Then what sort of death did Christ die at Golgotha? His was a vicarious death, undertaken in our place and on our behalf; this means he died the death to which sinners are subject: physical and spiritual death. Christ suffered physical death in the separation of his soul from his body, that decreational judgment whereby God pulls apart what he put together when he breathed the breath of life into the man he formed from the dust of the ground, making him a living creature (Gen. 2:7). More startling still, Christ suffered spiritual death in the form of excruciating estrangement within the Trinitarian fellowship, as heard in his destitute cry, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34; cf. Psalm 22). The vicarious death of Christ means that he drank our cup of judgment to its last and bitterest dregs, descending body and soul into the depths of death, into the yawning abyss of divine condemnation upon sinners. God the Son died at Golgotha, and God the Father suffered the death of his dear Son. Rightly understood, as Michael Reeves notes, confessing the death of God is not the end of faith, but the beginning of true faith: “For, on the cross, Christ the Glory puts to death all false ideas of God; and as he cries out to his Father and offers himself up by the Spirit (Heb. 9:14), breathing out his last, he reveals a God beyond our dreams.””

The Incarnation Of God

John C. Clark

Marcus Peter Johnson