I was told to stay home during Black Saturday.
I couldn’t play with my friends because it’s a day of mourning.
I was also told that I couldn’t laugh or even smile because “God is dead.”
I could understand the significance of the day for it is a good moment to reflect on what Christ suffered. But at the same time, I was thankful that someone explained to me through the Scriptures that the fact is, God’s not dead. He is more alive than you and I are. His death accomplished more than we can ever wrap our brains around.
It was at Calvary that a Divine Exchange took place:
He took all our sins and we took on His righteousness.
An unfair exchange indeed but a amazing one nonetheless.
Let me share 3 words that were so highfalutin and foreign to me that I began to appreciate even more as I studied them.
Expiation means the removal of our guilt and sin. Jesus’ death removes (expiates) our sin and guilt. What we feel as guilt coupled with the reality of it are taken away from us and placed on Christ who discharged it by his death on the cross.
John 1:29 calls Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
Isaiah 53:6 says, “The Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on him.”
While expiation refers to the removal of our sins, propitiation is the removal of God’s wrath towards us because of sin.
Jesus died on our place to remove the wrath of God that was to be poured out upon us. This was something we deserved for we have offended a holy and righteous God.
But because of His love, He poured all His wrath on His Son at Calvary. He removes His wrath and turns it into favor.
Hebrews 2:17 tells us that Christ made “propitiation for the sins of the people.”
1 John 4:10 tells us that “this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
The wrath we deserve, Jesus took upon Himself so we don’t suffer its consequences.
While expiation is the removal of our guilt and sin, and propitiation is the removal of God’s wrath, reconciliation is the removal of our alienation from God.
Sin separates us from God. There is a huge wall that divides when we sin against God. But Jesus’ death removed this wall of alienation and, therefore, reconciling us back to God.
Romans 5:10-11 tells us “For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved by His life.”
All these took place when Jesus suffered, was crucified, died and was buried.
He died so we can have life.
He was wounded so we can be healed.
He was punished so we can be forgiven.
He endured rejection so that we can be accepted by the holy and righteous God.
He was cut off so that we may be joined to the Father.
As the Hebrew writer declares, how great a salvation we have!
Black Saturday is not at all that dark. In fact, it was something necessary for Him to go through so that we can enjoy what we have today.
Rejoice! He is not dead. He is alive. And what He accomplished, He did for you and for me so that we can enjoy a relationship with Him!