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HIS WOUNDS OPENED ETERNITY
INTRODUCTION to the OPERA of LIFE
Eternity is the natural repose of those created in the image divine, and through its path is the greatest tragedy this universe has ever known, the killing of the Prince of Peace so that victims outside might be delivered to this blessed destiny by the million, if not billion, and the children of light might shine where all earthly power is turned off. Yet it is precisely this purchase of peace with the eternal power and presence of God which has transformed this disaster into designed triumph, and made of the grave, an oratorio for the Opera of Life. It has procured ransom for His people, pardon for His penitents, reality for His redeemed, eternal life that smiles at death, now as a toothless tiger, de-clawed, and severely arthritic.
In this volume, the wonder of eternity, what worked it for man and its abundant access constitutes the primary focus, and with this, the ways of His elect; while beyond, dim, lie the hills of shame in a world that already approaches its last act, when the stage itself, not before time, will depart as smog goes, when a wind blows it all away. God's creation is threefold, the universe and its members, His word to man and its departments, and the ransom and its provisions in Christ sent express from eternity: and each involved work, the last the greatest, since it involved personal sacrifice of an order never before seen, and which can never be surpassed. It involves no less than a triumph for truth so vast that all philosophy melts in its splendour, all literature and all art is stunned by its amplitude, and all creation meets the crown which is not found in self-praise, or even popular recognition, but in God alone who having made it good, restores the redeemed to perfection by His own work and makes the environment fitting (John 14:1ff.).
Here, in Jesus the Christ, is the WORKMAN superb, whose work is of infinite value, whose shares, each one confer eternal life, whose dividends are peace and whose property is heaven.
Here in man and a fallen universe is one problem with many depths and dimensions, given one solution that covers each depth and dimension. Further, this divine solution in its setting omits nothing, explains everything, testifying in parallel to two opposites in creation, the heights of beauty and the depths of depravity alike, the bleak balefulness of the corruption and the power of the cure.
If the remedy is rational, explicable in intimate harmony with reason, reason nonetheless did not create the solution, which comes by revelation, from the God who made reason, and who, being reasonable, supplied it by a testable revelation, a demonstrably predicted incarnation, and a written and complete coverage of the entire surge of history, its beginning and the foothills of its end.
In everything, Satan tries to copy, and as in all presumption - as if a school child tried to imitate a great artists - whether in secular humanism or other reductionism, omitting life while arrantly trying to run it, succeed only in ruining it; while naturalism, erratic mysticism, partial copies as in Judaism, Islam and Roman Catholicism, mystic and groundless parallels and, in much, parodies such as Communism, or the siege of truth by deviant sects, bound by philosophy: these provide impacts which are in biblical survey, somewhere between the ghastly , the ghoulish and the pathetic.
Man tries to run man, with no God or else with papier-mâché gods of his own imagination, and merely - and yet more and more obviously as times passes - runs himself into the ground. This, observable, provides still further testimony of the testable truth in Christ's plans. Force and fuss alternatives, devoid of reason, deprived of God, making in man's arm what God's grace has provided, and making it amiss, these litter the earth with consequences which even the blind can no longer ignore. On the other hand, Christ's body was treated as litter, just as His word is to this day by swarming millions, seemingly oblivious that their hour now near, just as was that of Jerusalem, when Christ first came.
FOCUS ON THE WOUNDS OF CHRIST,
AND THE SONG THEY SING
The wounds of Jesus Christ
are very special and entirely significant.
If you are wounded in sport, or a motor accident, or in a murder attempt, this has its own place and kind of significance. Your wounds however were not predicted 700 years in advance, were not revealed in a volume of 66 writers providing from God a coherent and intensely cohesive work, arising in different cultures but cultivated on one only grant from the God who can and does predict not only this or that, but thousands of details and the overall plan and perspective for all history. It would be impossible to do this without all knowledge, since any ONE event would institute endless streams of other events, if any one error were made; and to prevent this, you need to know literally everything.
For nearly 3500 years, history has conformed to His biblically recorded statements. The wounds of the Messiah are simply ONE of those conformities.
They are, however, special for another reason, that they are the means to death, and the expression of scoffing scorn, delirious joy at His passing and a sense of relief that now the people were no longer in danger because of Him! In danger ? why yes, if a 'king' - by whatever tortuous twisting of truth, were to 'arise', would not Caesar be concerned ?
But did Christ have any troops ? Why, He even rebuked Peter for taking his sword
(as the papacy would be rebuked for the same reason in its many exploits with that weapon throughout history - Matthew 26:52ff., cf. John 18:36, that other 'peter' who did not listen for millenia),
and endured the Cross without in the least trying to deliver Himself, telling the truth to the point that they got their chance, through gratuitous unbelief, of killing Him.
That too, it is what was predicted centuries before He came and did it, for it was in Isaiah that "they made His grave with the rich and with the wicked at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth" (53:9). Had He renounced His deity, they would not have had any case; if He had used His power, they would not have held any opportunity. Since He gave up the force of both to the point of enabling this process of making Him a sacrifice BY sin and FOR sin, THROUGH sin, they did what they did, and for the REASON stated, they could and did do it! It was BECAUSE He had done no violence, nor was deceit in His mouth, that they had both opportunity and power to act in the killing field of Golgotha.
In this volume, this focus on Jesus Christ will be on what it cost, what it gave and what was the divine plan; and it may from time to time consider other plans which the planning committee of pagan humanism, irrational religions and pragmatic desire may propound, so that they who open the eyes can avoid the pit and find the place of eternity.
For my own part, I intensely love eternity, and without it, would not much value life at all: it would be like being a seed that did not germinate (John 12:1ff.). A life ? could you call it that ? It would be a preliminary without its inheritance. HAVING an inheritance in eternity is far more precious than anything this phase of life can contribute, and the beauty of it is this, that it is not by violence and terrorism, of any kind or capacity, that it is found; but it is by the gift of God that it is made available. As for our part, those of us who as Christians receive Him and all His words, we delight to bring this gift to others by that same word, and in the power of His Spirit which He has given to all His own people (Romans 8:9). It was good of God to give, it is delightful to pass it on.
THE WAY OF THE WOUNDS
THE LIFE THAT HAS OVERCOME DEATH
Focus on these divine wounds, these harassments of the very body of Christ, these defilements of purity, uncomely pagan codes of priests unauthorised who slew a man who was God in flesh.
What shall be said of these, without this,
that they attest
in the High Priest of eternity, the Prince of Peace,
a sufficient sacrifice for ever (Hebrews 10:10-14, 9:12-23).
His wounds are the desolatory path to dynamic,
the ruin which is entrance to reality,
the map of divine enterprise,
the exhibit of divine love,
the reversal of divine curse.
What is to be said of the wounds of Christ ?
They are a means of opening the way for the blood to be shed, in a sacrifice
providing sin's portrait,
man's manifest judgment at the bar of his own hands,
as if he were playing out his crime before the open eyes of the Judge Himself!
As to His veins,
their rupture parallels the ripping of the veil in the Holy of Holies,
opening it to all through His personal ministry,
a direct route by His routing death, to the Eternal Father.
These are the price of divine peace,
the exposition of divine wrath.
They are the ground for removing first of all the curse,
where their price is honoured by acceptance,
and then the earth, destroying the very universe,
where the price is not.
As to these wounds,
their gaping mouths are so many calls to open eternity
to the children of men,
and doom to the 'perfect' -
whether perfectly asinine in self-evaluation,
perfected in pride,
or victorious in vanity.
From these fatal wounds come
the assurance of divine access,
the certainty of salvation,
the removal of the veil of mystery,
not only in symbol
but in visible sentence
whether judgment translates, by His wounds, into pardon,
or by pardon despised,
into everlasting destruction.
His wounds write the contract:
for ink, blood;
as for assurance,
the perfect becomes abhorrent,
that the abhorrent might be perfected.
Slaughter by its sufficiency
opens eternal life,
while Deity assuming flesh, this once,
by Himself as agent and marshal alike,
becomes a highway,
exposing eternity to pilgrims
on a road paid up,
in a dream done:
as if one wafted in sleep into peace,
and found, on awaking, its face.
He whose life it is,
is found smiling, radiant
beyond death (Revelation 1:18-19),
providing eternal acquisition of life
Here death is life's womb,
the tomb, life's irruptive joy:
fearless its bounty
to the hearts of its believers,
who are likewise its receivers,
granted to be
as free as wind,
as secure a oak,
with heart and soul, mind and strength
serving such a Saviour.
Him they serve with joy,
for His wounds
have wound up all proceedings,
whose vital prevailing
has deleted all the devastated pangs of death,
whose resurrection is already
for His redeemed,
Nothing but faith remains
in His grace,
in His gift,
who did it,
whisking destruction to its doom,
while conferring immortality
in the laboratory of history,
vitality in the path of His pilgrimage,
eternity to those who were but temporary,
truth to the elect,
just as He has also chosen
in love, all foreknown,
these His receivers and believers,
and fashioned them
in love's campaign,
with sovereignty's consent.
No brakes apply to any,
but that sin that severs,
the renegade from reality,
that is enemy of love,
terrorist agent exploding in many
against their own acquittal,
whose epitaph reds,
"I would, you would not" -
and whose squandering of salvation's call
is accounted by Him
who was wounded,
to be a preference for
the darkness of blight
in the splendour of light.
Such is a turning
from the divine visitation
with arrant arrogance,
as if bewitched y blindness,
worshipping at self''s shrine,
religion's empty fountain:
while waters of peace
flood the country.