If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:10
God is not a kindly grandfather or a cosmic Santa Claus who just gives out gifts and who is really not much concerned with anything else.
No—He is holy, and He is righteous. So humans, because of our sin, are alienated from God. A hostility exists between humanity and our Creator. This is not a message that you hear very often, and it’s certainly not very palatable. But God doesn’t overlook that hostility. He never has, and He never will. Scripture is very clear on God’s disposition towards sin. Indeed, Paul describes human beings as God’s enemies, making clear that sin separates us from God. Paul’s language also echoes the psalmist’s words, which say of God, “You hate all evildoers” (Psalm 5:5)—a message that is neither pleasant to read nor easy to understand at first glance.
Where, then, is our hope? How can we ever be reconciled to God? How can God punish sin as it deserves yet still pardon sinners?
O loving wisdom of our God!
When all was sin and shame,
A second Adam to the fight
And to the rescue came.
Jesus, by His death on the cross, satisfied God’s justice. He took upon Himself both our obligation to perfectly obey God’s law and our liability for failing to do so. He then satisfied our obligation through His sinless life and canceled our liability by His sacrificial death upon the cross. When our alienation from God resulted in God’s hatred towards our sinful existence, He did not abandon us. Rather, God came and reconciled us through His Son. If this does not sound like the most incredible news of all, we have not properly understood one of the seriousness of our sin, or the reality of His judgment, or the magnitude of our salvation.
For those of us who have been Christians for a while, it is easy for familiarity to breed, if not contempt, then complacency. But the death of Christ is not just the entry point of our faith; it is our faith. So today, pause to see the second Adam, the perfect human, succeeding where the first Adam failed and defeating the devil, reversing the effects of the fall. This is the gospel. Your sins have been pardoned. You have been rescued. You are now a friend where once you were an enemy. Christ is now your confidence, your peace, and your life.
The reality of being in Christ is not a trivial matter; it is an amazing guarantee. When we were powerless in the face of sin, Christ’s power set us free. When we could not afford a debt so great, He bore it on the tree (1 Peter 2:24). You are now seated with Him in the heavens. Your greatest success today will not lift you higher than He has already lifted you; nor can your greatest struggle or failure pull you down from there.
1 John H. Newman, “The Dream of Gerontius” (1865).
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotional by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, The Good Book Company.