Yesterday I wrote about the perfect illumination and amplification of God’s attributes through the cross of Jesus. The contention is that the cross is the supreme demonstration of God’s attributes. Do you want to see God’s love? Look at the cross. Do you want to see holiness? Look at the cross. Do you want to see righteousness? Go to the cross.
In this post I want to continue on with the meditation and provoke worship from a slightly different angle. I want to “turn the diamond” of Calvary a bit that we might see and savor, as Piper would say.
Not only is the cross the supreme demonstration of God’s attributes but it is also the place where all of the divine attributes were operating in perfect harmony. And in my understanding of God’s attributes, the cross is the only way in which this could happen.
When we look at the cross we see the physical suffering of the Jesus. But, what caused him to sweat drops of blood in the garden? It was the cup. That cup of divine wrath that is due to sinners would be served to Christ. It is the impending wrath of God that makes the Savior cry out in prayer.
And upon the cross we see the wrath of God displayed. Reminiscent of Exodus the sky goes black in judgment. There on Calvary we see God’s righteous justice being uncorked and unloaded upon the Savior as he bears the sins of the world.
But, this is not all we see. At the same time that righteousness is on display, do we not also see mercy, love and goodness? And now, looking back, do we not also learn of grace? Furthermore, do we not see holiness, forgiveness, sovereignty, and love wed together through the chords of truth? The cross of Christ then is the ampi-theather which hosts the symphony of God’s attributes in perfect harmony.
In a devotional commentary on what we are talking about consider this song of praise from the inspired pen of the Psalmist looking forward through Kingdom lenses:
Psalm 85:10 Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
Indeed the cross is the beautiful harmonious symphony of all divine attributes. This really is where we draw from the infinite well of divine glory. See, without the cross of the perfect Savior God cannot be forgiving while also being holy and just. Sin is treason. The King may not turn a blind eye to sin and forget to punish. The righteous character of God demands punishment. However, God also says that he is a forgiving and merciful God.
How in the world can these attributes co-exist?
This is precisely where so many go wrong in thinking about God. Many today believe in a god whose love triumphs over his wrath, and since this works out pretty good for us (the enemies) there is not much further discussion or debate.
However, this cannot be! The God who does not and will not change does not compromise his eternally perfect character for the sake of sin-stained conscience and filthy track record.
No, God does not compromise his character, he amplifies it!
On the cross we have a simultaneous explosion of the divine perfections. This explosion is too wonderful for us to comprehend, to vast for us to fathom, and too heavenly for us to make up!
In fact, it is the preservation of God’s holiness and righteousness without compromising his love and forgiveness that distinguishes biblical Christianity from every other world religion. For it is here at the foot of the cross that God is both just and the justifier, he maintains his justice while also forgiving. There are not millions of religions in the world, but only two, biblical Christianity and everything else. Biblical Christianity maintains unflinching righteousness and justice while everyone else relies on a God who, at the end of the day, has a price and, whether we like it or not, is willing to be bribed by religious works.
Instead the cross declares to all mankind, with heavenly decibels, that the justice, holiness, love, mercy, and grace of God are all in tact. They have been marvelously displayed in perfect harmony upon Calvary’s tree as Jesus, the perfections of God incarnate offered himself as the sinner’s substitute, that God might be pleased to forgive sinners and exalt his glory.
Too many people today look at Jesus upon the cross like a spiritual piñata that God has set forth to take a beating so all of us good kids could get all the candy we deserve. No. No. No. Jesus Christ willingly hanging upon the wooden cross in utter humiliation while also maintaining and displaying all of his manifold perfections is the indictment upon all of our manifold imperfections. He is there because we are so bad. And, therefore, he is there because God is so good, holy, sovereign, wise, righteous, loving, and full of mercy.
So look at him and see everything you are not but, by grace, long to be. Love him because he is so different to you. Love him because he is so appealing to you. Love him because upon that cross heaven’s artillery was emptied upon him that the reservoir of mercy and grace might justly be opened to you.