The Gospel

By Weldon Tisdale, Chaplain

The hymn writer Anne Cousin wrote, “Jehovah lifted up His rod; O Christ, it fell on Thee! Thou wast sore stricken of Thy God; There’s not one stroke for me. Thy tears, Thy blood, beneath it flowed; Thy bruising healeth me.”

Why did Jehovah lift his rod and strike Christ? It was because Christ was our substitute on the cross. This is the heart of the cross. 1 Peter 3:18 says, “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous”. Christ suffered for the unrighteous. This means that the punishment He received was
the penalty the unrighteous deserved. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul writes, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” This verse is a powerful statement about the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross and the imputed righteousness that believers receive as a result of their faith in Jesus.

As our willing substitute, He became guilty for all of our sins. As a mass of concentrated sin, the justice and holiness of God was unleashed on him. Every drop from the cup of God’s wrath was poured out until he cried, “It is finished!” In this, every drop of blood man shed that cried out for justice was told, “Be silent,
it is finished!” In this word, the Jews that carried their lambs and goats to slaughter for atonement are told, “Be done, it is finished!” In this the broken law that held curses over our heads is told, “No condemnation in Christ, it is finished!” Speak to your own conscience, saying, “It is finished! Your sins are forgiven” As the hymn writer said, “There’s not one stroke for me!” Do you believe that?

Yet there is even more in this great exchange that took place on the cross. Our sins were counted to Christ so that Christ’s righteousness would be counted to us. Not only are the sins of Christians forgiven by Christ’s death, but the perfect life of Christ is counted to them. Our position before God is righteous
in Christ. Is there any better news than that? No wonder we call it “The Gospel.”

Adapted from

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