(Extracted from Grace and Truth magazine, July 1989.)
Sin had deluged God's fair creation with suffering, sorrow and woe. It was antagonistic, rebellious and set to dethrone God (see Isa. 14). It must be punished! Christ the Son of God becomes the victim, and God in all His claims is perfectly met.
But — and here we reach the greatness of His glory — the payment exceeded the demand. So when wrath is borne and justice satisfied, there yet remains an excess which is the eternal guarantee of glory. In holy submission Christ became the willing victim and met every claim, but in the same act He offered Himself without spot to God. Being accepted, He was so morally excellent as to fill God's heart with delight. As the sin offering Christ met the obligation which would have eternally condemned the sinner; as the burnt offering He supplied a basis for filling creation with the glory of God.
THE GLORY OF OPENED HEAVENS
The sacrifice of Christ added lustre to all God's time-ways, showing their necessity, their perfection, and their place in the whole plan of divine dealings. it opened heaven with all its resources to men and supplied the key to open up the secrets of revelation. It provided the power to deal with moral questions, unravel every tangle, solve every problem and explain all mysteries. As the centre of the dispensations, it turns chaos to cosmos and glorifies all of creation.
THE GLORY OF GOD'S LOVE
But it is still beyond all this. It has displayed God to the Spirittaught heart as a God who is love. While maintaining the majesty, integrity and honour of His character in the condemnation of sin, it made room for the sinner — so that God might have His creature in right relation with Himself in a condition beyond the possibility of breakdown.
THE GLORY OF SIN PUT AWAY
Needless to say, our God is ever-glorious, but since sin had invaded His glorious realm, the work that put sin away brought in another glory; something infinitely greater than the original state of sinlessness could have been. It has filled the heart of God with delight. It has covered His Name and character with a lustre which never could have been conceived. It motivates creation to give universal and never-ending praise.
THE RESPONSE OF A WORSHIPPING HEART
Oh, the depth of it, the wonder of it, the magnitude and the grandeur of it! Speechless, fathomless and wonderless, it stands in a dignity all its own. Time cannot tarnish it nor evil diminish it. Passing creature capacity, it yet supplies a continual theme for meditation and an endless cause for praise. God alone can comprehend its worth; and by it He works out all the counsel of His will.
Holy Lord Jesus, what can we say? We worship and adore. We see Thee there, the centre of ignominy and shame, the target for all the accumulated malice of apostate creation. We see Thee beyond that as a suffering Victim bearing God's judgment. We worship, we wonder, we gaze, and adore.
But beyond all that, we see Thee in Thine excellence exhausting the judgment and clearing the ground of everything offensive that Thou mightest fill all things, yea fill all things with God. It amazes, it entrances, and we are left in motionless and speechless adoration of the wonders of Thy death. It is beyond us, but in measureless grace, Thou dost give us to share with Thee in its results. It has put us — yea, the whole creation — under a debt which never shall be paid.
What shall it be to Thee when Thou shalt have Thine own with Thee as the travail of Thy soul? When Thou shalt see and hear circle upon circle of intelligences, and family beyond family of redeemed ones filling the universe with Thy praise? When through creation's vaults Thy Name, Thy fame, Thy worth, and splendour shall echo and re-echo till eternity itself can find room for nothing more? Then, not only moral intelligences, but the mute and inanimate shall join harmoniously to swell the strain and give to Thee Thy rightful place.
It reminds us of nature's sympathy in the hour of Thy distress when the sun was hid at midday and the rocks were rent; when creation adorned itself in sackcloth as befitting the solemnity of the hour. But now, sorrow has given place to joy, distress and mourning to delight and ecstasy. Instead of groaning, creation basks in the sunshine of eternal life. THEN, blessed Lord, Thou shalt have a worthy answer to all Thy deep distress.