Friday, November 23, 2007

How Is This Possible?

Recently, I was reflecting on the work of Christ when a number of successive (and perplexing ) thoughts occurred to me. As best I can recall, the train of thought went something like this: Outside of Jesus, I have absolutely no hope whatsoever. Apart from His life, death, resurrection and intercession on my behalf, I would die in my sins and be justly and eternally condemned. He is the all-sufficient object of my faith. My present comfort and future blessedness are completely dependent upon Him. But that doesn't only apply to me, it applies to everyone who ever has or ever will trust in Him. According to the heavenly scene described in Revelation 7:9-10, I am just one out of an absolutely staggering amount of people who are also depending on Christ alone for salvation.

"After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" (Revelation 7:9-10)

This is what perplexed me: How is it that one man's death could count for so many people? I can (somewhat) understand the death of one in the place of another one. But one death in the place of a countless multitude from every nation and generation that has ever lived on the face of the planet? The math just doesn't seem to add up! The problem became more perplexing when I considered that Christ not only died in our place, but He lived in our place as well. Romans 5:19 puts it this way:

"For as by the one man’s (Adam) disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s (Jesus) obedience the many will be made righteous."

In some mysterious way that I can't fully comprehend, this verse is teaching that Jesus Christ's 33 years of perfect obedience to God's law counts for believers in such a way that all who trust in Him are righteous in God's sight. Again, I had the same dilemma: How could one man's perfect law-keeping count for so many people? As well as His death? The more I prayerfully considered it, the clearer it became. I believe the key to understanding this is found in the supreme value and worth of His Person.

Only the glorious mystery of the two natures of Jesus Christ (divine and human) united in one person can solve the problem. Because the man Christ Jesus is 100% human, He is able to stand in the place as the substitute for another human being. But because He is also the Divine Son of God, He is able to stand in the place as the substitute for a number of human beings that can't be counted. Because Jesus is 100 % God, His value and worth are incalculable. There's no scale big enough to put God on it. He is off the charts. He can't be measured. Isaiah 40:25 captures this idea in a straight-forward and powerful way:

"To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One." (compare with John 6:68-69)

Amen. The Lord Jesus is incomparable. Who can fathom the anomaly of the God-man? The more I consider the truths of the Christian faith, the more I become convinced of the heavenliness of it all. No man could come up with these things. Praise be to God, who has hidden these things from the wise, but revealed them to little children (Luke 10:21-22)! Praise be to Jesus, the God-man, who is strong enough and valuable enough to live for, die for, resurrect for, intercede for and return for a countless multitude who are all looking to Him as our all-sufficient Savior. How can we not lift our voices to loudly and joyfully bless His name? After all, that's what the saints will be doing eternally in heaven (See Revelation 5:11-13)!

How is this possible? Well, "With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26)

grace and peace,
shai


3 comments:

Daniel said...

Amen! Well said. I have had very similar thoughts at times, but didn't make the connections with the verses you quoted. It makes sense that the infinite value and worth of the divine blood of Christ could atone for the infinite sinfulness of man. For we have been bought "not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18-19). Glory to God the Son, the God-man, Jesus Christ!

Anonymous said...

Ever considered writing a book? If I figured you correctly, the thought would probably humble you. Pray about it.

Victor said...

I'm waaaay late, but just had to say Amen to this post. Just found out about this site and you as an artist recently. Just encouraging you to keep on. Appreciate the music and the blog. Most people that try to defend gospel rap or hiphop usually are arguing from the ground of what's wrong with it, but showing what's right with it and how God can be glorified from it is much more powerful.

Keep shining. Keep living for Christ.