Today is Good Friday which marks the day the Son of God laid down His life for sinners. This Sunday we will celebrate His Resurrection and His victory over sin and death. I think it is no mere coincidence that all this controversy over same-sex marriage and talk of equality and rights should begin on this particular week.
As I have been reflecting today on the death of my Savior, it has put things in perspective for me. It has been a reminder to always keep the Gospel as my center and my focus. Of course, an important part of the Gospel is declaring the sinfulness of sin. For without that, the Gospel would not be the Gospel. But the Gospel is also a message of glorious grace, of redemption for sinners. So today, that is what I want to extol.
Everyone in America right now is talking a lot about equality and rights, but perhaps today we should all pause to think about the Man who was equal with God and had every right to condemn us all. And yet, He “who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” -Philippians 2:6-8 In the face of such humility and sacrifice, I find that I think differently about my “rights” and “equality.” The real truth is that we are all equal–equally sinful with equal right to the wages of our sin, which is death (Romans 6:23). We are all by nature heirs of Adam with rights to his inheritance of death (Romans 5:12).
And yet, because Christ did not act according to His rights, but according to His mercy, we now have a different inheritance. Before the cross, we are all equal. We stand on ground that has been neutralized by the sacrifice of His blood and “to all who [receive] Him, to those who [believe] in His name, He [gives] the right to become children of God.” -John 1:12 However, the thing about this right, is that is not ours inherently. We have no real claim to it apart from the fact that Christ purchased it for us. So yes, we now have the rights of children of God, but we are “children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” -John 1:13 You see, the only reason we have this right is because God, in His grace, chose to give it to us. Therefore, we take hold of it not with pride, but with humility and awe.
So today, let us thank God that “when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.” -Galatians 4:4-7 Let us all rejoice that because Christ laid down His rights, we now can trade our inheritance of death for His inheritance of life. For this, the right given to us and paid for through Jesus’ death and resurrection, is our most precious right of all.
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love and pow’r.