TWO FACTS CONCERNING THE CROSS
"Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by Him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know; Him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay." Acts 2:22-23
For us to know the true nature of sin, and the deepest facts concerning the grace of God, we must come to the Cross. In Peter's first message after Pentecost, referring to the Cross he said: "Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God unto you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by Him in the midst of you, even as ye yourselves know; Him, being delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay." (Acts 2:22-23) Herein is a most remarkable statement, declaring TWO FACTS CONCERNING THE CROSS, which seems to contradict each other, but yet which reveal the actual causes of the Cross: "Delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." Therein is declared the purpose and action of that grace which lies at the back of the whole plan of redemption. "Ye by the hand of lawless men did crucify and slay." Therein is contained a statement of how God's plan was carried out in history by the very principle of lawlessness, which His grace operating through the Cross contradicted and overcame. The first declaration is that of the cause of the Cross from the Godward side, and in the light of it the Cross is seen as the epiphany of grace. The second statement is the cause of the Cross so far as man was concerned, and in the light of it the Cross is seen as the revelation of human dreadful conditions. These facts of the UNMASKING OF SIN and THE UNVEILING OF THE DIVINE HEART are now to receive attention.
In the fact of the Savior’s sufferings, sin deepened into densest darkness, and grace broke forth in brightest brilliance. In the strange mystery upon which we have already reverently looked, sin and love met in fiercest conflict. All other forces were withdrawn and alone in a death grapple in the darkness, sin took hold on love, and love took hold on sin. The issue of the conflict is not now the subject of consideration in this article, but only the contemplation of the opposing forces, as seen in this ultimate hour. Love incarnate has taken hold upon sin, and the issue must be a decisive victory for one or the other. In this hour sin or grace will triumph forever. If sin and grace are seen as here revealed, there will be no possibility of mistake as to the nature of both. Whoever may be inclined to judge sin by the superficial measurements of much so-called new thought, should be brought back to the Cross for a revelation of its true nature; and all those, moreover, who would confine the river of grace within small human channels, should stand again in the presence of the Cross for an understanding of the irresistible sweep and might of this river of life, flowing from the throne of God.
We shall now examine sin and grace as here revealed, in each case considering THE ESSENCE, THE EXPRESSION, AND THE END.