Jim Byrd

“For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” [Luke 23:31]. 

These words were uttered by our Savior to those who wept for Him as He made His way toward the place of crucifixion. Christ is the green tree, full of the sap of life, delightful and well-pleasing to the Father. He was pure in His nature, without sin in His life, harmless in His actions and perfect in all His ways. In and of Himself, He was not deserving of being cut down and cast into the fire of divine wrath. The agonies which awaited Him were brought about because the sins of His people were imputed to Him.

The innocent Lamb of God had taken responsibility for the redemption of those given Him by the Father in the covenant of grace and the time had now arrived when He would retire our indebtedness by enduring divine wrath in our stead. Though He was the sinless One, yet when He bore our transgressions, He would not be spared the sword of judgment and He “DIED FOR OUR SINS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.” [1Cor 15;3] We are assured from the Word of God that when Christ offered Himself as the sacrifice for our offenses, His people were redeemed by His precious blood [1 Peter 1:18-19]. The just vengeance of God which fell upon the Shepherd who died as the Substitute for His sheep, will never fall upon those in whose place He died.

Now, if these things happened “IN A GREEN TREE,” that is, if the Father dealt so severely with Him Who had no inward guilt, no sins of His own, what will happen to those who leave this world laden with guilt and sin reigns within them? They are as dry trees, fit only to be cast away and forevermore endure the fiery indignation of God.

In the destruction of the wicked we see the just consequence of having no Substitute, no Sin-Offering and no Mediator. What unspeakable horror awaits those who die clinging to their self-righteous rags and despising the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ! The cross-death of the Son of God stands as solemn proof that the God of the Bible must and will punish sin.