LISTEN to this article now.
Approximate Reading Time, 8 minutes.
The term “Good Friday” might seem ironic since it marks the day when Jesus, the Son of God, was brutally beaten, tortured, and crucified. The term “good” is used because of the redemption and reconciliation that was paid for by Jesus’ death on the cross. Good Friday is a solemn day when Christians reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that Christ made for us and the redemption that He brought to humanity through His death on the cross.
Mark it down big, bold, and beautiful; Good Friday is one of the most important days in the calendar. It is the very reason that Jesus was born, He came to die. “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” (1 Timothy 1:15).
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then He appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. (1 Corinthians 15:3-6)
Good Friday holds special significance, as we remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. Good Friday reminds us of: the depth of God’s grace, the depth of God’s mercy, the depth of God’s forgiveness, and the depth of God’s love.
The Goodness and Depths of God’s Grace.
God’s grace is demonstrated through His mercy towards sinners. In the Old Testament, God describes himself as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6).
God’s grace is the unmerited favor that He bestows upon us, despite our sinfulness. The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Salvation is a gift of God’s grace, which is freely given to all who turn from their sin and place their faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:16-17)
“We have received grace for grace. The first grace was that we might be created; the second, that we might be redeemed; the third, that we might be justified; the fourth, that we might be glorified.” (Augustine of Hippo, On the Gospel of John), Augustine highlights the different aspects of grace that are necessary for salvation: creation, redemption, justification, and glorification. These aspects of grace are interconnected and demonstrate the depth of God’s grace.
The Goodness and Depths of God’s Mercy.
Mercy is the compassionate and forgiving nature of God towards sinful humanity and His compassionate response to our sin and suffering. The Bible tells us that God is “rich in mercy” (Ephesians 2:4) and that He “delights in mercy” (Micah 7:18).
The Lord is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. (Psalm 103:8).
God’s mercy is an abyss in which we find ourselves immersed, and out of which we can never climb. The depth of God’s mercy is truly unfathomable, and it is a central concept in traditional reformed puritan faith. God forgives sinners not because they are worthy of forgiveness but because of His mercy.
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,. (Titus 3:4-5)
The Goodness and Depths of God’s Forgiveness.
For Christians, the concept of forgiveness is crucial to understanding their relationship with God. God is a holy God, and He cannot tolerate sin. Yet, God’s compassion for humanity compelled Him to offer forgiveness for sinners. In Psalm 103:8-12, we see that God is “merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
Forgiveness is paid for by the atoning work of Jesus Christ. In 1 John 2:2, we see that Jesus is the “propitiation for our sins.” This means that Jesus bore the penalty of our sins on the cross, satisfying the wrath of God and making it possible for us to be forgiven. Our Lord took upon Himself the punishment we deserved, so that we might receive the forgiveness we do not deserve.
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. (Psalm 130:3-4).
The forgiveness of sins is the gateway to a new life; it is the beginning of a new creation. The result of God’s forgiveness is that it produces transformation in the lives of believers (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Forgiveness is rooted in the nature of God Himself, grounded in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, unlimited in its extent, and transformative in its results. As I reflect on the depths of God’s forgiveness, I am humbled by the realization that I do not deserve it, yet I am grateful for the mercy of our gracious God who offers it. Marvel at the depths of God’s forgiveness and live your lives in a manner that honors Him.
The Goodness and Depth of God’s Love
Augustine of Hippo, wrote, “God loves each one of us as if there were only one of us to love.” The expression of God’s love is that it is demonstrated most profoundly through the finished work of Jesus Christ.
God’s various aspects and types of love are so deep we can only touch briefly on them here. Good Friday and the cross of Christ is the ultimate expression of God’s love for humanity. God’s love is infinite and boundless. In Ephesians 3:17-19, we read that we may “have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”
But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
The depth of God’s love is seen in the extent to which He went to demonstrate it. As the apostle Paul wrote, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39 ESV). God’s love is infinite and unchanging, as the prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end” (Lamentations 3:22).
In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him. (1 John 4:9)
God’s love is rooted in the nature of God Himself, expressed through the person and work of Jesus Christ, infinite and boundless in its extent, and transformative in its results.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by His life. (Romans 5:10)
The death of Jesus Christ was good for us. His death was good because it was supremely just and supremely beneficial. The cross of Christ is the foundation of our faith, the assurance of our salvation, and the triumph over the devil. The death of Christ is the foundation of our peace with God. It was the payment of a debt that we owed but could never pay.