Tuesday Tea-ology is up! How wonderful that, in Christ, we can be free of the debt of sin.
Lord Jesus, remember me, in your infinite mercy. Reach down to me, and draw me to the cross of your loving sacrifice. You have bridged the separation between us and God; dying, you tore asunder the temple curtain and wrenched open the tombs. Let me rest in the wonder of the cross. Give me faith to look upon you with trust and adoration, to proclaim in brokenness and awe, ‘truly you are the Son of God.’
Lifted up upon the cross, you draw all men to yourself, Lord Christ. To save us, you did not spare yourself. For our reconciliation with God, you lifted up your cry of God-forsakenness. You suffered and died in our place, our sacrificial lamb. Praise to you, lamb who was slain; glory to you, crucified Savior; honor to you, blessed Redeemer, who bore the cross for us.
We will not fear.
Where do we find the strength and confidence to stand firm against opposition, to stand strong in times of fear and uncertainty?
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2, NIV).
We are small, fragile and easily frightened. But there is a blessed Therefore, because of which we can stand in the face of chaos. Wherefore? Because God is our refuge and strength. Because He is an ever-present help in trouble.
The children of God do not face life’s tragedies and terrors alone. We do not face the shaking of nations in our own strength. No, we can lean upon the arms of the Almighty. Wherever we are and whatever we face, we can call out to the omnipresent, omnipotent God.
And we are confident, knowing His loving care. The Father sent His own Son as a sacrifice for our redemption; won’t He hear us when we call?
What shall we say in times of fear and uncertainty? We will not fear. Why not? God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
(Isaiah 53:10, NIV)
In this one verse we see the wonderful mystery of the cross expressed. What a marvelous gift that God gave this word to the prophet Isaiah, and how it must have moved and mystified that holy man and so many others, to ponder what all this could mean. Yet in the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the mystery is made plain, and we are left with adoration and awe.
The cross was not an accident of history, the tragic death of one more good man at the hands of the wicked. It was the will of God, the divine act of redemption for the lost human race. Here the Son of God suffered for us, perfect obedient Servant, pure Substitute, Holy Savior of mankind.
Christ was made an offering for our sins. By His sacrifice, the wrath of God is satisfied and our guilt is washed away. What we could never accomplish for ourselves, Christ did on our behalf. And for all His wonderful miracles, His greatest act was offering Himself up to make atonement for us.
And yet He lives. He sees offspring–the children of God, who through faith may be saved because of what He has done. His days are prolonged, for He defies death and is raised to life eternal. And He accomplishes the redeeming purpose of God, securing a people for the Lord redeemed and renewed by His blood.
Praise to God for His wonderful work, for the saving death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.
So many things are advanced under the banner of ‘love’ these days, and such a variety of things are condemned as hate. As a culture, we are deeply confused about love.
But there is a transcendent standard, if we will look to it: “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).
Love is a self-giving for the other, and there has never been such a marvelous demonstration of love as when God the Father sent His Son to die in our place, the Savior of the world.
We were not good and worthy of saving. We were His enemies, not His friends. He wasn’t in our debt; we already owed Him everything, and had reneged on our obligations towards Him. Any attempt to see us as deserving of salvation cheapens God’s grace and undercuts the matchless mystery of His redeeming love.
Christ died for us because God is love. God is so consummately loving, that He gave His only beloved Son for our redemption. God’s love was demonstrated, enacted, incomparably displayed, upon the cross where Jesus died for us.
Love indescribable, wonderful and wild, extravagant and incomprehensible. This is the majesty of divine love. This is love that shakes the world.
Eternal Truth, give me right desires,
your fires for mine–ephemeral and vain;
cleanse the stain of my misplaced love
and turn above my wayward eyes.
Arise, weak heart, and see
the glory that the world thinks small
surpasses all; ephemeral life’s charms
and harms alike. Give me vision,
sweet decision, on that ancient crucifix
to so transfix my wandering gaze
that all my days will view
ever anew your Truth Eternal.
All our ‘why’s, our tears,
our anguished cries, seem hollow
set against the silent skies–
does heaven not hear?
But God is near, He
reaches down, bent down to wear
our thorny crown, and
stretches hands to us,
as stretched His arms upon the cross.
Our pain is answered cruciform;
our why is stilled at His reply,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani!”
the cry that answers all our pain–
death’s death-knell, most awful,
most wonderful, numinous strain.
And grief will be ended,
and joy live again.