When my soul was embittered,
when I was pricked in heart,
I was brutish and ignorant;
I was like a beast toward you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
We sit and yearn and pray for You to come back, Lord Jesus. Come back and take us home. We want for our hopes, wants, dreams and desires to be in You alone. This is what separates believers from the unbeliever: we hope and trust that You will make all things right-standing with You. We have read Your promises and we earnestly believe in them. The weight of sin and the weight of a broken universe are too much to bear. Our backs are broken from under the heavy load. Our eyes sting from the sweat of this intense labor. Our muscles twitch in a mere moment from collapsing, because we can bear it no more.
This momentary moment of affliction racks our souls with the sharpest and more torturous pain. This sufferings of this present time are simply too much.
Yet, You called us. And by Your Spirit, we cry out—through rivers of tears, streams of pain and mountains of our sin—have mercy on me, Lord Jesus.
You have chosen us so that You could reveal us to Your Father. You told us as You held out Your hand, “Come to me, those under the weight of back-breaking sin, and I will give You perfect peace and soothing rest. Here, take my holiness, my righteousness, my obedience, my perfection, my grace, my mercy, my faithfulness and my love upon You, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and You will find rest for Your souls. For my weight is easy, and my workload is light.” 1
In that tearful and joyful declaration, You made an exchange for us. You are Creator God as You have exchanged Yourself for our created, faulty, deadly, unholy, dying gods. Sinless and blameless Lamb exchanges Himself for sin-filled wicked people who are far from Him. You did this for us: for Your glory and our joy. You did this for our sake, let me repeat, our sake. In that our Father made You be our sin when You never had sinned so that in You we might be the righteousness of You 2.
O Father, Your creation cries out in bondage to corruption. All of the earth and the universe wait upon You to finish Your work in the adoption of Your sons. Because we have the firstfruits of Your Spirit, we cry and groan with all of creation 3.
Yet, you are holy, holy, holy. The earth is filled with Your glory! And because You are holy and You declare us to be Yours, we are now holy because of You. 4
Therefore, in light of what You have done for me, in me and through me, shall I consider the sufferings of this present time are worth comparing to the glory that You will reveal to me 5? No!
Yet, in the light of all that You are and what You have declared Yourself, is this momentary affliction preparing me for Your eternal weight of glory, which is beyond all comparison 6? Yes!
Now that I love You and You love me, can I ask a question? So no matter what happens to me, I do know that You will make all things work together for my good because you called me according to Your purpose? Yes! 7
Because You have foreknew me before the beginning of time and You have predestined me to be Yours, will you conform me to the image of Your Son so that He might be called the first of my many brothers and sisters? Yes! 8
Now, if you have predestined me, have you called me to life, joy and pleasures that can only be found in You forevermore? 9 Yes!
If you have called me to life, joy and pleasures in You, have you justified me in your sight by exchanging my sin for your righteousness? Yes!
If you have justified me in your sight, do I get to be with you, look upon your lovely face and dwell in your glory forever? Yes! 10
Then who can be against me when You are for me and when You have not spared Your own Son but instead gave Him up for me and graciously gave me all things? 11 No one!
Who can bring any charge against me when You have foreknew me, predestined me, elected me, called me and declared me “Justified” in You? 12 No one!
Who can condemn me when it is Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at Your right hand and who is interceding and praying for me at this very moment? 13 No one!
Who can separate me from the love of Your Son even when it was adamantly declared that we are being killed all the day long, for Your sake, and we are slaughtered like sheep by likes of tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger and sword of this world? No one! 14
So, is there anything in all of creation that can separate me from Your love, which is in Christ Jesus my Lord? No! 15
Then, my Lord and my God, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
“Fear not, then the darkest cloud, nor the proudest waves, nor the deepest wants,—in these very things you shall, through Christ, prove triumphant. Nor shrink from the battle with “last enemy”. Death received a death-wound when Christ died. You face a conquered foe. He stands at your side a crownless king, and waving a broken spectre. Your death shall be another victory over the believer’s last foe. Planting your foot of faith upon his prostrate neck, you shall spring into glory, more than a conqueror, through him that loved you. Thus passing to glory in triumph, you shall go to swell the ranks of the “noble army of martyrs”—those Christian heroes of whom it is recorded, “THEY OVERCAME HIM BY THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB.” 16
- Matthew 11:25-30 ↩
- 2 Corinthians 5:21 ↩
- Romans 8:19-23 ↩
- Isaiah 6:3, Romans 9:26, 1 Peter 1:16 cf. Leviticus 11:44 ↩
- Romans 8:19 ↩
- 2 Corinthians 4:17 ↩
- Romans 8:28 ↩
- Romans 8:29 ↩
- Romans 8:28-30; Psalm 16:11 ↩
- Romans 8:30; Psalm 17:15 ↩
- Romans 8:31-32 ↩
- Romans 8:33 ↩
- Romans 8:34 ↩
- Romans 8:35-36 ↩
- Romans 8:39 ↩
- Winslow, Octavius. No Condemnation in Christ Jesus. Banner of Truth Trust, 1853. ↩