The Love of God Revealed in the Cross

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Be Thou my Vision O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.


"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die--but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation." (Romans 5:1-11, ESV).

Within this article, it is important to not that to be justified is equivalent to be made righteous. It is important to note that foundation of this passage in Romans 5 is that we are justified by faith. It seems to me that one of Paul’s strongest openning statements of this letter to the faithful church of Rome is found in Romans 1:16, 17.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to
everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it
the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written,
'The righteous shall live by faith.' "

To save sinners, such as us, God requires righteousness, something that we do not have even the least particle. Therefore, the good news of Scripture, literally, the Gospel, is that the righteousness that God requires is the righteousness He provides through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus.

Notice that here in verse 17, the righteousness of God is REVEALED. It is something that is on display, much like we think of the cross on Calvary, on a hill, for the world to see. The world has been shaken by the love of God for His people, purchasing their salvation in great love. Behold, He loves believers because they are clothed in this marvelous display of righteousness, namely they are covered, dripping in the pure, scarlet, righteous blood of Christ. They look like His Son.

Where does this washing of blood originate for those of us who called children of God? Notice that the righteousness is revealed from FAITH to FAITH. Faith is the basis, the foundation that cradles our lives. Through God’s merciful grace, he births faith in us (James 1:18). This faith grows to deeper faith, reaching into our hearts till it springs forth from our mouths as a fountain of life (Proverbs 10:11). This abundant life, not a life the world enjoys but our life in Christ, rejoices in hope. This hope is the hope for the glorious righteousness of God to be revealed to its fullness in our lives! Behold, this hope springs forth, cascading over our lips into our hands, so that we may serve the masses (the very opposite of Romans 3:10-18), becoming little so that Christ’s glory may be shown to be strong (2 Corinthians 12:9,10) !

Now, we can begin to see the hard words of verses 3-5:

"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

I beg you to look at verse 3, that we are to REJOICE in our sufferings. Why? Because through the suffering that we see, we are able to endure, to persevere. As God preserves us through our trials, character is produced in us. What type character is produced in us? Let’s hold off on answering that question until we see the result of this character.

This character yields our posture on grace, so that we may stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. This hope does not put us to shame; we are “not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God for salvation…for in it the righteousness of God is revealed.”

Now, I pose the question, “What is the character that is produced in endurance?” Chiefly, we are conformed to the character of Christ.

"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Phi 2:5-11).

Again, we see that chief end of this character, then our hope, that is our salvation, is the glorification of God.
Clearly, we grasp more fully Ezekiel 36:25-27:

"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put [pour] my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules."

Now, we get to the greatest issues of the Gospel. From where does our cleanness originate? Our unattractive, idol-worshipping corpses have hearts of stone, constantly hating God. The miracle of God is that the Word of God raises our dry bones to new life, giving us hearts that beat with love for Him. Under what power, does this occur? Verses 6-11 provide the basis of our hope. This is how our righteousness is obtained.

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person--though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die-- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation" (Romans 5:6-11).

The love of God is revealed in the cross. He brings us to new life, fashions us in the image of Christ, and says He loves us because we are covered in the glorious blood of His Son. Our salvation is created in us by the workings of the Holy Spirit, through the victory of Christ at the cross, all to the glory of the Father. The ultimate joy in our salvation is being reconciled to God. When we walk obediently in sweet fellowship with God, our joy is complete, perfected.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

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