Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The New View of Sinning and Suffering

Once a man sees the message of the cross, he has an entirely new view of everything.  He is not just trying to live a good life now; not just trying not to do harm; not trying to live just on the edge of the law—not wanting to be prosecuted, but going as far as he safely can.  That is all finished.  He is a new man.  He has been bought with a price, he is a son of God.  He is being prepared for him.  He has a new motive.  To sin now means that he is wounding love, he is not breaking a law.  He is wounding the love of the one who gave himself for him.  He says, I cannot do it.  I have been bought with a price.  I have no right to do it, I am not my own.  I belong to him.  I am a slave of Christ as I used to be the slave of the devil and of sin.  I have no right to, and I cannot do it.  He has a new conception of sin, he has new motives for living a holy life, and thank God, over and above all, he has got new power whereby to do it.

For the Christ of God died not only that we might be forgiven, but that we might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and his power.  He teaches us how to live, and he also teaches us how to suffer.  Because we live in a world of suffering and we need to be taught how to suffer, he teaches us how to suffer.  The cross teaches us how to suffer, not only how to live morally and ethically, but how to suffer, “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”.  They come to us all: misunderstanding, people misunderstanding us, injustices done to us, the failure of trusted friends, people in whom we reposed every confidence letting us down, disappointments, loneliness, physical pain.  How do you stand up to those things?  These are the things that come to all of us, how do we meet them, how do we live?  This is the way:

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:18–25)

There is the only way, the cross—misunderstanding, injustice, treachery of friends, the loneliness, even his disciples forsaking him and fleeing from him….

And so it is, that no experience can ever fall to your lot but that he has gone through it.  The treachery, the misunderstanding, the abuse, the injustice, the loneliness, the agony, the sweat:

In every pang that rends the heart,
The Man of Sorrows had a part.

Yes, in the light of the fact that he has been made in the likeness of sinful flesh, and “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”, he is able to succor us.

--D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Cross


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