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THE OVERCOMER MAGAZINE - JULY 2013 - OCTOBER 2013
CHRIST WAS CRUCIFIED
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IT IS FINISHED.
“It is finished”, this is the greatest moment in the history of mankind. Here we have God’s masterpiece, His most sublime achievement which will stand as such for all the ages to come.
One is struck by the fact that neither John nor any of the other gospel writers, moved by the Holy Spirit, seek to go into the details of the Saviour’s physical sufferings. These, inconceivably great as they were, were but a meagre reflection of a far deeper agony. This was not mere devotion to a sublime cause which accepts everything in resignation for love’s sake. This was no mere example of self-sacrifice which we are to follow. This was no effort to bring mankind to repentance by a moral persuasion enforced by the sufferings of the Son of God. This is God suffering for the sins of the world. “God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself”, “He who knew no sin was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him”, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us”, “We have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins”. Only such strong terms as these, found in Paul’s epistles, are really adequate as we seek the meaning of Calvary, for Paul’s utterances are inspired by the Holy Spirit, whose mission it is to take of the things of Christ and reveal them to our hearts.
It is to John that we are indebted for the recording of these most meaningful words of our Saviour as He spoke from the Cross, “It is finished”, words uttered, Matthew tells us, with a loud cry. Little wonder that the earth shook, that the rocks were rent, that the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom and that graves were opened. Little wonder that the captain of the Roman guard, seeing these things, should fear and cry out, “Truly this was the Son of God”.
But in order to reach the deepest meaning of the Saviour’s triumphant cry, which marked the consummation of His work as the world’s Redeemer, we must turn to Paul’s epistles. Here the veil is drawn aside and we see by the illumination of the Holy Spirit that, mocked by the rabble, jeered with immeasurable hatred and scorn by the Pharisees and priests, reviled by the Jewish authorities, our Lord in His Passion and His unfathomable agony died for the destruction of the works of the prince of darkness and for the redemption of the world. John, as he writes his first epistle, says that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin, and we may be sure that he says this not as a theologian, theorizing about the meaning of the Redeemer’s bitter suffering and death on Calvary’s Cross, but as one who, along with unnumbered millions across the centuries, had experienced the peace which comes to all who, with their burden of sin and guilt, have cast themselves upon the mercy of God as revealed in the Crucified.
“It is finished.” This is either God’s triumph over sin, with all it means for an enslaved humanity under the curse of sin, or else we have here the most tragic miscarriage of justice. Despair, unbelief, chaos, rejection of the thought of God’s providence and love would be the natural results. If the only truly good man who ever lived, obeying God perfectly and serving his fellowmen, should come to such an indescribably bitter end, then by all that is right and true we must say, ‘What’s the use? There is no divine order of providence. All is a lie. Better to eat, drink, and be merry. Better to forget God and any duty to others’.
But such has not been the effect of the Redeemer’s Cross. The Church stands and is doing the work of God in ministering to broken hearts all over the world. Christians find in the Redeemer’s Cross the divine pledge of the remission of their sins, the highest incentive to holy living, to faith in God, love for their fellowmen, to self-sacrifice and to obedience to the Father’s will, cost what it may. The Cross is the supreme revelation of God’s own glory because when the cry, “It is finished”, went up to heaven and down to hell from the Saviour’s lips, in very deed and truth a new foundation was laid for the life of the world. In the light of the Saviour’s Resurrection, by the affirmation of the Bible and the illumination of the Holy Spirit, sinners who have experienced redemption by His power know it to be true. This cry was the death knell of the old order, for the old nature was crucified together with Christ. We have it expressed with divine power and beauty in these words of Paul, “having cancelled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Col. 2 v14-15).
His immeasurable love had embraced all mankind and, identifying itself with the sins of all had suffered, “the Just for the unjust”, making peace in a full discharge of the guilt of the whole world through His bitter suffering and death. Little wonder that we should read in Psalm 24 the record of the Saviour’s reception, when He had risen and ascended into heaven, in such overwhelming terms:
“Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is He, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty - He is the King of glory.”
From: ‘John looks at the Cross’.
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THE EDITOR’S LETTER
My Dear Friends,
In this edition of ‘The Overcomer’ magazine we are looking at the death of the Lord Jesus and its implications for us in daily life. The words of Cecil Frances Alexander emphasize this:
‘O dearly, dearly has He loved, and we must love Him too
and trust in His redeeming blood, and try His works to do’.
For those of you who contact us by email, please note that our email address has been changed to firstname.lastname@example.org We have had quite a lot of problems with our telephone line and emails in the past months so have had to change our service provider. We are sorry if friends have found it difficult to contact us but trust now that the problems have ended.
In Jesus Name we wish you His grace, peace and strength as you go forward with Him day by day.
Yours in His service,
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