God’s love in sending Christ

Hugh Martin from an article entitled “A Great Doxology” speaking about God’s unspeakable gift (it is long, but worth your time):

First of all, and best of all, and above all else besides, God hath done exceeding abundantly above all that we asked or thought, or could have asked or thought, when he sent his Son into the world to be the propitiation for our sins, that we might live through him. Was not this above all that had been asked? Above all that had been thought?—exceeding abundantly so? No one had asked this gift. No one had thought it. When promised, it was most assuredly what they had not asked, and had not thought; neither had any asked it on their behalf, or thought of it for their benefit. It is the untought0of, the unasked, and, even now that it is given, it is the USPEAKABLE GIFT.

Oh, the complete, exclusive seld-containedness of the covenant of grace! “My covenant,” saith the Lord, as well he may. Who in this matter of the GIFT of God’s Son hath known the mind of the Lord? With whom took he counsel, or who was in circumstances to give him any? From whom received he a suggestion or hint the most distant or indistinct? Surely here was “the counsel of his own will, according to his god pleasure which he purposed in himself.” And well it was for us that it should be so. For never could man have asked it, never even thought of it. Never could angels have asked it on our behalf, and never could it have come into their thoughts. Even now that, unasked, unthought-of by all creatures, it is revealed, it is the theme of the angels astonishment, the matter of their holy adoring study. These things the angels desire to look into. For they see that God hath achieved for himself the glory of being able to do exceeding abundantly above all that could be asked or thought.

Nor is it merely in the gift of his Son in general that God vindicates for himself this glorious title; but in all the circumstances and modes of this gift, and in all the effects unto which it is bestowed, and all the depth and intensity of its duration, and in all the grace and glory with which it is completed.

“Unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever;” but thou shalt be my gift to mine enemies—even to them that have lifted up their heel against thy throne, O God,—my gift to be light to them that are in darkness, salvation to them that are in ruin, glory to them that are in shame. Is not this exceeding abundantly above all asking, exceeding abundantly beyond all thought? Beyond all that we had thought before, or even yet can think? For this gift of God is God, but who can by searching find out God? But the Son, as God the Father’s gift, is God’s unspeakable, because God’s unthinkable, gift.

“Unto the Son God saith, They throne, O God is for ever and ever,” and thou dwellest in my boundless bosom of infinite and eternal love and delight. But dwelling still in my bosom, which in Godhead’s inviolate blessedness and glory thou canst never leave, thou shalt be found dwelling also in a manger, wrapt in swaddling bands; for “a body have I prepared thee.” And the Son said, “Lo! I come.” Was this asked or thought? It is what we do not need to ask—for unasked it has been given. It is what, even when given, we cannot think—for great is the mystery of godliness, God was minifest in the flesh,—but can only cry, “To us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and his name shall be called Wonderful”—wonderful beyond our power to think—wonderful beyond all possibility to think. A sweet name Hannah gave her child—“Samuel”—“for I asked him of the Lord.” But sweet and fragrant as it is, it was the very last of names to give with truth to Jesus, for he came unasked, and he is exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think.

Ah! and when he came unasked, he came to do what he never could have been asked to do. “Unto the Son God saith, They throne, O God is for ever and ever;” thou dwellest in light that is inaccessible, which no eye hath seen, still less any hand can reach. Yet thou shalt dwell in yon dark world; and that in such form that they may get their hands upon thee, if they please, and nail thee to a tree, if they please,—and please they will. Could that have been asked? Could that have been thought? Nay: no created intellect could have thought it otherwise than as a blasphemy. No intellect save Divine could have thought it in holiness. No man even now can think it in holiness save by the Holy Ghost. “No man can call the crucified Jesus Lord save by the Holy Ghost.”

“To the Son he saith, Thou are ever with me, and all that I have is thine: for thou art the heir of all things, and by thee also I made the worlds.” Nevertheless, in yon apostate world, created by thyself, as were all worlds, thou shalt be poor. Yea, in that only nation in it in which the poor man’s bed dare not be taken as a pledge, but it must be restored to him ere nightfall, thou shalt have where to lay they head. Could that have been asked or thought?

“To the Son he saith, A sceptre of righteousness, O God, is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” But in the body prepared for thee, thou shalt so stand in the room of sinners, and be made sin for them, that—as if thou wert, O thou Holy One, sin’s very embodiment, impersonation, and essence—the consuming fire of wrath shall fall upon thee, and the avenging sword of justice smite thee. Could that have been proposed, asked, or thought of?

“Unto the Son he saith, Thou art daily my delight, rejoicing always before me, rejoicing in the habitable parts of the earth—thy delights therein being with the sons of men.” But these sons of men will give gall in thy hunger, and vinegar in thy thirst; and when they hunger and thirst, thou wilt give them bread of life and water of life, and this shall be the bread thou shalt give for the life of this world: and this shall be the water of life which thou shalt give them, even thy blood, which thou wilt shed for the remission of the sins of many—even shed for the remission of the sin of shedding it.

Could that have been asked or thought? Even when first broached to them by himself, they could not think it. They said among themselves, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Only by the Holy Ghost can we think it in holiness even now. It is the Spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing. “Yet my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”

In every view that we can take of this first and greatest gift, oh, is it not exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think! Herein is love, not that we loved God—not that we even asked God to love us, or thought of such a thing, but that, unasked by us, unimagined and unthought of by any, he loved us in his own unanticipated, unsolicited, unthought-of love, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.


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