The death of Christ and his atonement reveal his glory. Let this article show you how.

Source: The Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth, 2011. 2 pages.

Christ's Glory in His Death and Atonement

If you see Jesus Christ on the cross as a passive victim whose ability to glorify and be glorified was restricted or removed, you are mistaken. It was not only His duty to die, but His pleasure. Christ’s humiliation and exaltation are categorical distinctions. However, this does not mean there was no glory in His death and atonement.

Christ’s Glory in Death🔗

Christ did not die solely because He was sent; He also died because He loved His mission. He came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). By His own will and volition He did this. There is great glory in the death of the One who gave “his life a ransom for many.” He says in His High Priestly prayer of John 17,

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.John17:5

So in that death was love (Rom. 5:8); in that death was power (Mark 5:38); in that death was triumph (Isa. 25:8); and in that death was the transcendent glory of His victory over that last enemy (1 Cor. 15:54-55). He is a mighty, glorified Savior even in His act of dying.

He says of His life, 

No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.John 10:18

By this He demonstrates the wondrous truth that, when He died, He died conquering. Yes, He trembled, but He did not faint. He did not give up, but agonized, battled with, and won the victory over sin and the grave. This is the glory of His death. “If He died a mere passive victim,” says Hugh Martin, “He did not die a victor.” But He died triumphantly crying, “It is finished.”

Christ’s Glory in His Atonement🔗

There is equal glory in His atonement. For reasons outside of Himself, He entered time and space to satisfy divine justice on behalf of His own. His shed blood became the open payment, by divine surety, to appease the wrath of the Father. By substitution, He removed the guilty stain of original and actual transgression and secured reconciliation for sinners bound by sin. The glory of that atonement lay hidden in every beautiful type and shadow of the Old Testament ceremonial law, until the time of Reformation (Heb. 9:10). His atonement is full of glory because, by it, “he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men” (Eph. 4:8). Captivity here is a collective noun for a plurality of enemies; the meaning is that, by His atonement, Christ brought His enemies into subjection. Sin and the devil and death are on a chain, held firmly by His atoning work, which is the grounds of His ascended glory as King! By His death, Jesus made a full and complete satisfaction for the count­less transgressions of an innumerable host, and was given a name above every name (Phil. 2).

These truths are not cold and didactic for the believ­ing heart. A believer’s desire is to finally behold that glory, and the reflection of it will adorn and glorify them (2 Cor. 3:18). They desire to be in heaven with Christ, cleansed from the last trace of sin, pure as He is pure, clothed with His own righteousness, and witness the fulfillment of His prayer,

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world ... The glory which thou gravest me I have given them.John 17:24, 26

Let us, then, confess with the apostle Paul,

But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.Gal. 6:14

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