Thursday, September 20, 2007

God's unspeakable gift

Our Lord Jesus must be a gift to us if we are ever to possess him. He could only come to us sons of men by way of gift. Consider the dignity of his person for a minute, and then ask how it is conceivable that we could have deserved that such a person as he should come here, and live and die, that we might be saved. I can conceive of a man meriting this or that honor among his fellow-men; but when I think of the Prince of life, the Lord of glory, equal with the Father, King of kings and Lord of lords, very God of very God, and when I see him giving himself up to die for men, my very blood boils at the thought that we could ever have deserved that sacrifice. One is indignant that human pride should dare to go the length of even imagining that a life of perfection could have deserved to be rewarded by the gift of Christ. Nay, my brethren, if we had kept God’s law without a flaw, if there had been no omission of duty, and no commission of sin, and we could have taken the compound merits of a perfect world, and laid them at the feet of God, they could not have deserved that Christ should become man, that Christ should live in poverty, that Christ should die in shame for man. There would have been no need of Christ’s death if man had not sinned; but had there been a supposable need, Christ’s sacrifice could not have been deserved even if we had remained innocent, like our first parents in the Garden of Eden, before the Fall. I am sure that none of you could, for a minute, tolerate the thought that any human merit should deserve the incarnation of God upon this earth, the coming of the Divine Son in our nature into this world, and his shameful death upon the cross of Calvary.

But, next, this will be very evident from the nature of the work for which Christ was given. It is clear from the Scriptures that he was given for the undeserving. He came into the world to save sinners. He took upon himself, not our righteousness, for there was none for him to take; but, as we read just now, “the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” The prominent and paramount idea of Christ in the Scripture is that of a Priest offering sacrifice; but the Priest is for men who need atonement for their sins; the expiation, the sacrifice, the sin-offering, is for guilty men. How could Christ die on the cross for deserving men? The idea is absurd! No bruises were required for those who needed not to be healed. There needed to be no chastisement of peace for those who deserved well of God. The very work of Christ in dying, “the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God,” implies that we were at a distance from God. It also implies our injustice; and, consequently, our total inability to deserve such a gift at God’s hand. No, no; a Savior is for sinners; a dying Savior must be for those who deserved to die. Christ does not come, therefore, to us as deserving him; but he is God’s unspeakable gift.

From a sermon entitled "God's Unspeakable Gift."

Photo by FordRanger ; some rights reserved.

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