FROM THE DESK OF THE PATRIARCH AND PRESIDING PRELATE
Sir Dr. Godfrey Gregg
It All Comes Together in Christ at Calvary
It is with pleasure and the love of God that I greet you in the Name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ our soon coming King of kings. Let us turn into our Bibles to the Book of Psalm Chapter 85 and verse 10.
Psalm 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
The cross is one of the most familiar of all symbols. In our church sanctuary, there are a number of crosses to be found from the one on the altar to the ones found on the doors between the sanctuary and in the corners. The cross is a familiar piece of jewellery to be found around many a person’s neck. Bishops, clergy and most likely the entire church membership wears a cross. You can see athletes crossing themselves as they participate in sports. The cross is a familiar symbol to most people.
As we look at the cross of Calvary in the light of today’s text, the point of emphasis is about what Christ’s cross reveals to us concerning God and our relationship with Him. Jesus’ death upon the cross is not just a historical event that happened over 2000 years ago, but it is a revelation about God and how He brings all aspects of His being together at Cavalry to enrich and bless us for all eternity.
The Psalmist notes that at the cross of Calvary “love and faithfulness meet together; righteousness and peace kiss each other.” Let us consider through these words how Christ’s cross – a symbol of suffering, pain, and death – can also be a symbol of peace, comfort, and joy for those who know Christ. In the cross of Calvary, God’s love is seen in Christ coming to lay down His life on the cross for us.
The love being described here is not some heart-throbbing emotion that expresses itself by means of a strong embrace or a kiss. The love spoken of here is of the highest kind. It is rarely found in people, but it is at the heart of God’s nature and His interaction with us. The Apostle Paul speaks of it in Romans chapter 5: 6-8, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
It is amazing to consider why Christ went to the cross of Calvary and why He did not use His power to remove Himself from it. He was there for us even though we had not befriended Him. We denied, rejected, and turned our backs on God and everything He commanded and will for our lives. We were not a lovable people, but enemies of Christ who rebelled against Him in our sinning. Yet, God loved us in spite of our sins, and He did what true love is meant to do.
He gave Himself, His life and His blood, to pay the debt of our sins so that we would be forgiven and made heirs of everlasting life in heaven. This love of God in Christ met up with God’s faithfulness at the cross of Calvary. God’s faithfulness is seen in Christ keeping the promises concerning our salvation.
Our lives are filled with broken promises to one another. We promise our children something that they look forward to with eager anticipation, only to break the promise because something else came up or we forgot about the promises we had made. Many a husband or wife has known the pain of a broken marriage because their mate did not love, honour, and keep them in sickness and in health until death. Our lack of faithfulness to God and one another is the basis of many of our sins. Yet as we went through all that pain and thought we would do better or just learn from our mistakes; we do the same in the body of Christ. I speak of the church and its relationship with God. We rebel against our leadership and against the Holy Spirit. We fail to recognize the marriage between us and Christ. We live like we don’t care or just like harlots with no sense of reason or direction.
But while our lives are filled with unfaithfulness in thought, word, and deed, God’s faithfulness is displayed at Cavalry’s cross. Some 4,000 years before Calvary, God made a promise to Adam and Eve that the seed of a woman would come into this world to defeat Satan. While man waited for 4,000 years for the promise to be fulfilled, God never forgot His promise. The Bible tells us in Galatians 4:4, “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,”
While we need to be careful in being faithful to the promises we make, (we make promises that we cannot keep) but God’s promises are always faithfully kept by Him. In Christ at Calvary we see God’s love meet with God’s faithfulness to bring us a complete package of blessings for our lives here and eternally. The complete nature of this package is seen in the fact that at Calvary God’s righteousness is seen in Christ paying the debt of our sins. The righteousness of God is more than just doing the right thing. It is about Christ using His very holiness to make all things right with Him while upholding the very laws He established.
The point is that God very clearly declared to Adam and Eve this law in the Garden of Eden: “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). God in His righteousness could not let this promise go unfulfilled. The promise stated that if man ate from the forbidden tree he would surely die. It is a promise and law of God that still stand today. So what will be the punishment, eternal damnation? God in His righteousness could not ignore this promise.
The cross is the place where God’s righteous judgment was upheld and His righteousness paid the debt of sin we owed. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.“ Ponder the magnitude of what God did at Calvary through His Son, Jesus
Christ, our Saviour. Jesus, the eternal Son of God, took on human flesh that he might die and transfer His holiness and righteousness to each one of us. Jesus, who had no sin, fulfilled God’s Law and maintained His holiness. Then in the greatest transaction ever made, Jesus took our sins upon Him and died for the sins of which we deserved to be punished. Christ’s resurrection from the grave is our guarantee that the heavenly Father accepted Jesus’ payment for our sins. At the cross, God’s judgment over sin was upheld and we were pardoned of all our sins. Yes, my brothers and sisters, Jesus paid the debt we did owe and that price is not repayable.
It is at the cross that righteousness and peace kiss each other. God’s peace is seen in Christ who made us His eternal children. The Apostle Paul states in Colossians 1:19-20, “For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; 20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” At the cross, the greatest and most enduring peace treaty was signed by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are no longer enemies of God but His beloved children – forgiven, redeemed, and cared for – by the One Who gave His all to save us. At the cross of Calvary, Jesus brings it all together. Love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss. All of these attributes of God come together at the cross to bless us for all eternity.
The cross then is not to be a mere piece of jewellery we wear or an item to decorate our homes and churches. The cross is an emblem of suffering and shame, where our Saviour, Jesus Christ, was slain for your sins and mine. At the cross the dear Lamb of God left His glory to know the perils and pains of hell, encountering the punishment for sin we deserved. The cross of Calvary was stained with the holy blood of Jesus so that our lives would be pardoned and made holy by Christ. God help us to cherish Christ’s cross for there we behold the greatness of God’s love faithfulness, righteousness, and peace coming together to bless us now and eternally.