And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”…And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed His last.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  (Mark 15:33-34,37-38)

This is my Lord who suffered all He did for me.  It was He who was scourged at the order of Pilate, who was clothed in a purple cloak and crowned with a crown of thorns, who was stricken with a reed, spat upon, and then crucified.  This was my Lord who continues to be my Lord and will be through all eternity.

The awful truth, which disturbs me beyond imagination, is that it was for me that He suffered all these things.  I caused Him to be humiliated and to be put to a horrible, painful death.  Yes, Jesus died for me.

This reality must be faced by each of us on the most personal and intimate basis.  I put Him there.  He died for me — not just suffered for me.  He died for me — not some amorphous, vague death; but a death defined, clear, targeted.  He died for me.  It is only when we come to understand this personal nature of His death that we can begin to understand the awesomeness of the gospel message:  Christ died for sinful people — He died for me.  Let it sink in — for me!

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith.  (Romans 3:23-25a)

Why did Jesus die for me?  Paul answers this question.  He died in order to make my redemption possible.  He died to purchase me with the price of His own blood.  He died to be the propitiation — the atoning sacrifice for my sin.  By being this sacrifice, He took my sin and guilt upon Himself and bore the punishment that I deserved.  He suffered the very wrath of God which I rightly deserved, which is why He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me?”  He was forsaken by HIs Father, separated from Him with whom He had been in a perfect relationship with for all eternity  — a truth too deep to ever begin to fathom.  He bore the pains of hell, the severe judgment of God, yes, God’s terrifying wrath which is poured out because of sins.

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us — for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)

I must understand that Christ became a curse for me — that is, He was separated, fellowship was broken, favor and acceptance was lost — from whom?  From His Father!  That was the forsakenness He experienced.  It was real, a real separation, a curse.

For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. (II Corinthians 5:21)

Jesus was totally sinless, innocent and absolute pure.  For my sake the Father made Him to be sin.  Jesus became my sins — all my sins my idolatry, my graven images, my misuse of HIs name, my violations of the Sabbath Day, my disrespect for the authority figures in my life (father and mother), the murder I have committed in my heart through anger and bitterness, the lust I have had, the thievery I have committed, the many times I have borne false witness, and yes, my covetousness.  There they are — all ten  mod them (Exodus 20:1-17).  And my failure to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and my similar failure to love my neighbor as myself — all of these and more.  I am guilty.  I have fallen short of the glory of God.  BUT Jesus took all my sin, not some of it, not most of it, all of it and died in order for me to become the very righteousness of God!

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:1-2)

The basis of our justification (God granting us pardon for our sin and guilt and His imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us) is the propitiatory work of Jesus.  Through this I  now have peace with God.  I am right with Him; I am a “justified sinner” (to borrow the words of a friend).  I am no longer an enemy; I am no longer helpless.  I am reconciled to God.  I am at peace with God and God is at peace with me.

It is now through Jesus that I have obtained access by faith into this amazing grace in which I stand.  I am secure; I am standing in this grace, fully accepted, fully loved, complete, blameless and without blemish.

Now I can rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  I have a taste of that glory now.  One day I will fully experience God’s glory and my own glorification.

Here I stand firmly in the grace of God.  Here I stand fully forgiven and absolutely righteous.  A “justified sinner!”  All this is possible through the death of my Savior.

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