Beautiful Justice, Scandalous Love

by Andy Wood on April 22, 2011

in Life Currency, Love, Photos, Tense Truths

A man was brought into court for trial and found guilty.  The judge happened to be a close boyhood friend of the accused, although they had not seen each other for many years.  Remaining impartial, the judge sentenced the defendant and levied a penalty – a fine – appropriate to his crime.  The fine was so large that the accused could not pay it, so a jail sentence seemed to be the only alternative.

The judge then did a very unusual thing.  Leaving the bench, he approached the convicted man, shook his hand, and announced, “I’m paying the fine for you.”  There in the courtroom the law was satisfied, and so was love.

Beautiful justice.  Scandalous love.

What a picture of the cross.

At the wonderful, tragic, mysterious tree

On that beautiful, scandalous night you and me

Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white

On that beautiful, scandalous night.

The ultimate intersection:  two beams connected, the vertical and the horizontal.  One pointed to God, one reached out to man.  And there, suspended between heaven and earth, the Prince of Glory was judged in love.

The ultimate paradox:  how could something so ugly be so beautiful?

The ultimate collision:  sin met grace.

The ultimate demonstration:  the love of God and the sin of man.

The ultimate betrayal:  thirty stinking pieces of silver for the life of the Son of God.

The ultimate rejection:  unconditional love, hammered through with nails.

The ultimate ransom:  innocent blood for guilty humanity.

Beautiful justice.  Scandalous love.

The Law Satisfied

Go on up to the mountain of mercy

To the crimson perpetual tide

Kneel down on the shore

Be thirsty no more

Go under and be purified.

We live in a generation that has a hard time relating to hard justice.  This is the day of plea bargaining, paroling, and sliding by on technicalities.  The average criminal, I’m afraid, commits his crime under the assumption that somehow the system itself will excuse him of his guilt.

Not so the law of God.  “The soul that sins will surely die,” He said, and He meant it.

The painful truth is, you don’t break God’s law; you break yourself on it.  The problem of our redemption from sin is that the sentence had to be executed.  There was no plea bargain and no appeal; no time off for good behavior, no leniency for first-time offenders.  The wages of sin demanded payment, and we had no recourse but to pay.

Love Satisfied.

Follow Christ to the holy mountain

Sinner sorry and wrecked by the fall

Cleanse your heart and your soul

In the fountain that flowed

For you and for me and for all.

Most judges hand down sentences based on their interpretation of the law, and then go home and forget about it.  But when God set the penalty for sin as death, He was sentencing people He loved.  How could He satisfy His own justice, while demonstrating His unceasing, unconditional love?  There was only one way.  The Sinless had to die for the sinful; the Innocent for the guilty.  And the only place to find innocence and sinlessness was in the heart of God Himself.

So God became a man.  How beautiful He was!  How graceful!  What love!  What innocence!  He revealed to us man as he was created to be.  And right on cue, we revealed to Him man as he truly is:  ugly, sinful, hateful, guilty.

On the hillside, you will be delivered

At the foot of the cross justified

And your spirit restored

By the river that poured

From our blessed Savior’s side.

There on a hill outside Jerusalem, our rejection met His embrace.  There the Son of God “embraced the cross, despising the shame” for the joy that was set before Him.

Because He did, we can never question God’s beautiful  justice.

And we can never deny His scandalous love.

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