Christ’s Cross: The Drama Of Debtors, Enemies and Criminals

R. C. Sproul’s The Truth Of The Cross was my 3rd advent present from my dearly and lovely wife Lea. As was with  C. J. Mahaney’s book: Living The Cross Centered Life, Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing, I would share one of the most remarkable part in this book.

In this book, Sproul examined how Christ Jesus death on the cross redeemed those who are in Christ. Dr. R.C. aimed to show that it was God who provided the Lamb to be slaughtered as the manner to which the salvation of those in Christ was obtained.

Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner, a Professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote:

“The cross stands at the very center of our Christian lives. Still, many Christians are confused about the heart of the gospel, for many deviant views are in the air. R.C. Sproul blows the fog away in this wonderfully clear, theologically profound, and pastorally rich work. Learn afresh or anew what God has accomplished in the cross, so that you will boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ.”

One of the most remarkable part in this Sproul’s book, for me, was chapter 3. The Debtors, Enemies and Criminals. He began explaining the quote he came across in Barlett’s Familiar Quotations: “Sin is cosmic treason”. He wrote:

We rarely take the time to think though the ramifications of our sin. We fail to realize that in even the slightest sins we commit, such as little white lies and other peccadilloes, we are violating the law of the Creator of the universe. In the smallest sin we defy God’s right to rule and to reign over His creation.

Sproul then went on to show that every sin is “ truly an act of treason against the cosmic King”. He went on:

When God issues a law, when He legislates a kind of behavior, it is our duty as His creature to do as He says. A Moral obligation to conform to that law is imposed on us justly from His hand. When we don’t conform, we are breaking that law, which means we are committing crime in the sight of God. When a crime is committed, His justice has been violated and we are worthy of sanctions.

God function as a Judge, says Sproul, has an obligation to bring judgment of us. His justice demands that sin be punished. A debt that demands a payment.

Sproul showed how the drama of the cross is played as he answered, “How satisfaction was be achieved” How a cosmic criminal set free. How God’s justice satisfied. How those in Christ debt paid.

R.C pointed out that Christ Jesus played a crucial role in the drama as he “summarize the roles of each of the actors in this way”:

Sin as …










Violated One






Sproul showed that when sin is depicted as a debt, the New Testament calls Christ our Surety (Heb. 7:22). That’s an economic term, just as debt is an economic term, when sin is expressed as enmity to God’s holiness, Christ plays the role of Mediator reconciling God and Man (2 Cor. 5:19b) and when sin is characterized as crime, Christ is the One Who actually comes under judgment in atonement in our place. Our substitute.

Two chapters later came the most awesome and strong observation.

Expiation [taking away of guilty through the payment] is the act that results in the change of God’s disposition towards us. It is what Christ did on the cross, and the result of Christ’s work of expiation is propitiation [bring change from “against” to “for”] – God’s anger is turned away. The distinction is the same as that between the ransom that is paid and the attitude of the one who receives the ransom. (p.76-77)

The Truth of The Cross  is a 167 paged and easy read book that I would recommend my fellow Christians and curious non-Christian to read.