Awhile back I blogged extensively about the atonement. I remember using an argument that others have also used—that the cross is only truly essential if, on it, Jesus bears the wrath of God. Lloyd-Jones obviously thought this before I did, and I like the way he puts it in the following quote:
. . . As Christians we believe that the Son of God came into this world, that He laid aside the insignia of His eternal glory, was born as a babe in Bethlehem, and endured all that He endured, because that was essential for our salvation. But the question is, Why was it essential to our salvation? Why did all that have to take place before we could be saved? I defy anyone to answer that question adequately without bringing in this doctrine of the judgment of God and of the wrath of God. This is still more true when you look at the great doctrine of the cross and the death of our blessed Lord and Saviour. Why did Christ die? Why had He to die? If we say that we are saved by His blood, why are we saved by His blood? Why was it essential that He should die on that cross and be buried and rise again before we could be saved? There is only one adequate answer to these questions, and that is this doctrine of the wrath of God. The death of our Lord upon the cross is not absolutely necessary unless this doctrine is true.”
Lloyd-Jones, D. Martyn. God’s Way of Reconciliation—An Exposition of Ephesians 2, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, MI, 1972, pp. 49-50.
For more information on Lloyd-Jones, his sermons, books, etc. see the official site at MLJ Recordings Trust.
Photo of Lloyd-Jones courtesy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Online.