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“The Manifold Wisdom of God”
“Out of the strong came forth sweetness.”
Samson’s riddle is to be understood spiritually in connection with redemption, grace, and salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. The victory of Christ over Satan, by means of his humiliation, agonies, and death, the exaltation that followed his resurrection, the glory of God revealed in our Savior’s accomplishments, and the salvation of God’s elect are the things to which the riddle refers. Christ’s conquests over Satan, and ours in him, stand as God’s everlasting testimony to this fact. — Out of the eater comes forth meat, and out of the strong comes forth sweetness.
Misery and Blessedness
The holy Lord God, by infinite wisdom and grace, has made our sin and misery the occasion of our greatest possible blessedness.
Let no one misunderstand my words. I offer no excuse for any man’s sin. And I certainly do not excuse my own. We do not attempt, by any means, to escape our own responsibility for sin, or to charge God with sin. “God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man” (James 1:13). But our great God is so infinitely wise and gracious that he turns our greatest misery into our greatest good and sovereignly overrules our sin to make it an occasion for our eternal blessedness (Romans 8:28).
“Divine wisdom found out a way whereby the sinner might not only escape being miserable, but that he should be happier than before he sinned; yea, than he would have been if he had never sinned.” (Jonathan Edwards)
By the redemptive work of Christ, the sins of God’s elect are turned into a means of accomplishing greater happiness, joy, and everlasting glory than we could ever have known if we had never sinned. — “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” God in infinite wisdom ordained our fall in our father Adam, and overrules our abounding sin that his own elect might forever enjoy the superabundance of his matchless free grace in Christ.
Sinful man is brought into a nearer union with God in the Person of Christ our Substitute than we could ever have enjoyed had we not known sin. Had we never sinned, Christ would not be our Surety and Substitute. But now God has assumed our nature in the Person of his Son. We are members of his body (Ephesians 5:30). Christ is our Brother and our Husband. And we are the Sons of God (1 John 3:1).
Our temporary separation from God, by sin, has been made the means of our eternal union with God in Christ by redemption (John 17:20-23).
Man by reason of his sin has greater and fuller knowledge of God, his glory, his grace, his justice, his holiness, and his love than he could ever have known had he never sinned. We see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ our dying Substitute (2 Corinthians 4:6). And in his death we have the love of God commended to us (Romans 5:8). This will be the theme of our heavenly praise forever and ever (Revelation 1:5-6).
Our redemption from sin and death by Christ causes us to have a love for God that we could not otherwise have. One day this love will be brought to perfection. But even now, the love of Christ that constrains us is something Adam in innocence and the angels in heaven could never know. Great forgiveness produces great love (Luke 7:47). Great forgiveness is the greatest possible motivation for love, adoration, and praise (1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 6:20).
Fallen man, saved by grace, has a greater, more sensible dependence upon God than he otherwise could. And God is glorified by his creatures’ dependence upon him. Fallen man, saved by grace, knows by painful and abundant experience that he has no hope but the free grace of God in Christ, who is our all in all. Fallen, helpless man cries, “The Lord is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him.”
Did you ever notice (Genesis 2:17) that the forbidden tree was called “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”? God is the One who planted that tree in the midst of the garden. And he ordained that our father Adam eat the fruit of that forbidden tree, to taste the evil of sin, because he had wisely and graciously determined that his elect might know the great and glorious good of redemption and grace in Christ. — “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound!”