Sunday, April 09, 2006

The cross

[In preparation for tonight's sermon, the second on the crucifixion account in Mark's Gospel, I have pulled an extract from J. I. Packer's introduction to a work by the puritan, John Owen entitled The Death of Death in the Death of Christ]:

When the Calvinist sings

There is a green hill far away,
Without a city wall,
Where the dear Lord was crucified,
Who died to save us all;
He died that we might be forgiven,
He died to make us good;
That we might go at last to Heaven,
Saved by His precious blood

he means it. He will not gloss the italicized statements by saying that God's saving purpose in the death of His Son was a mere ineffectual wish, depending for its fulfillment on man's willingness to believe, so that for all God could do Christ might have died and none been saved at all. He insists that the Bible sees the Cross as revealing God's power to save, not his impotence. Christ did not win a hypothetical salvation for hypothetical believers, a mere possibility of salvation for any who might possibly believe, but a real salvation for His own chosen people. His precious blood really does "save us all;" the intended effects of His self-offering do in fact follow, just because the Cross was what it was. Its saving power does not depend on faith being added to it; its saving power is such that faith flows from it. The Cross secured the full salvation of all for whom Christ died. "God forbid," therefore, "that I should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Gal. 6:14).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Apparent in our Communion this morning....and such a refreshing blessing of ways....proof of the sweetness and the goodness of the heart of this church.