gratitude & hoopla: Amidst the Contradiction of Sinners It Neither Pined nor Collapsed

gratitude & hoopla

"Nothing taken for granted; everything received with gratitude; everything passed on with grace." G. K. Chesterton

20.10.05

Amidst the Contradiction of Sinners It Neither Pined nor Collapsed

Sam Storms has some wonderful stuff at Enjoying God Ministries. Try some of the drop-down menus (but only if you're using IE--they don't work in Firefox), and you'll find excellent articles on many subjects. I just read some of his commentary on Ephesians. Specifically, on Ephesians 3:14-21, Paul's prayer for fullness. This passage continues to intrigue me, calling me back for more. Paul prays, you'll remember, that the Ephesians would know how high, how deep, how wide, how long is the love of God. "To grasp the incalculable love of Christ" is how Storms puts it. He writes, "No matter how much we learn, no matter how much we think we know and see and feel and grasp, there is always an infinity left over." Cool, no? I think this is probably a nice depiction of life in Heaven. And of this same passage John Stott wrote, "the love of Christ is broad enough to encompass all mankind (especially Jews and Gentiles, the theme of these chapters), long enough to last for eternity, deep enough to reach the most degraded sinner, and high enough to exalt him to heaven."

But again, it is unfathomable. We are talking here about grasping in some measure what is ultimately ungraspable. To explain such an apparent contradiction, Storms inserts a long but truly amazing quote from John Eadie. This is marvelous:
'It may be known in some features and to some extent, but at the same time it stretches away into infinitude, far beyond the ken of human discovery and analysis. As a fact manifested in time and embodied in the incarnation, life, teaching, and death of the Son of God, it may be understood, for it assumed a nature of clay, bled on the cross, and lay prostrate in the tomb; but in its unbeginning existence as an eternal passion, antedating alike the Creation and the Fall, it 'passeth knowledge.' In the blessings which it confers the pardon, grace, and glory which it provides it may be seen in palpable exhibition, and experienced in happy consciousness; but in its limitless poower and endless resources it baffles thought and description. In the terrible sufferings and death to which it led, and in the self-denial and sacrifices which it involved, it may be known so far by the application of human instincts and analogies; but the fathomless fervour of a Divine affection surpasses the measurements of created intellect. As the attachment of a man, it may be gauged; but as the love of God, who can by searching find it out? Uncaused itself, it originated salvation; unresponded to amidst the 'contradiction of sinners,' it neither pined nor collapsed. It led from Divine immortality to human agonies and dissolution, for the victim was bound to the cross not by the nails of the military executioner, but the 'cords of love.' It loved repulsive unloveliness, and, unnourished by reciprocated attachment, its ardour was unquenched, nay, is unquenchable, for it is changeless as the bosom in which it dwells. Thus it may be known, while yet it 'passeth knowledge'; thus it may be experimentally known, while still in its origin and glory it surpasses comprehension, and presents new and newer phases to the loving and inquiring spirit. For one may drink of the spring and be refreshed, and his eye may take in at one view its extent and circuit, while he may be able neither to fathom the depth nor mete out the volume of the ocean whence it has its origin.
BTW, I wrote two previous posts on this passage: here and here.

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