4. Hell shows us how horrific the cross really was, and how great God’s grace really is.

Posted: September 2, 2010 by doulos tou Theou in Christian Theology, Christianity, Discipleship, Hell

An article by Greg Gilbert on Hell and why it’s integral to the Gospel. Here is a part of his article.

Read the whole thing here.

Romans 3 tells us that God put forth Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement “to demonstrate his justice.” He did this “because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.”

Why did Jesus have to die on the cross? It was because that was the only way God could righteously not send every one of us to hell. Jesus had to take what was due to us, and that means he had to endure the equivalent of hell as he hung on the cross. That doesn’t mean that Jesus actually went to hell. But it does mean that the nails and the thorns were only the beginning of Jesus’ suffering. The true height of his suffering came when God poured out his wrath on Jesus. When the darkness fell, that wasn’t just God covering the suffering of his Son, as some have said. That was the darkness of the curse, of God’s wrath. It was the darkness of hell, and in that moment Jesus was enduring its full fury—the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

When you understand the cross in that light, you begin to understand better just how magnificent God’s grace to you is, if you are a Christian. The mission of redemption that Jesus undertook involved a commitment to endure God’s wrath in your place, to take the hell that you deserve. What an amazing display of love and mercy that is! Yet you will only see and understand this display of love clearly when you understand, accept, and shudder at the horror of hell.

Greg Gilbert is the senior pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, and is the author of What is the Gospel? (Crossway, 2010).

© 9Marks. Website: http://www.9Marks.org

  1. Hell is horrible place, a horrible thought, but it demonstrates for us and that amply, that sin is that horrible that it deserves such punishment. There is no doubt that Jesus suffered more than the worse sinner in Hell will ever suffer even for all eterniy, due, perhaps, to the fact that He was much more aware of the wretched nature of sin and what it truly deserves in the way righteous wrath. It seems to be a logical implication that our Lord suffered anguish in such quality that not even the quantitative reality of eternity and ever equal His misery. If some should seem so repulsed by it, then let that individual consider the horror of a child being raped and brutalized and then hung on a wall on a nail, and there is worse. Having dealt with a few of those whose lives have been nothing but misery due to the abuse of adults who were responsible for their well-bing, it seems clear that something appropriate in the way of punishment is called for. Thus, what grace and mecy is found in Christ that He should undergo such torments for the sake of such wicked sinners.

  2. Dr. Caleb Parker says:

    TIm Keller’s essay on preaching hell in a tolerant age is worth reading as well.

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