Friday, April 19, 2019


“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us -- for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’ -- so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.”   (Galatians 3:13-14 ESV)

Many years ago I was asked by the Quaker community of Pennsylvania, the Society of Friends, to come to one of their meetings and explain to them the difference between the old covenant and the new covenant. I talked about the Day of Atonement in Israel and the crucifixion of Christ in the New Testament. As I spoke of Christ becoming cursed, my message was interrupted by a guy in the back who stood up and shouted, "That's primitive and obscene!" I was taken aback, and just to give myself a chance to think I said, "What did you say?" as if I hadn't heard him. (Everybody in the room heard him.)

With great hostility he repeated himself, so I told him that I loved the words he'd chosen. What could be more primitive than killing animals and placing the blood over the throne of God or taking a human being and pouring out his blood as a human sacrifice? One of the things I love about the gospel is that it wasn't written merely for an agnostic elite group of scholars. The drama of redemption is communicated in terms so simple, so crass and primitive, that a child can understand it. I really like the second word he used -- obscene. If there ever was an obscenity that violates contemporary community standards, it was Jesus on the cross. After He became the scapegoat and the Father had imputed to Him every sin of every one of His people, the most intense, dense concentration of evil ever experienced on this planet was exhibited. Jesus was the ultimate obscenity.

-- R.C. Sproul, from “Proclaiming a Cross-centered Theology”


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