George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons
The Cross and Sin
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree--1Pe 2:24
The cross, though it be a single fact, is a fact with large diversity of meaning. Its significance is inexhaustible. Calvary is the uttermost of service; it is the commendation of the love of God; it is the compendium of self-sacrifice. But we must never forget that right through the New Testament, whatever its other implications may be, it stands in vital relationship to sin. No one will ever understand the cross who does not set it as the Bible sets it in immediate relationship to human sin. The question we have to ask then is this: What does the cross tell us about sin? What do we learn about the fact of sin when we set it in the light of Calvary?
The first thing which the cross tells us is that sin is something tremendously important. God did not just utter warnings against sin; He gave His only begotten Son to die for it. There are many things we are willing to be taxed for, but we should never dream of letting our sons die for them. But some years ago when war broke out, we were willing to give our sons to die for liberty. Fathers gave their sons to die for liberty because liberty is so tremendously important--and God gave His Son to die for sin. It is important in His eyes for many reasons, perhaps most of all because He loves His children. Anything is important in our eyes that keeps our own dear children from the best. And the one thing that keeps His children from the best and tricks them and robs them of their heritage is the dark fact that we call sin. It disables and enfeebles them. It saps their character and wrecks their homes. It lies at the back of every tragedy that we read of in our daily newspapers. We may not "bother about sin," but God bothers intensely about sin--and He bothers most because His children are precious to Him.
Sin Neither Hopeless nor Incurable
Again, the cross tells us that sin is neither hopeless nor incurable. Into a hopeless and despairing world came the thrilling hopefulness of Calvary. When a surgeon is called in to see a patient, his conduct is determined by his hope. If there is hope that the patient can be saved the surgeon proceeds to operate. But if the case is absolutely hopeless and if the seal of death is on the patient, no surgeon worthy of the name will lift a finger. He acts because he hopes. He intervenes because he hopes. If there is not a single ray of hope, he holds his hand and he does nothing. And the very fact that God has intervened and given His Son to die for us on Calvary tells us that sin is not incurable. From the first hour that the cross was preached, that thrilling hope entered the human heart. Despair, which held the old world in its grip, went flying away in the wind. If the heavenly Surgeon had seen fit to operate, then sin was not incurable; there was healing and all the joy of life for the vilest sinner of mankind.
God Entered the Battle With Sin
The other thing which the cross tells us is that if sin is to be grappled with, God must come right into it. I illustrate that from what my eyes have seen among the sick and blind in the jungles of heathendom. If these poor sufferers are to be saved, there must be intervention from a higher realm with its science and its knowledge of the Christian art of healing. It is not enough to send them drugs or medicine. Someone from a higher sphere must come among them carrying in his heart and head and hand the science and the skill of the learned. I have been helped to understand the incarnation by living with doctors in the heart of Africa. If sickness there is ever to be grappled with, some one of greater ability must come into its midst. And if sin is ever to be grappled with, God must come into its midst. And this we adoringly believe that He has done when in the person of His beloved Son He lived our life and died for sin on Calvary.
And if anyone asks how that can save us, let us think of the penitent thief a moment. That thief is a living picture of us all. There he hung suffering condemnation for his undisciplined and lawless life. And then he turned his eyes and saw Jesus of whose beautiful life he had heard a hundred times (Luk 23:41 ). There He hung sharing the condemnation, bearing it in His body on the tree, and it was that which broke the criminal's heart and has broken the hearts of sinners ever since. Jesus did not stand beneath the cross and speak to him sweet and comfortable words. Jesus cried in the freedom of His will, "Hang Me on that cross beside My brother." And there they hung Him and pierced His hands and feet, those hands and feet that had always moved in loveliness--and the dying thief saw it and was saved. God grappled with sin on Calvary by bearing it; by sharing in its condemnation; by taking its agony into His own heart; by letting Himself be pierced by all its arrows. No wonder that the great apostle facing a decadent and rotting world cried "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
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