This is the 4th message in the series. We are approaching the Paschal season, or Easter as we know it. The Churches, albeit limited due to the pandemic are limiting their celebration.
As we are approaching this season of remembering the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, the events surrounding this, for which last year we did a message every day of Easter week, which for me was a great discovery in Scripture.
In the context of our series “In Wrath Remember Mercy” we can certainly see this principle engraved within the work God did to give His Son in Sacrifice.
Christ died in the context of “In wrath”
Christ is the Sacrifice in which many levels of wrath are satisfied. When we consider the whole process in Scripture where Christ suffers we must see that the Cross on Calvary is the culmination of many levels of suffering.
- Disciples could not wait and pray with Him in the Garden
- The “Cup of Suffering” could not pass as He faces the fact this road must be trodden upon to the Cross.
- The Betrayal of a kiss by Judas Iscariot
- The Betrayal in the form of denial of Peter
- The Betrayal of the Jewish Sanhedrin
- The Scattering of all the Disciples except John
- The scourging in the Palace
- The crowd cry “Crucify Him”
- The Thirst of the Cross
- The Scorn He suffered by witnesses and fellow crucified ones
- The darkness of death
This earthly suffering by our Lord was to exchange with those who believe with specific spiritual benefits, privileges and positions. The wrath was demonstrated, felt and experienced by Jesus so that we are shown that OUTSIDE of His work there is no escape of the wrath of God. The world is walking to the fulness of wrath, whereas now the wrath of God is being demonstrated externally, relationally, bodily, right now, the final demonstration of God’s wrath if we remain outside of Jesus’ full work and covenant is eternal exclusion and eternal torment. This subject is the object of great examination and debate with many now rejecting the idea of an eternity without God and in darkness. Many deny its existence, but when you compare the lengths God the Father went to, to cause us to escape the “wrath to come”, which John the Baptist refers to in John 1, speaks to this eternal punishment. Whilst we preach Jesus we seem to leave out the unpleasant facts of life and eternity without Jesus. The fact is whilst we major on “For God so loved the world…” we also forget the WHOLE Gospel, which has a high price when we reject it. Jesus was not the object of the wrath that was coming to us, for a blanket and universal escape for all disregarding the individual decision to live for Christ or not. The work of Jesus was to come when we were still destined “for wrath”. In that position God REMEMBERED Mercy and He Himself, in the Person of His Son came to demonstrate that mercy in the ugliness of that Sacrifice.
The earthly demonstration of Wrath is contrasted with the spiritual demonstration of Mercy
The work of Jesus at Calvary rests upon the individual recognition of the work and how it applies to us personally. In the instances after He cried out “It is finished” the earth shook, the stones rent apart, all that was was to be rent, was rent. The first demonstration was the division between Glory and God’s people, the veil was rent from bottom to top. The empty Holy Place was laid bare, because that same glory would now inhabit God’s people. The second demonstration would be the rising of the dead, walking out of their tombs. Then as Jesus descended into the darkness of Hades, He preached freedom to the Old Testament saints, completing their faith, their hope, and they ascended to heaven knowing that in Christ their walk was complete.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Heb 11:13–16). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
This Scripture is written for them, for just imagine Isaiah who received the Ministry of Messianic Preparation now meets Jesus in that waiting place in Hades, sees the Person face to face speaking of the things he prophesied 800 years before. Now he embraces the Messiah and is freed to his heavenly estate. How wonderful. And Abraham for this Scripture speaks, sees the heavenly community, but now sees the One who will embody this heavenly community, the city built without hands, whose architect and designer is God! Rather Christ completes the faith of the Old Testament saints, and brings them to heaven. Our faith is complete by our overcoming our flesh and the world and embracing Him who overcame! He is alive forevermore.
Then as Jesus is Resurrected so He opens the way for New Life, in Him. He ascends 40 days after and showers gifts to men.
When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might ffill all things.) 11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, hprophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Eph 4:8–14). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
Here we see this work completed. He deals with captivity…our captivity of death and sin, and opens the way for sonship, privilege and position. This passage is found in Ephesians 4. This turns the whole work of “Mercy in a context of wrath” lifting us in that mercy so that those who are “in wrath” may find the demonstration of mercy convincing that God’s mercy is a greater priority than the demand for wrath. This work is not a temporary one, nor one contained in this world, but it birthed sons ready to be citizens of heaven!
Where there is wrath to come there is a guarantee that Mercy that HAS already been demonstrated shall come into manifestation as we CHOOSE the way that Mercy points to.
We cannot treat Calvary as a one stop and leave behind reality. We must be reminded in every moment, that how we live and breathe depends upon the solidity of that demonstration of Mercy. Our Communion/Eucharist service serves as a reminder to RETURN to the Cross. Once we lose sight of this fundamental stopping place, we lose sight and neglect such a great salvation.
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 4 God also bearing them witness, both with isigns and wonders, and with divers lmiracles, and kgifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Heb 2:3–4). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
The writer here to Hebrews 2:3 asks us a question…how can we escape wrath if we neglect to meditate on the Great Work of Calvary? This work, being it bodily, being it spiritual, being it in Hades, and now heavenly must be taken as a whole.
- Bodily: The suffering in the Garden, the Scourging, the Cross itself.
- Spiritual: The isolation of being made sin, separated from the Father, being made a curse.
- Hades: The darkness of death leading Captivity Captive. Freeing the saints
- Heavenly: Now is retained at the Right Hand of the Father for the Restitution of all things. (Acts 3:19-21). He is now conducting the greatest ministry to bring about perfection, union and life.
In this series we have considered both wrath and mercy, but mercy cannot shine so brightly unless we consider also wrath. This is what sometimes our modernisms fail to realise.
Let us in this Passover/Easter season consider this wrath and mercy together revealing the marvellous plan of God and then worship Him for showing us His love for us.