October 19, 2017

Grace Brings Justice and Mercy

John 19:28-30

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

—  John 19:30

For many people, the term “ground zero” brings to mind a specific time and place that marks a beginning. For Christians, our ground zero was about 2,000 years ago on a hill outside Jerusalem.

Because he is holy, God had to punish sin. On the cross where Jesus died, God poured out his full wrath against human rebellion. There his justice was satisfied through a sacrifice. The cosmic paradox of the cross, however, is that in the moment of God’s greatest anger against sin, we also see his supreme act of love and grace. At the cross, we see that the Father gave his only Son to save us, though we were the ones who deserved to die.

And the Father’s sacrifice of his Son is only half of the grace we see at Calvary. Jesus wasn’t forced to be a sacrifice for ­human sin; he freely chose to offer himself to pay the price for our sin. The death sentence he endured was ours, but he willingly died for us.

Not a single one of us could have endured God’s wrath for our sin. Nor could any one of us have chosen to hang on the cross for all sinners. At Calvary, our ground zero, we see the immeasurable depths of salvation by grace alone.

May the love of God the Father and the grace of Jesus Christ shape all we do today.

O Father, at the cross we see your wrath poured out against our sin. Thank you, Jesus, for taking our place. May we live for you in all we do, showing your grace and mercy and sharing your love and good news everywhere. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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