It Is Called “Good Friday” for a Good Reason

(In memory of Mary Neil Puryear Wise)

According to the Bible, the moment a person dies he becomes an instant theologian. Whether an atheist or a Buddhist … whether a Muslim or a Christian … whether a good person or a bad person or somewhere in between, when one “steps through an unseen veil” into eternity, he sees the one true God of glory (2nd Corinthians 5:8; Luke 16:22-23).  And as his mind adjusts to his new surroundings – be it Paradise or Hades – his perspective changes considerably.  The things of this world quickly fade as his eternal home comes sharply into focus.

On Sunday evening, January 20th of this year, the soul of my mother, Mary Neil Puryear Wise, stepped through that veil.

If we could somehow summon her out of eternity to stand before us once again, I’m sure we would have many questions to ask her.  But there would be one thing – above all else – she would want us all to know … clearly and fully.  She would, of course, declare that the crucified Son of God really is alive!  (After all, she has now seen Him in all His fullness.)  And so, let us all say, “May the wondrous grace and power of almighty God be praised!”  But there is something else my mother knows, and she would not want us to miss it.

She would want us to know why God the Father had His Son executed to begin with.  She would want us to know why it was not the will of God for Jesus to live to the ripe age of 90 (as she did), die of natural causes (as she did) and then be raised from the dead (as she will be).  No, as important as the resurrection of Jesus Christ is, Mary Neil would want us to understand more than the purpose of an empty tomb. She would first want us to clearly understand the purpose of a blood-stained Cross.

  • She would want us to know that she … and every member of her family … and every friend she’s ever had … and, indeed, every person reading these words … have broken the moral laws of a holy God …
  • that, in doing so, we have committed capital crimes against our divine Judge …
  • and that our capital crimes deserve capital punishment.  (“The wages of sin is death,” Romans 3:23).
  • She would want us to know that this deadly problem cannot be solved by being a good person or by promising God that we will try harder to be a better person.  (If that were true, then Jesus Christ died for nothing, Galatians 2:21.)
  • Nor can this problem be solved by going to church … or by joining a church … or by being active in a church … or by following the religious rituals of a church.  (One does not become a Christian by acting like one, Ephesians 2:8-9.)
  • She would want us to know that there is only one way to satisfy the justice of the righteous One we have all offended by our moral crimes; and that one way is death
  • that someone must pay this debt of death …
  • and until someone does, you and I will remain on God’s death row, under His just condemnation …
  • which explains why the Father sent His Son to be impaled to a Roman cross.

We call that day of His death “Good Friday”; and we do so for a good reason, for it is the day when our debt of death was paid in full.  As a result of that Execution, each of us can now be pardoned from our deserved sentence of eternal death …

  • forgiven of all our sins:  past, present, and future …
  • cleansed – fully and forever – by the blood of the Savior …
  • clothed with the righteous robes of the King of kings …
  • and confident that, as with the triumphant Son of God, we, too, will be resurrected by the power of almighty God unto eternal life.

Yes, it is true:  Mary Neil Puryear Wise was a woman of dignity and honor … a loving wife and mother, a helpful friend and a responsible citizen.  But let there be no mistake.  If she could stand before us right now, if we could somehow summon her out of eternity and ask her, “What is the one thing you want us all to know?” she would direct our attention away from herself.  She would, instead, laser beam our focus on

“the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world”

The One Who, on that Good … that Excellent … that Magnificent Friday afternoon,

died for us … in our place … as our Substitute … so we wouldn’t have to.

The One Who was, on that Joyous … that Glorious … that Breathtaking Sunday morning,

raised from death to everlasting life … so that we could be, too.

A “Good Friday”!  What an understatement!  It is a Priceless Friday, promising a priceless Deliverance to all who turn away from their lawless deeds and cling, by faith, to the finished work of the resurrected Son of God!  No deed is good enough for anyone to earn it.  No sin is too great to exclude anyone from it.  His invitation is offered to us all:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”                 (Matthew 11:28)

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.  (Romans 5:8-9)

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8 thoughts on “It Is Called “Good Friday” for a Good Reason

  1. Amen!
    I believe your thoughts are spot-on. I also believe your “Priceless” Friday, instead of “Good” Friday, is a much more accurate description of what that day is.
    I have spent hours the last few years trying to grasp the concept of God’s forgiveness from Matthew 6:12,14. As I read it, God will forgive me like I forgive others. I like the first part of that (God forgiving me) but some people do things to me or my loved ones for which I struggle to forgive. After all, people in this world are capable of some very cruel and evil deeds.
    But then I stop to realize – if they have sinned against me, that would amount to a sinner sinning against another sinner.
    When I sin against God, a sinner has sinned against the Almighty, Sovereign, Gracious and Loving God.
    How can I possibly compare any sin against me (sinner) to what I do when I sin against God?
    Your thoughts?

    1. Howard, I thank the Lord Jesus for the hunger he has given you for His Word. A person can have no greater pursuit than knowing the Lord through His Word. And sometimes (often) that involves grappling with a passage. (In fact I have found that the more I know of His Word, the more ignorant I feel. It is an infinite Book.)

      There is a lot in this passage! First of all, it seems best to understand Matthew 6:12, 14 as one of the fruits of salvation, not the CAUSE of salvation. (It is addressed to those who are already believers, not to unbelievers.) We do not forgive in order to GET saved. We forgive because we ALREADY ARE saved. Jesus fully expects this kind of life … a forgivING type of life … from His followers.

      Second, Jesus is placing upon the believer a CONDITION he must meet to EXPERIENCE the forgiveness he ALREADY HAS because of Christ. That is, he must be willing to forgive others (vs. 14). He ALREADY HAS this blessing of forgiveness from God. But to ENJOY that blessing, he must be obedient (he must forgive others … vs. 14).

      And third, Jesus places the bar up high. We can expect God to forgive us to the same degree (“AS”) “we have forgiven our debtors” (vs. 12). For one to forgive others TO THE DEGREE he wants to EXPERIENCE God’s forgiveness is IMPOSSIBLE apart from a work of the indwelling Spirit of God. But I have found in my personal life that as I become more and more aware of just how much I have been forgiven, the easier it is to forgive others. (To forgive someone of five sins is easier to do if I know that I have BEEN FORGIVEN of five trillion sins.)

      I hope this has given you a bit of help.

  2. Today’s “Good Friday” piece couldn’t be more, appropriate, Martin, and I closed my eyes in appreciation of the wisdom it presented. I am so grateful to find your
    references to “Hades” and “Paradise”, as the “holding rooms” for eternal life. I
    haven’t heard any evangelists preach on this topic, and so few know that we’re
    not destined for either place until the Final Judgment. So nobody’s suffering in
    hell — yet — nor is anyone rejoicing in their eternal glory — yet. Thank you so
    much for this beautiful piece of writing!

    1. Joan, your words are kind. Thank you for the strengthening effect they have. You are right: Paradise is a temporary “holding room” for those whose eternal destiny is “the new earth.” And Hades is the temporary “residence” of those who will eventually spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. As I looked over the blog, I became concerned that I had implied otherwise; so, I’m grateful for your clarifying comments on that. As is our desire for all who read these writings, may your soul flourish in the Lord Jesus as you seek to trust and obey His Word.

  3. Well written as always, Martin!
    Very sorry for your loss, but thanks for taking this opportunity to articulate these great and important truths. Well done, sir!

    1. Greg, thank you for your affirmation. I thank the Lord for your salvation and growth, knowing that “these great and important truths” are a reality in your own life.

  4. Hello martin, I have only come to read this blog post today but am moved to reply. First let me say I am sorry for the loss of your mother, it is significant. Second, let me say I really loved your writing. Priceless Friday is a great description of what we have been given by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Thank you for the reminder and emphasis of this fact!

    1. Thank you Bob for your reply. I appreciate all your words, especially those that placed such value on Christ’s work of salvation. As eternity draws closer and closer, I become more and more aware of the infinite value of His Redemption. May the Lord richly bless you as you abide in Him.

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