This is one of my most favorite songs I have ever heard. It is one of the most difficult and convicting songs I have ever heard. Several of the bands at Mars Hill church sing this song. And when I hear it being sung by so many voices around me … I am overwhelmed by this bitter sweet loving pain. Because I don’t know if I would have been one of the women following Jesus, carrying His cross, and weeping. Or would I be a scoffer? Or in passive defiance of the Perfect Lamb by merely watching what was being done to Him? I do know I wouldn’t have understood the cup of wrath I have been pouring into my entire life … was about to be drunk to the very last drop by Jesus.
And Jesus didn’t just drink my cup. If every single sin that will ever be committed was but a single drop into that cup … I can’t even begin to fathom how huge that cup had to be. Jesus drank every last drop. He endured the wrath of God. He did it for me. He did it for You. He did it for everyone. Every last single person that has ever existed and will ever exist. It is mind blowing. It is completely scandalous! The Holy Father, the Holy Son, and the Holy Ghost did all of this out of a love I won’t ever really understanding until I am standing in the presence of the LORD.
I recently listened to a sermon preached by Pastor Paris Reidhead, and he said that through the cross and the blood of Christ is the only way God could get glory out of a human being. I wanted to argue with him but the stink of my pride in that argument shut me up pretty quickly. His statement is bothersomely true; which is why my heart cringes and aches each time I sing “I was standing right there”. It is why I am continually baffled by the love the LORD continues to pour out on me in spite of the fact that we have destroyed His Son.
It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t there myself. I destroyed His Son with each sin I have committed and will commit. I drove those nails in every time I deny Jesus because of fear of man issues that honestly mean nothing in eternity. Every lash of the scourge that tore through His flesh I brought down on Him by willingly walking into and toward as many temptations as I could find. And, yes, I do know I have been forgiven all of these things and a good deal more. I know that right now I am hid in Christ before God, spotless and blameless. I know I am cherished, loved, and a treasured daughter of the LORD. These are all truths spoken to me from pages of the Bible. But these heart felt facts don’t change what I have done, or what I still do.
Pastor Paris Reidhead spoke of repentance as well. He said that most people’s idea of repentance is nothing more than Gospel glossed humanism. That most people don’t understand the enormity of their sin, the depth of their guilt by a Holy and Righteous God; and, that they only repent and tremble in fear of God because their skin is about to be singed from the fires of hell. He put it plainly when he said that repentance isn’t about a good person dealing with the punishments of a bad God. It is about a bad person standing before a Holy, Righteous, and Good God. That we all deserve hell, because we are sinners and we love our sin. Every time we sin we have added another drop in that cup of wrath that Jesus drank.
Sure, He already drank it. But I had never viewed my sin like that. The LORD knows everything. He knew how much I would sin. He knew how much you would sin. That cup of wrath is precise. This doesn’t give me free license to carry on as if it is all taken care of. If I truly love Jesus I can’t. I don’t want to add any more to that cup. I want my drops to decrease and not increase. I am just sitting here so dumb at not having seen something this simple. The LORD knows what I will do already, but now I am aware of this on a level I simply wasn’t before. I know I have, but I don’t want to destroy Jesus. He is my Savior. I love Him.
Which is why I am really grateful for this song. I can’t truly repent with all that I am unless I fully understand the weight of my sin. I need to understand what my sin has completely done to my Holy God. I know that only being thoroughly wrecked by my sin and failures can I then be picked up by the Holy Ghost to unimaginable heights of freedom in Christ, and drenched in the love of the LORD. I can’t just take the gift of salvation without lovingly meditating on what this gift cost. I want to savor every last drop of grace the LORD has given to me. I don’t want to take it for granted. I don’t want to see it as something casual or non-spectacular. God’s grace is scandalous. And I am thankful for that.
The last thing Reidhead touched on was how we love Jesus. Do we approach the throne of God with the cross as a bargaining chip? You know, I’ll take Jesus in exchange for heaven. Jesus isn’t a bartering chip. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for my eternal happiness as His prime product. It is a by-product but it wasn’t the point. Which is a real slap in the face because I think I have seen Jesus like that before in my life. Pastor Reidhead then spoke a truth that woke me up, and made me truly examine how I feel about the LORD. He said that those who truly love Jesus and worship Jesus, and obey Jesus … in their hearts say, “LORD I will love you, obey you, and worship you even if at the end of all things I end up in hell. If that is where you want me to go. Because YOU alone are worthy of my love, obedience, and worship. Because YOU deserve all of me. Hell isn’t a deciding factor. YOU LORD are the only factor I see or care about.”
And I had never looked at my faith that way. Would I still love Jesus, worship the LORD, and obey His laws … if I knew I was going to hell? Would that change how I feel? Would His holiness, His goodness, His righteousness … be enough for me to devote myself in abject adoration to the LORD simply because He deserves it? I would have to say in past times of my life I shamefully say no. Right now I think I give, and live out, an uncomfortable yes. I know each day my yes becomes stronger and more comfortable bit by bit. But this is definitely a lifetime of sanctification to get it there. It just flips everything around.
I’m not a Christian because of anything I did. I am saved by the Blood of Christ because I am His reward for His suffering. He deserves me for the price He paid. He deserves so much better than I give Him. God willing, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, I am starting to change that. Thank you LORD. Thank you God. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Holy Ghost. I am so blessed. Undeservedly showered by Your grace. Thank you. And please continue to grow in me this vine of You and Your values. For I am nothing without You and I can do nothing without You. Amen.