Lord, give us a thorough knowledge of sin and a living faith. Amen.
Acts 2, 22-28. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth. a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face; for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
The Holy Ghost speaks through Peter in words of earnestness to the Israelites and to us. His words stirred their hearts, and should stir ours also. Of his love for us God delivered up his Son for our sins; and him have we crucified with wicked hands. As long as we imagine that only others are guilty of the blood of the Son of God, we look on with composure; but when the truth comes home to us, that we ourselves are the perpetrators of the guilty deed, the matter assumes a different aspect. Though the Jews have the direct responsibility for having slain the Son of God, they are not alone in the matter; we also lent our assistance in the murder of the Lord of glory. For he died for sin; our sins, as well as those of the Jews, condemned and crucified him. — Ye men, whom God so loved that he gave his Son for you; how terrible a thing it is, that you with wicked hearts and bloody hands have crucified the only begotten of the Father! As many as obey the Spirit of God confess this with horror; but the children of the world refuse to admit that they have nailed the Son of. God to the cross. If you would hear the word of God, and give heed to the voice of conscience, your guilt would be established in your own heart. Of a truth, you have, by your evil thoughts and words and deeds, scourged and mocked and crucified the Lord whose name you bear; and as long as you deny his divinity, or despise his mercy, and tread his blood under foot, you are in partnership with Caiaphas and Pilate, who condemned him.
Greater, however, than our greatest sin is the love of God. The most atrocious deed which heaven and earth have witnessed, — that the only begotten Son of God was crucified by his own people, — is, according to his determinate counsel, become our salvation. This is the height and the depth of love; the annihilation of death, and the life of humanity; the angels’ song of praise, and the joy of all who are saved. By his death he pays the wages of sin, and thereafter he rises again in glory. Love is triumphantly victorious. “He was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” And now he sends us his Holy Spirit; bestows upon us through him the fruit of his work as the Savior, his grace which gives salvation; and creates in our heart the faith with which to receive his grace. Thus we are given a part in him, and live with him, — he takes delight in us, and all heaven rejoices in our happiness. Give him your heart; believe in him, and live in him!
Lord Jesus, precious Savior, living God; grant me this mercy, that I may believe in thee with a humble heart all my life, honor thee, and serve thee, and praise thy name in all eternity. Amen.
O deep abyss of love unbounded,
Which all our sin hath swallowed up!
Our wounds were healed, our foe confounded.
When Jesus drank the bitter cup
Of wrath, and shed his precious blood,
That mercy might be had from God.