there and the one I disliked the most was working in the credit card and consumer loan division of the company. Inevitably we would all have to take turns calling people who were seriously delinquent in paying their loans off. I remember being on a training call with a collection agent when he called an elderly woman who had defaulted on her $12,000 car loan. She said repeatedly, “I don’t have the money, I don’t have the money.” It broke my heart. The collector persisted, he said, “Ma’am, someone has to have the money, some one must make payment on this” She replied, “I don’t know anyone who has this money and can pay this bill- there is no one.” There is a degree to which our situation is just like the elderly lady. We stand before God owing a great debt. The problem is we have no way to pay it. Nor can we look around at any of our fellow men and find someone who does have the ability to pay it for us. We need someone who can pay the debt for us, but the person must be qualified. Unlike us, they must have the resources to do it.

Our need for Christ’s atoning work is clear when we consider our spiritual condition without Him. Someone must pay God the Father what He is owed. We certainly can’t. There is only One who can pay for our sins. On this Good Friday, acknowledge it is Christ who can save you.


Frontier Forest said...

Having seen the “Passion of the Christ” several times, I believe the one impression that loudly and repeatedly reverberates to me is exactly what you are speaking of today, Pastor Tony. This movie brutally displays the awfulness and the total depravity of sinful mankind. From scene to scene, our Savior continues to love, forgive and reach out to those who revile and hate Him. Even in His horrible scourging, HE has shows no anger, and utters no threats. From every painful step down the “Way of Grief” to the cross of agony and shame, even then, HE reaches out to the lost. Today is a somber, holy yet victoriously joyful day to reflect on HIS love, our sinfulness and our need to yield our lives to Him every day.

Rick Calohan said...

Good Friday

God commedeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.

Forbid, O God, that we should forget, amid our earthly comforts, the pains and mortal anguish that our Lord Jesus endured for our salvation. Grant us this day a true vision of all that He suffered, in His betrayal, His lonely agony, His false trial, His mocking and scourging, and the torture of death upon the cross. As Thou hast given Thyself utterly for us, may we give ourselves entirely to Thee, O Jesus Christ, our only Lord and Savior. Amen.

The Book of Common Worship, (Philadelphia: Office of the General Assembly, 1946) 302 & 303

dbusenitz said...

Amen and Amen!

Heidi said...

Yes! Thanks for your unashamed writing!