Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do You Know "The -ations"?

As we approach Good Friday, I wonder how many of us know and can list the -ations of The Cross:
No, not the stations. The -ations.

Mediation -- There is a gulf between us and God, held in tension by his justified wrath owed to us for our sin. At the cross, the sinless Christ does the work of mediation both necessary and ordinarily impossible.

Condemnation -- The mediator must accept the place of the guilty in order to exchange his innocence. Therefore he goes to the cross willingly, because it is the foreordained place of condemnation where we all belong. He becomes the substitute condemned and takes on the condemnation.

Propitiation -- A blood debt is owed, legally speaking, because without the shedding of blood there can be no forgiveness of sins. But we cannot make this payment because we have no currency with which to do so. We are morally bankrupt, every last one of us. So at the cross, Christ makes this payment with the riches of himself, supplying his life to take the debt upon himself and thereby satisfying the law's demands. God's wrath is thereby appeased.

Imputation -- By propitiating the debt of sin, he takes it off of the condemned onto himself as he becomes the condemned on the cross, but in doing that, he conveys his innocence to those actually guilty. He who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God. His righteousness is imputed to us; this means that we are counted righteous despite our sin.

Expiation -- But Jesus doesn't stop there. With his life given sacrificially on the cross, he doesn't just take on our debt, he eradicates it completely. He takes it upon himself like the scapegoat to carry our sins into the void. Another way to say this is that Jesus' work on the cross doesn't just reckon us righteous, it actually makes us righteous.

Sanctification
-- An ongoing work of the Spirit, to be sure, but thanks to Christ's expiating work on the cross, we are also declared sanctified on the cross, which is to say, cleansed by his blood. (1 Corinthians 6:11)

Justification -- Nearly all of Christ's crosswork put together merits what we receive through faith: right standing before God. Because of the cross, we for whom there was no justification are now justified.

Reconciliation
-- And since we are justified before God, we are reconciled to him. The gulf is bridged, the wrath appeased, the debt canceled and cast into the void, the soul cleansed. Christ's wide-open arms at the cross reveal to us the means of the Father embracing his once-lost children. Through the cross, Christ reconciles us to God. (Colossians 1:20)

Nations
-- Who is Christ's crosswork for, exactly? (1 John 2:2)

From: The Gospel-Driven Church