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Indescribable Evil — Infinite Love
LetŐs go again with our blessed Savior to that horrible scene of sin and woe, that blessed, glorious scene of mercy, love, and grace, just outside the city of Jerusalem. I have before my mindŐs eye the scene of three crosses, two criminals, soldiers, priests, a religious crowd, all gathered to slaughter the Son of God. Scattered among the others, I see a few weeping women, and in the distance, one or two heart-broken men. There is much to be seen here on the very surface. But there are other things hidden beneath the surface and unobserved by men. I see before me something of the character of God, much about the character of man, a great display of substitution, GodŐs great salvation, a tremendous picture of sin pardoned, a sad picture of sin unpardoned, a Savior despised, a Savior embraced, a sinner forever lost, and a sinner forever saved. I have found a few lessons in this passage that I pray the Spirit of God may be pleased to graciously apply to our hearts.
What a horribly evil thing sin must be, if it takes the blood of GodŐs own Son, the death of heavenŐs Darling to put it away! What must sin be when, in order to expiate it, the Lord of Glory must die upon the cursed tree as an outcast, a criminal, a curse? What a horribly evil thing sin must be! It is rebellion against God, treason against his throne, manŐs attempt to rape and defile the holy Lord God, to drive the Almighty from his throne, to murder the Eternal. Sin is the expression of fallen manŐs enmity against God, the display of our natural heart hatred of God. Sin is that which makes us obnoxious to the holy Lord God. Sin is the defilement of our race. Sin has brought us under the curse of GodŐs holy law. Sin has put us under the sentence of death, eternal death.
It is no easy thing for sin to be put away. No carnal sacrifice can put away sin (Hebrews 10:1-7). No work of man can put away one sin. No amount of repentance can put away sin. Not even our faith can put away sin. Even God himself cannot, in his pure, absolute character as God, put away sin. If sin is to be put away, it must be put away by the sin-atoning death and substitutionary sacrifice of the incarnate God, the God-man Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ. But his sacrifice was enough. He died but once; and once was enough. That is the meaning of these words. — ŇNow once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.Ó ChristŐs sufferings and death for sin are of infinite value, merit, and efficacy. Therefore, he suffered for sin only once. He appeared once in the end of the world to put away sin; and he has done it.
How immeasurable and infinite the love of God in Christ is! What patience with manŐs utmost malice; what forbearance with his sin! — ŇFather forgive them; for they know not what they do.Ó Was ever love like this? — So vast, so free, so overflowing. Sin abounding, grace did much more abound (John 13:1; Ephesians 3:14-19). — O how He loves!