By Jerry Hodge
The gospel, the redeeming news of Christ, offers unparalleled hope to fallen mankind. Scripture teaches us that because Christ was born as a man, yet at the same time fully God, lived a life free from sin, was crucified, buried, and resurrected, man can rejoice in Christ’s act of substitution. Romans 5 tells us that we all have inherited Adam’s sin and have fallen. Not only that, we have willfully sinned as well. Apart from Christ, we all love sin and want to celebrate it. Yet, some are redeemed by the work of one like Adam, Christ. Because Christ has come and purchased pardon for sinners and appeased the wrath of God by fully taking on the punishment for sin, man can rejoice at the prospect of enjoying God in all his glory, forever. However, who said that God couldn’t just pass over sins. He is God right? Couldn’t he have just waved his hand and pardoned all?
Of course the prospect of God just ‘pardoning’ sins is actually ludicrous. Why? Scripture, while it teaches us that redemption is found in Christ, also teaches that God is just. Therefore, God could not just pass over sins. The law of God states that punishment follows after those who break the law, damnation follows depravity, and discipline follows indiscretions. If God were to merely pass over sins, all of creation would cry out, “Injustice, wrong, corruption!” So, the same law that condemns mankind must be appeased by the one who first penned it. Because of this law, one must recognize that the core principal of the gospel is that Christ is meriting what man couldn’t. When God placed Adam in the garden, he gave him one rule. Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you keep the law, you will live forever. If you don’t, you will die. Adam failed to merit righteousness and life. However, he achieved in meriting death and condemnation for all of mankind. Therefore, Christ had to come and merit what Adam failed to earn. Christ had to come and fulfill the law that Adam failed to uphold. The glory of the gospel is not merely that Christ died and was resurrected. The glory of the gospel is the state in which Christ died and why he could be resurrected.
Christ merited righteousness and life. The law still demanded perfection of the Son of God. Thus, because Christ succeeded in fulfilling the obligation of the law, when Christ died, the grave couldn’t hold him. Pray you, why could the grave not hold Christ? Because he did not merit death! So, rejoice dear Christian. You stand clothed in a robe of righteousness that wasn’t just given to Christ. He earned the righteousness so that he might give it to you. He earned life that he might impart it to you. Rejoice, dear Christian, in the gospel because Christ has fulfilled the law.
- Jerry Hodge is a guest contributor at Elect Exiles and a student at Baylor University.