Well, yesterday’s post got swallowed by the busy-ness of the day. Referring to Tuesday’s post, you may recall the hymn text of William Rees. As mentioned, this post will build on that text for a couple of reasons.
We often carry some very sentimentalized ideas about what it means to love. That can be especially true when we, in our limited capacity, try to fathom the limitless love of God. If we are to gain a fuller understanding of our Father’s love as Paul commands us to do in Ephesians 3, we need to see a bigger picture of Who and What He is.
The hymn text says, On the mount of Crucifixion fountains opened deep and wide. Fountains of mercy, love, and grace are mentioned in the full text. The unmentioned fountain is that of wrath. The cross is a picture of something we tend to gloss over or forget altogether. Our Father is the God of infinite holiness. In Isaiah’s heavenly vision, it is interesting the angelic beings cry, “Holy, holy, holy.” I say it is interesting because other things would also be true. The could have cried, “Merciful.” They could have cried, “Patient.” They could have cried, “Loving.” The fact is, the didn’t. In that scene we are given insight into our own condition and that which makes the God of the universe so very different from us. Isaiah witnessed that scene and simply said, “Woe is me!”
God is infinite in all His attributes. All that is true of Him is true to an infinite degree. He never learned anything, He never discovered anything, He never realized anything, and on and on we could go. He has always known whatever is knowable. He is holy and therefore without sin. We look at the cross and somehow imagine that God’s immense love “took over” all His other attributes and salvation was the result. That simply isn’t the case. God’s infinite holiness demands His wrath upon sin. If He diminishes His wrath upon sin He becomes inconsistent with what He is and is no longer God. We need a fresh understanding of this idea not only in relation to the cross, but in our everyday lives. God’s holiness has never changed and will never change. His view of sin is a constant in the universe and eternity. He does not, He cannot, overlook or “wink” at it, or sweep it under the rug.
The full force of His righteous wrath was unleashed on that cross. While He promises to limit the things you and I endure as Christians, there was no such promise for Christ. First, the cross is a picture of the vengeance of our righteous God upon sin. I needed to hang there. You needed to hang there. Only when we begin to understand that truth can we begin to get a grasp on His love. God’s love did not overwhelm God’s holiness. His love met its demand. Because He did that, we are the beneficiaries of Christ’s suffering. We are the recipients, by faith, of His mercy and grace. Now, read the text again:
Here is love, vast as the ocean, Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of life, our ransom, Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember? Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten throughout heaven’s eternal days.
On the mount of Crucifixion fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers, Poured incessant from above,
And heaven’s peace and perfect justice kissed a guilty world in love.
Soli Deo Gloria!
- The Problem (anointedplace.wordpress.com)