envelop spinner search close plus arrow-right arrow-left facebook twitter

Christ Alone

"Christ alone” is the sweetest truth known to man. It’s the difference between feast and famine, fullness and emptiness, an eternity of joy and an eternity of sorrow.

by Stephen Yuille on March 14, 2022

Christ Alone

Centuries ago, Martin Luther declared, “God accepts only the forsaken, cures only the sick, gives sight only to the blind, restores life only to the dead, sanctifies only sinners, gives wisdom only to the unwise. In short, he has mercy only on those who are wretched.” Luther’s point was well made. “I have not come to call the righteous,” declares Christ, “but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). In other words, the gospel is only for those who acknowledge their sin. The reason is straightforward: we won’t rest in Christ alone until we’re convinced of our need for Christ alone.    

Paul reminds the Galatians of this very thing when he declares that “grace” and “peace” come “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:3). How is this “grace” and “peace” made available to us? In a wonderfully worded declaration, Paul points to a single historical event: Christ “gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:4).

Christ “gave himself”

Christ “gave himself” in becoming a man, taking the form of a servant, living in a fallen world, ministering to those in need, enduring man’s opposition, resisting Satan’s temptation, and suffering mistreatment. But far eclipsing all these, he “gave himself” by dying on the cross. As he suffered an agonizing death, he didn’t hurl screams of rage toward the heavens or threats of defiance toward the crowds. He didn’t utter sobs of self-pity. He didn’t claim his rights or promote his interests. He didn’t even consider himself; rather, he “gave himself.” “For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame” (Heb. 12:2).

Christ “gave himself for our sins”

The expression, “for our sins,” points to the sin offering in the Old Testament (Lev. 5:11; Num. 8:8). Elsewhere, Paul says that “Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2). All the OT sacrifices pointed to Christ who willingly offered himself in our place. In bearing God’s wrath, he frees us from the penalty of our sin. Because of our sin, we deserve his severity, not his mercy; we deserve his judgment, not his forgiveness; we deserve his wrath, not his love. “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). Here, Paul leaves no doubt that the procuring price of our salvation is Christ’s atoning work. It alone is sufficient to pay the penalty for our sins and satisfy God’s offended justice.

Christ “gave himself to deliver us from the present evil age”

According to Scripture, there are two ages: “this age” (night) and “the age to come” (day) (Eph. 1:21; Rom. 13:12). The “present age” began at the fall and continues to the consummation. It’s the fallen creation (the old humanity in Adam). The “age to come” was inaugurated at Christ’s first coming and will be consummated at his second coming. It’s the renewed creation (the new humanity in Christ). The present age is “evil” because sin permeates it, but Christ rescues us from it, and we now belong to the age to come. As a result, we’re no longer enslaved to the pride, greed, anger, pessimism, darkness, rebellion, selfishness, and foolishness that mark this present age.

Elsewhere, Paul declares that “the present time has grown very short,” that “the present form of this world is passing away,” and that “the end of the ages has come [upon us]” (1 Cor. 7:29–31; 10:11). By “short,” Paul means limited. He’s saying that the time between Christ’s two advents is restricted, meaning it won’t continue forever. The eternal kingdom is about to break into time and, when it does, it will usher in the consummation. But we’re assured that Christ has delivered us “from the present evil age”—both its present bondage and future destruction.

Christ “gave himself according to the will of our God and Father”

This is a wonderful way of saying that Christ’s atoning work at Calvary’s cross was God’s eternal plan. There was nothing compelling in us that caused God to send his Son. He wasn’t motivated by something good, worthy, or honorable in us. He wasn’t stirred by something loveable in us. Because of his sovereign grace, he willingly sent his Son to give himself for us. For this reason, we echo Paul’s cry: “To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen” (Gal. 1:5).


Because of our sin, we’re cut off from God. Yet Christ—fully God and fully man—bridges the expanse. He who made all things was carried in the womb of a woman, and he who upholds all things was held in the arms of a woman. He clothed himself with our humanity—body and soul. He “gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:4). And he did all this as our Mediator. Having become one with him through faith, we’ve been “called into the fellowship of [God’s] Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). We now enjoy communion with him in his names and titles; we enjoy communion with him in his righteousness and holiness; we enjoy communion with him in his death and resurrection.

This makes “Christ alone” the sweetest truth known to man. It’s the difference between feast and famine, fullness and emptiness, an eternity of joy and an eternity of sorrow. And it’s the reason we heartily confess: “There is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). 

Subscribe to Blog

return to Ramblings