A Right High View of God ...

Wednesday 9 September 2009

'O Lord, they tell me I have so offended against your law that, as I am, you can't look upon me, but threaten me with eternal banishment from your presence. But if you do not look upon me, how can I ever be other than I am? Lord, remember I was born in sin; how then can I see sin as you see it? Remember, Lord, that I have never known myself clean; how can I cleanse myself? You must take me as I am and cleanse me. Is it not impossible that I should behold the final goodness of good, the final evilness of evil? How then can I deserve eternal torment? Had I known good and evil, seeing them as you see them, then chosen the evil, and turned away from the good, I know not what I should not deserve; but you know it has ever been something good in the evil that has enticed my selfish heart - nor mine only, but that of all my kind. You require of us to forgive; surely you forgive freely! You may be bound to destroy evil, but are you bound to keep the sinner alive that you may punish him, even if it makes him no better?

Sin cannot be deep as life, for you are the life; and sorrow and pain go deeper than sin, for they reach to the divine in us; you can suffer, though you will not sin. To see men suffer might make make us shun evil, but it never could make us hate it. We might see by it that you hate sin, but we never could see that you love the sinner. Chastise us, we pray, in loving kindness, and we will not faint. We have done much that is evil, yes, evil is very deep in us, but we are not all evil, for we love righteousness; and are you not yourself, in your Son, the sacrifice for our sins, the atonement of our breach? You have made us subject to vanity, but have yourself taken your godlike share of the consequences. Could we ever have come to know good as you know it, save by passing through the sea of sin and the fire of cleansing?

They tell me I must say for Christ's sake [or in Jesus' name] or you will not pardon. It takes the very heart out of my poor love to hear that you will only pardon me because Christ has loved me; but I give you thanks that nowhere in the record of your gospel does one of your servants say any such word. In spite of all our fears and grovelling, our weakness, and our wrongs, you will be to us what you are - such a perfect Father as no most loving child-heart on earth could invent the thought of! You will take our sins on yourself, in addition giving us your life to live. You bear our griefs and carry our sorrows; and surely you will one day enable us to pay every debt we owe to each other! You will be to us a right generous, abundant father! Then truly our hearts shall be jubilant, because you are what you are - infinitely beyond all we could imagine. You will humble and raise us up. You have given yourself to us that, having you, we may be eternally alive wiht your life. We run within the circle of what men call your wrath, and find ourselves clasped in the zone of your love!
George MacDonald, Unspoken Sermons
(translated into more readable English by my good self ;)

"For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all" (Romans 11:32).

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