The most matchless exhibition of mercy — and the most dreadful exhibition of holy wrath!
(Archibald Brown, "HIGGAION" 1873)
"The Lord is known by the judgment which He executes." Psalm 9:16
If you desire to see the most dreadful specimen of God's wrath, I ask you to come with me now, to a place called Calvary. I want you to gather together on that little spot just outside the city, and see such a sight as Moses never saw when he beheld the bush burning. I want you to see on Calvary, the Lord making Himself known by the judgment which He executes.
Who is that upon the tree in agonies and blood? The answer is, Jehovah's Son! What, His beloved Son? Yes, His beloved and only Son. But mark His agony. Do you see that ashen face, furrowed deep, turned up to Heaven? Do you hear that anguished cry that seems to pierce the clouds, 'My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?'
When the Lord looked at the adorable Jesus, He saw in Him not only His own Son — but the sinner's substitute. He saw on Him my accursed sins — He saw yours also! And oh, solemn truth, although the Substitute was His own Son, He would not, He could not spare the blow! That heaving bosom of His beloved Son, was made the sheath of the sword of His inflexible justice!
God must undeify himself, before He can wink at sin or fail in the execution of His threatened wrath against iniquity. He must cease to be the Holy One, before mercy can ride rough-shod over justice and truth. But righteousness and mercy, truth and peace all meet in the sin-atoning sacrifice.
'The Lord is known by His judgment which He executes.' Above all, by His judgment of sin at Calvary!
Oh, am I speaking to any who imagine sin to be a trifle? I beg you to measure sin by the woes of Christ! If you think that iniquity is but a small thing, understand that iniquity can only be understood as it is measured by the agonies of a dying God. Probe those wounds — and fathom that depth of anguish if you can. Tell me how hot the fire burned within that loving heart; and when you have told me that — you have told me how much God hates sin!
While Calvary is the most matchless exhibition of mercy — it is also the most dreadful exhibition of holy wrath! In one and the same person, and at one and the same time — there is illimitable love to the sinner, and there is illimitable hatred to his sin. Go to Calvary, not to Sinai, to learn how much God abhors this accursed thing, sin!