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Book Review

The Passion of Jesus Christ

By Byron Snapp
God's love and justice were manifested when he poured out his wrath onto his Son.


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The Passion of Jesus Christ by John Piper, Crossway Books, 2004, 127p.

Who crucified Christ? According to John Piper, in light of the biblical testimony, God the Father did. After turning the reader's attention to scriptural testimony, Piper presents fifty reasons why Christ came to suffer and die.

Each reason begins with an appropriate New Testament passage and is followed by two pages of commentary on the text. Interestingly and importantly, the first reason Piper presents is that Christ took God's wrath for sinners onto himself. This sets the tone for the following chapters. Piper is committed to showing the awfulness of our sin in the eyes of a great and holy God. Also, he indicates that this aspect of God's holiness is one that cannot be presented visually. Piper weaves together God's justice and God's love. Indeed, the Father's love is shown in that he sent his eternal Son, who came voluntarily into this world of sin and misery. God's love and justice were manifested when he poured out his wrath onto his Son, a wrath that sinners justly deserved.

Although Piper focuses on one or a few verses for each reason, he regularly includes additional and appropriate verses for further explanation.

Readers familiar with Piper's writings will find in this book another valuable tool and source of encouragement for their own spiritual life and their ministry to others.

With the recently released movie, "The Passion of the Christ," the suffering of Christ and the reasons for it are being discussed more now than in recent years. This provides an opportunity for Christians to explain the biblical meaning of Christ's life and death to those who do not have a clear understanding of it.

This book can be used by believers to pass out to people to whom they are witnessing. It is also a good book for Christians to read and to meditate on the manifold reasons given in Scripture for Christ's suffering and death.

The Passion of Jesus Christ can be ordered from the PCA Christian Education and Publication Bookstore. ============
Reviewed by TE Byron Snapp, associate pastor of Calvary Reformed Presbyterian Church in Hampton, Va.

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    God Substituting Himself for Man

    The concept of substitution may be said to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting Himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices Himself for man and puts Himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accepts penalties which belong to man alone.

    John Stott in The Cross of Christ



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