Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sproul on the Curse Motif of the Atonement

A year and a half ago I attended the Together for the Gospel conference and heard RC Sproul preach a powerful sermon on the "Curse Motif of the Atonement". As I prepared for my sermon this week I reviewed that sermon and found a highlight clip set to music. It's worth a look/listen.


Rick Calohan said...

The sermon and the video was powerful Praise God!

Galatians 3: 10-14
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.

“The antithesis of this blessing can be seen in vivid contrast to the benediction. It would be the supreme malediction and would go something like this: "May the Lord curse you and abandon you. May the Lord keep you in darkness and give you only judgment without grace. May the Lord turn His back upon you and remove His peace from you forever."

"In the cross not only is the Father's justice satisfied by the atoning work of the Son, but in carrying our sins the Son removes them as far as the east is from the west. He does this by being cursed. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law not just by being cursed for us, but by becoming a curse for us. He who is the incarnation of the glory of God now becomes the very incarnation of the divine curse.
God is too holy to even look at sin. His eyes are averted from His Son. The light of His countenance is turned off; all blessedness is removed from His Son whom He loves. And in its place is the full measure of the divine curse. All the imagery that portrays the historical event of the cross is the imagery of the curse. Jesus needed to be delivered into the hands of the gentiles so He could be crucified outside the camp so the full measure of the curse and the darkness could be visited upon Him. God adds to these details others--God turns out the light of the sun so as God turns His face, even the sun won't shine on Calvary. Bearing the full measure of the curse Christ screams "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Jesus did not merely feel forsaken; He was forsaken. He was utterly, totally and completely forsaken by the Father.
There is none of this to be found in the pseudo-gospels of our day. When we hear that Jesus loves us all unconditionally, it is a travesty. What pagan when he hears this does not hear that he has no need of repentance? He can continue in sin without fear knowing that all has been taken care of. There is a profound sense that God does love people even in their corruption, but they are still under his anathema. Even in this hall today there are many who are under the curse of God; who have not yet fled to the cross; who are still counting on this idea of the unconditional love of God.
When Jesus was forsaken by God, when He bore the curse, it was as if Jesus heard the words "God damn you." This is what it means to be under the anathema of the curse. It is far worse, far more powerful, far more profound than we can know. We cannot understand this, but we know it is true. Everyone who has not been covered by the righteousness of Christ draws every breath under the curse of God. If you believe that, you will stop adding to the gospel and start preaching it with clarity and with boldness because it is the only hope we have. And it is hope enough.”
– R.C. Sproul The Curse Motif

Frontier Forest said...

Most compelling plea, mesmerizing words of truth. I loved his passionate cry for action, “Stop adding to the Gospel and start preaching it!” Last Lord’s Day, when you introduced the dramatic eyebrow raising phrase, “May God Curse you!” Sin brought the curse of death to mankind because of the tree, and Christ bought us back from His atoning death on the tree.