The Significance of the Death of Christ (continued)
b. Christ Accepted Of God
Yet there is another aspect of the Cross (of which we shall have to speak more again if the Lord wills) where, while all that we have been saying is true, and we take nothing from it - the awful darkness and blackness and terror of it all - something else is going on. He offers Himself without spot unto God (Hebrews 9:14). He was an offering unto God. That is the other aspect. The word gains strength for us - "...Who delivered us out of the power (authority) of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Col. 1:13). That is the value of the Cross. Out of that darkness into this - into God's absolute good pleasure. "The Son of His love." "Accepted in the beloved" (Ephesians 1:6). Out of one into the other by the Cross.
Oh, I wish that it were in my power to make the Cross known in more of its wonderful depth and fullness in both it aspects. I trust that you see a little more. We are now thinking of the Cross in both aspects - judgement and acceptance. Let us see what He has done. He has devoured and swallowed up all the wrath of God; there is no more remaining for us if we will believe. He has bridged and closed up the mighty gulf between God and us, and brought us nigh unto God through the Blood of His Cross, if we will believe; and He has brought us back into the place of the power of God out of our impotence, that we should be endued and endowed by the Holy Spirit with the mighty power of God. "...strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inward man" (Ephesians 3:16). While in ourselves remaining weak, we are nevertheless able to say, "I can do all things in Him that strengthened me" (Phil. 4:13). There is the great changeover.
The Practical Application
But, you see, the practical application has got to be made. We have got to come definitely to the meaning of the Cross like that, and say, 'Well, if that is what the Cross means so far as I am concerned by nature, there is no place left for self-will, for independence; that must go to the Cross; and all that belongs to the old creation must go to the Cross.' And, thank God, the Cross is not just some wooden thing set up long years ago, neither is it a crucifix to be worn around our necks; it is a mighty power of God. "Christ crucified ... the power of God" (1 Corinthians 1:23, 24). To do this thing, to save us from the strength of our own will, to break the power of this enmity in us against God, to transform us into the image of His Son, there is the power of God centered in the Cross. Oh, what an immense thing the Cross is! Let us go away from this meditation solemnly - I would almost say brokenly - worship for what it cost Him. Obedient! Have a proposition like that put up to you! Even in our sinfulness, in all our great capacity for sin, if a certain proposition were put up to us we should shrink from it, and say, 'God forbid that ever I should have to touch that!' We know a little of shrinking from atmospheres and conditions which are so contrary to the Lord. Think of Him! We cannot, we just cannot, understand what it meant to Him, the Holy One, to be sin, and to be asked by the Father to be placed in a position - not doctrinally and technically, but actually - where the wrath of God was let loose and exhausted itself upon Him, and the far, far abandonment broke upon His consciousness; He could not find God. He was helpless, impotent. That is what it cost; that was the meaning of His obedience for our salvation. Oh, how costly is our salvation! Let us dwell upon it with reverent and heart-moved adoration.
But we are not left there, thank God. Not one of us ever need taste the judgment of God; not one of us ever need know God-forsakenness or God even at a distance from us. We know just the opposite of that in our Lord Jesus Christ, by faith in Him.
May the Lord take the feebleness of this presentation and impress upon our hearts how great is the price of our redemption. We were redeemed, "not with corruptible things, with silver and gold ... BUT WITH PRECIOUS BLOOD" (1 Peter 1:18, 19).
(continued with # 43)