Friday, August 24, 2007

The Table of Quieting Love

He will quiet you with His love. (Zephaniah 3:17)
This morning I took the Table of the Lord with this verse, with this line in particular: “He will quiet you with His love.” In context, the prophet is speaking about how the Lord has taken away the judgments that were on us (v. 15); He will not bring them up any more. In another place, the Lord, “For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). Our sins, and the judgments we deserve, are all removed from us, as far as the east is from he west (Psalm 103:12). Paul put it this way: “There is now therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

How is it that God takes away the judgments and no longer remembers our sins? We behold the answer whenever we receive the Lord’s Table. The bread reveals to us the body of Jesus, given for us; the cup shows us the blood of Jesus shed on the cross for our sins. All the judgment of God, all His anger on sin and unrighteousness was poured out on Jesus at the cross. Jesus took our condemnation, the death and judgment that rightfully belonged to us. Now it is no longer ours, and God remembers our sins no more.

Nor does He remind us of them. The devil, however, dearly loves to remind us about our past, our failures, our sins. He even makes things up about us and accuses us of them. That is why he is called the “accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10).

God will have none of that. When we do sin, He has provided a way for us to deal with it: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”(1 John 1:9). There is no condemnation on us, though; it has all been laid upon Jesus, and fully dealt with at the cross.

The Table of the Lord is a place where He quiets us with His love, where He silences the voices of the accuser that come and whisper in our ears. Even as we behold the bread and the cup, God Almighty beholds the body and blood of His Son — and that settles the matter! For Jesus was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21), and that is how God now sees us in Jesus Christ. And that is how the Table of the Lord teaches us to see ourselves — in Him.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)
The manifestation of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ is overwhelming — deeper, wider, higher than we can imagine. The Table of the Lord is a wonderful opportunity to dive in and explore it, relax into it, find cleansing and healing in it, and let it quiet our hearts before Him.