The following is a lightly edited transcript.
Until you know and hate in your own heart the ultimate essence of evil, you will diminish what Christ achieved when he died and rose again. You will. If you don’t want to diminish what he achieved, when he died and rose again, then we need to name what he accomplished:
- Forgiveness of sins for his people
- Removal of his wrath from his people
- The defeat of death and the devil
- Deliverance from hell and everlasting misery
- The resurrection of our bodies someday
- Healing of every physical and mental disease and disability
- Entrance into the new heavens and the new earth
He bought it all. It is finished. Everyone who is in him has all of that. But these are not the ultimate things for which he died.
How can I say that? How can I say forgiveness of sins, removal of wrath, defeat of the devil, deliverance from hell, resurrection of our bodies, healing of every disease, entrance into heaven are not why he died ultimately?
Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God. (1 Peter 3:18)
To see God, to know God, to enjoy God, to treasure God, to reflect God.
“All God’s gifts are means. They’re all for getting us to God.”
Have you ever thought, Why do I want my sins forgiven? Why do you want wrath taken away? Why do you want righteousness imputed to you? Why do you want to escape the clutches of the devil? Why do you want to be rescued from hell? Why do you want a perfect and new body?
There’s a damnable way to answer those. Who doesn’t want those things? You don’t have to be saved to want them. Only an idiot would not want to escape hell!
What are those gifts for? All of them are for getting us to God — the ultimate reason he died. And all those good gifts are means. They’re getting obstacles out of the way. They’re making it possible to stand in his presence. He wants to get us to God, in whose presence is fullness of joy, at whose right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
You will never see and savor God bringing us to himself as the ultimate triumph of the cross if you don’t recognize and hate that the ultimate evil — the ultimate essence of evil in your life — is to prefer anything more than God.
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