If It Be Possible

During Easter Sunday, sermons turn to the resurrection, the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. That same Jesus being the Son of God, Who for our sakes endured the full wrath of God against sin, in order to redeem us from our sin.

Matthew 26:39 presents to us a picture of what occurred in Gethsemane the night before the cross. In the darkness of Gethsemane, Jesus, given a glimpse of what was to come, that is, what it would take to redeem the people of the world in order to satisfy God’s wrath against sin. And what He would have to suffer to provide a “cost-free” means for forgiveness of our sin and our salvation. That foretaste caused Him great grief. Jesus cried to the Father, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.”

Jonathan Edwards in his book Christ’s Agony included one of his sermons called Agony of the Cross. He preached, “The agony was caused by a vivid, bright, full, immediate view of the wrath of God. The Father, as it were, set the cup down before him… he now had a near view of that furnace into which he was about to be cast. He stood and viewed its raging flames and the glowing of its heat, that he might know where he was going and what he was about to suffer.

“Christ was going to be cast into a dreadful furnace of wrath, and it was not proper that he should plunge himself into it blindfolded, as not knowing how dreadful the furnace was. Therefore, that he might not do so, God first brought him and set him at the mouth of the furnace, that he might look in, and stand and view its fierce and raging flames, and might see where he was going, and might voluntarily enter into it and bear it for sinners, as knowing what it was. “This view Christ had in his agony.

“Then he acted as knowing what he did; then his taking that cup, and bearing such dreadful sufferings, was properly **his own act by an explicit choice; and so his love for sinners was the more wonderful, as also his obedience to God in it.” **(John 10:17-18)

Jesus’ agony included being made sin for us thus causing the Holy One Who knew no sin to be forsaken by Holy God, i.e., separated from God for the first time throughout all the eternal ages. Even so, to the Father in Gethsemane He said, ”not my will but Thine.” The need to great, Jesus could not pass God’s cup of wrath. Thy will (must) be done. (2 Cor 5:21)

Jesus Christ, on the cross, bore the wrath of God against sin. Wrath, a word many associate with God and the only sense or characteristic they have about Him is that He is always angry, full of wrath. People don’t want a wrathful God, nor do they want to think about what His wrath might mean to them. People want a God of love. But consider this: You cannot have a God of love without wrath. If that were possible you would have no sense of your worth in God’s eye.

A God who hates sin and what it does to whom and to what He loves best, His creation, must therefore express His love for us and His protection for us by His wrath against all that harms us. God’s hatred for sin and its effects produces divine wrath. To redeem those whom He loves, i.e., us, His created people who in need of an acceptable sacrifice for sin to cleanse us from sin, for the purpose of saving us from our sin and its eternal consequences. Jesus was that perfect acceptable sacrifice.

Instead of God’s wrath against sin falling on us whom He loves, He sent His Son to rescue us, to be the propitiation for our sins. Christ is our propitiation. By His becoming our substitute and assuming our obligations He expiated our guilt, covered it by the vicarious punishment He endured. Jesus’ great sacrifice on the cross bore God’s cup of wrath thereby opening the way for us to be reconciled. Through Christ only, we are made righteous and reunited to God. (John 14:6 - 1Tim 2:5)

“Propitiation does not procure His love or make Him loving; it only renders it consistent for Him to exercise His love toward sinners. His love toward sinners proven and made manifest in, and through, Christ Who drank the bitter cup of God’s wrath against (our) sin.” Easton Bible Dict

A God without wrath is a god without love. God’s wrath against sin and evil proves He loves us and will protect us from all that harms that which He loves, i.e., His creation. God’s wrath against sin borne by His own Son, Jesus, our Christ, proves God will go to any extent to save us from eternal wrath against sin.

Our part is that we individually and personally acknowledge to God ***we are sinners and that we need His forgiveness, and ask Jesus to save us from the wrath against sin and sinners that is to come. Our standing before God has to be one of righteousness in His sight to escape that wrath. Only through Jesus alone, our Christ, can forgiveness and salvation be ours. No one else can do that. (***Rom 3:23-1 John 1:8-10 Acts 13:37-39)

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