Preaching Christ 9

He bore what? The sins of all His people. The curse and wrath of His divine Father due to their crimes, with which He was charged as their Surety. He bore up under all these weights, and by His sufferings, sacrifice and death, He made a full atonement for sin, obtained a complete victory over sin, Satan, death and hell. He satisfied divine justice perfectly, and bore away for ever out of the sight of God, the sins of all His church and people. And God beholds His children clothed in the immaculate righteousness of His beloved Son, and completely cleansed from all their sins through the inestimably precious sacrifice and blood-shedding of Jesus. The God-man bore the curse of the broken law to deliver us from it. He is now in glory making a presentation of Himself continually in the holiest of all, as the finished righteousness and atonement of His people. And “if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” of intercession. (Samuel Eyles Pierce, Letters)

The weightiness of what Christ has done should not be lost on the one preaching or on the listeners. The cross of Christ is not just something that happened a few years ago and we can admire His sacrifice, but this is the supreme manifestation of the glory of God. The cross was primarily about the glory of God and this should give us a different view of the cross than if we looked at it from man’s point of view. Christ died to purchase sinners for the Father. This changes everything. Christ was sent by the Father to be the bearer of the curse and wrath of the Father in the place of sinners. Again, this changes everything.

What people must hear, at least I will argue, is that if Christ suffered and died out of love for the glory of the Father and to purchase sinners for the Father, then there can be no doubt that He made the fullest atonement possible. He did not leave one sin unaccounted for. Christ was sent to be the surety for the people He was sent to be the surety for. There was not and is not one sin left out of His work. He came out of love for the Father and He was a complete and perfect sacrifice.

Sinners must come to see that this Gospel is quite apart from them in one sense. The cross was a place where there was a divine transaction that is seen and accomplished. When preachers simply mention Christ, they are not really preaching Christ at all. When ministers mention or even talk a little about the cross of Christ, they are not truly preaching the cross of Christ at all. The cross was where the divine transaction is on display. The cross is where the love of the Father for the Son and the love of the Son for the Father meet. The cross is where all the attributes of God are set out and put on display for God to delight in Himself and for sinners to delight in Him.

The Father sent the Son as the only One who could be a perfect atonement for sin and fully bear the wrath of the Father and fully satisfy the wrath and perfect justice of the Father. As one sent from the Father, He could bear up under all of the weight of that wrath and fully satisfy the wrath of the Father. It was at the cross that He obtained a complete victory over sin, Satan, death and hell because He was sent to do those by the Father and as God in human flesh He alone could do that. In this divine justice was fully satisfied and all that God held against His people was carried away and born completely out of His sight, no longer to return.

This is all to say that there are poor and weak sinners in local churches and outside of local churches. There are poor and hungry sinners who long to feed upon just a crumb of His glory, yet they hear nothing of the glory of God unless it is used to get them to do a supposedly good work. These poor sinners who are weak and hungry need to hear that Christ is their surety. They need to hear that Christ has fully satisfied the wrath of the Father and that they are to rest in Christ by grace alone. There is nothing left for them to do (in this sense) and they are to feast upon the glory of God in the face of Christ. Yes, those very weak people need to know that Christ has taken all their sins away and they will never be asked to answer for those sins before God in terms of eternal judgment.

I would guess that there are poor and weak sinners in many places (hopefully) in our land and they need to hear the fullness of Christ and what He has done. The glory of God demands that preachers set forth His glory in Christ at the cross, yet the glory of God in His people also demands it. Oh how preachers need to die to self that they may truly preach Christ instead of speaking words about Christ in order to make them look good or feel good. It is Christ that must be declared if God and His Gospel is going to be preached. Preachers must learn to deal with their own hearts and learn what it means to preach Christ after they have learned what Christ means to their own hearts and most of all for the glory of God.

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