Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Amalgam of God’s Glory
The Cross
Gal.6:12-15 - As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.
14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
he fallen human heart is always seeking for affirmation and self esteem. It will inflate its accomplishments and worth to achieve some admiration, and if it runs out of creative options, it has no problem stealing glory from another source, any source. And if you think that our hearts will not cross the line as it pertains to God’s glory you would be wrong. Verse 13 clearly shows that man will even attach things to God’s cross in order to present a vain attempt to rob even a little of God’s glory. But as I said, it is all in vain.
God receives all glory for everything. The stars, the seas, the planets, the mountains, and all creation itself glorify the Creator. From the endless expanse of space to the tiny electron, God’s glory is evident.
II Cor.4:3-6 - But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
ather all the infinite fragments of God’s glory, and interlock them all like pieces to a puzzle, and you will see the face of Jesus Christ hanging upon a cross. It is the mystery of all mysteries which confounds the wise and brings to nothing the religious intellect of man. But nonetheless, the glory of God as can be seen by mortal man shines forth through that pitiful and battered figure nailed upon two Roman planks. So unexpected, so confounding, and so unlike our natural caricature of God, but still the cross radiates God’s eternal glory.
But how can God suffer? And to what purpose could these sufferings be assigned? Jesus Himself acknowledged that He could call a literal horde of angelic beings and destroy the earth, and yet He submitted Himself to the whips and scorns of wicked men. And before He actually dies, He presented Himself to receive immeasurable sufferings which were meant for mankind.
How often we make those sufferings little more than a doctrinal ingredient in the redemptive process. But it is literally impossible to comprehend the agony coursing through that borrowed frame. God the Son, the Eternal Word, experiences pain in a protracted form of torture that was much more than physical. And the mystery of these sufferings is only deepened when we realize that God the Father was complicit in the entire event. Isaac was rescued by the voice of God, but that same voice watches silently as His only Begotten writhes in inconceivable torture. Isaac lives but Jesus must die. And the glory of that comparison struggles to make itself known to fallen man.
But one day the Spirit enlightened our darkened hearts and we became aware that those sufferings were more than just human pain. And even in a limited understanding, being led by that same Spirit, we embraced those sufferings as our own and we were born into God’s family. But now, many years later, how often do we pause and recall those sufferings with love and passion? Do we bow our heads with worship and meditate upon those sufferings which indeed included us?
Gaze upon that blood soaked frame as it lifts itself to breath, and listen to the gasps and groans that can never fully reveal the agony being inflicted upon God’s Lamb. Can you still see and feel the glory that exudes from every pour and every wound? And now in 2012, while we enjoy the eternal benefits of faith in His finished work, do we actualize His sufferings in our hearts and minds? In fact, do we seek to be partakers of that suffering in some small ways that cannot compete with His but can bring honor to that hideous spectacle?
Oh the glory of those redemptive wounds! Oh the glory of those lacerations of His head! Oh the glory of the ripped and torn flesh! And oh the glory of the mystery of blood redemption! Oh the glory of the cross forever!!
How can God suffer is a question that brings us further into the mysterious glory. But let us take another colossal step inside the mystery that surrounds the glory of God. How can God die? Go ahead and shake your head in awe and wonder. Do not retreat into some redundant doctrinal mantra. God died. How are we supposed to process that conundrum to say nothing of dying with Him. The Creator has died. And this death was not some quick and antiseptic version, this was a public spectacle that entailed open torture and violence.
It is quite beyond the human mind to fully comprehend both the significance as well as the process inherent in the crucifixion. We are very comfortable with our statements of faith, and they are involuntarily used as an excuse for our lack of deep meditation and introspection as it concerns the cross. So once you know the surface facts that can serve as doctrinal contentment? Please, let that never be our heart’s attitude. If we gazed upon that rugged tree for a million years we could not mentally and spiritually embrace the depths of its sacrifice and redemptive labor.
But in the end, with all of God’s power and wisdom, and with all of creation’s fathomless wonders, there is but one place where God’s glory perfectly coalesces. I am an amateur astronomer and I get awestruck when I study the universe. When I watch a documentary on the human body I stand amazed. When I see a special on atoms and molecules I am spellbound. All of true science astounds me and makes me appreciate the power of our Great God.
But after seeing all that, there still is only one place where the amalgam of God’s glory can be seen in all its fullness.

The cross.



Cal said...

I think we forge that Jesus' prayer for the cup to be taken away was answered, that He was not abandoned. He was risen from dead on the third day. He was vindicated and the Caiphas saw the Son of Man riding on the clouds. The Tomb was empty!

The Father was with the Son, even the Spirit, as the mystery of the sufferings of Christ, the wrath of God, bearing the sins of the whole world. We'll never know that depth.

Thanks for this post. Though, I don't think we agree totally but the cross is the total glory of Christ. He emptied Himself of His glory and became a servant like us. Truly, only God saves.

Rick Frueh said...

"He emptied Himself..."

Yes, and that was the pinnacle of God's glory!