God’s great difficulty was to make clear at once both His love and His hate: His love for man: His hate for the sin that man had grained in so deep that they were as one. For the man’s sake He must show His love to win and change him. For man’s sake He must show His hate of sin that man, too, might know its hatefulness and learn to hate it with intensest hate. His love for man is to be the measure of man’s hate for sin. The death of Jesus was God’s master-stroke. At one stroke He told man His estimate of man and His estimate of man’s sin; His love and His hate. It was the measureless measure of His hate for sin, and His love for man. It was a master-stroke too, in that He took sin’s worst—the cross—and in it revealed His own best. Out of what was meant for God’s defeat, came sin’s defeat, and God’s greatest victory.
And the one simple thing that transfers to a man all that Jesus has worked out for him is what is commonly called “faith.” That is, trusting God, turning the heart Godward, yielding to the inward upward tug, letting the pleasing of God dominate the life. This, be it keenly marked, has ever been the one simple condition in every age and in every part of the earth.
Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness. The devout Hebrew, reverently, penitently standing with his hand on the head of his sacrifice, at the tabernacle door, believed God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness. The devout heathen with face turned up to the hill top, and feet persistently toiling up, patiently seeking glory and honor and incorruption believes God, though he may not know His name, and it is reckoned to him for righteousness. The devout Christian, with his hand in Christ’s, believes God, and it is counted to him for righteousness.
The devout Hebrew, the earnest heathen, and the more enlightened believer in Jesus group themselves here by the common purpose that grips them alike. The Hebrew with his sacrifice, the heathen with his patient continuance, and the Christian who knows more in knowing Jesus, stand together under the mother wing of God.
Some Surprising Results of the Tragic Break
The Surprised Jew.
God proposes. Man disposes. God proposed a king, and a world-wide kingdom with great prosperity and peace. Man disposed of that plan for the bit of time and space controlled by his will, and in its place interposed for the king, a cross. Out of such a radical clashing of two great wills have come some most surprising results.
The first surprise was for the Jew. Within a few weeks after Jesus’ final departure, Jerusalem, and afterward Palestine, was filled with thousands of people believing in Him. A remarkable campaign of preaching starts up and sweeps everything before it. Jesus’ name was on every tongue as never before. But there were earnest Jews who could not understand how Jesus could be the promised Messiah. He had not set up a kingdom. Their Scriptures were full of a kingdom.