Why Good Friday's Good

Today is Good Friday. It’s a strangely named annual event in the national calendar, from a liturgical diary which I’m not otherwise inclined to observe. On it, we commemorate the crucifixion of Christ. Some suggest the phrase derives from God Friday, in the same way that Goodbye comes from God be with you. It is the day on which God interrupted human history, raiding our desolate planet with heavenly grace. Etymology aside, why is the day so good?

It’s good because it reveals the absolute moral goodness of God. Theologians call this righteousness. The righteousness of God justifies the sinner, not by ignoring his sin, but by paying for it. This is the day on which payment to divine justice was made and a release of captives purchased. This is good news indeed, if, like me, you have sinned. The moral righteousness of God was entirely satisfied by the death of Christ.

It’s good because it reveals the loving kindness and compassion of God towards the sinner. This, theologians call grace, and it is the ultimate express of goodness. God gives us so much, freely and abundantly. Good Friday shows God’s goodness in that tangible insistence that the sinner’s crimes be paid in full, without their contribution or supplement.

It’s good because it reveals to us the woeful state of our hearts. Sin is a terrible disease, a violation, an invasion of evil. The terrible price paid by Christ shows to us the utter horror with which God beholds sin and the dire consequences we would have faced because of it. By revealing our malady in all its degradation and ugliness, we are able to see out need for goodness and salvation.  

It’s good because it makes us good. The cross is not some twee lesson in morality, some mere exposé of man’s inhumanity to man. This is what the dull liberals taught for a century before most of their churches closed down. Rather, the cross is the means by which we are declared righteous- morally good- in heaven’s court. Having been thus justified, we may then begin our sanctification, or being made Christ-like. Without the blood of Calvary, there’s no baptism of Pentecost.

Today's a good day. 

Image by Albrecht Fietz from Pixabay