Blood of Jesus Christ 6

By Dr. Derek Thomas

What is the ground of justification?  How is it possible for God to justify the sinner and remain righteous?  That's a predicament, isn't it?  That's a problem.  You notice in Romans chapter 4, verse 5, how strikingly Paul puts it, "and to the one who does not work, but trusts Him who justifies the ungodly."   He justifies not nice people.  It's not Presbyterians and Baptists that He justifies.  It's not good church going folk from the southern state of Mississippi who is so wrapped up about their manners.  Their manners are a burden to them by doing things in a certain way.  No, God justifies the ungodly.  He justifies the wicked.  He justifies those who are rebels against God. 

And how is that possible?  Because as he will go on to say in chapter 5, verse 6, Christ died for the ungodly.  He justifies the ungodly because Christ died for the ungodly.  His answer, you see, is to point to the cross, the cross of Jesus Christ as the touchstone of justification.  It's the great question in all the current discussions on justification and the cross and the blood of Jesus and the offense that some evangelicals seem to have about the hymns we sing.  There is a fountain filled with blood.  That's an NC-17 rated movie if ever there was one.  You wouldn't want to take little children to see that image. 

I grew up in a farm on West Wales, a sheep farm.  I know all about killing sheep for food.  Roast lamb is one of my favorite dishes.  I love it.  I must have eaten roast lamb as a child at least once a week with mint sauce and roast potatoes and a little sprig of rosemary.  I married Rosemary.  My mother is called Mary Rose. 

I only went once to an Abattoir, which is a fancy French word for a slaughter house, and you may have your own word for it, but you know what I'm talking about.  I only went one time, and it was enough.  For you deer hunters, you may cut now because you're into all of that.  I couldn't do that to save my life.  I have no problems with you doing it.  I just don't want to see it.  I want my meats wrapped in cellophane and when I tip up the plastic container, I don't want to see blood.  I want it to be dry.  It's fine with me.  I eat my meat roasted well. 

This is the question that we have to ask.  Why did Jesus have to die?  Why did He have to die?  Why did He have to die by crucifixion?  Couldn't He have died like this dear Godly woman, Tillie, or whatever her name was?  Couldn't have He died in His 90th year in His bed like Calvin, speaking to his friends, giving last words of great import and scribes taking down his last words?  Why couldn't He have died in that way?  Why does He have to shed His blood in a violent execution?