50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die |reason 4|

To Achieve His Own Resurrection From The Dead

Key TextsHebrews 13:20-21

The fourth reason Piper mentions why Jesus came to die was to achieve his own resurrection from the dead.

Jesus’s death accomplished His resurrection. Does that sound strange?  This rings of antinomy, yet there is a beautiful harmony in it.  However, to fully understand and appreciate the significance of this, we have to consider the nature of God, the Law and its demands.  God is the essence of all that is holy and perfect.  Consider the wisdom of Elihu’s words when he was counseling Job in Job 37.

 “Hear this, O Job;
    stop and consider the wondrous works of God.
15 Do you know how God lays his command upon them
    and causes the lightning of his cloud to shine?
16 Do you know the balancings of the clouds,
    the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge,…

Notice Elihu’s words at the end of verse 16. He calls God perfect. Now let’s consider the words of Jesus in Matthew 5.

48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

There shouldn’t be any question about the perfection of God. So since God is perfect, all that He does and says is perfect. His works and His words are a reflection of His nature. There is no incongruity with God.  Psalm 19:7 declares:

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
    making wise the simple,…

The law of the Lord is perfect. This reference of the law is the Law given to Israel through Moses, the Torah (Genesis – Deuteronomy). In these revelatory teachings, God discloses Himself to His covenant people and how they were supposed to live as His witnesses in the world.  God’s purpose was to display His glory through His people as they lived according to His word.  There were rewards for obedience to God’s Law and there were consequences for disobedience to God’s Law (Deuteronomy 28).  To put it simply, the rewards for obedience were life and prosperity (not in ways we think of today) and the consequence for disobedience were being forsaken and death.

The Law rewarded life and prosperity for those who would perfectly obey it and it demanded death for those who violated it (Romans 6:23). The penalty of disobedience was severe because of the One it ultimately violates. Remember, God’s word (law) is a reflection of Himself. So to not do what God commands or to do what is prohibited is to sin against God himself and to defame Him.

What’s significant about Jesus is that He met all of the demands of the Law.  This is why He came to earth. He said in Matthew 5:17:

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

(1) He perfectly obeyed the Law (positive satisfaction)

(2) He died as if He’d broken the Law (negative satisfaction)

In His living and dying, the Law of  God has been forever fulfilled never needing to be accomplished again. God is satisfied forever with the work of Christ. This is why reconciliation and favor with God is predicated on faith alone in Christ alone.

In matters of Christ’s death accomplishing His resurrection, Christ’s substitutionary death accomplished the penal requirement of God satisfying His wrath. Therefore, God raised Him from the dead vindicating His righteousness.  Christ died that He would be raised to display the full measure of the glory of  God!

Next Reason: Jesus came to die to show the wealth of God’s love and grace for sinners.

Grace &  Peace,

d.

Advertisements

Abundant Grace

Spurgeon: A New Biography   -             By: Arnold Dallimore    Finally, I am getting around to reading a biography.  Some have differing opinions on the value of biographies, but I think they can be very helpful.  By definition a biography is a written account  of another person’s  life and usually written because they have had a significant impact on mankind in either helpful or unhelpful ways.  Biographies tend to be written by those that have been influenced or intrigued by the person they’ve written about.

The biography I am reading now is Spurgeon: A New Biography by Arnold Dallimore.  I’ve always desired to read a Spurgeon biography, but didn’t know which one to read.  At the recommendation of my pastor, I am reading this one. I actually received the book from my now wife for Christmas in 2010 when we were dating and I am really looking forward to it. I found it interesting that the author’s grandfather and mother used to attend the Metropolitan Tabernacle during Spurgeon’s time there.

The reason why I am reading a Spurgeon biography is because he is an example of God’s grace on a man submitted to Him. As it seems, there has been no pastor that has been more fruitful in the modern era than Spurgeon. His accomplishments and fruit are unrivaled for the short life he lived. It is said that he read an average of six books a week and retained the information remarkably.  His sermons were published in newspapers.  He started orphanages.  He founded a pastor’s college.  He was also noted as a remarkable evangelist…..as a Calvinist! (some of you will get that joke) All of this the Lord accomplished through him despite health issues he and his wife suffered from.  Sparing you the details, Spurgeon was a remarkable example of endurance as He held on to the Word of Truth deeply in his heart.  Thus he became known as the Prince of Preachers.

d.

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die |reason 3|

To Learn Obedience and Be Perfected

Key Texts – Hebrews 2:10; 5:8

The third reason Piper mentions why Jesus came to die was to learn obedience and be perfected. At first glance this might sound a bit strange if you’re familiar with the fundamental doctrines of Christ. For the Scriptures declare that He never sinned and He is the Perfect Sacrifice for mankind. So how can we make sense of what it means for Christ to learn obedience and be perfect? Piper defines these issues in the negative, telling us what they don’t mean, and in the positive, telling us what they do mean.

Piper said learning obedience doesn’t mean that Christ had to learn to stop disobeying. For if Christ ever disobeyed the Father, He would not be our Perfect Sacrifice and He would be just like the rest of us – rebels. Piper goes on to say that Christ wasn’t getting rid of defects when the Scriptures say He was being made perfect through suffering. Rather, Christ was fulfilling all righteousness so that He could stand in our stead before the Father. Though Christ is by nature righteous because of His deity, as a man He practically fulfilled the Law, which we failed to do. There had to be a human to fulfill the Law of God for man to be accepted by God. Man must be seen as righteous before the Father. This is what Paul meant in 2 Corinthians 5:21. Jesus even spoke of His purpose to fulfill the Law in Matthew 5:17 and Luke 24:44

As a man, Jesus did what Adam failed to do – obey God. Adam brought condemnation into the world and Christ brought redemption. (Romans 5:12-21) Jesus is the Last Adam.

As a Son, Jesus did what Israel failed to do – obey God. Israel failed to be a light to the nations as God’s son, but Christ, the Son of God, is the light of the world. (Hosea 11:1-4, Matthew 3:17, John 8:12) Jesus is the True Israel.

This is all leading up to what Piper said at the end of the chapter: If the Son of God had gone from incarna­tion to the cross without a life of temptation and pain to test his righteousness and his love, he would not be a suitable Savior for fallen man” (25).

Christ learned obedience and was perfected to propitiate the Father’s wrath and make us acceptable before Him. What love is this?!?

Grace & Peace,

d.

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die |reason 2|

To Please His Heavenly Father

Key Texts – Isaiah 53:10, Ephesians 5:2

The second reason Piper mentions why Jesus came to die was to please His heavenly Father. Some might ask how can the death of the Beloved Son in whom the Father was well pleased (Matt. 3:16-17) be pleasing to the Father? Shouldn’t the Father take delight in Christ’s obedience to His will like parents delight when their children obey their loving statutes? This should raise the question – Was it the Father’s will for His Son to die? Did the Father sovereignly purpose the death of His Son? The answer is a resounding yes! One of the key texts tells us:

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;…

(Isaiah 53:10a, ESV)

But why did the Father purpose to crush His only Son and take delight in His death? I would argue that it wasn’t merely the death of Christ that pleased the Father, but rather it’s what His death accomplished. Some of those accomplishments are: the satisfaction of God’s wrath for our sin, forgiveness of sin, reconciliation to God, worship of God, the witness of the church, the proclamation of the gospel, missions, restored relationships, repentance of sin, peacemaking, etc. As great as all of that is, the main reason why the Father was pleased with the death of His Son was because it was a means of displaying God’s glory to the seen and unseen realms.

Jesus’ death was the means by which the love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, justice, righteousness, sovereignty and holiness of God could be seen in a very unique way at the same time – at the cross. Ponder that. Though believers are the beneficiaries of God’s grace, the ultimate reason for the Father crushing the Son was to bring glory to Himself, but He is no egoist! Jesus willfully and obediently offered His life as a substitutionary sacrifice to save sinners for the glory of God. Jesus delighted in bringing glory to the Father.

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.

(John 4:34)

And this is why it pleased the Father to crush His Son.

It is only through that lens that we can understand how Christ’s life was a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:2b cf Exodus 30:1-10).

For a further treatment on Jesus’ death being pleasing to God, read The Pleasure of God in Bruising the Son in The Pleasures of God, also by John Piper.

Next Reason: Jesus came to die to learn obedience and be perfected.

Grace & Peace,

d.

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die |reason 1|

To Absorb the Wrath of God

Key TextsGalatians 3:13, Romans 3:25 and 1 John 4:10

Piper strategically starts off the book stating this reason – Jesus came to die to absorb God’s wrath.  This is no small thing and is loaded with several important implications.  The implications are  (1) God is holy and righteous (2) He has been offended (sinned against) (3) God is just and therefore He must judge offenses (4) He is loving, gracious and merciful to send Jesus to absorb His wrath (5) Christ loved the Father and sacrificed His own life as a guilt offering, though He is sinless (6) God’s wrath is satisfied by the death of His Beloved Son.

These 6 implications provide a shell of the gospel, but also much more than that.  These 6 implications help us to see something about the three parties involved  – God the Father, man, and God the Son – Jesus Christ.  Two things we see about God are He is wrathful and He is loving. We see man is a sinner. We see Christ is loving, perfect, and God’s ordained Sacrifice for sin.

It seems reasonable for Piper to begin here because the world’s biggest problem is sin.  It is imperative that we know that we are naturally rebellious to God and worthy of His eternal wrath.  Yes, God is full of wrath.  Piper makes mention that sin is no light thing and it is not light because of whom we sin against – Sovereign God.  Sin is great because God is great.  One of the terrible tragedies of sin is that it blinds us to the perfections of God and the beauty of Christ.  We are all born with sin-stained views of God and of ourselves. The stain of sin hides the true essence of God from us and blinds us to our own sin.  Sin is exceedingly sinful.

However, God is also love and in love He sent His Son to rescue rebels from His wrath. God poured out His just wrath against sin on His Son, the Sinless One.  This is the meaning of John 3:16 and Romans 5:8.   He sent His one and only Son to soak up His wrath for the sins we commit.  God pouring out His wrath on Christ exhibits His justice (sin must be dealt with) and His gracious and merciful love (He sent Christ to stand in our place to absorb His wrath) toward those who place their faith in Christ.  Those who admit their rebellion (sin) and accept God’s provision of righteousness (Jesus Christ) by faith, their unrighteousness is atoned for in Christ’s death and Christ’s righteousness is imputed or credited to that person. It’s the great exchange! (See 2 Corinthians 5:21)

But we cannot fail to mention one important issue. Behind every act that God does is a reason.  That reason is to glorify Himself. In sending Christ, the Father is drawing attention to many of His excellencies – His justice, His holiness, His righteousness, His patience, His love, His mercy, and His grace.  Though believers are the beneficiaries of salvation, the chief end of salvation is the glory of God! (See Romans 11:36)

Next Reason:  Jesus came to die to please His heavenly Father.

Grace & Peace,

d.

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die |intro|

Last night, my wife and I started going through John Piper’s Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die.  The main reason why I thought this book was worth reading, thinking about and discussing is that it focuses on the implications of the gospel.  When we hear the word “gospel” we probably tend to think of the good news that God has graciously, mercifully and lovingly reconciled sinners to Himself through Jesus Christ sparing us from His eternal wrath. We are right to think and rejoice over these truths. However, there is much more to the death of Christ than our justification. In other words, there is more to our salvation than our positional standing before God. There are practical results that flow from the Cross of Christ that are meant to be demonstrated in the life of each believer. In other words, the gospel is not only the power for salvation, but also for sanctification.  There is much more involved in the death of Christ than we often think of and Piper’s desire is to help us grasp that in these 2-3 page chapters. In his own words, Piper said,

“I have gathered from the New Testament fifty reasons why Jesus came to die. Not fifty causes, but fifty purposes. Infinitely more important than who killed Jesus is the question: What did God achieve for sinners like us in sending his Son to die?” (17).

That last sentence is the focus of the book.

I also think this book is fitting to read considering that the holiday season is near, which always poses the temptation to get us caught up into its commercialization and materialism traps.  It’s battle reading.  It’s also reading designed to increase our affections for our Savior as we consider the bounty of His work.

My aim is to provide thoughts about each chapter as they’re read.

Desiring God currently offers this book as a free downloadable PDFFree Book

Grace & Peace,

d.

Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller

Currently, our church book club ministry is reading Tim Keller’s Counterfeit Gods. It’s a great look at the various forms of idolatry that do or have the potential to enslave us.

I wrote a brief summary of chapter three, Money Changes Everything.

Read summary here.

Watch a short clip of Keller here about the book.

d.