I wrap a blanket around my cold shoulders every morning and sit to read a book that feels just as warm– Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers.
Dane Ortlund writes:
“What elicits tenderness from Jesus is not the severity of the sin but whether the sinner comes to him.”[i]
If I turn to Jesus’ open, wounded hands, my sin’s heinousness doesn’t get weighed.
But what if I don’t turn?
C.S. Lewis claims in The Great Divorce that there’s no Hell in Heaven and not the smallest souvenirs of Heaven in Hell. There’s no neutral ground between saved and unsaved.
From Gentle and Lowly:
“If we never come to him, we will experience a judgement so fierce it will be like a double edged sword coming out of his mouth at us.”[ii]
Jesus drank God’s wrath to the dregs, and if we embrace him, he takes the cup from us to instead offer sweet and flowing grace. But if we refuse Jesus’ work—if we turn to something less—he thrusts the cup into our hands to pour burning down our throat.
“If anyone worships the beast and his image… he also will drink the wine of God’s wrath, poured full strength into the cup of his anger, and he will be tormented with fire and sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb” (Rev. 14:10).
The Lamb who was slain will stand like a Lion, watching as we are slain.
“If we do come to him, as fierce as his lion-like judgement would have been against us, so deep will be his lamb-like tenderness for us.”[iii]
Either we’ll be in Aslan’s jaws or between his paws.
He isn’t safe. But he’s good.
“He’s the King, I tell you.” [iv]
And what does King Jesus say to foolish Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve but, “Come to me.” So we who deserve to be devoured find ourselves swept up against his mane and warmed under his breath.
Above: A painting by my friend, Ashley, that hangs above my desk and fills my heart.
[ii] Ibid, i
[iii] Ibid, i
[iv] C.S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. (1950: HarperCollins. New York, NY), 80