We had a wonderful Good Friday service this morning at Cambray Baptist Church.
As we sang of the pain and suffering of the cross, and our gratitude to Jesus for His sacrifice, I silently thanked Him and let the words of the hymns warm my heart, melting away the complacency and familiarity that had built up.
As I prayed I thought about what a right emotional response should be to the cross.
Mine was overwhelmingly one of gratitude, but my response of love lagged behind. Yet gratitude for the cross is not enough! You are grateful to a traffic warden if they let you off a parking fine, but you would never say that you love them. (Thanks to Mike Reeves for this example that sticks in my mind!)
The gift of our rescue at the cross demands more than gratitude because it brings the restoration of a relationship, not just the fulfilment of a legal transaction. And it’s the most important and fulfilling relationship in the universe! We are reconciled to God and this demands our love.
But I feel so worthless as I look at my sinfulness! I easily recall the thousands of time per week when I put my own desires above God’s, continuing to expose my heart’s rebellion with my lack of worship and obedience. I feel like a fraud at the foot of the cross!
I am truly grateful for the rescue that was won for me that cruel day at Golgotha. But I feel unworthy to come to him with such a tiny pathetic offering of love in response. It seems like such an insult!
I feel like I can’t look Jesus in the eye, at least until I’ve got my act together, and am more truly loving toward him! (Do you see Satan’s persuasive whisper here as I deny the gospel of grace?!)
With all this whirling through my mind, thank God that we sang this hymn this morning, touching on this very thing, and speaking of the response that I must remember. Here are some verses from “O Teach Me What It Meaneth”:
O teach me what it meaneth,
Thy love beyond compare,
The love that reacheth deeper
Than depths of self-despair!
Yea, teach me, till there gloweth
In this cold heart of mine
Some feeble, pale reflection
Of that pure love of Thine.
O teach me what it meaneth,
For I am full of sin;
And grace alone can reach me,
And love alone can win.
O teach me, for I need Thee,
I have no hope beside,
The chief of all the sinners
For whom the Saviour died.
O infinite Redeemer,
I bring no other plea;
Because Thou dost invite me
I cast myself on Thee.
Because Thou dost accept me
I love and I adore;
Because Thy love constraineth,
I’ll praise Thee evermore.
It is because of my sin, my terrible lovelessness, that Christ did die! His love is greater than my sinful failure to love! His grace is sufficient, He is the one who teaches me to love him in return!
It is because of this love, “Because thou dost accept me” that I grow to love and adore him in return.
Hallelujah! No wonder we call it “Good Friday”!