The Discipline of the Father and the Cross of Jesus

To be saved is to enter into union with the Crucified God. The discipline of the Father is not in first purpose chastisement for sin, but chastisement to bring us into the likeness of – into union with – His Crucified Son. Salvation is the marriage of the soul to Christ. Shall she not then …

Continue reading The Discipline of the Father and the Cross of Jesus

Love’s Wounds in Beauty Glorified: The Christian’s Comfort in the Scars of Christ

“And in the midst of the throne, there stood a Lamb, standing as if slain.” “Put your fingers here in my hands and your hand in my side.” “Since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, let us hold firm our confession of faith. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we ourselves, yet without sin.” “It was fitting for the Messiah to suffer these things, and so to enter His glory.” “He who descended to the depths is He who ascended to the heights, in order that He might fill all in all.” Enthroned in heaven, His humanity glorified with the glory of God, Jesus bears the scars of His crucifixion. God is everywhere, and all of God is everywhere. “All things were made through Him, and apart from Him was made nothing that was made.” Again, it is spoken of the Word, “Who upholds all things by the word of His power.” Again, it is written, “In Him all things hold together.” In a beautiful psalm, we read, “If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there, even there Your right hand will guide me. Behold, if I take the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will uphold me.” All of this, we may infer from the Name that God gave to Moses, YHWH, the One Who Is. There is no existence, there is nothing which is, which is not in Him, the One. Again, it is said, “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” His presence is the foundation and the sustenance of our existence – indeed, of all existence. Jesus prayed, “Glorify Me with the glory I had with You before the world was,” and so we know that His humanity is glorified with all the glory of God. In His humanity, He is present everywhere. It is with this omnipresent humanity that I am concerned, here. Jesus' humanity is really human, and we have ample evidence that His risen body still bears the scars of His crucifixion: His passion, His suffering and death, were not merely the passage to His glory, but are included in that glory, part of the glory itself. He Himself said, the night before He died, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him. Now, if God is glorified in Him, He will glorify Him, and will glorify Him immediately.” This is our great comfort, as we read, “Now, He had to be made like His brethren in every way, in order that He might become a fitting High Priest for us. In that He suffered when He was tempted, He is also able to help those who were being tempted.” In His glory, that temptation and suffering have their place, and in that we have comfort. When He rose from the dead, when He entered into glory, He did not forsake the humanity in which He grew, lived, was tempted, suffered, died, and triumphed in all this. No more did He forsake or remove the scars of His life, of His temptation and suffering, of His death, of His sorrow. He carries those wounds in heaven, and all He does is very Truth, for He is Truth. He is glorified and omnipresent in the humanity which suffered temptation no one but Himself as ever suffered (think about it: God suffering as no mere man has ever suffered! Yet, it was appropriate that the New and Better Adam should triumph in temptation far more complete, terrible, and comprehensive, than the temptation before which the first Adam fell; that His triumph should be more complete than the fall of His race). Because it is in the same flesh that was crucified that He is glorified and lives within us now, He is able to give us strength and comfort. In everything that comes our way – in sunshine and play, in the temptations that accompany these things, in heart-crushing loss, loneliness, and searing pain, in the temptations that accompany these things – He has been there before us. He has been tempted! He has suffered! More, He has borne our sins themselves – not guilty, perfectly innocent and more, perfectly righteous, He bore our sin and all the agony of our sins. In His glorified humanity, the scars are still present, for us to trace. This is our comfort. He can give us the comfort of His own experience, of His own suffering, of His own glorified wounds. We need fear nothing: in it all, He is with us. We can never be alone. It would be very great indeed, but far, perhaps, beyond us, to know that God is with us and for us, but to know that God-made-Man is with us and lives with in us – that is, indeed, comfort and strength, sustenance and joy. When He rose from the dead – o, impossible thought! – He did not leave behind the scars and wounds of His life, His temptation, His suffering, and His triumph, but He bore them into glory, to be glorified with the rest of Himself. We live on His broken humanity – we eat His body and drink His blood, and proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes. O glorious comfort, glorious life, far past my ability to describe or communicate, that we have in the Lamb standing as if slain in the midst of the throne. The Lamb, for He is the Sacrifice, standing as if slain, for He bears the wounds of our redemption, which is not simply redemption from sin but the redemption of our entire being, body and soul, in all its heights, and depths, and crannies. The midst of the throne, encircled by a rainbow like an emerald, with a sea of glass flashing with fire before it, is the midst of the glory, the center of all things, the very summit of heaven. Yea, He is with us. “For He has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.' Therefore, we may say with confidence, 'What may I fear? The Lord is my Helper; what can man do to me?'” We read also, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever,” – and it is this that is our confidence, our confidence that He will never leave nor forsake us, our confidence that He is our Helper. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is risen from the dead, and can suffer and die no more, for He is glorified, and in His glory He bears His temptations and sufferings, and in this, by His life, temptations, and death, and by His resurrection, He helps us in our trials and all our sufferings, in all that we live and endure, and is our High Priest. It is by this, by the same life, temptations, death, and the same resurrection that we have confidence, peace, and joy. We will never be alone, for the Man who is God, the Man who suffered more alone than anyone has ever been or will be, is with us: He lives within us! Yes, the glorified Christ lives within us!