Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Crucify Him!"

. . . Has it ever bothered you that sometimes in the Old Testament when one man sins, many get swept away in the punishment God brings? For example, when David sinned by taking a census of the people (2 Samuel 24:10), “There died of the people from Dan to Beersheba seventy thousand men” (2 Samuel 24:15). Another example is when Achan kept some of the booty from Jericho and his whole family was stoned (Joshua 7:25). Maybe my experience in reading Luke 22 is a clue to the divine justice in this.

An analogy came to my mind. The hearts of humanity are like a molten mantle beneath the surface of the whole earth. The molten lava beneath the earth is the universal wickedness of the human heart—the rebellion against God and the selfishness toward people. Here and there a volcano of rebellion bursts forth which God sees fit to judge immediately. He may do so by causing the scorching, destructive lava to flow not only down the mountain which erupted but also across the valleys which did not erupt but which have the same molten lava of sin beneath the surface.

The reason I confess the sin of beating Jesus even though I wasn’t there is that the same lava of rebellion is in my own heart. I have seen enough of it to know. So even though it does not burst forth in such a volcanic atrocity as the crucifixion it is still deserving of judgment. If God had chosen to rain the lava of their evil back on their own heads and some of it consumed even me, I would not be able to fault God’s justice. . .

. . . And I believe from Romans 8:28 that, even though the lava of recompense overtakes me at a distance from the volcano, there is mercy in it. I do not deserve to escape, for I know my own heart. But I trust Christ, and so I know the judgment will be turned to joy. Though he slay me, yet will I trust him. For precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

-John Piper, from his Holy Week reflection here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Aye Matt, it has bothered me that when one person sins it does indeed have a butterfly or waterfall effect and affect the lives of those around and descended from that person. As we see in life lives ruined by the effect so carnal living and sin. Even as Exodus 20 says “for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” but then He also reminds us that He “shows mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.”
I can identify with the quote: “The reason I confess the sin of beating Jesus even though I wasn’t there is that the same lava of rebellion is in my own heart.” For I know that I too have that same rebellion and sin in my heart. Daily must I confess my transgressions before him, take up my cross, and follow Him. You are right that we deserve nothing but punishment, but God is merciful and so GOOD to us in that we can find redemption and salvation in Christ-“who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, (arose victorious) and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God!” I like part of your blog that says and I quote: “But I trust Christ, and so I know the judgment will be turned to joy. Though he slay me, yet will I trust him.” As 2 Corinthians 12 says: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” I feel that challenges come our way so that we may learn to trust more fully and lean more completely on Him. Thanks for the thought provoking and beneficial blog. God bless you Matt!
~A.J.

Matt Perkins said...

Thanks A.J.!