Wednesday, 18 April 2018

God's Sovereign Departure

“My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46).
God always must turn His back on sin, even if that meant for a short time severing fellowship with His Son.
The Reformer Martin Luther is said to have gained no insight at all when he secluded himself and tried to understand Jesus’ temporary alienation from the Father at Calvary. But in the secrets of divine sovereignty, the God-man was separated from God at Calvary as the Father’s wrath was poured out on the innocent Son, who had become sin for all those who believe in Him.
Forsaken means that a person is abandoned, cast off, deserted; he feels alone and desolate. Jesus must have had all those feelings and more. His cry from the cross could be restated this way: “My God, My God, with whom I have had eternal, unbroken fellowship, why have You deserted Me?” Against that backdrop of uninterrupted intimacy, Jesus’ being forsaken by God becomes an even more crushing experience for Him. Sin did what nothing else had done or could do—it caused Christ’s separation from His Heavenly Father.
Jesus’ separation does not in any sense mean He stopped being God or the Son. It does mean that for a while Jesus ceased to know intimate fellowship with the Father, similar to how a child might for a time cease to have fellowship with his human father.
God had to turn His back on Jesus while the Son was on the cross because God could not look upon sin (Hab. 1:13), even in His own Son. Christ, in going to the cross, took upon Himself “our transgressions . . . our iniquities” (Isa. 53:5) and became “a curse for us” (Gal. 3:13) and “the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10).
Our fallen minds, like Luther’s, are unable to grasp all the significance of today’s verse. But as our Lord experienced anguish over the separation sin caused, we ought to grieve over how our sins break off the fellowship God wants to have with us.
Suggestions for Prayer
Pray that God would give you the discernment to see the seriousness of sin and the motivation to repent of and shun any besetting sin in your life.
For Further Study
Read John 3:18-20,36.
  • What do these verses say about the basic seriousness of sin?
  • What is the only remedy for sin’s evil effects?

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