Whenever I walk someone through the Gospel, I typical rely heavily upon Romans 6, where Paul teaches us that if we have been baptized into Christ, then we are baptized into His death and resurrection. Further, we are raised and seated together with Him in heavenly places (as Eph. 2:1-9 declares). A few months, I got the itch to do some form of creative, allegorical writing. What came out was my attempt to articulate how a soul should walk through the promises of God’s Word. It does us no good to merely know truths about the Gospel and never reckon them as ours. As Hudson Taylor well said, “I am dead and buried with Christ—aye, and risen too and ascended; and now Christ lives in me, and “the life that I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” I nowbelieve I am dead to sin. God reckons me so, and tells me to reckon myself so. He knows best. All my past experience may have shown that it was not so; but I dare not say it is not now, when He says it is. I feel and know that old things have passed away.” So, this is my humble attempt, and probably not a very good one at that, to help souls grasp the great truth the Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and sending forth of the Spirit was done for us. Meaning, in our stead, for God’s glory and our everlasting joy! I know this is an incomplete articulation, but may it speed you along on the path of faith in Christ!
The prisoner sat in his cell awaiting the day of his punishment. The Punishment? Death. Aymün, the prisoner, knew he deserved it, and there was no question in his mind that when the summons came to stand before his judge, he would not be spared. The King’s law was clear, and since the King was also judge of the land, Aymün knew he had no excuse. The consequence of violating the law was clear: “Every violator of the King’s Law will receive death as the punishment.”
Aymün sat in the darkness of his prison, wishing there was some escape, but the sun might sooner turn into ice. The sting of his certain death was that it could have been prevented, if only he could have kept the King’s Law; but no matter how hard he tried, he never could nor did he want to. Aymün mused, “If there had been no law, my crimes would never have existed, but alas, the law is, and I am a violator. I’m a goner!”
The King’s Law was obviously the dictates of a loving King, desiring the happiness of His subjects; but though the Law was given unto the Kingdom with glory and splendour and awe, the Law was made all the more terrible by the fact that absolutely no one except the King could keep the perfect standards of living which the King demanded. He had never, could never, and would never break His law; therefore He alone could rightfully mete out justice and mercy.
One dawn, as the amber rays of morning scattered the prison’s darkness, the King, as if riding upon the shafts of the sun, himself entered the cell. Aymün could not bring himself to look into that face of flawless glory. He had never seen the King before, but the whole realm bore the stamp of His regal likeness (indeed, every blade of grass, and speck of dust was emblazoned with the King’s image). Yet, nothing could have prepared Aymün for the holy terror that coursed through his veins as the King’s voice ratified the judgement he knew he deserved. The terror, though, was not the terror of a dark house full of spooks; it was the sort of awesome terror that one would likely feel if able to stand for a few brief moments in the center of the Sun, before being consumed by the sheer magnitude of the heat and weight of its glory.
Then, as he shook with guilt’s lawful agony, another shaft of sonic sunlight, carried by the King’s voice, brought a ray of hope.
“Aymün, follow me.”
When the monarch’s voice uttered his name, it felt to Aymün, that he had never known his name until that very moment. The King said it like it was more than a mere title; when He said it, it was as if He was declaring the fullness of Aymün’s very being, with all its miserable wretchedness. It was then that Aymün first felt the full weight of his crimes against this altogether tremendous and holy King.
Aymün, as he followed, still could not lift his eyes, but as they went, they climbed staircase after staircase, higher and higher. The air even began to feel clearer, purer, and richer. Every pleasant aroma was there, yet somehow more vibrant, more itself. Even the light seemed lighter, and more radiant. However, the sound of those heights was impossible to decipher, it was utterly still. And yet, that stillness was as loud as the crashing of ten thousand cataracts. It was hushed with quiet reverence, and yet earthly thunder would seem a mere pin-drop in comparison with the deafening noise of that illustrious pinnacle. Indeed, it was a many pinnacled tower which the King, and His forlorn prisoner, had ascended. The earth appeared to be millions of miles below. Yet, the memory of that criminal realm weighed upon Aymün’s mind like an anvil.
“So,” he though, “this is the glory and joy and beauty which the King’s Law was intended to establish on earth! My crime is greater than I ever knew, for He was offering eternal beauty, life and gladness, and myself and all my race have violated not just the expressed law, but the very heart and purpose of the law.”
The King led Aymün to the upper court of the tower; it was so high, Aymün felt as if he were in the place where earth and heaven meet. The court into which they entered, was the most beautiful, lovely, comfortable, and happy place he had ever been, and yet, it was the most fearful place he had ever known. The floor seemed carpeted with a sort of reddish carpet, or perhaps it was grass; it certainly felt more like soft turf, and, indeed, the sweet smell of wet grass was very strong. Aymün’s mind strained to grasp what it was that made the place so lovely yet so awesome; at last he realized, the room had no darkness, no shadow.
This peculiar discovery made him shake within; for our earthly sight is accustomed to shadow’s enabling the discerning of shape, distance and size of a thing. Here it was exactly the opposite; light was everywhere, to be sure, and there was no corner where the light was less, but the light showed everything to be as it truly was. Every crack and crevice, every window pane, every stone, every archway, every hair, everything shone as what it was. You can certainly imagine the difficulty of describing such a place, but actually beholding it . . . this was one of the primary reasons for Aymün’s inner dread, or fear, or whatever it was.
At last, the King ascended a sort of dias, seated Himself on a very simple wooden chair, with no ornate decorations upon it; it was expertly made, but not of the Baroque style, more like Amish handiwork. The dias was in the very center of the room, with two steps of perfectly cut stonework leading to the top of it; it was roundish, it seemed, with a circular table in the center, and a lovely dome above it. Another chair sat opposite the King, and He beckoned to Aymün to seat himself, which he did. Still he had yet to lift his eyes to the face of the King.
After a silence of a moment, or was it a millennium, the King began to speak, with all the grace of a symphony, and all the force of a hurricane.
“Aymün, you have broken my Law, which I gave for your joy and for your good. You have broken it not simply from ignorance, but willingly, malevolently, even with hostility. You have not only broken my Law, but you have hated me. Because of this, death is your deserved wage; I must exact this punishment, for if I do not, I myself would violate the law, and all the universe would fail.” The King paused, and waited for His words to take their full affect.
It was the sheer weight of the truth of it all, that filled Aymün’s eyes with tears. ?????He had hated the King, for the very presence of the laws, even for the King’s own existence! The knot that had been in his stomach, made it’s way to his throat, and he felt the crushing load of his guilt. The hatred, however, was suddenly gone; it was as if the conviction and judgement of his sentence opened a drain in his soul. All the seething enmity towards the King was gone, and Aymün’s heart felt strangely warmed. A desperation, nay, a desire to do whatever it took to please the King, and to be permitted to remain in His presence as long as He would allow became the frantic search of his mind.
Then, as if He knew Aymün’s thoughts, and the change that had happened within, He said, “Aymün.” It was a command. Aymün’s eyes, flowing with tears of repentant sorrow, were immediately drawn to that perfect face. Oh, His face!
Tears were glistening, streaming, cascading down that glorious, awful, wonderful face. Tears of grief, pain, and sorrow. Tears–could it be–of love. That face, those tears, those eyes of holy fire, were not so much a sight that Aymün beheld, it was an unchanging glory, the beauty of which was stamped, etched, or impressed upon the clay of not merely his mind, but his very soul. Aymün forgot all else. The whole of his being sang–or was it thirsting–with the single desire to ever look upon that face.
“There is a way.” the King answer the unspoken question Aymün’s mind had been brooding upon.
“A way?” Aymün asked.
“Yes, a way for you to escape the punishment you deserve, without my justice being violated. A way for my wrath to be removed from you.”
Without waiting for a response, the King slid a parchment across the table, and explained that the only way for Aymün to escape his doom, remain in the King’s presence, and not violate the justice of the Law was for him to sign the terms of the contract.
“In order, however, for you to gain the benefits of the contract, your account must be perfectly and fully paid,” said the King. He then unrolled a scroll, and Aymün could see his name at the very top of it. The King then placed it in front of him and Aymün beheld page upon page of debts he owed to the King. It was an account, of sorts. An account of every crime he had ever committed against the King; every one had been registered, with the corresponding debt, adding up to one insurmountable penalty.
“The wages of all these sins against me is death, Aymün. Nevertheless, there is a way for your debts to be forgiven and paid. My very own Son has never violated my law, in fact the Law was designed so that He alone could fulfill it. Any other attempt to fulfill it will always fail. But He did not fail. He would like to pay your debt, and make your account in good standing.”
Overcome, Aymün cried, “Anything, I’ll do anything, what must I do to be in favor with you, O King?”
“There’s the catch; you have lived your life thinking you could DO it on your own. Even now, you are trying to please me by doing something. I am here to tell you that you merely need to accept the offer my Son has made to you. You see, He has access to all my abundant, even infinite treasure; if you want your debt paid by Him, you must enter into the covenant He desires to make with you.” The King’s voice and eyes danced with joy at this, Aymün, unable to bear the glory of that joy, could only look down at the contract before him, and keep on trying to breath.
The King continued, “He will pay your debt, as long as you agree to live the rest of your days in this garment.”
He then lifted up a garment. With uncertainty, Aymün again raised his eyes. What sort of ridiculous garment would he be forced to wear? Drab grey rags? Chains? A robe with large lettering describing all his failures and shortcomings? Raiment interwoven with stinging creatures?
Instead, he beheld a garment, glistening with crimson brightness. At one glance it looked like a glowing scarlet robe. But, when Aymün took a second glance–wonder of wonders–it appeared to be a Person. He looked like an exact replica of the King Himself. It is all very hard to describe, but this trick of the eyes continued through the whole of the conversation.
“I don’t understand. How am I to wear that garment, person, thingy?”
“Simple,” the Garment Himself spoke. “I am the King’s Son, and I want to pay your debt. In order to appear before the King though, He must behold me, for I am the only One who pleases Him. I am both a person and a robe; I am clothing and a covering for you. If you want your ledger cleared of all debts, then you must accept my invitation to be your clothing and covering and payment. I will demand entire submission unto myself; however, I have another name, and that name is Love. It is what motivates everything I do; my command unto you will be only this: love me, for I am He who is Love incarnate.”
Overcome by the sheer liquid love that shone from His face, Aymün crumpled and called out, “I accept! For indeed, I see that to reject this offer would be but madness. I once would have doubted such an offer as foolishness, but now it wisdom to me! I believe!!”
Then in a blaze of red, He enfolded Himself around Aymün. Aymün didn’t become Him, and He didn’t become Aymün, but somehow they become one. Aymün found himself once more seated–though this time enveloped in the Garment–at the table, with the King beaming upon him with such glorious pleasure that he felt as if his heart would break from gratitude and joy.
“You see, this is my Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” He thundered. “Now, about the contract!”
“The contract,” Aymün stammered. “I have quite forgotten about that. This is all too wonderful, and I don’t see how it can get better.”
“Look here, when you entered into covenant with my Son, the Merit of His perfect obedience unto my law was entered into your ledger. Let me now show you your account again.”
Aymün looked and with astonishment, the many pages of offenses were absent and missing, and there was only one page. The top of the page, where once his name had been, now read: Jesus Christ, the King’s Son.
“Um, this isn’t my account.”
“It is now,” the King’s Son proclaimed. “What is mine is now yours.”
“But what about all my offenses?”
The King narrowed His eyes, perused the page, looked back at Aymün and said, with a smile filled with all jocularity, “I see no offenses in this account, only merit.”
“Hang on here,” Aymün protested. “Are you meaning to tell me that neither of you remember that stack that was here on this table not 5 minutes ago? It had pages of all my infractions of Your law! Where’d my account go?”
“It is as far as the east is from the west!” the Son whispered with a reverent pleasure, but in His eye there was, not what could properly be called a wince, but rather the memory of some Ancient pain or perhaps it was sorrow, or both. The look was less like a warrior remembering how he lost an arm in some battle, and more like when a mother recalls giving birth to her firstborn–the pain of the labor was only a servant to the joy of her child. It was something like that, but much, much more.
“Now about this contract!” the King proclaimed. Merriment seemed to dance in His eyes, and the joy that danced there was so powerful that it was like a myriad of horses charging to battle.
“All the benefits that are available unto my Son, are now available to you, I simply want you to sign off on the fact that you understand these benefits. So, let’s get to business.” His voice carried a giddiness and sobriety which Aymün had never seen intermingled before. Most people are either far to gay and giddy that they lose all sense; or else they are so somber they make a graveyard seem cheery. This was the perfect alloy of happiness and holiness.
“First,” He continued, and Aymün could not help but feel the power in that word. It seemed He was not starting a list, but calling on the name of some dear and beloved friend. “I cannot lie. It would be far more terrible for me to lie than for me to never have existed! Little One, you must sign here, acknowledging the fact that I cannot lie, and never will lie.” The regal brow suddenly was filled with the most awful diadem of majesty and purity. It made all earthly gold appear as stable muck in comparison.
“Sir,” Aymün timidly began.
“Stop,” He interupted, “I know that you once mocked my purity and my truth. We’ll have no more of that.”
“Yes! That’s just it! Since I have beheld You, it now seems to me the greatest of my errors to ever have doubted Your purity. One needs only see you and it is plain that it would be easier for the Sun to cease its shining than for You to cease being Truth.”
“Ah, you apprehend well, Little One! Indeed, Truth is my name!”
Aymün reached forth and gripped the quill the King offered, eager to sign the contract. The ink was blood red. Aymün looked at the King and His Son with a little surprise. It was indeed blood, they explained, the Son’s blood.
“Second, since I cannot lie, none of my words, contracts, promises, or edicts can lie. Agreed”
“Agreed,” Aymün professed as he quickly signed the second page, the giddy gravitas of the King was infectious.
“Third, here is where I must ask you to remain securely in the Garment of my Son. He died for you. You see, when He died, He died for you and in Your stead. You deserved to die. Thus, you must die, otherwise I would break my law. However, because you are in Him, and He died for you, His death was your death. It delivered you from yourself. You are now freed from endlessly violating my law. Will you sign on to the fact, and agree to this term of the contract, that if any man enter into my Son, the old must go. In essence, you must die to yourself, your ambitions, your dreams, your life. Since you are in my Son, I already reckon you so in my accounts, but you must agree to all the terms of the contract.”
“How could I refuse such a gift! I had no idea that that is what this Garment accomplished! Thank you! I am freed from me! Oh, Prince and Ruler of my heart, how can I repay you . . .”
“Just wait, it gets better!” the Son announced.
“Now, fourth, because you are in Him, all that He did, was, is, and will be, is applied to your account. So, His perfect life and record becomes yours. Therefore, His death was a satisfying payment for your debts. However, HE DID NOT REMAIN DEAD!” The peals of His voice were louder than anything Aymün had ever heard, and every pleasure he had ever known was overshadowed by the sheer loveliness of the commanding power of His voice.
“Thus, fourth, you must sign this page stating that you agree to the fact that because He lives, you too have life; yet not you that lives but it is He that lives in you. Will you accept such a fact and receive the benefit of His everlasting life?”
“Without a doubt!” Aymün cried as he once more scrawled out his name in agreement, reckoning the fact as true! “Not only will I receive His life,” Aymün said, as his got out of the chair and knelt down, “but out of worship and adoration I give Him my life. He can do whatever He wants with my body, my blood, my hands, my feet, my words, my thoughts. I present and yield myself to Him and His authority! I submit. I lay in dust life’s glory dead.”
“Last,” and once more the word came alive like never before. It seemed that First and Last to the King were synonymous with Someone, and therefore the words themselves were dear unto Him. “When He rose from the grave, He also then ascended here, to this seat of all authority and power.”
Here the King lifted something up in His hand. Again, instead of seeing something clearly, Aymün saw sort of a double vision. One moment it was a glorious throne, with a rainbow above it, a crystal sea beneath it, seraphim surrounding it; next moment it was a hand, mighty and powerful . . . it was His right hand.
“And here at my right hand is where you too shall forever abide, for now and forever! I bequeath to you all my authority, and unless it can overcome me, it will be unable to overcome you. You are now a conqueror, in Jesus Christ my Son. You must not rest on your power, but on My power and My work and My authority. Will you sign the final page? Agreeing to stand in my authority, as my ambassador amongst those around you, not submitting to any authority except Mine?! What say you, Aymün?!”
As Aymün began to speak, his own voice startled him, for there was suddenly the confidence of a Prince in it, “I will indeed! My life is now forever hid in You! May Your Kingdom come, and I give you full sway within my life!”
The parchment signed, the conference room, the oaken table, the King, His Son, all the double-visions, the throne, every molecule it seemed, and even Aymün, himself, all rolled into one glorious light, illuminating something at the very center of the room. At first it appeared as a dove, next as a lion, next as a lamb; finally as what it was all along: Christ, All in All (Eph. 1:23)!