From Pierced for Our Transgressions: Rediscovering the Glory of Penal Substitution by Steve Jeffery, Michael Ovey, and Andrew Sach
The Lord Jesus Christ did not come into the world to meet with his friends. He came to die for his enemies. He came to a people who had rejected his law and killed his prophets, who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, trampling his courts in the hypocrisy of their self-righteous religious observances. He came to nations that had exchanged the truth of the living God for a lie, the glory of the immortal God for man-made images, and the fountain of living water for cracked and broken cisterns. He came to a world stained with violence, to a people whose hands were full of blood and whose righteous deeds were like filthy rags, to a complacent humanity who proclaimed ‘Peace! Peace!’ while they waged war with God.
This is the biblical portrait of the people for whom Christ died. We were objects of wrath, rightly facing the unmitigated, everlasting fury of an incensed God, but now in Christ we have found mercy. We have been brought from death to life, from corruption to glory. We were slaves to sin, the world and the devil, but are now adopted children of our heavenly Father. We were stained with the filth of a wicked life and tormented by the pain of a guilty conscience, but are now pardoned and forgiven, standing blameless before him as a pure bride, clothed in the clean, white robes, of Christ’s righteousness.
Now contemplate the blistering holiness of our God, the Holy One of Israel, the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity. His eyes are too pure to look on evil; his voice shakes the heavens; at his sight the angels in glory hide their faces. Who can dwell with this consuming fire, with this everlasting burning? Who can ascend the hill of the Lord? Who can stand in his holy place? Yet this God took pity on us, this God stopped down to us and lifted us up to enjoy the blessing of restored relationship with him, that we may gaze upon his face for all eternity.
A penal substitutionary view of Christ’s death gives us an understanding and appreciation of God’s love. “If we blunt the sharp edges of the cross, we dull the glittering diamond of God’s love.”