Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Mark 15:34 NLT)
I wonder: Is this the moment of Jesus’ worst suffering on the cross: to be fully separated from the grace, mercy, love, protection and covering of God?
And I wonder: Is this is the moment Jesus experienced hell – complete and total separation from God, wracked with pain, suffering and death? For this is the reality described in Scripture that awaits all who reject Jesus Christ in this life.
Yet, because Jesus endured this hell on the cross is precisely why and how we can avoid doing so. And what is required of us? A heart and life surrendered to Him.
Sounds simple enough.
That said, i must admit that one of my biggest pet peeves with Evangelical Christianity is the phrase “All you have to do is recognize your sin, ask Jesus to forgive you, and follow Him.” At its core, this is certainly true — it is the gospel message — but to be “saved” is not a formulaic “sorry in, salvation out” equation. All you have to do?? What the gospel requires of us is much.
In fact, friends, by only our broken humanity it is impossible for us to adequately respond. We are incapable of recognizing our sin until we are impressed by the holiness of God. We are incapable of asking Jesus to forgive us until we are broken and humbled by the mercy and grace he has demonstrated to us. And we are incapable of following Jesus apart from the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in us.
Instead, we require the complete work of the Holy Spirit to enable us to do any of this:
It is the Holy Spirit who draws our hearts to Christ while we are still sinners.
It is the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to the wretched sinfulness of our hearts in light of the awesome holiness of God.
It is the Holy Spirit who causes us to respond in faith to the grace and mercy of the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
And it is the Holy Spirit who continues to work in us — day by day, sometimes minute by minute — convicting us of wrongdoing, turning our heart to repentance, urging us to obey his Word, and compelling us to praise and worship of Him who has redeemed us.
The reality of Good Friday is that those who reject him will ultimately experience the same suffering Jesus did: complete and total separation from God, wracked with pain, suffering and death. But not for a few hours; for all eternity.
Unless we respond to the complete work of the Holy Spirit.
Then, Jesus’ hell is enough. For at the moment Jesus’ suffering was complete to satisfy God’s holy requirement of atonement for our sin, Jesus gave up his spirit for us and said:
“It is finished.”
It is completed. There is no greater sacrifice that could possibly be accomplished. For those who will believe in Jesus and live by faith in his sacrifice, his suffering is enough.
Then, the reality of Good Friday is the grace, mercy, love, protection and covering of God; for all eternity.
If your heart is being stirred to respond, please message me.