The Glory of the Cross is understood when we see that the impaled and immolated Christ is not simply a helpless victim, rather that the Cross was the instrument by which our Lord wielded his Almightiness, through the Eternal Spirit, as the weapon of his warfare so that it became the means of his victory over sin, Satan and death. Christ was not simply suffering the will of God, he was doing it.
The cross was not the stake of a martyr: it was a theatre of war, the scene of a mighty conflict. Incalculable spiritual power was being wielded. Sin was being rendered impotent; death was being destroyed; the rulers of the darkness of this world were being routed. At no point of our Lord’s death was there loss of consciousness or exhaustion or strength. His spirit is not simply to depart, or to expire. It is rather dismissed, on the authority of the Saviour, as a magnificent shout of triumph reverberates through heaven, earth and hell – ‘It is finished!’ So forgiveness in the Bible is grounded firmly in the rectitude of God, not his indulgence. It is a righteous act, and a judicial action sanctioned by the Moral law. The sacrifice of the Lord of glory, the blood of God the Son, justify justification. In the flesh of the Son of God the sins of the church of God have been condemned.
Therefore in the logic of redemption there is now no condemnation. In Christ, they are all that the righteousness of God requires the Holy One to require, and for that reason not only may God forgive them, but God may not forgive them. It is to the divine fidelity that the eloquence of the Cross is ultimately addressed. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ Jesus that died. That is the Glory of the Cross.
Geoff Thomas, Minister, Alfred Place Baptist Church,
Aberystwyth, Wales, UK