Saturday, August 21, 2010

"I Have Repaid"

(We don't usually send out a Saturday devotional, but this one's ready to go so I thought I'd send it along. Thanks, Glen).

Onesimus was a slave who escaped from his master Philemon. He ended up in prison with the Apostle Paul, who led him to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Upon the departure of Onesimus to return to his master, Paul writes Philemon a letter of intercession, requesting that Onesimus be received by Philemon as a brother in Christ.

As part of this request on Onesimus' behalf, Paul writes, "If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account. I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it:" (Philemon 1:18-19). This, of course, vividly typifies and portrays the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. Our Savior once said the same thing to our Father about us. Let us put our own name in that blessed place. "Father, if Glen hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on My account. I will repay it." Long ago, the Father did just that, resulting in His beloved Son being tortured to death and forsaken by all, including God, in order to bear our sins on the cross of Calvary. The only difference is the tense. The Lord Jesus would say to the Father, "That was on My account. I have repaid it."

Such grace results in the wonder that God "will not impute" sin to His trusting children (Romans 4:8). He will not put sin on our account because He long ago put them on the account of our Savior. God rather deals with us as His children, administering affirmation, encouragement, edification, challenge, and discipline as needed. His heart is tender toward us because it was furious against the Lord Jesus on the cross. To the degree He was rejected in wrath, we are "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). Of course, His hand can also be firm, and we do well to remember that it was of His children that Scripture declares, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Hebrews 10:31). We are beloved and accepted enough to be the subjects of "fiery indignation" toward attitudes and actions in our lives that are destructive of ourselves, and of those to whom we are called to exemplify Christ (Hebrews 10:27). Whether in gentleness of firmness, however, it is vital to remember that God is "for us," and that sin in never imputed to in any manner that jeopardizes our relationship with Him (Romans 8:31). Again, He "will not impute sin" to us.

The more we understand the exponential extent of the atonement in providing forgiveness and the favor of God, the more our hearts and minds will be moved to avail ourselves of "the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:7). Beholding such glory results in our "being changed into the same image" as the Lord Jesus, that is, His love for the Father more and more becomes our love for the Father (II Corinthians 3:18). To truly know our Lord is to love Him because no heart can ever venture into the wonder that is God without being overwhelmed by the infinite torrents of goodness that spring up and flow in His glorious being. "Put that on My account, I have repaid" forever echoes in the heavenlies, and as it echoes in us, the love of God and love for God will fill and fulfill us forever.

"Where sin abounded, grace did much more, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Romans 5:20-21)

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