Only Calvary

It was a pleasant walk home last Friday evening.  The lights of the town were left behind, the moon had not yet risen and the stars were coming out.  The Great Bear was slightly to the left, the Pole Star ahead of me, the ‘w’ of Cassiopeia up to the right.  Of course, the more I looked, the more I saw.  Not for the first time I wished I could identify more of them! 

The Psalmist says of the Lord: He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.  Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.  (Psalm 147:4-5)  Isn’t that wonderful? 

And yet there is something even more wonderful.  We may find ourselves singing about it as Christmas approaches:    

Lo, within a manger lies He who built the starry skies…

God’s eternal plan of salvation was not a contingency plan, in case Adam fell, nor a plan B put in place to rescue sinners after he had fallen, but it was the purpose for which the universe was created.  Calvary was not made for the world; rather the world was made for Calvary.

The wonders of creation – and they are many – show us, as the Psalmist said, something of the greatness and the power of God.  Only Calvary can show us His aweful purity, His blazing holiness, His perfect righteousness and justice.  Only Calvary reveals the depths of His wonderful love, the abundance of His everlasting mercy, the glories of His grace. 

Like Moses, let us take off our shoes, for this is surely holy ground!  With Joseph Addison let us sing: But O! eternity’s too short to utter all Thy praise! 

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe.  For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be the propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

                                                                                                Romans 3:21-26

Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

                                                                                                Psalm 85:10

O what matchless condescension

The eternal God displays,

Claiming our supreme attention

To His boundless works and ways;

His own glory

He reveals in gospel days.


In the Person of the Saviour

All His majesty is seen,

Love and justice shine for ever;

And without a veil between,

We approach Him,

And rejoice in His dear Name.


Would we view His highest glory,

Here it shines in Jesus’ face;

Sing and tell the pleasing story,

O ye sinners saved by grace;

And with pleasure,

Bid the guilty Him embrace.


In His highest work, redemption,

See His glory in a blaze;

Nor can angels ever mention

Aught that more of God displays.

Grace and justice

Here unite to endless days.


True, ‘tis sweet and solemn pleasure,

God to view in Christ the Lord;

Here He smiles, and smiles for ever;

May my soul His Name record,

Praise and bless Him,

And His wonders spread abroad.


William Gadsby