“Who was delivered for our offenses and was raised again for our justification.”
Satan has always attacked the wonder of Christ’s resurrection.
But the gates of hell shall never prevail against the Church of Jesus Christ. The Church receives the faith, and through faith we always will believe that Jesus rose from the dead. And through that faith we are justified.
Look at it!
The resurrection of Jesus is attended by many witnesses. Their names and their story are carefully recorded in the Bible.
And the Bible has been carefully preserved for us for centuries.
And the result is that the whole church of Jesus cries out in great triumph: Christ is risen indeed!
Look at its contrast! The world is rushing downward: And this downward rush of the world is accompanied by carnality, earthiness, stooping, and searching, yearning and: lusting after many things.
It begins with the life of the little child: poor, pitiful, befuddled children. Soon he is a young man, but it does not get any better: you can see the character of this sorry world-life: the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, the pride of life? His whole life is filled with vanity, emptiness, folly, and violence.
All the imagination of the thoughts of his heart is only evil continually.
It is further strengthened when this young man grows old. He becomes rusted in his iniquity. There is no chance to soften his hard heart. Wrinkles, the stooped posture, his old age tells a prophecy: he is running fast toward that hole in the ground where he will rot!
He lies there, with empty eyes looking upward to the cover of the coffin, while his soul cries out in the flames of hell: “for I am tormented in this flame!” Luke 16:24b. And his only prospect is the lake of fire and brimstone where he will lie unto everlasting suffering, weeping, gnashing his teeth.
That is the life of the world.
Man, notwithstanding all civilization, inventions, comforts (?) of life, space age, power and wisdom, is going down, descending from age to age, until he shall sit in the Temple, telling the whole Universe that he is Jehovah! But it’s a lie!
The world should never use the word: Excelsior!
But: Bathos! (To the depths!)
My brother: why don’t you join him?
My sister: Why don’t you weep too?
The answer to that question is: Jesus was given over, delivered for our offenses.
No, you and I are not any better than the world. In a sense, you are worse. For you know better. That makes your sins and iniquities more heinous.
Now think on what I wrote above: the downward rushing world from infancy to the wrinkles of old age, and then further to hell and damnation.
And that is the life of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah seems to have received a view of this. Christ. He testifies of His visage in Isaiah 52:14: “And many were astonied at Thee; His visage was so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.”
We have seen many pictures of Jesus: it is all the product of imagination There is no likeness of Jesus’ face and form on earth. But whatever picture of Jesus we looked at was beautiful. I do not believe it. Isaiah tells us that He was not beautiful to look at. And I can believe it.
Many, many years ago I brought a friend to Mayo’s clinic. He was operated there. And I went to the old Union Depot to get him from the train many weeks later. I can never forget how his pain and suffering was etched on his face. What transformation!
And that was little.
He carried all the wrath of God on His earthly frame. Don’t you think that His outer visage and form bore the imprint of His daily and nightly hell?
All our offenses—and that is an eternal mountain—were upon Him. And He carried it for more than 33 years.
The last we saw of it is this: He bowed: the head.
Some of the poetic fathers, centuries ago, were asked what this bowing of the head meant. One said: He bent His beloved head towards the Church for a kiss.
Do not believe it: He bowed the head because He could no more lift it up. The burden was too heavy. He died.
This being delivered by God for our offenses was His utmost humiliation. No, there is not one like the lowly Jesus, no not one, no not one!
This I know, and my soul is singing: when He bowed the head in death, my offenses were gone, never to return. Hallelujah!
Peter and John had seen a little of this terrible spectacle on the cross. They thought that it was the end. And the whole church agreed.
But not so God. God had measured the distances, and they are not measured in miles, or in light-years.
God had tasted the selfless, obedient, loving sacrifice of Jesus, and the Almighty God everlastingly rewards virtue.
And here it is: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him!”
And what is it? It is this: God put Him in His own throne!
There came a moment (and what a moment!), when the lowly, human Jesus heard the voice of the Godhead: Awake, My Son! Awake from the dead, and the everlasting Light of My exalted Covenant life shall bathe you!
That happened locally, really, in the garden of Joseph. It happened in the very dawn of that first Sabbath of the New Testament.
And from that moment on it was excelsior for Jesus. Ever higher!
First a few weeks on earth, appearing and appearing again unto His beloved Church which He loved so much. And then came the moment of Olivet. And while they stood beholding, a cloud took Him out of their sight. But Jesus went higher, ever higher. He arrived before the gates of heaven, and then the angels sang: “Ye gates, lift your heads, the glad summons obey, Ye doors everlasting, wide open the way; The King of all glory high honors await, the King of all glory shall enter in state.”
And the doors of heaven swung open, and Jesus entered in.
And He went through all the heavens until He arrived before the very throne of God. And then God stooped down and caught up the Child Jesus and placed Him, in His own throne, at His right hand.
Jesus, the King of the Universe. Under God Triune!
And what does that mean for you, beloved?
It means that you are justified.
It’s too bad that this word is so strange to the ear. It’s my experience that it takes many months to make it plain to the majority of God’s children.
Justification is “RIGHTEOUSMAKING.” God makes you righteous.
This righteousmaking has four chapters.
First He made you righteous in eternity. As old as God is so old is your justification. It is from eternity.
God wanted to glorify Himself, that is, He desired to have millions and millions of gloriously happy creatures standing around Him, and tell Him in music and singing how wonderful He is.
He determined their essence, nature, name and number from all eternity. And He engraved all these happy beings in the very palms of His hands.
He determined also that they should see His deepest heart of love. And so He counseled history, including creation, fall, and their miserable estate here on earth. But He also counseled Jesus Christ and in that counsel He would show His unbelievable love and loving-kindness, namely, that He Himself would come on earth to save them by punishing Himself with hell and damnation.
Second, you are justified when Jesus Christ came actually on earth and did all the labor of His soul to save you. He was born, suffered, died, and rose again for your justification. That is, He made it possible that God could forgive all your sin, that you could be adopted to be children of God, that you should be clothed with the clothes of righteousness, and that you would have the peace of God in your heart.
In other words, your historical justification is simply the realization of the Counsel of God of which I spoke in the first place.
Third, you are justified when all the foregoing is actually placed in your heart by the power of faith. That is the reason why you read in Rom. 5:1: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Through that third justification you receive heaven in your heart here on earth. And that glorious heaven is so wondrous that you are able to be burned for your faith with a smile. No one can separate you from that marvelous love of God and of Christ. That is the peace which passeth all understanding.
But there is also a fourth chapter of this justification. You see, there are many that speak contrary to all these good tidings of the Gospel. The devil, the law, the conscience, the brethren sometimes, and you yourselves at times cannot believe this unbelievable report of Isaiah.
And therefore all things in connection with the justification of the Church are crying for a final revelation of the wonder of grace, and then such a revelation which shall stop all criticism of this the most wonderful work of God.
And that fourth chapter is finished when the Church shall be revealed in the day of Christ as the beautiful Bride of Jesus Christ, without spot and wrinkle or any such thing.
And then they shall begin to be merry.
It seems I can hear their beauteous singing now.