“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
The third verse of the hymn which has drawn our attention, “And Can It Be That I Should Gain?” sets the stage for the implementation of His majestic plan.
He left His father’s throne above, So free, so infinite His grace! Emptied Himself of all but love, And bled for Adam’s helpless race; T’is mercy all! Immense and free, For, O my God, it found out me!
The plan involved the death of God the Son. The Creator dying for the Creation. The righteous Judge taking on Himself the penalty of the condemned. The rejected holy One becoming sin on behalf of the true sinner. The convicted ones, powerless to alter the situation, simply receiving the offered grace through faith (see our text).
First, God had to take on Himself the nature of the condemned, live a guiltless life so that He could die as a substitutionary sacrifice. To do so, God the Son had to leave His Father’s throne. And, although “being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God (i.e., was willing to give up His kingly status): But made Himself of no reputation (literally, ‘emptied Himself’), and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: . . . and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:6–8).
Adam had rebelled against his Creator’s authority, and all of mankind suffered. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Romans 5:12), yet Christ’s work on the cross changed all that. “For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many” (v.15).
Amazing love! How can it be, that thou my God should’st die for me? JDM