In our place, Christ is both “covenant-breaker” and “covenant-keeper”–He endured the punishment we deserved and secured the righteousness we could never obtain.
“God requires two things of us: punishment for our sins and perfection in our lives. Our sins must be punished, and our lives must be righteous. But we cannot bear our own punishment (Ps. 49:7-8), and we cannot provide our own righteousness. ‘None righteous; no, not one (Rom. 3:10).
“Therefore, God, out of his immeasurable love for us, provided his own Son to do both. Christ bears our punishment, and Christ performs our righteousness. And when we receive Christ (John 1:12), all of his punishment and all of his righteousness is counted as ours (Rom. 4:4-6; 5:1, 19; 8:1; 10:4; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 3:8-9).”
Praise God for the sin-bearing death of Christ, who gave His life so that we might obtain ours!
 John Piper, This Momentary Marriage (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009), 46.
In the last several weeks, I have felt particularly needy for God’s mercy and grace–and I have found Him abundantly faithful toward me, even though I am so undeserving. Here’s a song to celebrate the God that I love…
“This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight.”
1 Corinthians 2:2
“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
We see the greatest display of God’s kindness, justice, and righteousness in the cross of Christ. All of the attributes by which God describes Himself in Exodus 34:5-7 are seen most clearly in the crucifixion! No wonder Paul sought to know nothing except Christ Jesus and Him crucified–it is through the person and work of Christ that we see the wonder and beauty and terrifying power of the God of grace and justice and mercy and wrath!
“There exists not a more undoubted evidence of a renewed nature than prayer. The absence of it is the unmistakable evidence of death, its existence a palpable and positive evidence of life. Prayer is the most vital, spiritual, and pure emanation of the indwelling of the Spirit in the soul… Prayer is too holy and spiritual an exercise for any but the holy ones. None prostrate themselves at the mercyseat but the poor in spirit–the self-abhorring–Christ-desiring! To them, this spot is the dearest in the universe.“
 Octavius Winslow, “The Prayers of Christ’s Saints” (1808-1878)–(An excerpt from “The Preciousness of Prayer” in The Precious Things of God.)
Disclaimer: This illustration is heart-wrenchingly emotional and is not appropriate for children. It is written hypothetically to make a point and is not intended to cause emotional pain. If you experienced the horrible tragedy of rape, then you may not want to read this post.
About a year ago, my pastor referred to ongoing sin in the believer’s life as being similar to the act of a rape victim returning to the rapist in order that he might ravish her once again.
He told a heart-gripping, hypothetical story of a woman who was being grievously raped and whose husband had died in the course of rescuing her from the rapist. The emotions of such a violation would have been so deeply-inflicted that only the few who have experienced such terror could actually know its pain. The emotional scars would far outlast the physical pain and heartache. The emotional pain of the actual rape would be horrific. Yet, the tragedy would be even more compounded with the fact that her loving husband had given his life in order to save hers. The man who loved her above his own life died to save her from an enemy who sought only to abuse her and leave her for dead.
Imagine, if you will, that the rescued woman who had been senselessly raped and just lost her husband, returns to her rapist and invites him to continue taking advantage of her. That is unimaginable that a woman who had thus been used against her will would ever return to such a man in order that he would repeat such great evil.
Now imagine the reality, that Christ the ultimate Husband has given His life to rescue His Bride who had been ravaged by Satan and suffered the painful, life-changing effects of sin. What might it be like for Christ to see His bride to return to her rapist and invite such an enemy to once again to cause her such harm? The mere thought is unnerving and sickening to any sound human being. Would not this been unimaginable–even in the world’s eyes–that one would return to a rapist after being set free from his destructive, selfish power? Even worse, to return to such a villain who not only ravaged her against her will, but took the life of her beloved husband who loved her with a selfless, protective and absolutely pure love.
It’s amazing how we justify sin and take it rather casually and lightly. When we cling to former sins, we are in a sense, inviting the rapist into our homes to have his way with us again. Yet, Christ our Savior has died in order to set us free that we might become free to love and serve Him with increasing purity and joy.