The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"The Most Sacred Mystery"
When considering the death of the Lord Jesus Christ for our sins on the cross of Calvary, the most common understanding involves His bearing of our iniquities. The Apostle Peter wrote of this:
"Christ… bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (I Peter 2:21; 24).
In some way infinitely beyond our understanding, the Lord Jesus took our sins upon Himself because He had none of His own for which to give account - "a lamb without blemish and without spot" (I Peter 1:19). Such mystery constitutes a wonder for which we can and will never give enough thanks.
The Apostle Paul, however, suggests an even greater enigma.
"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).
To "bear" our sins - wondrous. However, to "be" sin - what can this possibly mean? I do not know. I would also be suspicious of anyone who claimed to have an answer. Thus, I do not want to surmise to any significant extent whatsoever. Allow me, therefore, to suggest just one contemplation, offered with much reverence, and hopefully, with much trembling restraint.
On the cross of Calvary, our Savior became what He was not - sin - so that God the Father might pour out His wrath not only upon acts of unrighteousness, but upon their very source. Thereby, all who believe are made righteous in the sight of God, and in relationship with Him. Yes, on the cross of Calvary, God made His Son everything He was not so that He might make us everything we were not.
The thought stills the heart, and stymies the mind. What would it mean for the One, whose love for righteousness comprises the very essence of His character, to be completely immersed in the darkness and horror of sin? (Hebrews 1:9). What revulsions would have tortured His pristine heart? What excruciating emotions coursed through His soul more troubled than any other has ever known, or ever will know? What griefs would the rejection by His Father and the Holy Spirit - "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" - have ravaged upon His spirit? "Made to be sin." To be sin. What can this mean? Only One will ever know, the One who more than any other rightly bears the title: "A Man of Sorrows" (Isaiah 53:3).
I think of this sometimes when reading the account of the holy throng depicted in the fifth chapter of Revelation - more than one hundred million strong - who lift their voices in praise to the Lamb. Why do they praise Him? Eternity will not be long enough to answer that question. Certainly those hearts, filled with wonder, raise their voices for many things they know about their Lord. But maybe they also praise the Lamb for that which they know they can never know. Perhaps they praise Him for sorrows untold - forever untold - that broke the heart of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary. Made to be sin. We must go no further in this consideration. We must remove our shoes and fall before this most sacred of all mysteries. With great reverence, the hymn writer approached the wonder. We close in the light of her holy and sublime prose…
"But none of the ransomed ever knew how deep were the waters crossed, nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through e're He found His sheep that was lost."
(From "The Ninety and Nine," Elizabeth Clephane)
"We did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted."
Weekly Memory Verse
"The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and godhead."