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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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gethsemane, The oil press

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1Jn. 3:1-4).

Last night, the church watched part of a series on Christ’s life called, “Tracing the footsteps of Jesus.” Last night’s episode was entitled, “The oil press.” This series carries its audience through the life of Christ as portrayed in the gospels and as revealed in archeology and the actual scenery of today’s Israel. Last night’s part of the series covered Gethsemane, which means “oil press” in the Aramaic language.

The director/narrator of the series, Pastor Tony Moore, spoke mostly of Christ’s burden for His disciples’ unpreparedness to lead the church and their unreadiness to survive the great shaking of their Master’s arrest and His submission to brutal execution. These were tremendous burdens on the Son of God; but the greatest burden which He began to back away from for fear of its eternal separation from His Father, was the accepting of infinite wrath from His Father for the sin of humanity, for whom He had become surety. “And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith He unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with Me.” (Matt. 26:37,38).

This exceeding sorrow was the lion’s share of the distress that pressed upon the Messiah that night. He must stand before an assaulted, insulted King of glory and feel the full extent of His Father’s indignation toward sinners. He who had known the infinite load by the presence of sin that bound the Father down like a captured animal; He who had ever empathized but had never fully comprehended His Father’s grief; He who grew up in His Father’s presence as a tender plant, who had never for an instant offended God, must now be the receiver of all His Father’s fury against sin, so that humanity could escape the Sodom and Gomorrah eternal destruction.

The Prince of peace, who had known only joy throughout all the days of eternity and on earth, must for the first time know what it is to have all joy taken away. The chastisement of our peace, the grinding anxiety that comes from the loneliness and separation from the Lifegiver, the darkness and depression that sinners live with as the result of serving sin and Satan—Jesus drank it all. That bitter gall and wormwood that comes from imbibing the traditions of men which exalt the human and hide the divine character, and from worshiping Satan through our idols and gods of this world; all of that bitter gall and wormwood Christ accepted. “He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt.” (Matt. 26:39).

The spiritual torment goaded the sinless Savior, strangling His soul, pressing the hope and strength out of Him. The stress was so great that His brain began to physically break down, as the blood vessels burst, blood seeping out of His pores, and a stroke felt soon-coming. Without hope and without God, the crushing load of total deprivation upon Him was overwhelming.

He could have abandoned this punishment of hell. One word to His Father would have spared Him, “I can’t do this, Father…I can’t live without You! Please take Me out of this desolation and restore to Me Thy free Spirit. Let Me have Your favor again. Take Me home to the joy and perfection of Your throne.” Instead, He forfeited His right to eternity with His Father and, “went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” (Matt. 26:42). And finally, without any support from His closest friends, feeling totally alone in the universe, without hope that anyone would appreciate what He was going through for them, “He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” (Matt. 26:44). His soul lived the scripture, “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me.” (Isa. 63:3).

But, as much as He craved His Father’s comforting fellowship, He also loved the human race that had been captivated by His Father’s adversary. We were lost and disposed to God’s forth-coming wrath, unless He would right then take our place in hellfire. It was now or never to have another opportunity. The Son of God was in a strait between to necessities. He was forced into one or the other difficulty. “I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart [from this fire], and to be with [My Father]; which is far better:
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh [in the fire] is more needful for you.” (Phil. 1:23,24). He took the harder one, and it made all the difference—for Him, for His Father, for the angelic hosts and unfallen worlds, and for us who come to Him for His forgivenness and acceptance.

Having assumed His Father’s full wrath, He matched it with infinite mercy. Now, there is nothing the accuser can say against His word of pardon to anyone needing it; He has earned full authority to forgive the deepest sin, the most degraded sinner.

Another even greater issue also riding upon His sacrifice: He would reveal His Father’s true character that Satan had assassinated, accusing Him of self-gratification, self-exaltation, and tyrannical despotism as possessor of absolute power and authority. Sweeping away forever Satan’s claims, the Prince of the covenant would unveil to the universe the actual nature of the King of peace—self-sacrificing love and grace. And the guilt of libel and perjury would be firmly placed upon Satan. Soon we will join in the glad strains, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.” And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them,...“Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.” (Rev. 5:12,13).

“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (Jn. 1:12).

“For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.
Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” (Ps. 103:11-13).

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.” (1Jn. 3:1).

All who behold the willing substitution of the Savior are called the sons and daughters of God. He calls them His children because the efforts of His Son’s sacrifice transformed their soul. They were humbled; pride was struck from them. Their nature was changed from self-serving to self-sacrificing, from self-exalting to self-deprecating, from self-indulging to self-denying, from half-hearted self-sufficiency to blameless and harmless sons of God. Therefore the world knows us not because it is estranged to godliness and selflessness.

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.” (1Jn. 3:2,3).

All whom the Spirit of God has transformed are never fully sure of their submission to their Master’s example, but they do crave His acceptance and receive the Spirit’s confirmation. So, the work of the new disciple is to purify himself in preparation for the day his Lord returns. They want to be acceptable and perfect in the beauty of holiness.

“Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” (1Jn. 3:4).

They never forget the Law of God. While God’s salvation through His Son’s cross greatly emphasizes the joy of His grace because of their new humility, their humility can never lose their obligation to honor the Law of their Deliverer. They are not under the law; but those who lose their obligation have denied the obvious duty of obedience to their Deliverer, a duty that comes with Christ’s power in their behalf to free them from sin and Satan. If this happens, they have fallen from grace and are serving Satan. They have lost their freedom in Christ to live under grace and they return to the scourging discipline of living under the law. Whether it is the law of moral behavior or the law of sin, it’s all the law of sin and they live under a galling yoke, owning a nature that cannot be subject to the Law of God because Satan is reinstated to the throne of their soul with unfettered jurisdiction over them.

But he who purifies himself in the hope of his Master’s returning, will continue in the first confidence in Christ, even though the work of sanctification is for a lifetime. He will rest in Christ’s full atonement in Gethsemane and on the cross. No man will be able to take him out of God’s hands, and he will be able to say on that day, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord, and we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation!”

“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.

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