In this article, we will look at the power of the cross - but from a particular angle that I think is common in our day - which is the notion of "If Christ suffered for all sinners, why did he only suffer for 3 days and not for eternity? How is it fair that an unbeliever should suffer for all eternity?"
Consider the following:
1. The weight of sin.
Sin merits eternal damnation on account of being most severe in nature, in that all sin is a rebellion and rejection of God. Sin can be understood as man crowning himself "god", which is an incomprehensible evil.
2. The life of Christ.
Christ did not only suffer on the cross but throughout his whole life. He was perfectly obedient to the Law, which is impossible for man. He was tempted, rejected, mocked, tormented and finally horribly killed.
3. Eternal damnation.
Eternal damnation, in short, is being thrown out of God's presence. This is why it is supremely grim and painful. There will be no goodness, kindness, mercy or love, for all these things come only from God. It is a total separation from God's glory and all that is good, for only God is good and the source of all that is good. If we reject God, we reject what is good, and we instead love and embrace evil, which is why eternal damnation is just and perfectly in accordance with God's kindness and righteousness. It is because God is good that He punishes evil.
4. Sin is an impossible debt for man.
No man can ever hope to pay his way out of hell - it is too high a price, too high an offence, and even if man could pay and labour for an eternity, it would never be enough to pay the wages of sin. If we cannot even pay for one single life, consider (1) the burden of Christ who truly took upon himself all the sins of the whole world throughout all time. And (2) how mighty Christ is to overcome it, even to conquer Satan, hell and death, and to redeem all!
5. The suffering of Christ.
We should not understand the suffering of Christ as a reduced sentence by virtue of being God, or as purely suffering or dying in the flesh, nor as some abstract spiritual suffering, but that he truly did suffer the sins of all of mankind in full. When Christ cried out "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?", he is not just quoting Psalms, but truly suffered the full wrath of God due all mankind - and still lived. This is what makes the cross so great because it testifies to God's righteous judgment of sin, His mercy and lovingkindness for giving us Christ, His only Son, the burden of epic proportions that Christ had to bear, and the incomprehensible glory and might of Christ to overcome death.
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