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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.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

The bling-bling in the hum-bling

I think I understand it correctly. I’m always slow to get the latest quirks of my language. So, please forgive me if I’m not getting it right. But, “bling-bling” means something good, something to show off, right? The “bling-bling” phenomenon was short lived, but I remember how it took over my daughter’s conversations. Everything was bling-bling (smile) this and bling-bling (laugh) that and bling-bling (grin) the other thing. For a time I had no idea what she was doing by her blings and things.

But, now I know that bling-bling represented the shine or flash from a diamond, from super white teeth, or something else showy. Hence, bling-bling communicated something to show off. Bling-bling meant something good, some thing to rejoice in.

But, being humbled is not normally something to rejoice about—not initially. Not until after the humbling process has finished its perfect work do we rejoice in it. And then we rejoice in it like there’s no tomorrow; there’s nothing better than being humbled. That’s because then we know God is our everlasting Father. It’s only after being humbled that we know that our way is wrong and detrimental, and that our Creator is a God of eternal, fatherly love and patience with us. So, it’s God who makes the humbling process wonderful. God’s love puts the bling in the humbling.

Humbling self is never an easy task. We must have a facilitator. Us humbling ourselves is as impossible as putting two opposing magnets together. We must wrestle with them to be perfectly aligned on top of one another; yet, they still resist every effort to be joined. And at the last moment when you have them exactly together, no sooner do you let go of your strenuous, tedious efforts, than the magnets, with the flash of lightning (bling?) go their separate ways! They return to their natural positions, disjoined and glued to the wrong side. Equally futile is our fallen nature, burgeoning in boastfulness, to humble itself and admit to sin.

For humanity, humility is an uphill drudgery. “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit.” (Gal. 5:17). It is impossible for us to surrender up our pride and self-sufficiency. We must have help. We must have a mediator, and we do have one. But, he must have the right qualifications.

That mediator must love us. A mediator must have more than proven himself trustworthy. He must have bent over backwards to win our affection. He must have gone over the top in perfect camaraderie. His love will show itself unselfish and other-centered. A mediator will have already established a rapport before he or she does any correcting and reproving. A friend is the only successful humbler. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend.” (Prov. 27:6). If the mediator will reprove and correct us successfully, he must mix into his discipline an abundance of discernible, obvious love.

“As many as I love,” Jesus says, “I rebuke and chasten.” (Rev. 3:19). “Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame…. For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” (Heb. 12:2-4).

The wise and holy One has proven His unselfishness and trustworthiness. He came only to serve. He took upon Himself our pains and infirmities. “Christ pleased not Himself” (Rom. 15:3). And He says to each one of us, “The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on Me.” (Rom. 15:3). He proved the truth that, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a Man lay down His life for His friends.” (John 15:13).

“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).

Something was robbing His happiness, His ever-flowing well of water, which had ever sprung up into everlasting life. For the first time, His feet were leaden as He stumbled into the garden and fell fainting to the ground. “And 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). It took all the strength that He had to get off the damp earth and onto His knees.

In Gethsemane, our Friend and Mediator had lost all joy. He, who had only ever known His Father’s blessed acceptance without measure, now knew only a constant, badgering chastisement of His peace. He couldn’t sense His Father any more, and His mind was whelmed in darkness. He was suffering eternal torment in hell, alone. Would His Father leave Him there? “And there appeared an angel unto Him from heaven, strengthening Him.” (Luke 22:43).

He was being gripped with wave after wave of a maddening emptiness. Exponentially stronger and with increasing frequency, the peaks of torment assailed His soul. “And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44).

“Being in an agony”, He must desperately beg comfort from His faithful friends. And “He cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

And “He 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. ” And “being in an agony”,  “He came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.”

“He left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.” (Matt. 26:40-44).

The Father’s work of substitutionary damnation was in motion; and His Son was the holding tank of that infinite, earth-shaking judgment. The work of delivering mankind from sin and Satan had begun in earnest with the momentum of a spiral galaxy, a massive gyro that nothing could stop. The rebirth of mankind would not end until our old nature could die and a new race be born again.

There was no stopping the throes of His mental travail and His pelvis-breaking bodily torment until completing the purchase of His promised possession. A work greater than the Son of God ever could imagine was swirling around Him, and, if for a moment He slackened His faith sealed in His Father’s trustworthiness, He would fly off the plan of our salvation. With tears He cried out intents and thoughts for His God and for His yet unborn, cries for a future family, cries and tears which He could never have expressed under any circumstance less than total desperation. Under the infinite contractions of His soul, He trumpeted the infinitely deep yearnings of the silent, unknown God.

Could Jesus take this much humbling? Could He continue unclothed of the private love and confidential longings with His Father? “In His humiliation His judgment was taken away: and who shall declare His generation?for His life is taken from the earth.” (Acts 8:33). Could He remain unclothed of acceptable propriety and decorum? “I was naked; and I hid Myself” (Gen. 3:10); “I was…naked, and ye clothed Me not.” (Matt. 25:35,43). In shame too painful to hide did the pure and innocent second Adam permit the exposure of His nakedness. “Charity…doth not behave itself unseemly” (1Cor. 13:5), but, this was different. Everything was out of Christ’s control, and under His Father’s.

It was His humbling, as a mother spread on the delivery table. His innermost self was exposed to the hosts of heaven, and, by daybreak, to the people of God and even the pagan Gentiles. His whole body throbbing and His mind in shambles, all He could do was strive to hang on in this holocaust. He was the sacrifice of the red heifer that was burnt to ash because not only His head, but His whole body was under great pressure. Blood seeped from all over from His bloated body. “His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.” (Isa. 52:14).

Open to the view of all was the swollen conformation of the great red heifer, bloody all over before the first whip had lashed into Him. “From the sole of [His] foot even unto [His] head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” (Isa. 1:6). Added to His Father’s wrath was the prince of evil exacerbating the agony physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. The Father’s wrath because of our sin, and the devil’s because he had been our chosen master, was Christ’s double punishment in our place. Everything we must ever suffer, He has already suffered to the 10 billionth power. “He hath poured out His soul.” (Isa. 53:12).

“Speak ye comfortably to [the children of Adam], and cry unto [them], that [the Messiah’s] warfare is accomplished, that [their] iniquity is pardoned: for [He] hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all [their] sins.” (Isa. 40:2). “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.” (1Pet. 3:18).

The Messiah knew our hell before the judgment seat of God; He was the great burnt sacrifice. “Eat...of it…roast with fire; his head with his legs, and with the purtenance thereof. And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning.” (Ex. 12:9,10).
“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”(1Pet. 2:24,25).

“Wherefore, my brethren, ye…are become dead to [the condemnation of] the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” (Rom. 7:4). Jesus blazed the trail to the Father’s infinite humility, for no man could come to the Father but by His Son.

If the Son could be so humbled and opened, why can’t we? Jesus put the bling-bling back into the hum-bling. Let’s be humbled by the Law and the gospel, and see the salvation of the Lord.

1 Comments:

Blogger Gabrielle Eden said...

Dear Sir - do you remember me? God suddenly reminded me of you, because my brother married a woman who is going to a 7th Day Adventist church. How are you? I hope you are well, and I am too. Many blessings to you. In Christ, Gabrielle

5/14/2015 6:55 PM  

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