Our High King

I've been thinking a lot about the meaning of the cross over the last couple of months. Spurred on by messages given at the Together for the Gospel conference as well as subsequent conversations with friends, I've been challenged to view the cross as something sweet in and of itself. Not as an object of worship or reverance, but for what it stands for - something much greater than just death.

The cross is a cosmic crossroad. It is at the cross that God's love met God's wrath most powerfully. There was no more glorifying and loving thing that God could do on that day than to pour out his wrath upon his Son. And there is no greater obedience and trust and love for the Father than when Jesus cried out "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" The cross is no form of abuse. As Packer writes in In My Place Condemned He Stood, "[T]he three distinct persons within the divine unity - the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit - always work inseparably together, as in creation, so in providence and in every aspect of the work of redemption...[A]ll this was planned by the holy Three in their eternal solidarity of mutual love...[T]he Father's central purpose in it all was and is to glorify and exalt the Son as Savior and Head of a new humanity," [emphasis mine]. Redemption was planned from eternity past in order to glorify the Son as Savior and the Father through the Son.

What's more (and the aspect that really has me excited), the cross itself is not a means to an end when it comes to God revealing his character. It is the end. In all of human history, there was never intended to be and will never be again a more magnificent display of God's glory and the love of Father for Son and Son for Father than on the cross. The cross is the point to look to see God's glory most fully displayed. We look nowhere else. Do you want to see God's magnificent glory? Look to the cross. Though his glory is manifested in other ways, the cross is the summation and capstone and end and greatest display of God's glory. As my friend Chris McGarvey wrote in an e-mail,

"The Fall was ordained by God because the Cross was ordained by God because the purpose of God in creation (and new creation – which was also ordained from before the foundations of the world) was the fullness of the beauty of God made visible, magnified, and thus able to be apprehended and enjoyed in its full range. This is the most loving purpose conceivable. For God to communicate and translate his holiness to us his creatures, he must make it visible."

And it was made visible that day on calvary. Christ hung on a cross. God poured out his wrath. Yes, wrath was not averted for us. It was put on Christ, and he felt every bit of it to the depth of his soul. Our victory is really Christ's victory, and it has been won once and for all. So never turn your eyes from the cross, because if (or more likely when) we do, we lose sight of the greatest display of God's glory ever put forth upon the earth. "Still be my vision, O Ruler of All."

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