Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Beloved of God

This summer I had the distinct pleasure of obtaining my first, very own copy of Johann Gerhard's Sacred Meditations (translated by Rev. C. W. Heisler). While I have heard and read many wonderful things about Gerhard and his Lutheran Orthodoxy, I never had the joy before of reading his writing itself. I have found it to be the deep, contemplative, and holy book of meditations on God's faithfulness and love and on the consolations and certainties that the beset sinner has in the assurance of Christ's work for me that I imagined I would find there. Beautiful.

A snippet that I read from Meditation VIII: The Certainty of Our Salvation today moved me to want to write again on this blog, and hopefully resume my former practice of working out my own meditations on the sacred presence and work of the Lord Jesus in all of life, even in the seemingly common bits of life.

Without any further digressions or explanations, here is the motivating excerpt:

Inexpressibly great was the price of our redemption (I Peter 1:18); great and marvelous, then, is the mercy of God in our redemption. It would almost seem to one as if God loves His elect children as dearly as He loves His only-begotten Son; for what we obtain by purchase we certainly esteem of greater value than that which we give in exchange for it. And that He might have adopted sons, God did not spare His own co-essential Son. 
 Gerhard follows a logical conclusion about God's love for us that I have never before considered, and perhaps that is the reason it struck me as so powerful.

That God loves us, his elect children, as dearly as Jesus, his only-begotten Son.

And yet how true it must be, for the Father to give the Son in exchange for us, as a ransom for all mankind.

Gerhard's words bring also to mind God's promise through the prophet Isaiah: a promise to the nation of Israel, a promise to the Israel of faith, that is you and me and all the redeemed:

But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine... Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, people in exchange for your life. Isaiah 43:1, 4
Not only does the LORD promise to give peoples in exchange for the lives of his chosen ones, He gives the life of His own Son as their ransom. And what a fearful and wonderful privilege, to be purchased at such a costly price.

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