Tag Archives: Atonement

“The kingdom of God comes in power, but the power of the gospel is Christ crucified” by Jeremy Treat

“The thief on the cross looked at the man from Nazareth being crucified next to him and said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’ (Luke 23:42). Somehow this man conceived of the crucified Jesus as ruling over a kingdom.

While the title on Christ’s cross—’The King of the Jews’—makes explicit that there is a connection between the kingdom and the cross, perhaps the crown of thorns provides the best image for explaining how they relate. This is not, after all, the first time that thorns have shown up in the story.

Adam was to be a servant-king in the garden, but because he did not exercise dominion over the ground and the animals, the serpent ruled over him and the ground was cursed by God. Thorns first appear as a direct result and manifestation of the curse (Gen 3:17–18).

Jesus comes as the last Adam, the faithful servant-king who not only fulfills Adam’s commission of ruling over the earth but removes the curse by taking it onto Himself. As Jesus wore the crown of thorns, He bore the curse of God. He is the ‘[seed] of a woman’ who crushed Satan with a bruised heel (Gen 3:15).

He is the seed of Abraham who ‘redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us . . . so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles’ (Gal 3:13–14). The thorns, which were a sign of the curse and defeat of Adam, are paradoxically transformed into a sign of the kingship and victory of Jesus.

As Augustine said, the crown of thorns is a symbol that ‘the kingdom which was not of this world overcame that proud world, not by the ferocity of fighting, but by the humility of suffering.’

Jesus is the king who reigns by bearing the curse of the people whom He so loves. The connection between the cross and the curse, however, does reveal that the title given to Jesus during his crucifixion—’The King of the Jews’—was only partially correct.

Inasmuch as the task of the Jews was to bring God’s blessing to all the earth (Gen 12:3) and thereby reverse the curse of sin in Genesis 3–11, Jesus—the Jewish Messiah—was claiming His throne not only over Israel but over all the earth. God accomplished His mission of restoring His creation through Jesus as He was enthroned as king on the cross.

The kingdom of God comes in power, but the power of the gospel is Christ crucified.”

–Jeremy R. Treat, The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014), 252-253.

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“The priceless merit of His sufferings” by J.C. Ryle

“We must not be content with a vague general belief, that Christ’s sufferings on the cross were vicarious. We are intended to see this truth in every part of His passion.

We may follow Him all through, from the bar of Pilate, to the minute of His death, and see Him at every step as our mighty Substitute, our Representative, our Head, our Surety, our Proxy, the Divine Friend who undertook to stand in our stead, and by the priceless merit of His sufferings, to purchase our redemption.

Was He scourged? It was that ‘through His stripes we might be healed.’

Was He condemned, though innocent? It was that we might be acquitted though guilty.

Did He wear a crown of thorns? It was that we might wear the crown of glory.

Was He stripped of His raiment? It was that we might be clothed in everlasting righteousness.

Was He mocked and reviled? It was that we might be honored and blessed.

Was He reckoned a malefactor, and numbered among transgressors? It was that we might be reckoned innocent, and justified from all sin.

Was He declared unable to save Himself? It was that He might be able to save others to the uttermost.

Did He die at last, and that the most painful and disgraceful of deaths? It was that we might live forevermore, and be exalted to the highest glory.

Let us ponder these things well. They are worth remembering.”

–J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on Matthew (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1856/2012), 314. Ryle is commenting on Matthew 27:45-56.

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“Let us delight in the knowledge of Christ crucified” by Stephen Charnock

“Let us delight in the knowledge of Christ crucified, and be often in the thoughts and study of Him. Study Christ, not only as living, but dying; not as breathing in our air, but suffering in our stead; know Him as a victim, which is the way to know Him as a conqueror.

Christ as crucified is the great object of faith. All the passages of His life, from His nativity to His death, are passed over in the Creed without reciting, because, though they are things to be believed, yet the belief of them is not sufficient without the belief of the cross: in that alone was our redemption wrought.

Had He only lived, He had not been a Saviour. If our faith stop in His life, and do not fasten upon His blood, it will not be a justifying faith.

His miracles, which prepared the world for His doctrine, His holiness, which fitted Himself for His suffering, had been insufficient for as without the addition of the cross.

Without the cross, we had been under the demerit of our crimes, the venom of our natures, the slavery of our sins, and the tyranny of the devil; without the cross, we should forever have had God for our enemy, and Satan for our executioner; without the cross, we had lain groaning under the punishment of our transgressions, and despaired of any smile from heaven.

It was this death which as a sacrifice appeased God, and as a price redeemed us. Nothing is so strong to encourage us, nothing so powerful to purify us. How can we be without thinking of it!

The world we live in had fallen upon our heads, had it not been upheld by the pillar of the cross, had not Christ stepped in and promised a satisfaction for the sin of man.

By this all things consist. Not a blessing we enjoy but may put us in mind of it. They were all forfeited by our sins, but merited by his precious blood.

If we study it well, we shall be sensible how God hated sin and loved a world; how much he would part with to restore a fallen creature. He showed an irresistible love to us.”

–Stephen Charnock, “The Knowledge of Christ Crucified,” The Works of Stephen Charnock, Volume 4 (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1865/2010), 4: 504.

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“The one able to ascend is the Adam-like high priest, with blood, on the Day of Atonement” by L. Michael Morales

“The tabernacle was not merely the earthly house of God, but the way to God– the way of YHWH. Now, keeping in mind the parallels between the garden of Eden and the tabernacle, one may discern readily how the entrance into the holy of holies, ‘the archetypal priestly act,’ comprised a liturgical drama: the annual re-entry into the garden of Eden.

On the Day of Atonement Adam’s eastward expulsion from the garden of Eden was reversed as the high priest, a cultic Adam, ascended westward through the cherubim-woven veil and into the summit of the cultic mountain of God.

At the heart of the Pentateuch, we find an answer to the question Who shall ascend into the mountain of YHWH? The one able to ascend is the Adam-like high priest, with blood, on the Day of Atonement.

This is the way YHWH has opened for humanity to dwell in His Presence. Within the narrative progression, then, atonement, along with its elements of purification and ransom, is that which enables the return to YHWH God, a reversal of Eden’s expulsion.”

–L. Michael Morales, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?: A Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus (ed. D. A. Carson; vol. 37; New Studies in Biblical Theology; Downers Grove, IL; England: InterVarsity Press; Apollos, 2015), 176-177.

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“Believe Him to be a great Saviour of great sinners” by Charles Spurgeon

“Jesus loves to rescue sinners from going down into the pit.

He comes to us full of tenderness, with tears in His eyes, with mercy in His hands, and with love in His heart.

Believe Him to be a great Saviour of great sinners.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Believing Thief,” Majesty In Misery, Volume 3: Calvary’s Mournful Mountain (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2005), 263. (MTPS, 35: 190)

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“Prone as I am to wander, He keeps me from wandering quite away” by John Newton

“One trial abides with me: a body of sin and death, an inward principle of evil, which renders all I do defective and defiled.

But even here I find cause for thankfulness, for with such a heart as I have, my sad story would soon be much worse if the Lord were not my keeper.

By this I may know that He favours me, since weak and variable as I am in myself, and powerful and numerous as my enemies are, they have not yet prevailed against me.

And I am admitted to a throne of grace, I have an Advocate with the Father. And such is the power, care, and compassion of my great Shepherd that, prone as I am to wander, He keeps me from wandering quite away.

When I am wounded, He heals me.

When I faint, He revives me again.”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 170.

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“I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour” by John Newton

“Near the end, William Jay visited his friend Newton, who was then barely able to speak.

But Newton said: ‘My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things: that I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.'”

–John Newton, Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr., Ed. Grant Gordon (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2009), 401.

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