Friday, December 20, 2013

"Horrible, Unimaginable"

     At some point when the Lord Jesus Christ died for us on the cross of Calvary, something so completely horrible and unimaginable occurred that the Bible only records the fact.  No explanation is given, nor can be.

    "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (II Corinthians 5:21).

    Note that the Apostle Paul does not reference our Lord's bearing of sin - a fact also - but of being sin.  Somehow, the Lord Jesus became everything He is not for the purpose of experiencing His Father's wrath against wickedness and evil. Torrents of Divine fury thus descended upon the Savior, and raged within His soul.  From the experience of Jonah, the prophetic voice foreshadows a portion of our Lord's agony:

I cried by reason of Mine affliction unto the LORD, and He heard Me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and Thou heardest My voice. For Thou hadst cast Me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed Me about: all Thy billows and Thy waves passed over Me. Then I said, I am cast out of Thy sight; yet I will look again toward Thy holy temple. The waters compassed Me about, even to the soul: the depth closed Me round about, the weeds were wrapped about My head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about Me forever" (Jonah 2:2-6).

    What would it be like to eternally exist in perfect righteousness, with a pure and passionate love for goodness, but to be transformed into the very essence of unrighteousness?  What horrors would such a contradiction of heart and spirit involve as a Father's love gives way to the wrath of a judge?  We do not and cannot know.  We can only be sure that it happened, and that a long eternity will not suffice to provide understanding of, as the hymnwriter describes, "How deep were the waters crossed... 'ere He found His sheep that was lost." 

    A holy proportion resulted from Calvary.  To the degree the Lord Jesus was made to be sin, God freely imputes His righteousness to those who believe. To the degree He was forsaken, we are "accepted in the Beloved."   To the degree His soul was enveloped by the night, our spirit dwells in the light of God's countenance.  And to the degree our Lord became who and what He was not, we become in Him who and what we were not.  All of such grace flows to us from the River of life made possible by our Savior's experience of the deep, the floods, the billows, and the waves of God's wrath poured out upon Him for our sakes. 

    We cannot know, but we can believe.  Moreover, we can seek to increasingly avail ourselves of the gift purchased for us by the horrible, and the unimaginable.  May our Heavenly Father grant much grace of remembrance, and of accessing the life of Christ made possible by a death of far greater sacrifice, and of far deeper waters than we will never know...

Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.  Yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."
(Isaiah 53:4)
"Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, 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)

Weekly Memory Verse   
    Thou crownest the year with Thy goodness, and Thy paths drop fatness.
(Psalm 65:11)

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