Tuesday, June 17, 2014
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).
The first verse of William R. Newell’s classic 1895 hymn “At Calvary” highlights today’s Scripture.
“Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
Before we came by faith to Jesus Christ, our lives epitomized emptiness and arrogance. We may not have been murdering, stealing, committing adultery, bowing before statues, or cursing the Lord Jesus Christ’s name; yet, our lives were vain and prideful. We were “walking, in the vanity [emptiness] of [our] mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that [was] in [us], because of the blindness of [our] heart: who being past feeling [had] given [ourselves] over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:17-19).
Romans chapter 1 explains how God gave us Gentiles up and over to our “vain imaginations” and “foolish, darkened hearts” (verse 21). In Genesis chapter 11, God relinquished us Gentiles to enjoy the spiritual ignorance—“reprobate [worthless] mind” (verse 28)—we so desired. Once He let the Gentile nations go on their way, He created the nation Israel to become His earthly people. For the next 2,000 years, Satan’s sin (pride; 1 Timothy 3:6) operated in us Gentiles; hence, the Devil himself, the ruler “over all the children of pride” (Job 41:34), was our king. While we Gentiles were “without God” and “without Christ” (Ephesians 2:12), Jesus Christ died for us (today’s Scripture). As our pagan Gentile ancestors offered their worthless sacrifices in their heathen temples, Jesus Christ offered Himself to pay for their sins.
“Calvary” (Greek, kranion; Latin, calvaria, “skull”) only appears once in our King James Bible (Luke 23:33)—modern English versions eliminate it. In Hebrew, the place is “Golgotha” (Matthew 27:33; Mark 15:22; John 19:17), meaning “the place of a skull.” It was on this hill whose rocky formation resembles a human cranium, outside of Jerusalem, that Jesus Christ was crucified for us. While we were on our merry way to eternal hellfire, the eternal Son of God was put to death on Calvary’s cross that we might have eternal life!