Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Perfect Penitent

One only Word has come to men,
And was incarnate and had hands
And feet and walked in earthly lands
And died, and rose. And nothing more
Will come or ever came before
With certainty. And to obey
Is better than the hard assay
C.S. LEWIS, Narrative Poems

There is a book that I always love to give during the Lent. Sleek and beautifully written, Jesus on Trial is one of the few that focuses on the astonishing events of Jesus' trial. After reading it for the nth time, two staggering questions pop-up in my mind – How could a holy God, if He is all-powerful, have permitted the existence of sin? Is there alternative to the giving of God’s only-begotten Son and his being crucified on the cross? No, don’t rebuke me for the ingratitude and ungraciousness of my thought. As J. Gresham Machen puts it:

God has told us much. He has told us much even about sin. He has told us how at infinite cost, by the gift of His Son, He has provided a way of escape from it. Yes, God has told us much. Is it surprising that He has not told us all? I do not think so my friends. After all, we are but finite creatures. Is it surprising that there are some mysteries which God in His infinite goodness and wisdom has hidden from our eyes? Is it surprising that there are some things in His counsels about which He has bidden us be content not to know but instead just to trust Him who knows all? (The Christian View of Man)

Further, C.S. Lewis may be right that “…God is not merely mending, not simply restoring a status quo. Redeemed humanity is to be something more glorious than unfallen humanity would have been, more glorious than any unfallen race now is (if at this moment the night sky conceals any such).”

As to the connecting question, Paul insisted somewhere in his letter to the Galatians that if justification could have been secured by any other method than that of faith in Christ, by that method it would have been. There is no other alternative.

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