10 March 2014

Glorious Day!

Saturday, I was out with my two oldest boys, headed for our next errand stop, Pandora playing in the car. The day had been a little stressful, but good things were in the works. I was in that thoughtful frame of heart I often get into when I drive . . . paying close attention to my driving, but in a quiet, meditative way. "Glorious Day" by Casting Crowns came on, and the lyrics floated through my heart with the music.
One day when Heaven was filled with His praises
One day when sin was as black as could be
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin
Dwelt among men, my example is He
Word became flesh and the light shined among us
His glory revealed

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He's coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day
As the first chorus played, I wondered . . . just for a moment, I wondered, "How was that done?" And immediately, a flash of incredible understanding opened in my heart. Literally in the blink of an eye, I understood something I had never even considered, something so counter to a foundational understanding I had never examined or questioned, that I laughed aloud for joy. It's what I've been taught to call "pure knowledge": understanding that comes through the Holy Ghost, total and full and complete. And it's such a gift.

I had always thought Jesus took our sins upon Himself by some amorphous and overarching act of an autonomous, self-directing force of justice. In my mind, justice somehow had the power (as if it was an intelligence or being of some kind in and of itself) to put upon the Lamb the consequences of sin. And in my mind, consequences of sin = emotions/feelings. So Lady Justice (for lack of a better concept) came down and put in Jesus' heart all of the human feelings that happen when we mess up. I had absolutely no idea how He managed to feel every illness and physical infirmity, so that also had a "magic wand" explanation. Jesus said, "Yes, I'll experience that," and Father waved His hand, and it was done. I hadn't ever thought through the fact that, in my construct, bad things came from God, and that contradicts so many scriptures I'm not going to even count.

But now, I understand. :o)

Jesus took upon Himself all sin & death, and in His victory sent them packing. What are the consequences of sin? The wages of sin? What do you get when you sin?

Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin are death. Spiritual death = separation from God. When we're separated from our God, the enemy has power over us. Through sin, we give power to the enemy of our souls. We open ourselves to the companionship of evil spirits, and their influence and power over us to tempt and torment. Physical death = the destruction of these glorious and beautiful bodies God has given us, which is one of satan's fondest dreams. All physical ailments have a spiritual component/cause, as it's part of the adversary's main objective: to destroy us both body & soul. But Jesus' work is to heal and save, even to the reversing of the natural consequences of this world upon our bodies.
For whoso is faithful unto the obtaining these two priesthoods of which I have spoken, and the magnifying their calling, are sanctified by the Spirit unto the renewing of their bodies. ~D&C 84:33
And there's Paul, who experienced that:
As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand.  The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.”  But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed.  The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god. ~Acts 28:3-6 NLT
I love the celebratory duet in Handel's Messiah that asks:
O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?
The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
Jesus conquered sin and death. His healing of the palsied man let down through the roof shows sin and physical ailments are inextricably linked, with "be healed" and "thy sins are forgiven thee" fully interchangeable.

To atone for us, Jesus took upon Himself the force of evil. All of it. He opened Himself up to the deepest and most horrific torment at the hands of every and all spiritual evil, having done nothing to deserve any of it. He knows every nuance of the wages of sin, knows the presence and consequences of possession by every last kind of evil spirit. He knows, firsthand, mental illness, pride & judgement, addiction, remorse of heart and every pain and sickness, because He made Himself vulnerable to the attack and full force of the influence of all that creates evil in our world. His submission to the acts of men was a piece of cake compared to the spiritual violation and abuse He voluntarily accepted in order to save us. He was violated emotionally, spiritually, more deeply and violently than anyone ever has been or ever will be. He has been the captive, the trafficked, has had every evil perpetrated against Himself. He truly did descend below all that He might be lifted up above all, that He might save us.

I stand in awe that He could survive that--the full onslaught of the enemy's destructive and murderous intent--and bleeding at every pore is the most significant effect. I understand the physical severity of that . . . but . . . His heart didn't stop. His mind didn't break. He didn't try to escape or throw it off. Much like a woman in labor, God suffered all-consuming pain in order to bring us all, spiritually newborn, back into His presence. How amazing and wonderful is that?!?
One day they led Him up Calvary's mountain
One day they nailed Him to die on a tree
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected
Bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He
Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree
And took the nails for me 
'Cause Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He's coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day
Oh, Father of Heaven and Earth. How utterly astounded, how completely without words am I to tell the tale of my heart, the depth and breadth of my response to You, and what You've done.
Jesus, You know just how far the east is from the west
I don't have to see the man I've been come rising up in me again
In the arms of Your mercy I find rest
'Cause You know just how far the east is from the west
From one scarred hand to the other . . .
And Your victory fills me with such joy and light . . . so much hope, and increasing health of mind and body.
One day the grave could conceal Him no longer
One day the stone rolled away from the door
Then He arose, over death He had conquered
Now He's ascended, my Lord evermore
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
From rising again
Rising again

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He's coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day
Lord, I want to walk this earth in full knowledge of what it means to truly be Your daughter. You have made me holy. You have reached down and, in Your unfathomable love, Your amazing grace, washed me clean in the blood of Your sacrifice.
One day the trumpet will sound for His coming (For Your coming)
One day the skies with His glories will shine (Glories will shine)
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine

Living, He loved me
Dying, He saved me
Buried, He carried my sins far away
Rising, He justified freely forever
One day He's coming
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day
Oh, glorious day
Jesus, show me how to walk in holiness before You. Show me how to walk out the revelation of who I am, the excellence I carry, the perfection of Your Spirit, and the destiny that lies before me as Child of the One True King.

Oh, glorious day, indeed!!!

1 comment:

I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!