The Price and the Penalty

Philippians 2:5-11, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed int he form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself be becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed upon Him the name which is above very name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow…..and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

We cannot understand the depths of Christ’s love, the broad expanse of His grace, and the complete and utter humility of  Jesus Christ that He would even think to die for me, let alone rise again and conquer death on my behalf. The absolute profoundness of His majesty and glory, compared with the absolute depravity and putrid rebellion of my heart, demands that He have nothing to do with me except wrath, punishment, and destruction. It should be impossible for me to attain life…. except for Christ’s love. His love must indeed be amazing, overwhelming, and complete if He would be willing to suffer an agonizing and excruciating death for a worthless sinner like me. My perverted sinful nature deserves wrath. It deserves none of the mercy of the Father….

I, among all people, am a sinner. All of us have rebelled against God, disobeyed, done nothing but evil. Together we “have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.” No one is a good person! We are all evil, depraved, perverted, and desperately sick in the very core of our beings. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick.” Since the very day that I was born, I have rebelled against God, disobeyed His commands. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.” Thus, rather than grace, I deserve death and eternal punishment. The price and the penalty for my disobedience to God’s commands is death. “For the wages of sin is death….” It should be impossible for me to attain life!

Yet….what have we received? I’ll tell you what we have received – Jesus Christ!

In his book The Case for Christ, Lee Strobel accurately describes the agony of Christ’s death on the cross. It begins with the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus was anticipating the horrific tortures of His coming death. The psychological stress of the impending agonies was already throwing his body into shock, causing small blood vessels in His body to break down. His sweat was mingled with blood. Then He would be flogged, the number of blows increasing at the whim of the soldier delivering them over his entire back and legs. The braided leather and metal whips would incur deep bruises which would break open with continual beating, these in conjunction with spikes which would mercilessly rip and tear his flesh while lacerating his muscles and tendons down to the bone. Following, His wrists and ankles would be nailed to the cross with coarse seven-inch long nails, each piercing and crushing the main nerve of each limb, causing extreme pain to shoot through His entire body. Finally, the literally unbearable death of the cross would slowly kill Him, suffocating Him even as His arms were dislocated, tearing His wrists to shreds, wearing His ankles through, and eventually claiming His life by way of cardiac arrest.

I ask you, do we know His death?! When we have only ever disobeyed the Father, when we have done nothing but dishonor this Man of Sorrows, when we are as guilty of His death as the hypocritical Jewish authorities, can we say that we deserve this sacrifice?! We deserved the death, each one of us, in all of its horrors. The actual word “excruciating” was invented, meaning “out of the cross” because the pain was so incredible……and we deserve it all. It should be impossible for us to live! And yet what have we received? Jesus Christ! That He would sacrifice His perfect life in this manner, as a vicar for us sinful wretches, should bring us all to our knees in humiliation and in surrender to Him.

What great love the Father must have! That when it should have been impossible for us to live, He sent His son Jesus Christ to accomplish the impossible. We have this hope, That Jesus Christ has paid the price and the penalty in our stead, risen again from the grave, conquering death and sin! He holds out to us His eternal life procured by the killing of death. Through His sacrifice and resurrection we are made alive if we will choose to surrender our lives to Him through repentance and turning away from sin. Will we now honor Him for His death and resurrection? Will we live a life a complete service to Him, willing to die for Him because He first sacrificed Himself for us?

3 Responses to “The Price and the Penalty”
  1. alwayzhis says:

    Just found your blog. I like this post very much! With utter humility and overwhelming thanks I fall before the King of Kings! Wherever He leads me, I will follow…asking for His strength because I can not do “anything without Him” except trust and obey!

  2. A very moving post… thanks for sharing and inspiring!!

  3. sim says:

    Great blog! may God continue to use you, be blessed 🙂

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