Easter Meditations: “The Divine Dilemma” (part 3)

Romans 4 (ESV)

20No distrust made [Abraham] waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, 21fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. 22That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” 23But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, 24but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, 25 who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.

Romans 5 (ESV)

1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.2Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

6For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Christ Our Mediator

“We’re quite familiar today in business and legal arenas with the process of mediation. Typically, two parties are in conflict, each feeling wronged or in imminent danger of being wronged by the other, but they share together a willingness to seek a solution through a neutral third party. This neutral mediator or arbitrator oversees the process of negotiation between the two parties, hoping for measure of reconciliation and agreement that satisfies the perceived offense to both parties.

That picture is almost totally unlike the kind of mediation needed between God and humanity.

Both situations, it’s true, involve parties in opposition. But in the conflict between God and man, only one party has been offended. God has been profoundly and acutely aggrieved by the other party; He Himself is fully innocent, entirely without fault or blame.

The other party (all of humanity) is undeniably, categorically, and completely guilty—yet this guilty party does not even care to be reconciled, but is locked in active hostility to the other party. In contrast, God is fully committed to resolution with the violators” (p. 35-36).

From Christ Our Mediator, by CJ Mahaney, Multnomah, 2004.

O Sacred Head Now Wounded

By J.W. Alexander, 1830

(Note: This hymn is very long. Like many hymnals do, I’ve just copied a few stanzas. You can read the entire poem here.)

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

Men mock and taunt and jeer Thee, Thou noble countenance,
Though mighty worlds shall fear Thee and flee before Thy glance.
How art thou pale with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish that once was bright as morn!

My burden in Thy Passion, Lord, Thou hast borne for me,

For it was my transgression which brought this woe on Thee.
I cast me down before Thee, wrath were my rightful lot;
Have mercy, I implore Thee; Redeemer, spurn me not!

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

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