Thursday, June 26, 2014

Once a Child of Wrath

"To love and to be propitious are not convertible terms. Even in the human sphere, the unique object of love may at the same time be the unique object of holy wrath and displeasure. It is the denial of God's holiness in relation to sin, as the contradiction of what He is and demands, not to recognize that sin must evoke His wrath. And just as sin belongs to persons, so the wrath rests upon the persons who are the agents of sin. Those whom God loved with invincible love were the children of wrath as Paul expressly says (Eph. 2:3). It is to this fact that the propitiation made by Christ is directed. Those whom God loved were the children of His wrath. This truth enhances the marvel of His love; and if we deny it or tone it down, we have eviscerated the greatness of His love. The doctrine of the propitiation is precisely this: God loved the objects of His wrath so much that He gave His own Son to the end that He by His blood should make provision for the removal of this wrath. It was Christ's to deal with the wrath so that those loved would no longer by the objects of wrath, and love would achieve its aim of making the children of wrath the children of God's good pleasure" (Andrew Murray, an excerpt from The Atonement, reprinted in Free Grace Broadcaster, Issue #227, p. 30-31).

To the Holy One filled with both wrath and love: thank You for allowing Your one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to become sin on my behalf and fully absorb Your wrath due me, for my myriad sin against You.

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Oh, Father: once I was a child of wrath. Your holy anger against my sin destined me for destruction. But You, from eternity past, determined destruction would not be my end. You would apply Your Son's propitiation to my account. You would eliminate the eternal debt I owe You, allowing it instead to be paid through the sacrificial, sinless death of Your glorious Spotless Lamb.

It is now the early morning hours of what Christ followers call "Good Friday." That Friday, 2,000 years ago, was good because it was the day when it pleased You, Father, to crush Your Son. While darkness fell upon the land now drenched with Your Son's blood, that Friday was a good day because Your son declared, "It is finished!" You nailed my debt to the cross of Your Son, with all of its legal demands. My sins have been remitted through the only means possible; for without the shedding of blood--Your Son's perfect, precious, priceless, and pure blood--there would be no forgiveness for me or anyone else. What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Once a child of wrath, I am now one of Your beloved children, Father--not because of anything I have ever done in righteousness, but because of Your mercy. And Your mercy and grace were so perfectly made possible through the propitiation of Your Son, my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank You, Father, for adopting me into Your holy family.

Thank You, Father, for loving me--a depraved and wicked man once, but never again, the object of Your wrath. Thank You, Father, for accepting Your Son's propitiation, for accepting His sacrificial death on the cross as sufficient payment for the removal of the sin of a wretched man like me.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

I cannot, Father. I cannot give a sufficient answer to the ultimate "why" question. Why should I gain from the reward of Your Son? I do not know. But this, Father, I know with all my heart. The wounds in Your Son's hands, feet, and side; the wounds created by the skull-piercing crown of thorns paid my ransom.

I love You, Lord Jesus. Father, I love You. Holy Spirit I love You. Spirit of God, please help me to focus as much time and attention as I can tomorrow to remembering my Lord's death. Holy Spirit, help me to remember my Lord's death every day of my life. Help me to remember His death until He comes.

In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

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