Does Love Win at the Cross?

Yes.

And no.

If you mean that love wins, because God is love, and at the cross, sinners are showed the insurmountable, unachievable, and irrevocable love of God in Christ, then love wins.

But if you mean that love wins at the expense of something else, then the answer might be no.

See, if there is a “winner,” there must also be a “loser.” That’s the something that didn’t win at the cross. So if you want to say that love wins, that’s fine, but it’s also worth asking the question:

What lost at the cross?

No doubt there are losers there, too. Sin. Death. The great enemy. These are the losers.

But what most definitely did not lose is justice. Or wrath. Because justice and wrath also won at Calvary. Paul put it like this in Romans 3:23-26:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. God presented Him as a propitiation through faith in His blood, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His restraint God passed over the sins previously committed. God presented Him to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be righteous and declare righteous the one who has faith in Jesus.

Sometimes we think that though we deserved punishment, God, in His great love, made a great exception. He offers us forgiveness and welcomes us into His family though we do not deserve. It’s a nice sentiment, but it dramatically diminishes the cross of Jesus. For in as much as the cross demonstrates the great love of God, it also demonstrates the ferocious justice of God.

The cross reminds us that God does not make exceptions. He didn’t withhold the just punishment for our sins. He poured it out on Jesus. There is a great cost to our disobedience and rebellion – it’s a cost that Jesus willingly absorbed on Himself. At the cross, God proved His love. He also proved His justice. Amazingly, God did not compromise a single shred of His perfect character by granting forgiveness to sinners.

So it’s okay to say that love wins. It’s probably better to say that God wins.

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