Lamentations 4 – God’s Goodness Through Suffering

We find, [in verse 22], a joyous fact. Read it with glistening eyes ye to whom it belongs—”The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Zion.” In the case of the kingdom of Judah, the people had suffered so much in their captivity that their God, who in his anger had put them from him, felt his repentings kindle together, and considered that they had suffered enough; “For she hath received at the Lord’s hand,” said the prophet, “double for all her sin.” Brethren, in our case we have not been punished at all, but yet the words may stand as they are, and be literally true, for the punishment of our iniquity is accomplished. Remember that Sin must be punished. Any theology which offers the pardon of sin without a punishment, ignores the major part of the character of God. God is love, but God is also just—as severely just as if he had no love, and yet as intensely loving as if he had no justice. To gain a just view of the character of God you must perceive all his attributes as infinitely developed; justice must have its infinity acknowledged as much as mercy. Sin must be punished. This is the voice which thunders from the midst of the smoke and the fire of Sinai—”The soul that sinneth it shall die;” “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” “Sin must be punished” is written on the base of the eternal throne in letters of fire; and, as the damned in hell behold it, their hopes are burned to ashes. Sin must be punished, or God must cease to be. The testimony of the Gospel is not that the punishment has been mitigated or foregone, or that justice has had a sop given it to close its mouth. The consolation is far more sure and effectual; say ye unto the daughter of Zion that “the punishment of her iniquity is accomplished.” Christ hath for his people borne all the punishment which they deserved; and now every soul for whom Christ died may read with exultation—”The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished.” God is satisfied, and asks no more.
Sin deserved God’s wrath; that wrath has spent itself on Christ. The black and gathering clouds had all been summoned to the tempest, and manhood stood beneath the dark canopy waiting till the clouds of vengeance should empty out their floods. “Stand thou aside!” said Jesus—”Stand thou aside, my spouse, my Church, and I will suffer in thy stead.” Down dashed the drops of fire; the burning sleet swept terribly over his head, and beat upon his poor defenceless person, until the clouds had emptied out their awful burden, and not a drop was left. Beloved, it was not that the cloud swept by the wind into another region where it tarries until it be again called forth, but it was annihilated, it spent itself entirely upon Christ. There is no more punishment for the believer since Christ hath died for him. In his dying, our Lord has satisfied the divine vengeance even to the full. Then this, too, must satisfy our conscience. The enlightened conscience of a man is almost as inexorable as the justice of God, for an awakened conscience, if you give it a false hope, will not rest upon it, but crieth out for something more. Like the horse-leech it saith—”Give, give, give.” Until you can offer to God a full satisfaction, you cannot give the conscience a quietus. But now, O daughter of Zion, let thy conscience be at rest. Justice is satisfied; the law is not despised: it is honored; it is established. God can now be just, severely so, and yet, seeing that thy punishment is accomplished, thou mayest come with boldness unto him, for no guilt doth lie on thee. Thou art accepted in the Beloved; thy guilt was laid on him of old, and thou art now safe.

Charles H. Spurgeon

This week we have the opportunity to celebrate the Lord’s Supper together as a church. So read Lamentations 4 and reconsider God’s sure judgment against sin and his marvelous grace towards the people whom he has redeemed. And in light of our celebration of the Lord’s Supper, consider where repentance or reconciliation might need to be done in preparation.

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

Posted on: January 23, 2020 - 10:00PM

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