Today we continue our project of reading through John Stott’s The Cross of Christ. We’ve come now to chapter 8, “The Revelation of God,” where Stott explains that the achievement of Christ’s cross must be seen in terms of revelation as well as salvation. “To borrow some current jargon, it was a ‘relevatory’ as well as a ‘salvific’ event. For through what God did there for the world he was also speaking to the world. Just as human beings disclose their character in their actions, so God has showed himself to us in the death of his Son.” The purpose of this chapter is to show how the cross was a word as well as a work, and then to listen attentively.
The Revelation of God
Let me share a just few choice quotes from this chapter:
No one can now accuse God of condoning evil and so of moral indifference or injustice. The cross demonstrates with equal vividness both his justice in judging sin and his mercy in justifying the sinner. For now, as a result of the propitatory death of his Son, God can be ‘just and the justifier’ of those who believe in him. He is able to bestow a righteous status on the unrighteous, without compromising his own righteousness.
The value of a love-gift is assessed both by what it costs the giver and by the degree to which the recipient may be held to deserve it. A young man who is in love, for example, will give his beloved expensive presents, often beyond what he can afford, as symbols of his self-giving love, because he believes she deserves them, and more. Jacob served seven years for Rachel because of his love for her. But God in giving his Son gave himself to die for his enemies. He gave everything for those who deserved nothing from him. “And that is God’s own proof of his love toward us” (Rom. 5:8).
When we look at the cross we see the justice, love, wisdom and power of God. It is not easy to decide which is the most luminously revealed, whether the justice of God in judging sin, or the love of God in bearing the judgment in our place, or the wisdom of God in perfectly combining the two, or the power of God in saving those who believe. For the cross is equally an act, and therefore a demonstration, of God’s justice, love, wisdom and power. The cross assures us that this God is the reality within, behind and beyond the universe.
For next week please read chapter 9, “The Conquest of Evil.”
The purpose of this program is to read these books together. If you have something to say, whether a comment or criticism or question, feel free to use the comment section for that purpose.