The Cross Guarantees the Death of Our Dark Guest
Easter is for shouting. But Good Friday is for not much talking.
Good Friday is for long looks at the fulcrum of human history when the most beautiful and most horrible events converged in one glorious gory moment as the mangled, tortured holy Prince of Glory willingly became unholy (2 Corinthians 5:21) and died under the damning wrath of his holy Father, who loved him supremely and infinitely.
When we really see this for what it is, there are not many words. For God "sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10). "Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). "The Lord…laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). What we see on the cross is what we deserve.
This makes us freshly aware that cancelled sin still dwells in us. Our sin may be crucified, but it's not wholly mortified. And we want to "pour contempt on all [our] pride."1
This is good for our souls. It stabs at the heart of our self-righteousness by reminding us of what we really are without Jesus; how desperately we need the grace that he purchased.
Easter is for reveling in the triumph Jesus purchased for us. Good Friday is for remembering what we cost him. As we do let our words be few and well chosen.
Here is a prayer2 for Good Friday to help us repent again of our pride and remember that the cross guarantees pride's destruction:
The Dark Guest
Bend my hands and cut them off,
for I have often struck thee with a wayward will,
when these fingers should embrace thee by faith.
I am not yet weaned from all created glory,
honour, wisdom, and esteem of others,
for I have a secret motive to eye my name in all I do.
Let me not only speak the word sin,
but see the thing itself.
Give me to view a discovered sinfulness,
to know that though my sins are crucified
they are never wholly mortified.
Hatred, malice, ill-will,
vain-glory that hungers for and hunts after
man's approval and applause,
all are crucified, forgiven,
but they rise again in my sinful heart.
O my crucified but never wholly mortified sinfulness!
O my life-long damage and daily shame!
O my indwelling and besetting sins!
O the tormenting slavery of a sinful heart!
Destroy, O God, the dark guest within
whose hidden presence makes my life a hell.
Yet thou hast not left me here without grace;
The cross still stands and meets my needs
in the deepest straits of the soul.
I thank thee that my remembrance of it
is like David's sight of Goliath's sword
which preached forth thy deliverance.
The memory of my great sins,
my many temptations, my falls,
bring afresh into my mind the remembrance
of thy great help, of thy support from heaven,
of the great grace that saved such a wretch as I am.
There is no treasure so wonderful
as that continuous experience of thy grace
toward me which alone can subdue the risings of sin within:
Give me more of it.
2 Bennett, Arthur. The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2002. 126-27. Print.
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