Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through Him!” (Romans 5:9).
Recent reports indicate that the Presbyterian Church (USA) intended to amend a single phrase in the song “In Christ Alone” (written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend).
But the songwriters refused to authorize the change.
The phrase “’Til on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied” was deemed to be controversial, inappropriate for contemporary understanding.
The suggested replacement was, “’Til on the cross as Jesus died, the love of God was magnified”.
But behind the move was a clear watering down of the Gospel of the New Testament. God’s wrath is seen by some to be archaic, so out-of-step with the current fashionable view of a loving, grandfatherly God, dispensing free grace and love to all, wringing His sacred hands in holy distress at such primitive and obscene concepts as righteous anger, hatred of sin, and the essential need for the satisfaction of atonement.
After all, how could God be subject to any such arbitrary, cosmic law requiring Him to demand righteousness and adjudicate sin? Or maybe He operates apart from any such law??
But that’s why we need to constantly have our thinking corrected by the Scriptures.
The Bible teaches that God is not bound by any abstract law imposed upon Him, but rather is a perfect law unto Himself; His holy character will always express consistent with His eternal holiness.
And therein lies the rub.
The eternal God who has so loved the world that He gave His Son, will never act in a way that contradicts or compromises His holiness.
And therefore sin must be judged. Evil must be punished. God’s righteous wrath must be satisfied. To the one who embraces Christ by faith, His sacrifice was a wrath-averting transaction.
That’s why the Gospel can be summarized by the phrase, “Christ in my place”. Theologians call it “penal substitutionary atonement”. Christ bore my sin in exchange for His righteousness.
Takeaway: what an eternal privilege to sing, “in my place condemned He stood…Hallelujah, what a Saviour!”