Vicar's Viewpoint May 2019

VICAR’S VIEWPOINT. So what is Easter all about? 

 

 

Symbols are important in many faiths – Lotus for Buddhism, the Crescent moon in Islam, the Star of David in Judaism and the Cross in Christianity, though other symbols have been used over the centuries – the crib, the fish, Chi Rho and even just a cup. But why is the Cross the distinguishing symbol for the Christian faith? 

 

The well-known Bible Teacher John Stott was asked this question once over breakfast  and he explained it in the following way, which led to 4 sermons at All Souls Langham Place in London and to a book ‘The Cross of Christ’.  He said that Christ died for sins for us. It was a Substitution with Four Strands

 

1)Penalty Paid. Redemption– Picture a Slave Market where a price has been paid to ‘buy back’ slaves to sin. Or a imagine a Kidnap and a price is paid to rescue the victim. That is what Jesus did . The Ransom price was the precious blood of Jesus as Peter writes in  1 Peter 1v18,19. There is a Story of boy and his boat – He makes it, loses it, then finds it in a second-hand shop but has to buy it back. And so it is twice his. He made it and he redeemed it. So it is with God – both our Maker and our Redeemer.

 

2)Wrath Averted. Propitiation.  Picture the Jewish Temple.  This is the Language of Worship and Sacrifice. God Himself is ‘propitiated’ not our sin.  That means His holy wrath is averted, set aside and appeased. Even more than a sacrifice of atonement.

Romans 3v25 and 1 John 2v2. Jesus by His death averts God’s wrath on sin onto Himself in our place. 

 

3)Righteousness Exchanged. Justification.Picture a Law Court. How can we be acquitted? How can we be declared ‘just as if I’d never sinned’? Christ stood in our place. His righteousness is credited to OUR account – a divine exchange takes place

2 Corinthians 5v21 ‘ God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’

 

4)Relationship Restored.Reconciliation. This is the Language of Family. 

Consider the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. The younger son is reconciled to the father. Paul describes this work also of reconciliation in 2 Corinthians 5v18-21 where God was ‘reconciling the world to Himself’ through Christ and so we have Access to God’s throne of Grace. Hebrews 10, 4,5. 

 

Even children can understand Substitution. For example a mum may say ‘John, will you please do some Shopping FOR me?  And in the world of Sports we often have substitutes.

 

Trinity at work in Salvation

  • Authorised by the Father in heaven
  • Achieved by the Son on the cross
  • Activated by the indwelling Spirit in the heart

 

Townend/Getty song: In Christ Alone….  The wrath of God was satisfied

 

BCP Holy Communion: 

‘His one oblation of himself once offered,

A full, perfect and sufficient

Sacrifice, oblation and satisfaction,

For the sins of the whole world.’

 

Bishop to Salvation Army lady

I have been saved – Justification

I am being saved – Sanctification

I will be saved – Glorification

 

Results of the Cross:

Access, Family, New Life & Lifestyle, Forgiven and Forgiving