“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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The very dying form of One

Do we really comprehend the cross of Christ? I think not. If we did, we would all be converted and stay converted. We say we understand the science of salvation. Yet we don’t talk about the cross. And even Jesus is left out of much of our conversation, even during church fellowship.

But He is the center of the science! Elijah poured out his complaint to the Lord. “I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars....” (1Ki. 19:10). Forsaken the covenant and thrown down the altars. Let’s translate that to new dispensation language—The people of God have forsaken the gospel and ignored and obscured Christ’s crucifixion.

Sound familiar? When is the Lord going to raise up another Elijah to bring us back to the cross and all its grace-filled ramifications? Any other kind of religion is nothing more than the offering of Cain without the cross of Christ as the central object of attention. Grace is missing. Agape love is scarce. Yet the people seem joyous and satisfied with the condition of the church and its focus.

“A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so.” (Jer. 5:30,31). “I have written to him the great things of My law, but they were counted as a strange thing.” (Hos. 8:12).

Without the cross of grace as our focus, we scurry about seeking a suitable substitute. One finds prophecy and end time events, and exalts them to the center. Another finds the health message; another evangelism, and another studying Paul. Even Righteousness by Faith and 1888 have taken center stage and become the suitable substitute for very many. But Jesus is missing and people are angrily fighting for their RBF agenda!

Because Christ and His mighty grace are not the center of attention the church is thrown into confusion with so many other centers of focus. “What we need is to fast and pray!” says one well-meaning church elder. “What we need is corporate repentance!” says another elderly well-known author. “What we need is to stop telling people to stop eating cheese!” says the church’s foremost RBF expert who doesn’t know how to preach Jesus.

Question is: Do we know how to preach Jesus? Do any of our preachers know how? Because if they did, surely in the past 10 years I would have heard a sermon on Jesus, full of grace and truth. We deserve the brand of cult. If Jesus isn’t our center we are a cult! (Of, course we have plenty of company in all the other Protestant denominations. They can’t preach Jesus, either. So they are cults, too!)

Look with me into the dense blackness surrounding that cross on yonder hill. What do we see? The very dying form of One. Wonder of wonders! He is taking our blows and bolts from the throne of heaven. He is suffering our withdrawal of life from God. Our chastised peace is His who has ever only known perfect rest and peace in His Father’s acceptance. The blackness of soul is upon Him. The absence of hope depressing His tongue deep into His throat so that He can hardly utter a word.

Not the spikes in His hands and feet are killing Him. No, in the blackness He does not even remember the insults or notice the spittle on His battered and swollen face kept moist by the pangs of anxiety and a ton of psychological pressure forcing blood from His pores. Without a mediator for Himself to protect and deflect the condemnation, His stare through blaring eyes belies His guilty stance before a holy God. Surely the Sun was turned into darkness, and the Moon into blood, according to the prophecy. (Acts 2:20).

He is made to be sin, the most hated thing in His universe. He is an outcast and foresaken by His most Beloved Father. He stubbornly refuses to give up the notion of clinging to His attachment to the rebellious race. Then He must suffer divine wrath. It’s only right. It’s the Law. He is an aider and abettor to an insurrection of the kingdom of God. He is an accessory to the crime of high treason against the holy government. You love a world full of Barabas’s so much, then You must pay the price. And pay He did; He would not let go of them, even as He descended into oblivion. His love for them retained the human race for Himself and saved them from extinction. Nothing but love would pass God’s austere judgment.

“He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because 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.” (Is. 53:11,12).

Beneath the cross of Jesus I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness, a rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat, and the burden of the day.

O safe and happy shelter, O refuge tried and sweet,
O trysting place where Heaven’s love and Heaven’s justice meet!
As to the holy patriarch that wondrous dream was given,
So seems my Savior’s cross to me, a ladder up to heaven.

There lies beneath its shadow but on the further side
The darkness of an awful grave that gapes both deep and wide
And there between us stands the cross two arms outstretched to save
A watchman set to guard the way from that eternal grave.

Upon that cross of Jesus mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One Who suffered there for me;
And from my stricken heart with tears two wonders I confess;
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

I take, O cross, thy shadow for my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by to know no gain or loss,
My sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the 3rd time reading again this. The form of dying saviour. I loved it and God must have worked it out with you. I will share it with the Burundian tonite before I jump on a bus.

9/15/2008 9:52 AM  

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