Coloratura Christian

I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed. (Psalm 34:4-5)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Do You Know What You're Asking For?

Cowboyology has directed me to an article by Mark Dever entitled, "Nothing But the Blood." In it, Dever deals with the various theories of the atonement, what the critics are saying, and what the Scriptures say. I highly recommend this article.

With the atonement being minimized and discredited by certain groups in the Christian community, it has compelled me to revisit the scriptures for clarity. Today being 'Good Friday', it is timely to be wrestling with Christ's atonement. Why did He have to die? Why does God not simply forgive us? Was Christ's death actually necessary or was it just one way among many for Jesus to show His great love for us?

Fortunately, the Scriptures do not leave us to wonder why Christ died, what type of sacrifice it was, and, how that sacrifice affects us. In fact, the Scriptures (old and new) are saturated with news of the atonement. Isaiah 53 says:
But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.

How humbling to think that the sinless Almighty Son of God went to the cross "like a lamb that is led to the slaughter." That He was "crushed for our iniquities" when the "LORD ... laid on him the iniquity of us all."

I am struck with how often I take the cross for granted--how easy it is to be presumptuous on God's grace, and to be forgetful of the great cost of our salvation. I am reminded of Sinclair Ferguson's words in his book, Deserted By God?, where he speaks of what David is unwittingly asking for in Psalm 51:

In asking for "mercy," David, you are asking that God will show it to you, but withdraw it from Jesus.
In asking to experience God's "unfailing love," you are asking that Jesus will feel it has been removed.
In asking to taste God's "great compassion," you are asking him to refuse it to Jesus as he dies on the cross.
In asking God to "blot out" your transgressions, you are asking that they will be obliterated by the blood of Jesus.
In asking to be washed, you are asking that the filth of your sin will overwhelm Jesus like a flood.
In asking to know the joy of salvation, you are asking that Jesus will be a Man of Sorrows, familiar with grief.
In asking to be saved from bloodguilt, you are asking that in your place Jesus will be treated as though he were guilty.
In asking that your lips will be opened in praise, you are asking that Jesus will be silenced, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb.
In asking that the sacrifice of a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart be acceptable, you are asking that Jesus' heart and spirit will be broken.
In asking that God will hide his face from your sins, you are asking that he will hide his face from Jesus.
In asking that you will not be cast out of God's presence, you are asking that Jesus will be cast out into outer darkness instead.

Is that what we want? It is the only thing that will prevent a sense of the absence of God from becoming permanent in our life. But dare we ask God to do this for us? To obligate himself to love us in such a manner as this? We do not need to ask him. He has already done it.

2 Comments:

  • At April 20, 2006, Blogger sharon said…

    wow - thanks for the post Christel... some amazing things to really think about. I'll have to re-read a few times for sure.... see you soon!!!

     
  • At May 13, 2006, Blogger 4given said…

    Excellent post... and blog. Methinks we are very like-minded.
    Armchair Theologian told me about you.

    His servant for His glory,
    Lisa

     

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