All of this serves to remind us that Good Friday is not a time to meditate on what we ought to do but rather upon what Christ did to save us. J. Gresham Machen once wrote:
What good does it do me to tell me that the type of religion presented in the Bible is a very fine type of religion and that the thing for me to do is to just start practicing that type of religion now? I will tell you, my friend. It does not one tiniest bit of good! What I need first of all is not exhortation but a gospel, nor directions for saving myself, but knowledge of how God has saved me. Have you any good news for me? That is the question I ask of you. I know your exhortations will not help me. But if anything has been done to save me, will you tell me the facts?Christianity is not a religion about what we have to do but rather the proclamation of what has already been done. The very word "gospel" means "good news." The gospel is all about how sinners are made righteous before God and Good Friday is a time to remember that Christ's atonement means the salvation of sinners.