The Cross and Celebration

It must have been with malicious glee and gloating that Satan looked on as the crown of “glory and honor” fell from the head of Adam, rolling in the dust. He had managed to deprive God of a man to rule over the earth (Psa 8). Was it jealousy? Was it a sense that this new domain should be his to rule? Or was it simply that he was opposed to all that brought pleasure to God? But Satan’s accomplishment in the garden was not limited to just the dethroning of Adam; he had successfully managed to drive a wedge between God and man, a wedge which he knew a holy God could not ignore. It was a day marked by monumental success on the part of Satan: he brought enmity between man and God, took the God-appointed representative and made him unfit for dominion, left this “new world” subject to ruin and corruption, and called into question the goodness and liberality of God by his insinuations to Eve.

Before the day was done, Satan would hear that his victory would be short-lived. The Seed of the woman would one day crush his head. But even then, it remained a mystery how this could possibly be accomplished. How could man ever be made fit to reign for God? How could God in His holy character ever enjoy fellowship with man in his fallen state? All of this brings us to the triumphs and glories of the cross.

Fit to Reign

One day there came into this fallen creation, a Second Man, another “Adam,” called elsewhere the “Last Adam.” Impervious to all of Satan’s wiles and stratagems, He passed through this world a pure, untainted man. He took His holy Manhood up to the altar of Calvary and gave Himself there in selfless, immeasurable love and devotion. He allowed Himself to enter into an hour characterized as belonging to “the power of darkness” (Luk 22:53). Yet He emerged holy and uncompromised. Satan could find no weakness in this Last Adam.

Consequently, we now view a Man upon the throne above, “crowned with glory and honor” (Heb 2:9). God has found a Man competent to reign over the creation. Amazingly, He is bringing with Him many sons to share with Him in that place of honor (v10). God’s original purpose for a Man to have dominion over the earth has been realized. Satan’s scheme has been undone and he has been frustrated. A millennial day will dawn when God’s Man, accompanied by His many sons, will reign over the earth and fulfill God’s grand design (Psa 8:4-6; Heb 2:5-9).

But even more – for God always not only reverses but exceeds in His doing – death has been defeated by death! The Savior took from Satan his weapon, the fear of death, and by His death has given the death blow to death.

Let the celebration begin!

Proving God Righteous

The Book of Job reminds us that Satan has access to the presence of God as the accuser of the brethren. Is it possible that he would appear and taunt God with the fact that God had saved Old Testament saints and forgiven their sins? How could those animal sacrifices possibly satisfy the holy character of God on so great a matter as sin?

In the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, we find the answer. The cross vindicated God, showing that He indeed is righteous and holy and without compromise in saving Old Testament saints “on credit” in light of Calvary. The Lord Jesus vindicated and glorified God in His work at the cross. The cross stands eternally as the greatest revelation of the character of God: His love, holiness, righteousness, grace and mercy. Christ has vindicated and glorified His Father in His work on the cross.

Let the celebration continue!

Able to Reconcile

In that one masterstroke of the enemy, Satan had introduced a wedge, an immeasurable gulf, between a holy God and His fallen creature. Certainly, here was something in which he could gloat with a sense of malicious accomplishment. What could possibly heal the breach? How could God, with His uncompromising view of righteousness, possibly reconcile rebellious sinners to Himself? It was not only a matter of forgiving sin, but the very nature of humanity had changed. Men and women were now “bent” by sin, flawed, fallen and depraved. These fallen creatures were now under the authority and the dominion of “the darkness” (Col 1:13). They belonged to him. To keep fallen humanity content, Satan  fostered a world in which there was something to suit everyone’s appetite. He lulled them into complacency and eternal ruin, depriving God of their worship and love. There was something for the intellectual, the idolator, the immoral.

It is the apostle Paul who especially deals with the great doctrine of reconciliation. “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death” (Col 1:21,22).1 “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Rom 5:10). God has done the seemingly impossible. He has not only forgiven sins but given us a new nature, a fitness for the family of God (Col 1:12). He has delivered us out of the authority of darkness and transferred us across the border into the country governed by the Son of His Love (v13). All this has been done at an infinite cost, a cost borne by God Himself.

Let the celebration increase!

Undoing All the Ruin

However high we may rise in our thoughts of Calvary, the reality still far exceeds our thoughts. All the ruin which Satan brought into the world has been reversed. Death has been defeated. By death Christ destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and delivered them (see Heb 2:14). He has made it possible for the creation, now under the curse, to know a day of regeneration in the future. Redeemed souls do not revert to an Adamic state but are being “renewed … after the image of him that created him” (Col 3:10). We stand beyond trial in innocence but as “holy and beloved” (v12). Every effect of Satan’s work has found its answer in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let the celebration continue eternally!

1 Bible quotations in this article are from the KJV.