The tragedy of God

Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain.

(Oswald Chambers) said “We need to brood on the tragedy of God”.  So, join me in my time machine and we’ll go back yet again to Gethsemane.  We will observe and listen but we must go carefully and reverently because we are on holy ground.

Jesus is experiencing such intense stress that He calls out in desperation, “Father, if it be possible (Luke 22:42) take this cup away”.  But as He looks up into the Father’s face, His soul shrinks and shudders in isolating grief such as He has never known.  He has never seen His Father’s face like that before – it is tightly closed against Him and brimming with furious wrath.  Jesus became SIN (2 Corinthians 5:21) everything that God hates.  As long as Jesus remains spiritually dead, He can never call God ‘Father’ again.  The increasing weight of sin is crushing so that He feels that He is suffering.  Satan’s demons are closing in on Him like a pack of hyenas, screaming and drooling over the prey.  Jesus is plunged into the abyss of terrifying loneliness, which is Hell.  There is not a vestige of joy or music in heaven at this time.  With aching hearts (1 Peter 1:12) the angels longed to understand.  He is the Lord of glory – and yet He (Galatians 3:13) became a curse for us.

How do we know for sure that Jesus fully, totally, completely, beyond question accomplished total Atonement for us?  Listen!  Listen – a voice from the Cross – “Father”.  Father? (Luke 23:46) did you hear that?  Jesus has so completely, victoriously paid our ransom that He can call God “Father” again and we can be redeemed. 

When Jesus was embalmed and mummified, He was definitely physically dead – BUT – He was fully, gloriously, forever spiritually alive.  So, while His body lay motionless and dead in the tomb, He had an important agenda.  After He took the repentant thief to Paradise, He went to make a declaration (1 Peter 3:19) to the demon spirits in prison.  Deep in the pit these wicked fallen angels have heard the news that Jesus is dead.  They are so insanely twisted that they believe that Satan has won and has murdered Jesus.  Deep in the pit they feel sure that Satan now has the key and will soon come to release them.  They are on tiptoe with fiendish joy as they wait and plan for their entrance back into the world to co-operate again with their evil cohorts.  They are filled with excitement and devilish plans, then, suddenly they hear a key turning in the lock of their prison.  They crowd around the door to welcome the prince of darkness – BUT – as the door swings open, they see not Satan but Jesus the victorious King of Glory.

They are staring hopelessly at Jesus, Who, has accomplished Satan’s crushing defeat.  Jesus declares His triumphant future history to the doomed demons who are slinking into dark corners.  Then He locks the door on them until their transfer, along with Satan, to the eternal Lake of Fire.

How am I to tie all of this together with – God was in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19) reconciling the world unto Himself?  I sat at the feet of Jesus and talked it over with Him.  Then I realized that God being in Christ was not a one time happening but that God always was and always had been in Christ.  Before the foundation of the World (Acts 2:23, Revelation 13:8) the three Almighty Persons of the holy Trinity had planned and agreed that the Son of God would be the One to clothe Himself with humanity and come into the world to be the sin-bearer, the propitiation (1 John 2:2) for our sins because we are (Psalms 139:14-15, Ephesians 2:10) the work of His own hands.  When He had paid in full for the world’s (John 1:29) redemption, 40 days after His Resurrection, He would (Acts 1:9) leave this world.  Ten days later the Holy Spirit would come to seal (Ephesians 4:30) believers and empower them and indwell them forever.

Now it is becoming clearer.  God in Christ, is the visible expression of the glory of the invisible God.  By offering Himself, Jesus accomplished what the O.T. animal sacrifices could not do.  They were an interim I.O.U., which God accepted on a temporary basis because full payment was coming in the Person of Jesus Christ but at tremendous cost.  For the cleansing of sin (Hebrews 1:3) the riddance of guilt, nothing else would suffice, no one else could make it happen until there came the holy LAMB of God.  Worthy, worthy, worthy is the Lamb (Revelation 5:12) that was slain.  The Holy Spirit is (Romans 8:2) the Spirit of Life in Jesus, the Life He reproduces in us.  Think! Just think! The triune God already planned for the ‘Tragedy of God’ so that we could be filled (Colossians 2:10) to all the fullness of the Godhead.  The purpose of Jesus in dying for me becomes my purpose in dying to self, living dead (Matthew 6:25) to my rights as I pursue HIS interests no matter what is going on in the world.

As believers we can have peace - but – we cannot have peace without righteousness.  The effect of righteousness (Isaiah 32:17) is peace and the result of righteousness is confident trust forever.  Righteousness – peace – trust will lead me deeper into worshipful thanksgiving because the harvest of righteousness (James 3:18) is the fruit of peace.  By the miracle of the Atonement God gives me eternal Life and by the marvel of sanctification God makes me a saint, which could never be achieved by self-effort.

A branch can produce nothing (John 15:4) but as the very Life of the True Vine flows into the branch, that branch bears fruit.  (Oswald Chambers) “To say – I’m not a saint - is to slander God.  The only relationship that matters is my personal relationship to my Redeemer and Lord.  Let everything else go but maintain that at all costs.  Let Jesus be all in all and God will fulfill His purpose through your life.”  Jesus gave His Life for me so that He could give His Life to me and live His Life through me.  As the Life of Jesus flows into and through me, the Life I live by the power of the Holy Spirit will be the sanctified Life of a Christ-like saint.  It’s all about Jesus – everything in Jesus – and Jesus everything.  Jesus is (Hebrews 1:3) the visible expression of God and everything about God we need to know.  Out of the victory of the “Tragedy of God,” the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to make you and me the visible expression of Jesus.  This is why (Galatians 6:14) we glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (Dr. Stanley) reminds us that success in the Christian Life is the result of (Joshua 1:7-9, Psalms 1:2-3) meditation on God’s Word.  Jesus sends us (John 20:21) as the Father sent Him so that as He is (1 John 4:17) so are we in the world.

We have been redeemed to be the visible expression of Jesus during (2 Timothy 3:1) perilous and savage times of great stress and trouble in our dark world.  What miraculous work of the Holy Spirit to make the reality of this supernatural holy privilege possible for you and me.  Christian!  Don’t miss this.  This is the message and purpose of Calvary.  How can we ever be thankful enough (2 Corinthians 9:15) for God’s precious, unspeakable, indescribable, beyond telling – FREE GIFT?

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