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Looking at the Cross from God's Perspective

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
April 11, 2022 4:00 am

Looking at the Cross from God's Perspective

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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April 11, 2022 4:00 am

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So God in the cross, puts his justice, righteousness and holiness on display so just and righteous and holy is he that even as much as he wants to forgive the sinner cannot do unless the price is paid even if the price has to be paid by his own son scribe what they see will get 20 different answers. And while each perspective may be helpful. They are not all equal.

The reality is, the more you see, the better your perspective that was never truer than at the crucifixion of Jesus. It can be helpful to see the cross from the disciples perspective from pilots perspective, even from the perspective of those who crucified Jesus but have you ever considered the perspective of God himself. With that in mind.

John MacArthur begins a series today titled Easter through the eyes of God here on grace to you, John. This title intrigues me Easter through the eyes of God. The idea of seeing Easter through God's eyes. Sounds fascinating so expand on that for a moment. How will this study of the resurrection story differ from others that our listeners may hear in these coming days. Well of course there's always the human perspective, looking at the events of Easter, the death of Christ and his resurrection.

Then there's the historical sense of what of what happened there and there's also the theological reality that we read about as the meaning of the resurrection is explained by the apostles and the epistles of the New Testament, but this is kind of approaching the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ from from the eyes of God. I love that approach because I want to know how God viewed this because the theological significance of the death of Christ is not determined by the human view at any level. Neither the human historical view or the human theological view what the death and resurrection of Christ means genuinely and truly is what God says it means it's the meaning that God infused into it. So this is the most important perspective on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, you could say we go above the historic aspects of it. We go above, even the apostles teaching on the theology of it and we look into the mind of God.

What was God accomplishing in the death and resurrection of his son will be drawing from a passage that most people don't associate with Easter and that's a portion in the book of Romans today and tomorrow will look at God's view of the death of his son. So very critical and then Wednesday and Thursday will look at God's view of the resurrection of his son and nothing more important than God's perspective on these realities. This study will prepare you for the most meaningful resurrection Sunday you've ever had, especially if you had any confusion about the role that God played in his son's death and resurrection right and friend, whether you know very little about the Easter story or if the crucifixion and resurrection are already precious to you. I think you're going to be encouraged by what you are about to hear.

And so with that hears John to help you consider Easter through the eyes of God. On one of my vacations in the past I had the occasion to reading in Murray's book on, Jonathan Edwards and I read that book with great interest because at the end of it, though he was the greatest theologian. Maybe this nation has ever produced. Certainly one of its profoundest and though for 22 years he preached in the church of Northampton.

The unsearchable riches of Christ, and expounded the Scripture and was God's primary instrument and the great awakening, and though he was faithful to preach the whole counsel of God. After 22 years as pastor. His church voted him out and the reason they voted him out was that he wanted to demand that no one take communion unless they confess Jesus as Lord and Savior.

They thought that was excessive so they voted him out there he was, after 22 years of teaching theology and doctrine in its great profundity to that people, he realized that there were unconverted people. When he came, and there were still enough unconverted people 22 years later to vote them out of the church, perhaps, were he to go back again. He might've preached more messages on the simple gospel lest someone somehow would miss the message that is at the heart of our faith is in the light of that that I want to ask you to turn your Bible to Romans chapter 3 I want take us back to the beginning.

If I might now the death of the Lord Jesus Christ can be viewed in several different ways and from several different perspectives. As you well know, most frequently when we examine the death of Jesus Christ, we do it from our viewpoint, we come to the cross and see it through man's eyes we see the cross of Jesus Christ is that act by which Christ provided salvation for us, by which he saved us from sin and death and hell the power of the flesh by which he delivered us from the kingdom of darkness and put us in the kingdom of his dear son, by which he ushered us into that place where we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly's, by which he delivered us from the wrath to come by which he took us to our enemies and made us friends of God by which he granted to us eternal life, and all that it involves we see it from our viewpoint, it could be looked at that way legitimately.

So we also could come to the cross and look at it from the viewpoint of the holy angels. The Angels, by the way, look at the cross and they are searching over the cross and their examining it in looking into the atoning work of Christ, trying to comprehend and understand its great profound mysteries mysteries which they cannot fully understand because they will not fully experience because holy angels need no redemption. They see in it the wonder and the majesty and the glory of the mind of God and the goodness of God and the love of God as he provides for unworthy sinners.

There is a fascinating perspective, we could look at the cross from the standpoint of Satan and his demons. They see the crosses that point at which the sun brews the serpent's head that point at which the one who had the power of death. Satan was destroyed by the one who now carries the power of death, the Lord Jesus Christ who is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end demons see the cross through their own eyes they thought it was their moment of victory and in one split second, Jesus showed up in the pit to announce his triumph over them and he has openly displayed his victory over principalities and powers and rulers and so forth. We could look at the cross from the vantage point of demons. We might even look at the cross through the eyes of Jesus Christ. We might even see it as he must've seen it, we could go through the excruciating agony of that kind of sin bearing that rejection here and cry, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me.

We can also see the cross is the moment of his glory, for he said, if I be lifted up I'll draw all men to myself.

We can also see it as the verification of his word because he promised that he was going to die and there his promise came to pass, we could also see it as the moment of his greatest triumph when he indeed bruise the serpent's head. We could see it as the great demonstration of his love for he said, greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend. You look at the cross as it were, through your own eyes. You can look into the eyes of holy angels, fallen Angels, the eyes of Christ himself, and see its glory and want to look at the cross and its relationship to God, to God himself. God the father. What did it mean to God. We know what Jesus death meant to us. We know what it meant to the holy angels and gave them a new verse to their great hymns of praise we know what it meant to the demons. It was the end of their control of their own destiny.

We know what it meant the Christ what it mean to God what is the death of Christ mean to God how to represent God how to glorify God what is his perspective on that great event and to understand that look at Romans chapter 3 and follow as I read in verse 24 being justified as a gift by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because in the forbearance of God he passed over the sins previously committed for the demonstration. I save his righteousness at the present time that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus where then is boasting is excluded. By what kind of law of works. No bylaw faith. We maintain a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law or is God the God of Jews only is he not the God of Gentiles.

Yes, of Gentiles also since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one do we then nullify the law through faith may never be on the contrary, we establish the law and that great text tells us what the cross meant to God what the death of Christ, the atoning work of Christ. The blood shedding sacrifice of Christ meant to God for things stand out. It declared God's righteousness.

It exalted God's grace.

It revealed God's consistency and it confirmed God's word. Let's look at the first one.

The cross revealed God's righteousness. Verse 24 being justified as a gift by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in his blood through faith. This was to demonstrate his righteousness will stop there for the moment Christ died on the cross to demonstrate order, reveal, or to declare God's righteousness. This is a very very essential. A very very important issue man have always struggled with this matter.

Why, because when you understand God to be a righteous God, and you understand yourself to be a sinner. It puts you in a very difficult position. How can a sinful man be right with God. This is man's age-old longing. How can I know God. How can I be forgiven by God.

How can I be right with God is that very question that has spawned religion religion is in every sense and attempt to answer that question to solve the cry of the heart of man to appease whatever deity he may believe in under whose authority he feels himself and under whose judgment is afraid. How can I be right with God is God, a righteous holy just God and if indeed he is and how can I appease him.

How can I satisfy his requirement for holiness, perfection, justice and righteousness and be right with him. Many suggestions are made about how man can be right with God. We call them religion.

But apart from Christianity, all of them involve human achievement and works and they don't satisfy God.

They don't make provision for us and they don't make us right with him. You remember Bildad the friend of Job echo Job's cry.

How can a man be right with God. How can he be clean and you remember Paul on the Damascus Road. What will you have me to do and you remember those who heard Peter cry, what shall we do, and you remember those in hearing Jesus who said what do we do the work the works of God and you remember the Philippian jailer who said what must I do to be saved. How can I connect up with a righteous, holy just God that is always been the cry of man's heart. Now, if God were just to move down and forgive man it would strike a blow against his justice and someone would say. Will God's justice is whimsical and God's righteousness is capricious and he's on again off again because some sinners he judges and dams and some he forgives and you can't trust his righteousness, and you can't trust his holiness and you can't trust his justice to be absolute God wants. However, you know that his nature is immutable in any attribute, and his justice, holiness and righteousness is immutable and unchanging, and absolutely consistent and so God devised a plan which would demonstrate reveal his righteousness. Verse 24 says we are justified. We are made right with God as a gift by his grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. Now listen, there is nothing any person can do to be made right with God. There is nothing any person can do to satisfy God's requirement for holiness and righteousness. There is nothing any human being can do to settle God's justice and so if we can do anything the initiative has to be with whom with him and so says Paul we are justified as a gift by his grace, but in giving us a gift somebody might say God is not the end it just God, because it's not just to give you a gift when you don't deserve it. God is not a holy God because he is overlooking your sin. God is not a righteous God because he's tolerating your unrighteousness.

God is accepting you as you are. Which means he's lowered his standard that would be the accusation. It would readily be on the lips of a Pharisee, believe me. So says Paul, but God did give us a gift, it came out of his grace, which means it was undeserved unmerited and unearned and he gave it to us through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. The word redemption means a ransom, not a ransom is somebody kidnaps a child and hauled him off somewhere and calls up and says the ransom is $200,000 you want to buy this child back. That's the price ransom means to pay a price to buy somebody back it was used in ancient times to buy a slave out of bondage onto freedom.

And so God says what I want to give you the gift of a right relationship with me the gift of forgiveness of sins, the gift of eternal life but the price will be paid and it was paid. He says in Christ Jesus isn't that God capriciously or whimsically just shoves his justice aside, shoves his righteousness aside his holiness aside and set our love for a while.

I'll be gracious for a while. Be merciful a while and I'll ignore those other things.

No, God's holiness, God's righteousness and God's justice can never be set aside God will always operate consistent with his nature and so whatever he does, that is good and gracious and merciful will also be holy, just and righteous. How did he do that he did through the price being paid by Christ Jesus. In other words, he was so holy and just and righteous that some price had to be paid for sin. The price was set death, but he was so loving, gracious and merciful that he gave his own son to pay the price. Justice was satisfied and so was Grace.

Holiness was satisfied and so was mercy. Righteousness was satisfied and so was love. And so it says that in verse 25 God displayed Christ publicly as a propitiation in his blood stop at that point, God displayed Christ publicly what is happening just what it says. He lifted him up where all could see and he made him to be a propitiation that were jealous Terry on the Greek means a satisfaction, a satisfaction, the criticism you see was that God was not righteous, just and holy if he just overlooked sin because you see the end of verse 25 says in the past God had been forbearing and passed over sins previously committed. How could he do that and be just how could he when we get as it says in acts the sins of all those generations. How could he tolerate all of that because somebody was going to pay the price. How could he forgives sinners. How could he just forgive them and still be just because the price would be paid his justice and holiness and righteousness would be satisfied. No amount of optimism. No amount of love or grace or mercy can put sin aside and stop requiring its penalty.

Holy God could never bypass sin and be complacent about evil and even though we love the sinner deeply. He cannot forgive the sinner unless his justice is satisfied. So the question is how can a sinful man become acceptable to a righteous God. Somebody has to pay the price God out of love chooses not to punish the sinner but to punish his son, therefore, does he preserve the integrity of his nature and his reputation and give place to his grace as well. If the sinner were to suffer for his own sin.

He will suffer eternally and even eternity cannot pay the price for eternity would end God is gracious and provides a sacrifice. Jesus Christ died the death that you deserved. He became sin who knew no sin. He died in our place. He is our substitute.

He had to be man to die as man, he had to be God, to overcome death and sin. And so the God man had to suffer Jesus said the Son of Man must suffer and be killed, he knew it. In the early church preached why Christ must needs have suffered the sacrifices of all the bulls and goats couldn't do it.

Hebrews 10 says by the blood of bulls and goats has no flesh been sanctified, it is an animal sacrifice. The dinner that was just a picture of the sacrifice to come is in human achievement.

Nothing you can do will satisfy God. A price has to be paid is the price of bloodshed and death. Christ paid it some 40 978 says none of them can redeem his brother nor give to God a ransom for him for the redemption of their souls is costly.

The price is higher than any human being can pay but it was paid by Christ.

No sinner could atone for the sins of fellow sinners, so Christ the perfect one paid the price of divine justice and bore the sins of the whole world death of Christ then was, not only an act of grace.

It was an act of justice.

Would you please note in verse 25 it says that he is a propitiation in his blood through faith and at the end of verse 26 he is the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus this provision. This sacrifice of Christ is appropriated through faith, through faith, through believing that is so very essential, so very basic to our faith, you appropriate the work of Christ by believing true faith. So God in the cross, puts his justice, righteousness and holiness on display so just and righteous and holy is he that even as much as he wants to forgive the sinner, he cannot do it unless the price is paid even if the price has to be paid by his own son. That's how just God is, he can never be accused of being unjust or unrighteous's justice was satisfied by the perfect spotless lamb who paid the perfect price.

We then were not redeemed by corruptible things, but by the precious blood of Christ, we see then in the cross, the justice, the righteousness of God. Secondly, the cross exalts God's grace. The cross exalts God's grace.

Verse 27. Again, somebody is going to pose another question. If if this is all God then what part do we have in it and the answer is none. Basically, there is no place for boasting where then is boasting is excluded it is excluded. Salvation is totally his work. Scripture makes that abundantly and profoundly clear. For by grace are ye saved through faith that not of yourselves is the gift of God not of works lest any should boast every component in salvation is the work of God. He even activates, quickens and enlivens our faith so that we can believe in. So says Paul where then is boasting is excluded there is any place for boasting is left out altogether by what kind of law. Verse 27 set of works know, but by a law of faith. In other words, even if I don't have anything to do about this. If this isn't my works. How does it work when he says, by what kind of law that may help you with that word law here means principal not so much a fee at as we think of the law like the 10 Commandments were some law that God is like down but principal and operative principle uses the same way. In Romans seven and elsewhere. But he says all right then, if this salvation isn't something that I do by my works and I can't boast about it, then by what kind of principle does it work of works know by the principle of faith. Only the principle of faith will exalt God glorify God because it takes all out of man's hands the law. Here are the principal or the method by which salvation works is the method principle law of faith. And so when we can do nothing more than just receive the gift by faith we know it's the gift of grace and so God's grace is exalted here. The only one who can boast his God, for he by grace back to verse 24 has given a gift to us which we can only receive or reject. We have no part in it except to take it. He cuts the ground out from under the feet of those who say I always do the best I can.

I always live a decent life. I'm a good person. Surely God will not overlook me and he simply says it's all God's work.

Then in verse 28 for we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the law, the only contribution we make is to believe in.

Even the believing is a work of God within us, and what Paul said in first ready in 1510. I am what I am by what by the grace of God hymn writer said. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame that is anything that man can design but wholly lean on Jesus name. And so, the principal, Paul says, under which we operate in terms of salvation is a principle of faith. In response to grace. We look at the cross.

What we see God's righteousness on display as the penalty is being paid the ransom price.

We look at the cross we see God's grace on display. He does it all. Christ pays the price. And God moves toward us in grace giving us the gift all we can do is refuse or receive.

It's not a complicated thing to do.

Yet the Bible says most people will never do it. I'm talking about humbly coming before Christ and accepting the gift of salvation. He alone offers that's been John MacArthur's focus today and you will be again tomorrow as he continues looking at Easter through the eyes of God here on grace to you and friend. This would be a great study for family devotions you can get the MP3s free from our website to download Easter through the eyes of God, or to order it on CD.

Contact us today. The audio and transcripts of all of John's sermons are free to that's over 3500 messages covering every verse in the New Testament in lots of the old or to put these lessons in a friend's hands over the CDs when you call 855 grace or go to our website Jide TY.but again, John's entire sermon archive is free to download@TTY.keep in mind the sermon archive is just the beginning of what's available you can also read three different daily devotionals. You can watch episodes of the grace you television broadcast and you can listen to grace Street grace stream is a continuous airing of John's verse by verse teaching through the New Testament started in Matthew one go all the way through Revelation 22 on a continuous loop and we reset it about every two months grace stream and much more is available free of charge at for John MacArthur and the entire grace to you staff, I'm Phil Johnson encouraging you to be here tomorrow when John continues to help you prepare your heart for a worshipful Resurrection Sunday with another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time.

Grace to you

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