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“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” Trailady

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A person God turned around many times.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The redemption and propitiation of Christ

The beautiful words of the reformer, Lefevre:

“Oh, the unspeakable greatness of that exchange,—the Sinless One is condemned, and he who is guilty goes free; the Blessing bears the curse, and the cursed is brought into blessing; the Life dies, and the dead live; the Glory is whelmed in darkness, and he who knew nothing but confusion of face is clothed with glory.” — D'Aubigne, London ed., b. 12, ch. 2.

Such beautiful contrasts in the gift of Himself to us. The Innocent is condemned and the criminal goes free. The Glory is overwhelmed in darkness and we who knew nothing but confusion of face can be clothed with glory.

“He was made to be sin for us who knew no sin.”

“By His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities….He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

All the formulas and rites of Catholicism can never do what the propitiation of Jesus will do for the soul. Christ’s sacrifice alone satisfied the infinite God. He learned what only His Father knew concerning sin. He peered into its depths; He entered into that realm, though it chilled His hardy constitution and soul to the furthest degree. None but He would see the full extent of sin and not be drawn into it’s glamour; none but He feel its horror. No one has known temptation such as the Son of God.

He stood face to face with Satan there in the presence of the knowledge of sin and rebellion. He met the devil on the same grounds upon which perfect Lucifer had fallen. His propitiation was enough to save Satan except that the arch-deceiver can never desire salvation. Only Christ has felt the desperate hopelessness and bleak emptiness that is known by the devil himself. Only Jesus has been there and returned.

He who loved no sin was made to be sin. That bitter cup He drank to its dregs. The agony of the final judgment rested on Him, the smoke of His torment ascended up for ever and ever and He had no rest day nor night. He has tasted the utter hatred of God for selfishness and the blackness of complete separation from His Father because of sin. There is no sinfulness possible in the worst of us for which He has not made atonement; there is no inherited or cultivated tendency to evil for which He cannot justify and bring us back into favor with God.

And He bore that recoiling until it drained the life out of Him whose divine nature had kept His human nature youthful and constantly revitalized. That precious “tender plant” (Is. 53:2), continually in the presence of His Father, was crushed. All this because of the sin we unceasingly wallow in, it being one with our human nature. We demonstrate our reprobate contumacy and ignorance and contempt of Him as we daily join with the Jews and Romans in casting upon Him our insults in His hour of greatest pain and need. “Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” (Is. 53:4).

After all that the Father’s great adversary had tried to do by tempting the Son to lash out in self-righteous indignation, the tomb received the Most Holy, unsullied by the least taint of selfishness. Our contempt heaped upon Him at the instigation of Satan, He descended into death bearing only love and sorrow for us in His heart, He thus reconciling heaven and earth. For the fallen race, the object of His deepest love, He had only yearning and forgiveness. Till the last moment of consciousness, how to pierce our hardened hearts with the glory of His Father was all He could think of.

Thus death could not retain Him. Satan, the ruler of death, could lay no claim on Jesus. He had no right to keep Him. The heavenly court convinced, the great Judge satisfied, he who had power over death must relinquish his hold on his prisoner. One word from Gabriel, his ancient counterpart, and life was restored to the incarnate Son of God. He ascended to His Father in that divine-human form, a sign of the greatest battle of all eternity; in that battered and bruised soul and frame will forever show the seal of victory of the power of the faith of Jesus and the righteousness of God. All “to declare His righteousness.”

“I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.” Revelation 21:1. The fire that consumes the wicked purifies the earth. Every trace of the curse is swept away. No eternally burning hell will keep before the ransomed the fearful consequences of sin.
One reminder alone remains: Our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought.

Great Controversy, p. 674.

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