Blood of Jesus Christ 9

By Dr. Derek Thomas

Theologians over the ages have debated and some very profound theologians have debated, including John Owen who later changed his mind, as to whether it was theoretically possible for God to forgive sinners by divine fiat--just to forgive them.  Having entered into covenant that this would be the way of salvation through the mediation of His Son, He was therefore bound to do it that way, but could He? 

Could He theoretically have just forgiven sinners?  There has been some diligence for suggesting that.  John Owen believed that in his younger days, and then changed his mind in a very profound way, and in a very, very solid way.  God is bound to save this way because of the holiness of His character, because of the integrity of His righteousness. 

The wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth.  That's the problem.  The wrath of God.  Now, of course, we're still living in the days of the likes of C.H. Dodge and others who thought the wrath of God was somehow or another beneath the integrity of Christianity that it didn't belong in Christianity, that God was wrathful and vengeful. 

I want a God of justice, don't you?  We lived in Oster, Northern Ireland, in days of terrible, terrible difficulties and trials.  I went to visit a widow of a policeman who'd been shot 39 times in his back.  She wanted justice.  She was ready to forgive, but she wanted justice.  For this puppetry of an evil deed, a murderer, to be pronounced not guilty and to walk free from this crime would be an absolute denial of justice. 

Talk to psychologists about coming to terms with certain issues, and it's still the issue of justice.  Oh, we give it fanciful names like closure.  It's justice that we want.  We want justice to be done and to be seen to be done, and to be done without partiality, to be done with equity. 

What is the cross?  Why did the holy Lamb of God have to suffer on the cross?  Because God put Him there.  God put His own Son there, the only Son that He had, the Son of His love, His only begotten Son.  And on that cross at Calvary, as our sins were reckoned to His account, He poured forth the just desserts of those sins.  We've never seen and never experienced the unmitigated love of God.  Any wrath that we have seen in this world is always mitigated, always partial, always restraint, always forbearance, but not on the cross. 

As the sun refused to shine on Him, The ground refused to hold Him, and He was hoisted up in the air on an instrument that speaks of covenant cursing.  He is the cursed one.  He is the defiler.  He is the transgressor.  He is the rebel.  He is the breaker of God's law.  He cries, not my Father, my Father, but my God, my God as though the consciousness of His native son ship have been entirely obliterated because He is in the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.  He is suffering the sorrows and pangs of Hell as the curse of God has come down upon Him, as God has pushed Him aside and abandoned Him, so that the warmth and fellowship of His Father's embrace can be felt no more.  He feels the anger of God's wrath upon His back.