The Inexplicable Sacrifice

With Christmas less than a month away, it’s appropriate for us to think of the sacrifice of Jesus. After all, He didn’t come to earth to look all cute and cuddly in a manger, wooden or otherwise. He came for one primary purpose: to give His life as a ransom for us all.

A song I learned many years ago, when I taught MKs in Guatemala and we sang a chorus each day before dinner, came to mind this morning.

For there is one God and one Mediator
Between God and man.
For there is one God and one Mediator,
the Ma-a-a-an, Christ Jesus,
Who gave Himself, a ransom for us all,
Who gave Himself, a ransom for us all,
Who gave Himself, a ransom for us all,
Oh, what a wonderful Sa-a-vior!

The thing is, that chorus is straight from Scripture:

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Tim. 2:3-6)

So I began to think about this “giving Himself” in conjunction with John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (emphasis mine). God gave the person He loved most to redeem dying sinners. But because in Christ all the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form, God was just as surely giving Himself for our ransom.

The idea then came clear — Jesus, the Mediator, the bridge between God and man — is the bridge to Himself. It is the ultimate picture of God stooping to reach man, incapable of reaching God because our sin created a separation. Jesus, however, had no sin. He, being God, has perfect access to God. He being man could die the substitutionary death His justice as God required.

I did mention that this sacrifice is inexplicable, didn’t I? 😉 I mean, really. He’s the sacrifice He Himself required?

Why not simply do away with the requirement?

That’s basically saying, why not make green, red? The requirement is a result of God’s character. He is just and holy. To pardon sin, with no penalty paid would be mercy without justice.

I suppose most of us would like mercy instead of justice, as long as God offered that to us and not to rapists or murderers … or even to the guy at work who is constantly taking advantage of others to get ahead, to look better in the eyes of the boss. Him, we’d like to see God give justice to, not mercy.

In truth, we don’t want criminals getting away with harming others and we don’t want selfish people getting away with using people. We long for a just world. Why else are there protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street — in a land of great plenty and generous people? We don’t think it’s fair for some to get rich at the expense of the many.

Over a hundred years ago, anti-trust laws were passed in the US for the same reason. Railroads held the exclusive means by which ranchers could get their beef to market, and they took full advantage of their monopoly to get rich and richer. Other businesses did likewise, and the people cried for justice. Not to God, but to the government, just as the Occupiers are doing.

The truth is, the government — any government — isn’t able to provide perfect justice. Only God can, but that doesn’t bring us comfort because the severity of sin means, I too must face His justice — if it weren’t for His great kindness and mercy that led Him to stoop, to bridge the gap, to mediate, to ransom, to give His Son, to give Himself. How great is our God! Oh, what a wonderful Savior!

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Published in: on November 30, 2011 at 4:54 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 Comments

  1. I thank God I have not received Justice, but Mercy! However, it is excruciating to know Jesus had to receive myrrh at His birth, because my sin brought imminent death to the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, and even His manger-cradle had to be overshadowed with–[gasp!]–a cross!

    The Justice–The Balm of Gilead, flowing from His Stripes, quietly overflows every sin presented to Him, in every country, tribe and individual, all over the world. He blankets us with Love!

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  2. Why not simply do away with the requirement?

    That’s basically saying, why not make green, red?

    I’ve often wondered whether God could have made a different road to salvation, or for that matter, made different (or none) commandments to keep. Or do both proceed from His very nature to His creation? The way He’s made, through His Son, definitely demonstrates His holiness, love, justice and mercy above all.

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  3. I’ve really been enjoying your posts of late. I have nothing interesting to add–so I haven’t been commenting–but I really appreciate them!

    ~Luke

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  4. Becky, I think that it’s wonderful that these MKs were taught this chorus. Little people were asked to sing about huge things beyond them, and us, things that will stay with them. Many choruses miss the mark. This didn’t, it fed these young ones..

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