GSFA Devotional: Bread for Our Journey
Lenten Devotion (6)
29 March 2023
The Cross: God’s Love and Justice
Reading: Galatians 3:13
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree")
A girl watched the movie “Passion of the Christ”, not knowing a lot about Jesus nor Christianity, commented “What has this man (Jesus) done!? Why were they torturing Him like that!?”
Whenever we are faced with sufferings, we try to make sense out of them. It is tempting to ask, “God, if you are loving, why do you allow sufferings and pain?” If God loves us, surely He would not allow sufferings and pain to prevail in this world? Surely He is powerful to save? After all, He is good! C. S. Lewis put it this way in his book The Problem of pain: “If God were good, He would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty He would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore God lacks either goodness, or power, or both.”
The fact of the matter is that God created us with free will. We can choose God, therefore choose good. But we can also reject God and His words, go against Him and His order, and therefore introduce evil into the world. “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) and “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) When human beings reject God and choose to go against Him (the Bible describes this as sin), there are consequences. Sin permeates and corrupts every aspect of human life and existence. The consequences of sin, among others, are eternal separation from life as God has intended it to be, death of hope, death of peace, death of destiny, death of identity, death of relationships. These are but some of the manifestations of the “curse of the law”.
If God loves us (He certainly does), and He is almighty (He in fact is), He can choose to ignore our sins and rescue us and bless us. But you see, God is also the just God. We sin, we suffer the consequences. That’s justice. C. S. Lewis again suggested in The Problem of pain that God cannot do what is intrinsically impossible, which he described as “nonsense”. God cannot ignore justice while demonstrating His love towards us. Therefore He fulfilled the requirement of justice by sending His Son Jesus, sinless before God and guiltless before man, to die in our place instead – that’s God’s justice! “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) – that’s God’s love!
The Cross is powerful because it speaks both of God’s love and God’s justice. It was God’s love that compelled Jesus to go to the Cross. It was God’s justice that kept Him on the Cross. That’s our Jesus!
The Most Revd Melter Jiki Tais
Archbishop and Primate
The Province of the Anglican Church in South East Asia