“But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5
A SPIRITUAL and continued contemplation of the Redeemer’s humiliation supplies a powerful check to sin. What is every sin committed, but opening afresh the wounds, and reacting anew the humiliation, of Jesus? Oh, how hateful must that sin appear in our serious moments, which shut out the sun of God’s countenance from the soul of Christ, and sank Him to such inconceivable depths of humiliation! We need every view of divine truth calculated to sanctify. At present, the deepest sanctification of the believer is imperfect; his loftiest soarings towards holiness never reaching the goal. And yet to be ever thirsting, panting, wrestling, and aiming after it, should be classed among our highest mercies.
We too much forget this truth, that the thirsting for holiness is as much the Holy Spirit’s creation, as it is His work to quench that thirst. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness;” or, blessed are they who have the desire for Divine conformity, who long to know Christ, and to resemble Christ more perfectly. They may never reach the mark, yet ever pressing towards it—they may never attain to their standard, yet ever aiming for it, they are truly blessed. Here, then, is one powerful means of attaining to holiness—the spiritual eye brought in close and frequent contact with the lowly life of God’s dear Son.
But for our sins, His mind had never been shaded with clouds, His heart had never been wrung with sorrow, His eye had never been bedewed with tears, He had never suffered and died, had never known the wrath of an offended God. How fraught with soothing and consolation is this subject to the bereaved and tried believer! It tells you, weeping mourner, that having drained His wrath, and poured it on the head of your Surety, nothing is reserved for you in the heart of God but the deep fountain of tender mercy and loving-kindness. Then where springs your present trial, but from the loving heart of your Father? In the life of Jesus all was humiliation; in the life of the believer all is glory; and all this glory springs from the headship of Christ. In every step that He trod, he is one with Him—the only difference being that Jesus changes positions with the believer, and thus what was bitter to Him becomes sweet to us; what was dark to Him appears light to us; and what was His ignominy and shame becomes our highest honor and glory.
Humbling as may be the way God is now leading you, forget not that the great end is to bring you into a fellowship with Christ’s humiliation—into a more realizing oneness with your tried head. How contracted were the believer’s view of, and how limited his sympathy with, the abasement of God’s dear Son, but for the humiliation of His life, but for the way the Lord leads him about in order to humble him! To be brought into sympathy with you in all the gloomy stages of your journey, “He humbled Himself;” and that this feeling might be reciprocal, bringing you into a sympathy with the dark stages of His life, He humbles you. But deep as your present humiliation may be, you cannot sink so low but you will find He sunk yet lower, and is therefore able to sustain and bear you up. “I was brought low, and He helped me.” Never can Christians sink beneath the everlasting arms; they will always be underneath you. You may be sorely tried—painfully bereaved—fearfully tempted—deeply wounded. Saints and sinners, the Church and the world, may each contribute some bitter ingredient to your cup; nevertheless, the heart of Jesus is a pavilion within whose sacred enclosure you may repose until these calamities be overpast. Your greatest extremity can never exceed His power or sympathy, because He has gone before His people, and has endured what they never shall endure. Behold what glory thus springs from the humiliation and sufferings of our adorable Redeemer!