1689 Baptist Confession of Faith, Chapter 8.4 The Cross of Christ

Table of Contents

The Text

1 John 4:10 (ESV) In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

The Chapter

This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake, which that he might discharge he was made under the law, and did perfectly fulfil it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have borne and suffered, being made sin and a curse for us; enduring most grievous sorrows in his soul, and most painful sufferings in his body; was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption: on the third day he arose from the dead with the same body in which he suffered, with which he also ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of his Father making intercession, and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.

The Confession

This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake

Psalm 40:7–8 (CSB) Then I said, “See, I have come; in the scroll it is written about me. I delight to do your will, my God, and your instruction is deep within me.”

Hebrews 10:5–10 (CSB) Therefore, as he was coming into the world, he said: You did not desire sacrifice and offering, but you prepared a body for me. You did not delight in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings. Then I said, “See— it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, God.” After he says above, You did not desire or delight in sacrifices and offerings, whole burnt offerings and sin offerings (which are offered according to the law), he then says, See, I have come to do your will. He takes away the first to establish the second. By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.

John 10:18 (CSB) No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

We have made a lot about the power and the ability and the will of God to save his people. But what can never be forgotten nor missed is that God wanted to save his people.

Much in life, we are reminded of our limitations because we are created creatures. I am not even speaking about our mortality--for our souls last forever. Think about the angels and demons: created creation all, eternal, and varying levels of power. But one thing they cannot do: take on flesh. They cannot appear in our material plane unless God wills it do be so. So even an angel could not save us, even if they wanted to, because they lack the power to do so.

But many of us want to save our loved ones but in the end, for all of our wealth, knowledge, and wisdom, we are futile in truly saving our selves and our loved ones from the sin of death.

God alone has the power and wants to save us--despite our deadness, and depravity, and tragic ways.

And within the office of Savior, Messiah, King, Lord, and Christ, the Son of God took on flesh to become the Son of Man, that is Jesus, willing to live an entire life, full obedience to God, and descended unto the cross with great joy.

Hebrews 12:2b For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

which that He might discharge He was made under the law

Galatians 4:4 (CSB) When the time came to completion, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

Matthew 3:15 (CSB) Jesus answered him, “Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John allowed him to be baptized.

The prophecy that God would send a Messiah to come and rescue and redeem us is, in itself, the limitation. From the word go, for the moment sin entered into the world, God preaches the gospel and to our feeble minds, he handicaps himself:

Genesis 3:15 (CSB) I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.

This protoevagelion is just that: the first instance of the preached gospel. This declaration of God did not come after the Covenants or the Law or the Prophets but rather from the start--however God was going to save his people, he would do so through a man that is born of Eve.

Before Christ, one can read the Old Testament or even the Apocrypha 1, the people of God experienced mighty and good rescuers from God--but they all came up way short of being the Chosen One whom was the begotten Son of God. Not only did they fall short, they knew they were not the Christ. For:

John 1:20 (CSB) He didn’t deny it but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.”

Not only that, the saints of old rejoiced in seeing the day of Christ arrived:

John 8:56 (CSB) Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; he saw it and was glad.”

Hebrews 11:26 (CSB) For he considered reproach for the sake of Christ to be greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, since he was looking ahead to the reward.

John 3:29-30 (CSB) He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.

The prophecy of the Christ is fully contingent on he was being born as mankind. Whatever God was going to do, he would do so in the flesh.

and did perfectly fulfill it, and underwent the punishment due to us, which we should have born and suffered

Galatians 3:13 (CSB) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, because it is written, Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.

Isaiah 53:6 (CSB) We all went astray like sheep; we all have turned to our own way; and the LORD has punished him for the iniquity of us all.

1 Peter 3:18 (CSB) For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

being made sin and a curse for us

2 Corinthians 5:21 (CSB) He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

enduring most grievous sorrows in His soul, and most painful sufferings in His body

Matthew 26:37–38 (CSB) Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.”

Luke 22:44 (CSB) Being in anguish, he prayed more fervently, and his sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Matthew 27:46 (CSB) About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Elí, Elí, lemá sabachtháni?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

This is what Christ did to save his people from their sins: he perfectly took on the sins of his people and completely bore the wrath of God for our sins. Once and for all, forever.

This is propitiation.

1 John 2:2 (ESV) He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 4:10 (ESV) In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Hebrews 2:17 (CSB) Therefore, he had to be like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in matters pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people.

This is the love of God, the grace of God, the mercy of God and the justice, holiness, and righteousness of God all in one fell swoop.

Psalm 85:10 (CSB) Faithful love and truth will join together; righteousness and peace will embrace.

This embrace and the kiss of God is the cross of Christ.

All the saints before and the all the saints since have been finally, definitely, completely, perfectly, effectively, and eternally saved by God for God by God from God through the blood-drained, broken body of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

was crucified, and died, and remained in the state of the dead, yet saw no corruption

Acts 13:37 (CSB) but the one God raised up did not decay.

Psalm 16:10 (CSB) For you will not abandon me to Sheol; you will not allow your faithful one to see decay.

Jesus Christ, perfectly God and perfectly holy and perfectly righteousness, was crucified and did died and was dead, but did not see decay. Why? Because he is perfect, holy, and good.

In the religions of the world, we have two of that are close to Christianity: Jewish and Muslim. The Jews flat out deny that Christ is the Messiah. The fact that Christ died on the cross is a stumbling block for them. For:

1 Corinthians 1:22-23 (CSB) For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles.

The foolishness of the Gentiles: the theories and myths are endless. For myth of the Muslim in order to make sense of Jesus, who to them is a great and mighty prophet, to die on the cross only means one thing to them. That Jesus didn't actually die but suffer for three days. The Muslim contradict the Scriptures say that Jesus did die and did not see decay.

on the third day He arose from the dead

1 Corinthians 15:3–4 (CSB) For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

Acts 2:24 (CSB) God raised him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by death.

Acts 2:32 (CSB) “God has raised this Jesus; we are all witnesses of this.

This is the resurrection of our Lord. This is Easter.

For all that Christ did in his death on the cross, the proof of what this particular dead man accomplished was literally brought to light when Christ rose from the dead.

The proof was delayed--three days. Christ told the disciples:

Matthew 12:40 (CSB) For as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.

Mark 10:33-34 (CSB) “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days.”

He told them that he would have to die. He told them he will rise. The death part came. The disciples saw it happen. But they couldn't believe it came to past. But it did. And for a moment, they were in despair even though Christ told them of his own resurrection.

with the same body in which He suffered

John 20:25–27 (CSB) So the other disciples were telling him, “We’ve seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.” A week later his disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.”

The same physical body that Jesus died in is the same body he was resurrected in. Jesus did not shed his earthly body in order to be more glorious. He was already glorious because he is God. He came not to do away or replace creation but rather to redeem to redeem creation, starting with mankind and starting with our physical bodies. For:

Romans 8:11 (CSB) And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will also bring your mortal bodies to life through his Spirit who lives in you.

with which He also ascended into heaven

Mark 16:19 (CSB) So the Lord Jesus, after speaking to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

Acts 1:9–11 (CSB) After he had said this, he was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven.”

Since Christ, fully God and fully man, lived among us, died, and rose all as the Son of Man, he ascended to heaven not as the Eternal God but as the Resurrected Man--together as one and now forever at the right hand of the Father with all dominion and power and glory forever, interceding for his people forever.

With his life, he fulfills the covenant of works as the Second Adam--the Son of Man.

With his death, he fulfills the covenant of redemption as the Son of God.

With his resurrection, he fulfills the covenant of grace as the Worthy Lamb of God

With his ascension, he is glorified as King of kings and Lord of lords.

and there sits at the right hand of His Father making intercession

Romans 8:34 (CSB) Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the one who died, but even more, has been raised; he also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.

Hebrews 9:24 (CSB) For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a model of the true one) but into heaven itself, so that he might now appear in the presence of God for us.

Make no mistake: since Christ has perfect saved his people from their sins, what does he do? He makes intercession for them along with the Spirit:

Romans 8:26-27 (CSB) In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because he intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

What would it look like in your life if you knew that both Christ and the Spirit was in the next room, praying to the Father on your behalf?

If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.

Robert Murray M'Cheyne.

When we say loudly proclaim and celebrate that we have God, that is to be taken literally. God has us and by his grace alone, we get to behold the Risen God. Just as nothing will ever be broken in the Triune God, so too, nothing will ever be broken with us.

It is the covenant with Adam that was broken by Adam. From that point on, notice the covenants he makes with men.

None of them were dependent of them but rather on God alone.

Genesis 15:12-17 (CSB) As the sun was setting, a deep sleep came over Abram, and suddenly great terror and darkness descended on him. Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know this for certain: Your offspring will be resident aliens for four hundred years in a land that does not belong to them and will be enslaved and oppressed. However, I will judge the nation they serve, and afterward they will go out with many possessions. But you will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” When the sun had set and it was dark, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch appeared and passed between the divided animals.

Think of that. What about Noahic was dependent on Noah. What about the Davidic covenant was dependent on David or his descendants? What about the New Covenant is dependent on us?

None of it. All dependent on God. Therefore it is unbreakable.

Christ, as the Risen Lord, intercedes for you forever and ever. He is always praying for you because you are his forever.

Romans 8:38–39 (CSB) For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world

Acts 10:42 (CSB) He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be the judge of the living and the dead.

Romans 14:9–10 (CSB) Christ died and returned to life for this: that he might be Lord over both the dead and the living. But you, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or you, why do you despise your brother or sister? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Acts 1:11 (CSB) They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven.”

2 Peter 2:4 (CSB) For if God didn’t spare the angels who sinned but cast them into hell and delivered them in chains of utter darkness to be kept for judgment;

Since all dominion, power, and glory is given to Christ because he has fulfilled all the promises, he will return to judge the living and the dead.

This is why we preach Christ and him crucified. For:

John 3:36 (CSB) The one who believes in the Son has eternal life, but the one who rejects the Son will not see life; instead, the wrath of God remains on him.


2 Timothy 4:1–2 (CSB) I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, and because of his appearing and his kingdom: Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage with great patience and teaching.

And the most important thing to remember is that: this office, this duty, this assignment, this task this rescue, this redemption? The Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake. For:

John 10:17–18 (CSB) This is why the Father loves me, because I lay down my life so that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from my Father.”

Let us be reminded from the author of Hebrews of what to do now everything that Christ has done for us perfectly.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (CSB) Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.

We give over our sin to him, the bearer of all of our sin and the author and finisher of our faith.

This is the office Christ most willingly undertook. And never forget, he undertook in saving you not in despair, or fear, or regret, or anger, or frustration, or annoyance, or impatience, or sadness. He undertook all of it with joy.

For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.