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The Potter's Clay

Scripture, Theology, the Christian worldview, and other ramblings.

29 August 2006

Wonderful mystery!

by William Plumer, "Sinners Saved by Unmerited Kindness"

Wonderful mystery! God was manifest in the flesh!

Our Lord Jesus Christ became incarnate, lived, acted,
obeyed, suffered, died and rose again--for His people.

He came down to earth--that they might go up to heaven.

He suffered--that they might reign.

He became a servant--that they might become kings
and priests unto God.

He died that--they might live.

He bore the cross--that their enmity might be slain,
and their sins expiated.

He loved them--that they might love God.

He was rich and became poor--that they, who
were poor, might be made rich.

He descended into the grave--that they might
sit in heavenly places.

He emptied Himself--that they might be filled
with all the fullness of God.

He took upon Him human nature--that they
might be partakers of the divine nature.

He made Himself of no reputation--that they might
wear His new name, and obtain eternal excellency.

He became a worm, and no man--that they, who were
sinful worms, might be made equal to the angels.

He bore the curse of a broken covenant--that they
might partake of all the blessings of the everlasting
covenant, ordered in all things and sure.

Though heir of all things, He was willingly despised
of the people--that they, who were justly condemned,
might obtain an inheritance which is incorruptible,
undefiled, and which fades not away.

His death was a satisfaction to divine justice, a ransom
for many, a propitiation for sin, a sweet smelling savor
to God--that we, who were an offence to God, might
become His sons and daughters.

He was made sin for His people--that they might be
made the righteousness of God in Him.

Though Lord of all, He took the form of a servant--that
they, who were the servants of sin, might prevail like
princes with God.

He had no where to lay His head--that they who otherwise
must have lain down in eternal sorrow, might reach the
mansions in His Father's house.

He drank the cup of God's indignation--that they
might forever drink of the river of his pleasures.

He hungered--that they might eat the bread of life.

He thirsted--that they might drink the water of life.

He was numbered with the transgressors--that they might
stand among the justified, and be counted among His jewels.

Though He existed from everlasting, from the beginning,
before ever the earth was, yet He became a helpless infant
--that creatures of yesterday, sentenced to death, might
live forever.

He wore a crown of thorns--that all who love His
appearing, might wear a crown of life.

He wept tears of anguish--that His elect might
weep tears of godly repentance.

He bore the yoke of obedience unto death--that
they might find His yoke easy and His burden light.

He poured out his soul unto death, lay three days in
the heart of the earth, then burst the bars of death,
and arose to God--that they, who through fear of
death were all their lifetime subject to bondage,
might obtain the victory over the grave and become
partakers of His resurrection.

He exhausted the penalty of the law--that His redeemed
might have access to His inexhaustible treasures of mercy,
wisdom, faithfulness, truth and grace.

He was matchless in grace--that they might be matchless
in gratitude.

Though a Son, He became a voluntary exile--that they, who had
wickedly wandered afar off, might be brought near by His blood.

His visage was so marred more than any man--that His
ransomed ones might be presented before God without
spot, or blemish, or wrinkle, or any such thing.

For a time He was forsaken of his Father--that they, whom
He bought with His blood, might behold the light of God's
countenance forever.

He came and dwelt with them--that they might be forever
with the Lord.

He was hung up naked before His insulting foes--that all
who believe on His name, might wear a glorious wedding
garment--a spotless righteousness.

Wonderful mystery! God was manifest in the flesh!
Blessed is he who loves the incarnate mystery, and
rests upon it. It is a mystery . . .
of love,
of truth,
of grace,
of wisdom,
of condescension,
of power,
of salvation!
It is the great study of the inhabitants of heaven,
and shall be while immortality endures!

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04 August 2006

The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus - A.D. 130

This is a great second century witness to the depravity of man, and the imputation of Christ's righteousness. - JL

The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus - A.D. 130
Chapter IX.—Why the Son was sent so late.

As long then as the former time endured, He permitted us to be borne along by unruly impulses, being drawn away by the desire of pleasure and various lusts. This was not that He at all delighted in our sins, but that He simply endured them; nor that He approved the time of working iniquity which then was, but that He sought to form a mind conscious of righteousness, so that being convinced in that time of our unworthiness of attaining life through our own works, it should now, through the kindness of God, be vouchsafed to us; and having made it manifest that in ourselves we were unable to enter into the kingdom of God, we might through the power of God be made able. But when our wickedness had reached its height, and it had been clearly shown that its reward, punishment and death, was impending over us; and when the time had come which God had before appointed for manifesting His own kindness and power, how the one love of God, through exceeding regard for men, did not regard us with hatred, nor thrust us away, nor remember our iniquity against us, but showed great long-suffering, and bore with us, He Himself took on Him the burden of our iniquities, He gave His own Son as a ransom for us, the holy One for transgressors, the blameless One for the wicked, the righteous One for the unrighteous, the incorruptible One for the corruptible, the immortal One for them that are mortal. For what other thing was capable of covering our sins than His righteousness? By what other one was it possible that we, the wicked and ungodly, could be justified, than by the only Son of God? O sweet exchange! O unsearchable operation! O benefits surpassing all expectation! that the wickedness of many should be hid in a single righteous One, and that the righteousness of One should justify many transgressors! Having therefore convinced us in the former time that our nature was unable to attain to life, and having now revealed the Saviour who is able to save even those things which it was [formerly] impossible to save, by both these facts He desired to lead us to trust in His kindness, to esteem Him our Nourisher, Father, Teacher, Counsellor, Healer, our Wisdom, Light, Honour, Glory, Power, and Life, so that we should not be anxious concerning clothing and food.