Friday, December 19, 2014

The Cry of the Suffering Christ by W. J. Hocking (Part 7)

The Cry of Conquest, “It is Finished”

But the end comes. The intensity of prayer is replaced by the fervency of praise. The Lord pleads with Jehovah: “O My strength, haste Thee to help Me. Deliver My soul from the sword; My darling (only one) from the power of the dog; save Me from the lion's mouth” (vers. 19-21). Then in the middle of verse 21, the Speaker suddenly changes His tone. Hitherto in the Psalm, unanswered supplication has been His theme. Now, the answer has been given; the reply is received. “Yea, from the horns of the buffaloes (unicorns) hast Thou answered Me.”

No statement is made in the Psalm concerning the immeasurable significance of the change from asking to receiving by the One Who at the outset confessed Himself forsaken of God. It is left to us to ponder upon the fact that the same Voice that said to God, “Save Me from the lion's mouth,” adds afterwards, “Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns.” The One Who previously said, “O My God, I cry . . . but Thou hearest not” (ver. 2) now declares to Him, “Thou hast heard Me.” With strong crying and tears, with prayers and supplications, He had called upon God in His suffering upon the cross as the sin-bearer. Then the moment came when He knew that His work of propitiation for sins had been accomplished, and that because of His piety He had been heard by Him Who was able to save Him out of death (Heb. 5:7). His piety or holy fear had been tried to the uttermost; and in the very bottomless depths of suffering when abandoned by God on behalf of guilty man His unfaltering obedience shone untarnished and undiminished, approved of God though derided by man.

Now deliverance had come even when He was transfixed “by the horns of the unicorns” and under “the power of the dog.” The throne of righteousness in heaven and the cross of Calvary on earth were united when Christ Jesus had offered His one sacrifice for sins. His atoning blood was upon the golden mercy-seat beneath the cherubim of glory. His eternally efficacious work of expiation for sin was completed “in the body of His flesh” upon the cross. This fact, the Lord Himself in His omniscience announced to men, to angels, to demons. “When therefore Jesus had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished; and having bowed His head, He delivered up His spirit” (John 19:30). The apostle John thus records the Son of God's verbal testimony to the conclusion of His own work. It was but one word as originally uttered upon the cross, but it fell from the lips of omniscient omnipotence, and will reverberate to the ends of the universe throughout the ages of the ages.

After hearing the Lord's own pronouncement upon the work He had by Himself undertaken in respect of sin that God might be just and the justifier of him who believes in Jesus, can we entertain the notion that nevertheless something more remained to be done to establish fully the glory of God? Is it possible that when Christ gave Himself for us, an offering and sacrifice to God, and said, It is finished, there still remained something more to be done in order to make propitiation for sins? Unless supported by plain scripture, such a suggestion by its implications discredits Christ Himself and impoverishes both His word and His work.

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