“Upon the cross of Jesus mine eyes at times can see
The very dying form of one who suffered there for me:
And from my stricken heart with tears, two wonders I confess--
The wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.” ~Elizabeth C. Clephane
“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” has always been a favorite hymn of mine; it bores deeply to the very core of my being. As I sing the second verse my throat lumps up, my heart beats heavily and I am transported to the foot of the cross, standing in the shadow of my tormented Savior. Trembling, mumbling and praying, hurting and crying, I kneel before the King of kings and Lord of lords. His bleeding, dying body beckons me look up and I see...the wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.
Imagine having a “father” who loves us despite our deliberate disobedience, our numerous jaunts in the dirty gutters of shame, repetitively relishing in the pits of selfishness, consistently pointing our fingers at others’ mistakes, and those moments or years of rejection when we forsook Him for Satan’s lies. How could a holy God hear our pleas for forgiveness, much less pardon our iniquities? Sins come wrapped in a package that can only be bought by a sinless person, and no person has ever lived a sinless life. What a dilemma for mankind!
But wait... the priceless wonders of God’s redeeming love are amazing. You see, His love covers our sins and remembers them no more. “Why? How?” you ask.
Well... a long time ago God came down from heaven in the form of His Son Jesus and paid the ransom for our sins. The cost to the redeemer was death. Jesus was savagely whipped, flayed and mocked til His body was almost bled out. Hanging by three stout nails pounded through His hands and feet into a rugged chunk of wood, He saw us afar off atop that hill called Calvary. He died a slow, horribly agonizing death... for you, me, and all who believe in His redemption and saving grace. What a Redeemer; what a Savior!
His death and suffering would not have saved us from the fires of hell if not for what happened three days later. Rising from His grave, He loosed the bonds of death over us. He still lives! He rose up into heaven to reign with His Father, where He is preparing our new eternal home and praying for our souls. Oh, believers, the wonder of it all!
Now that you see the wonders of His redeeming love, another vision follows: our unworthiness. We are all unworthy of His love and grace, and we can’t make ourselves sinless, no matter how hard we try. Looking upon our soiled "garments", our spirits can only cry out earnestly with the prophet Isaiah, “Woe is me! I am undone!” as we meditate upon the amazing grace of God.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus; look full in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.” ~Helen H. Lemmel
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