Recently, I posted a comment on an atheist’s blog asking for his thoughts on Jesus Christ.  One reads so much about their disbelief in God, but never anything about His Son.  As we remember His one, holy and perfect sacrifice, this is the response I received from another atheist. I hope they do not mind my borrowing this comment from reader maryhelena. What she says puts things into perspective for me from their point of view, and I hope it will for you, too:

churchmouse: But, what do you make of Jesus Christ — true God and true man?

Or delusion?

Step one for the atheist – ditch theism – the great ‘god delusion’

Step two for the atheist – ditch JC – the great ‘historical delusion’ …

Seriously, though, there cannot be any forward movement towards humanism while that figure on the cross is believed to be the very epitome of what it means to be human – the seat and the wellspring of Christian morality. This final roadblock to a humanist world needs to be bulldozed to the only place where it can have any rational expression – as a symbol of intellectual evolution. Mind and Matter – the two elements of our humanity – function according to two very different codes – one moral and the other amoral.

Meanwhile, today, many of us will spend time in prayer, at church or at home reading the scriptural account of the Crucifixion.

Recently, I came across an apposite sermon from the Revd P. G. Mathew of Grace Valley Christian Center in Davis, California.  In ‘The Wondrous Cross’, Mr Mathew explains the significance of the Cross and of Jesus’s perfect obedience to His Father.  Please find a few minutes to read it in full.  Meanwhile, here are a few excerpts (emphases mine), which considers Romans 8:32:

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

The wondrous cross of Christ is the theme of Romans 8:32. Paul declared that the preaching of the cross is “foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18). When he was in Corinth, he says he “resolved to know nothing except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). To the Galatians he says, “Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified” (Gal. 3:1).

Without the gospel of the cross, there is no forgiveness of sins. Paul tells us, “May I never glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through which the world is crucified to me and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14). Jesus himself foretold, “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me,” that is, “I will save them from all their sins” (John 12:32). May we get out of the mud of gloom, misery, depression, and self-justification, and be freed as we look to the wondrous cross …

In Romans 8:32 Paul puts forward a second unanswerable question to assure us that God’s infinite love toward his elect shall never diminish. It remains constant, from eternity past to eternity future. The apostle provides the most powerful argument he can for this assurance. We must therefore know this argument from the wondrous cross and meditate on it. Then we too can live and die for the glory of God in triumph …

This argument is the ground of all our confidence in life and in death. Before he died [by beheading], Paul said, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6–8) …

We must understand the significance of Paul’s usage of “his own Son.” Paul used this phrase earlier: “For what the law was powerless to do, God did by sending his own Son” (Rom. 8:3). We are adopted sons by grace, but God did not spare his own Son, his one and only Son by nature, the second person of the holy Trinity. He is the beloved Son, with whom the Father was well pleased.

Theological liberals do not believe Jesus is God’s own Son. For them, Jesus was a mere man, the son of Joseph and Mary by natural generation, a sinner who thought he was God. They would say, “Jesus was a moral teacher, a reformer, a revolutionary, the first Marxist, a friend of the poor and the downtrodden, and a community organizer. He was a good man, though somewhat deluded. And he died and never rose again”

But Jesus is not a mere man; he is God incarnate. John writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . . The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. . . . No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:1, 14, 18). Thomas finally confessed and said to Jesus, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28) …

The Father did not spare the only Son of his bosom. Paul is reflecting on Gen. 22:12-13, which speaks of the sacrifice of Isaac when God tested Abraham’s love. It is not enough for us to profess love for God; that love must be tested, and God himself does it. So God demanded that Abraham prove his love by sacrificing his son, his only son, his beloved son Isaac—not Ishmael, but Isaac, the son of promise through whom nations and kings were to come, and through whom the Messiah was eventually to come. And in reality, Abraham did not spare his son. It was God who intervened and spared Isaac from instant execution …

Perfect justice will come only when Christ comes again to judge the living and the dead. But to satisfy the justice of God, the Father did not spare his own Son. No other substitute could make atonement for the sins of the whole world. Isaac was spared because his death could not atone his own sin, let alone the sins of the world. No rams or bulls or any other animals can atone our sins. The Hebrews writer declares, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). Yet he then states, “It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sin” (Heb. 10:4). Not even the holy angel Gabriel can atone for our sins. Whose blood, then, can atone our sins?

We needed the incarnate Son of God to atone our sins. His blood alone avails. So the Father loved us so much that he did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us on the cross …

On the cross, Jesus experienced the hell of our death, which is the wages of sin. God the Father so loved us that he gave up his own Son to such a death to save us. Love gives the best, the most precious. The Father’s best was his one and only Son. He gave him up to save us through his substitutionary death. The cross of Christ preaches God’s eternal, undying, never-failing love to us. Our love for God may fail, but the Father’s love never fails …

The cross reveals the wisdom of God. By wisdom, God uses the best means to achieve his best goal. The best means to achieve our redemption was the death of his Son on the cross. This brings greater glory to God. The cross is foolishness, a stumbling block, and an offense to those who are perishing. But to us who are being saved, it reveals the power, wisdom, and surpassing love of God. So we glory in the wondrous cross! It is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles, but to us it is life eternal …

Christ, who obeyed the Father perfectly in life and death, prayed three times that the Father would remove the cup of his wrath from him. But finally he said, “Yet not my will but thine be done.” It was God’s will to spare us by crucifying his own Son. This purpose of God was unchangeable. Yet Christ’s death was not the death of a martyr, for not only is Jesus true man, but he is also very God. Christ was without sin, but he died for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we sinners might become nothing less than the righteousness of God in him (2 Cor. 5:21). The Father did not count our sins against us; he counted them against his Son …

The cup of God’s wrath is empty; no more wrath can be poured out against us. All our sins have been forgiven, and Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to us. Oh, the glory of this double transaction! All our sin is imputed to God’s own Son, and all his righteousness is imputed to us. Now we are given a different cup. It is the cup of salvation (Ps. 116:13), the cup of blessing (1 Cor. 10:16), and the cup that runs over (Ps. 23:5). Jesus said, “I give them eternal life. I have come that they may have life and that more abundantly and overflowing” …

God freely gives us all things; everything we have, we receive by grace, not by our merit. Even God’s enemies live because of his common grace. They are given daily bread through their work. God’s sun shines upon them, the rain comes upon them, and the earth produces food for them.

But in Jesus Christ we are given also special grace, which flows to us from the cross of Christ—the blessings of regeneration, repentance, saving faith, righteousness, the Holy Spirit, the knowledge of God, adoption as sons, and glorification

May God help all of us to trust in Jesus Christ today, that we may be saved and enjoy this glorious freedom from the wrath of God. Jesus said, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” May we live in obedience to God and enjoy eternally … his love. Amen.

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