“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, February 13, 2009

Solving the Problem of Sin

Man had sinned against God and was bound and trapped, unable to save himself. Only God could save us, but it was God to whom we owed a debt. And yet God in his unstoppable love made a way, solving the problem of our sin. We have now seen more fully how the wages of sin (death) were paid, not by us but by God himself. In C. S. Lewis’ words,

“Humanity must embrace death freely, submit to it with total humility, drink it to the dregs, and so convert it into that mystical death which is the secret of life. But only a man who did not need to have been a Man at all unless He had chosen, only one who served in our sad regiment as a volunteer, yet also only one who was perfectly a Man, could perform this perfect dying; and thus (which way you put it is unimportant) either defeat death or redeem it. He tasted death on behalf of all others. He is the representative ‘Die-er’ of the universe: and for that very reason the Resurrection and the Life. Or conversely, because He truly lives, He truly dies, for that is the very pattern of reality…Because Vicariousness* is the very idiom of the reality He has created, His death can become ours.” – C. S. Lewis, Miracles, ch. 14
*That is, interdependence throughout creation (see Miracles, ch. 14), and specifically, our dependence on God and our death and new life through his death and resurrection.
In this way of redemption we see “that perfection of moral wisdom which found a way to preserve the integrity of heaven and yet receive us there” (A. W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy, ch. 19), a perfection and wisdom rooted in the Trinity.

There on the cross justice was dealt to us for our sins – through Christ. God the Father acted as the Judge of God the Son, who was judged and rightly condemned as the bearer of sins. The just wrath of God fell upon God himself (more paradox) – judgment in proportion to the sin committed, and sin (born by Christ) committed in proportion to the One offended, God himself. The punishment at the cross was in proportion to the magnitude of the punisher (and the one punished) – the weight of judgment in proportion to the worth and dignity of the Judge – God himself. There is no thing greater than God himself and thus no greater punishment than that of proportional weight – punishment for rejecting and insulting the Most High. And there is no greater love than that of the One who would pay such a price for those he loves.

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