The Place Called Calvary

Title: The Place Called Calvary

Bible Book: Luke 23 : 33

Author: Sam Wolfe

Subject: Cross of Christ; Christ, Death of



"And when they were come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified him....". In 1971, on the occasion of my tenth anniversary as pastor of the church I was serving, my church gave my wife and me a trip to the Holy Land. When we arrived there and began our tour, I soon saw that I had many false impressions of some of the places, especially Calvary. I gained some false impressions from some of the old hymns we like to sing. For example, "There Is A Green Hill Far Away." Well, Calvary is not a green hill. Then the hymn, "Up Calvary's Mountain." I saw that Calvary is not a mountain like the mountains I think of when mountains are mentioned - The Rockies, the Smokies, the Alps, etc. There are mountains there in the Jerusalem area, such as Mount Olivet, Mount Moriah and Mount Calvary. But they are not high towering peaks. Calvary is more like a plateau. I stood in the prepared place for tourists and enjoyed a brief service in which we sang songs about Calvary and heard a brief message on Calvary. After that service, I looked behind me down to the bottom of the hill and saw a Bus Station. Many people went through that Bus Station in the course of a day, and I thought: Those people going and coming seem to be oblivious to the place just up above them. Do they realize what kind of place is just up above them? Do they know what took place here nearly 2000 years ago? I had to conclude in my own mind that most of them did not (and still don't) know understand what kind of place Calvary is. I also have to conclude that most of the people in our churches do not have a clear biblical understanding of the truth about Calvary. Let us look into the Scriptures and refresh our memories of The Place Called Calvary.

I. The Place Of Penitence

Penitence Paul tells us that, "For godly sorrow worketh repentance." Godly sorrow in itself is not repentance, but it leads to repentance and it is necessary for it. We explain Godly sorrow as penitence or conviction of sin, without which no one will turn to Christ. The Holy Spirit uses the message of Calvary, that Jesus died for our sin, to bring the sinner to Conviction. He does this in two ways:

A. He Reveals The Extreme To Which Sin Went To Separate Us

It caused -

1. The Corruption Of The Body

Disease, Sickness, Pain, Suffering, Death.

2. The Carnality Of The Mind

Impurity, Immorality, Deception, Murder, War, Heartache, Tears, Sorrow, Disappointment, Fear, Stress, Perplexity, Pressure, Worry and all other forms of mental anguish.

3. The Curse Of Condemnation Upon The Human Race

B. He Reveals The Extreme To Which God Went To Save Us

In the death of Jesus, God Satisfied the Demands of His Justice toward Sin. Jesus said, "The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men." Who delivered Him? God the Father did. "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son ...." Paul said, "For God made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus Became Your Sin. He was made to become what God had to judge in order to become the justifier of the sinner and maintain His justice. Jesus died in your place, bearing the judgment of God upon your sin in His own body. Calvary is where you see God's hatred for sin and His love for sinners. The message of Calvary is necessary to bring the sinner face to face with the two. You must admit what you are before you can be made the righteous of God in Christ.

II. The Place Of Provision

There are many who preach and teach - and many who believe that you can't know for certain you are saved before you stand before God in judgment. Why? Before I answer this, let me emphasize that judgment is not for the purpose of determining who is saved and who is lost. There is no judgment at which you will stand when it will be decided whether or not you are saved. That is determined before you meet God in judgment.

Jesus said, "He who hears my word and believes on Him who sent me has (present tense) everlasting life, and shall not (future tense) come into condemnation, but is passed (present perfect tense) from death unto life" (John 5:24). "He who believes on the Son has everlasting life..." (John 3:36). John said, "He who has the Son has life, and he who has not the Son has not life" (1 John 5:12).

Now the answer to the question: "Why do people preach and teach and many believe they cannot know for sure they are saved before they reach the judgment." It is because calvary is not their place of faith. They are trusting in something other than the provision God made in the substitutionary death of Jesus on the cross. Let's note the testimony of Paul, a man of faith and assurance: "I am

crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). Please note Three Great Truths in Paul's Personal Testimony:

A. The Believer Is Related To The Death Of Jesus

"Crucified with Christ." During the Civil War, a man named George Wyatt was drafted for service. He had a large family and had he gone there would have been no one to provide them. A young man named Richard Pratt, who had no one to care for but himself, volunteered to go in the place of George Wyatt. He did so, bearing the name and number of George Wyatt. Soon, Richard Pratt was killed in action, bearing the name and number of George Wyatt. Later, the authorities attempted again to draft George Wyatt, but he protested saying, "You can't draft me." "Why not?" they replied. "Because I'm dead," Wyatt answered." "What are you talking about?" the authorities inquired. George Wyatt then stated, "You must look in my record." They did and the record read: "George Wyatt died in identification with his substitute and is therefore exempt beyond the claims of the law from further service."

In the mind and plan of God, when Jesus died, we died. His death was God's provision which He made for our salvation. God's just demands toward sin were met. Therefore, we who have put faith in Jesus can say with Paul, "I am crucified with Christ."

B. The Believer Has Received The Life Of Christ

"Christ lives in me" The very instant we believed on Jesus as our Savior, there was born within us the very presence of God in the person of Jesus. Therefore, we can say with Paul, "Christ lives in me."

C. The Believer Is Received In Christ

"by Faith in Christ" Paul tells us, "...He (God) has made us accepted in the beloved

(Jesus)" (Ephesians 1:6). Now the supreme question is, in view of our sin and wretchedness, "How Can God Accept Us In Christ?" Two great Bible truths give us the answer:

1. Jesus Is Our Perfection

(Hebrews 10:14) God demands absolute perfection, but we could never attain it. Therefore, Jesus had to die to provide it. We are not accepted by God in our religious affiliation, imagined goodness, etc. Nothing of our own commends us to God. God accepts us in Christ because we are clothed with the perfection of Jesus - and that because of our faith in the Divine provision made at Calvary.

2. Jesus Is Our Propitiation

(1 John 2:2; 4:10) The word, "propitiation" means mercy seat. Old Testament law demanded death for sin. Blood of sacrificial animals was sprinkled on the mercy seat in the Tabernacle in the wilderness and later in the Temple to show that death had taken place. God, seeing the blood, was Satisfied. According to Hebrews 9:24, after His death Jesus entered into Heaven itself with His own blood to "appear in the presence of God for us." This is propitiation-the satisfaction of Divine justice at Calvary - the reason God can accept us in Christ.

III. The Place Of Protection

Paul tells us, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."

Years ago, during the westward rush, a wagon train of people were making their way across the great plains. One day they saw smoke on the horizon and they knew what it meant - a prairie fire sweeping their way. They were gripped with horrible fear as they watched it get closer and closer. But the wise Wagon Master who had been in that situation many times calmly said, "Bring me some fire." Someone did and the people watched him as he set fire to the sagebrush close by. When a large area of the sagebrush had burned off, the Wagon Master, cried out, "Pull your wagons into the middle of the burned area and we will be safe from the fire." A little girl who was still trembling with fear asked the Wagon Master, "How do you know the fire can't reach us." The Wagon Master confidently answered, "Honey, the fire can't get to us because we are standing where the fire has already burned."

At Calvary the fire of God's judgment of our sin burned in the death of Jesus.

"In Christ" is the Place of Protection from judgment. Are you standing where the fire of judgment has burned? Have you placed your faith in the Provision God made for you at Calvary?


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