God can take the most sin-soiled soul!
Queen Victoria stopped one day at a paper-mill near Windsor Castle, and was shown through it by the foreman. He did not know who she was, as she was alone and was plainly dressed. The queen was intensely interested in every process of the paper-maker's art. She was conducted at last to a place where a number of rag-pickers were emptying out the dirty rags which they had gathered from the gutters and alleys of the great city. There was a large pile of these filthy, blackened rags, which looked as if they never could be made clean. The queen asked the foreman what he would do with these. To her amazement, he told her that he would make them into the finest, whitest paper.
When the queen had gone, the foreman learned who she was. Some days after, there was received at the palace--a package of the purest, most delicate paper, having the queen's likeness stamped upon it, with a note from the foreman of the mill, telling her that this paper was made from the very rags she had seen on her visit!
In the same way, the Holy Spirit takes human lives, ruined and blackened by sin--makes them whiter than snow, and stamps upon them the holy image of Jesus!
No life is hopeless in its ruin--which the transforming grace of God renews.
God can take the most sin-soiled soul--and give to it radiant beauty!
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were! But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
His own Father!
(David Harsha, "The Crucifixion")
"My God, my God--why have You forsaken Me?" Matthew 27:46
He drinks the bitter cup of God's wrath due to sin.
The powers of darkness fiercely assail Him.
He enjoys no sensible communion with Heaven. It is the gloomiest period in His whole life.
But at length His agony is so piercing that He is constrained to utter the most touching words of grief,"My God, my God--why have You forsaken Me?"
His Father--His own Father, in whose bosom He had lain from eternity! His Father, by whom He was always beloved--has withdrawn the light of His countenance from Him! And from His cross arises a most piercing and agonizing cry, "My God, my God--why have You forsaken Me?"
Oh, how mysterious, how solemn, how affecting is this cry! It is the most doleful that ever came from the lips of Christ during His sorrowful sojourn from the manger to the cross.
Ah! Why does He hang on yonder cross, uttering these doleful words 'with strong crying and tears'?
It was not the nails which pierced His hands and feet, nor the agony of a crucifixion, which caused this mournful cry. He was now offering Himself a sacrifice for sins. As our Surety, He suffered all that divine justice required to bring the sinner back to God and to glory.
Here is the great mystery of Godliness: the Father bruises the Son, and puts Him to grief for our sakes!All those cries, and tears, and groans of Him whom the Father appointed to accomplish our salvation--were for us.
On His shoulders was laid the enormous load of our guilt.
Oh, what can we render to our Divine Savior, for His amazing and unparalleled love to us?
The Cross The Believer's Victory
From a worldly perspective, Christ's death signaled His defeat. After all, dying in agony on a cross hardly seems like the path to victory. But it was! And He did it all for us. Because Jesus triumphed over death, we can be victorious in life. Just consider what He won for us by sacrificing Himself on the cross.
Our Eternal Salvation: The cross was the means of our salvation. Without it, we'd have no hope of heaven. If Christ hadn't died in our place, we'd have to stand before God and receive the just punishment for every sin we've ever committed.
Power over Sin: Jesus not only paid the penalty for our sin; He also brought us present victory over it. When He was crucified, our old sinful nature died with Him (Rom. 6:6). The power of the "flesh" was broken, and Jesus now lives His triumphant life through us. That means we are no longer enslaved to sin and can choose obedience to God.
Defeat of Satan: At the crucifixion, the list of decrees against us was nailed to the cross, and the Devil lost his power over our lives (Col. 2:13-15). None of his accusations can stick, because God holds nothing against us anymore. And now every time we yield to the Spirit within us, Satan is defeated once again.
Christ met all our needs on the cross. By making us a part of His family, He gave us a sense of belonging. When He died in our place, He affirmed our value. And by coming to live His life through each believer, He gives us the ability to live a victorious, obedient life.
~Dr. Charles F. Stanley~