In order to be a true believer, in order to be a child of God the Holy Son of God was forsaken by His Father and then crushed under His own Father’s punishment. You say, “Oh brother Paul you’ve gone too far now.” Have you not read Isaiah 53:10? “It pleased the Lord to crush Him.” Take a ten thousand pound millstone and put another on top of it. Put a grain of wheat between them and see what you got when it comes out on the other end. Take a dam, a hundred thousand miles high and a hundred thousand miles wide and have it break in-front of you and as the torrent of water rolls down towards you, to engulf you and destroy you and all of the sudden the ground before you opens up and drinks it down and not one drop of it splashes to your feet. And so Christ raised His hand up to heaven and took the wrath of God, that great cup, and drank it down. When He cried out “It is finished!” He turned it over and not one drop came out. He drank the wrath of God and satisfied justice and appeased wrath and therefore God can now be just, and justify the sinner. This is what He’s done, this is what He has done.
Puritan’s spoke a lot about repentance, not only from sin, but repentance from good works. You say “What do you mean?” There is a real sense in which repentance is simply this: you give up from trying to justify yourself, you just quit. You see that every one of your most righteous deeds is nothing but filthy rags and you detest them and you throw them to the floor and you stand there before God and say “Unless you move on my behalf I am damned.” And you believe You believe. You trust.
There is a deacon in my church back home. A little church in the middle of a corn field, and I love this man, he’s walked with God longer than I’ve been alive. And He remembers telling me. One time he told me about his conversion. He said “I was a good fellow, as fellows go.” “But the preacher said something that morning and it stirred my heart. and I thought ‘What does it mean to believe, what does it mean to believe?’” He went up in his hay loft and he was just walking around and he said he found himself finally with his toes hanging over the edge of the loft. Just kinda standing there, and he said “All of the sudden it just dawned on me.” This is what he said: “Lord, I am going to trust, place my confidence, exclusively, only, in what your Son has done for me. and if that very thing, if what he has done for me, is not strong enough to save me, then I will go to hell, because I will not trust in another thing.
Right now if this preacher died he would go to heaven. Not because I spent years in the jungles and the Andes mountains of Peru. Not because of piety, devotion or bible study. Not because of denominational affiliation, baptism, or participation in the Lord’s supper. If I died right now, I would go to heaven because two thousand years ago the Son of God shed His blood for this wretched man. And that is my hope, and I expect… that that scarlet thread is strong enough to hold me when I swing out into eternity upon it.