Lyrical Theology: In Christ Alone (Part 5)

In Christ Alone – Newsboys (see full lyrics here)

Till on that cross as Jesus died / the wrath of God was satisfied / For every sin on him was lain / Here in the death of Christ I live

Contained within these few verses is the very essence of Christianity. The big idea is that Jesus is our substitute; that is, that he died in the place of sinners to remove the wrath of God and give eternal life. This is the good news of the gospel. But perhaps it may not seem clear to you, so let me break it down in a way that might explain better.

God’s Wrath Towards Sinners

The wrath of God is mentioned some 600 times in the Bible. It references God’s burning anger towards sin and rebellion against him. God is not acting unrighteously in his anger. It is right for him to be angry when his own creation rebels against him. Each and every person has chosen to walk as enemies of God. We make that choice every day in our sin, and God is right to have extreme anger about it. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:3 that all people are by nature “objects of wrath” to God, since each and every person has chosen their own way in rebellion against God.

God’s Wrath Leads to Death

As sinners, God is right not only to be wrathful towards us, but to execute that wrath in the form of judgment. In fact, if God did not pour out his wrath for sin, he would not be a just God. In Romans 6:23 we are told that the fair punishment for sin is death. This would include physical death, but also spiritual death. To make it plain, if you commit treason against God by sinning, then you earn yourself the death penalty. And since all people are treasonous sinners and repeat offenders, all people are standing in the path of the wrath of God and destined for their fair punishment in the place called hell.

Jesus Saves the Day!

But God did not leave us in this hopeless, wretched condition! Instead, he sent his Son Jesus into the world. Jesus lived a sinless life (like we all should have) and then died on the cross as a willing substitute for sinners, taking their place and punishment as a once-for-all payment for sin. On the cross, God poured out the full measure of wrath for sinners on Jesus instead. The sacrifice of Jesus payed the penalty for sinners, so that if they trust in him, they are no longer “objects of wrath” but “friends of God”. Their sin is no longer counted against them, and they pass from death into life. This beautiful, life-changing truth is why Christians can sing:

Till on that cross, as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied. For every sin, on him was lain; here in the death of Christ I live!

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