from Memorials of the Ministry of G. V. Wigram. Vol. 1.
[Notes on Scripture; Lectures and Letters.
Second Edition, Broom 1881 (First Edition 1880)]
Part Fourth. LATER MINISTRY.
But as to me, away with the thought of boasting, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. He that can say "Our Lord Jesus Christ," ought to boast in His cross.
In 1 Cor. 1:24, Christ is called "the power of God, and the wisdom of God;" and in 2 Cor. 13:4, it is said that "He was crucified through weakness." But "the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." (1 Cor. 1:25.) In the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ I see God's combination to make good His ends, and to give effect to His counsels and purpose — in contrast with man's too.
As to man — two pieces of wood nailed together, and a few nails, with a hole in the ground, was an ingenious but malicious mode of death for a hated object. This was man's combination, though Satan took care to put in his power through the world (as Jew and Gentile), and to show forth what man's flesh was capable of as acting against God.
But in the Lord Jesus Christ there was God manifested in flesh giving Himself; meeting Satan that He might, through death, destroy him that had the power of death, and deliver them who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage; that He might test and show out the character of the world, and the essential contrast between the state of Himself (holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners) and sinful man.
And here first burst forth the light of God's character in truth, holiness, and grace. Cover over what Himself was, and what man, in contrast to Himself, was, He could not have been revealed in truth. He told it all out in and by the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The character of His estimate of what became Him to do in dealing with sin, and what the sinner deserved at His hand, was seen there also: in holiness it was fully told out.
And as to grace! what free-gift actings in love are there seen. The only begotten Son sent down from the glory on high, to bear the wrath due to us that we might be enabled to share the glory given to Him, and be loved even as He is loved.
And the marvel of His person may not be passed by — God manifest in flesh. Such was the Lamb of God. Sin in man was the denial of God being over and above man. The Son of God, as Son of man, bare its judgment. To Him the judgment was no little thing. It drew forth from Him the cry, "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Words of full and agonizing import in themselves, yet but feeble expressions when He used them of what He felt, the volume of whose heart and mind was infinite. Who He was stood plainly forth, too, then and there, as Psalm 22 shows, for what no mere creature could do was found in Him. Forsaken by God, He did not forsake God.
Such was the light which shone in our Lord Jesus Christ's cross. And what a measure does it give of what we were ere we called Him, Lord. A measure of what God thought of our sin — of the only thing which we could call our own. Who should carry it into God's presence? Who should settle it? And having borne its judgment, settle our consciences for ever? One and but One alone could do these things; and His glory stands forth confessed by His having taken up that cup, and set us free for ever!