I have made it my practice for the last 30+ years to read the devotions of Oswald Chambers in “My Utmost for His Highest.” Yesterday as I was reading there was something that jumped off the page and set my heart to flutter and my mind to racing as I was preparing our staff devotion for the day. The phrase was as Chambers described Salvation and the Love of God as “The Unfathomable Abyss”.
WOW … Abyss is a word we tend to think of negatively … we think of it as something dreadful and negative, but it is not a must that it be seen that way
The Word Unfathomable is defined thusly, – 1) incapable of being fully explored or understood 2) impossible to measure the extent of
And Abyss is 1) a very deep chasm
Oswald Chambers full quote is this “The Christian Worker must never forget that salvation is God’s thought not man’s. Therefore it is an unfathomable abyss. Salvation is the great thought of God, not an experience. Experience is only a gateway by which salvation comes into our conscious life
I began my day reading some theologian’s thoughts on salvation, it’s extent, scope, and process, and I think of all the systematic theology that has been written over centuries of Christian Tradition. It is all our attempt to understand and communicate the depth of the statement of Jesus “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” What a glorious and yet unfathomable thought. That God, self sufficient and without need, would create us in the first place. That God eternal, would even love us. That he would take the four centuries after creation to bring the world to just the right time and place for Jesus to be born to live in perfection and die in sacrifice for our sin. Unfathomable.
The fact of the countless grains of sand called wisdom that have been written to explain this truth is astounding. The continent of trees that have been cut down to create the paper needed by all the books written to explain this simple truth, who it includes, what it entails, Chambers calls it an Unfathomable Abyss.
1 John 3:1 How great is the love of God that we should be called the children of God
Romans 8:33 – O the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable his judgments and his path beyond tracing
O the Unfathomable Abyss of God’s Loving, Gracious Salvation.
When I think of an Abyss, in a good way, I think, “Lord let me get lost in it.” “Lord let me really let go in the abyss of your love” I think often I am holding on to the walls at the mouth of the Abyss of his Salvation, afraid of what might happen if I really let myself go and get lost in the unfathomable abyss of the love of God…
“Oh Jim, let go and get lost, fall into it.”
But that scares me a bit, ok a lot. But it also excited me at the same time.
If it is an unfathomable abyss, then I can’t control it. Sometimes our systems of theology become an attempt to control the abyss. But if I let go, I realize I can’t get a firm hold. I am just in it, let go
What is the real fear of falling? What is the fear of heights? Is it not the fear of hitting the ground, of being shattered at the bottom of the fall? But if it is an unfathomable abyss, then there is no bottom. There is no sudden stop. There is no pain at the crash, because there is no crash. I can’t fall out of it because it has no measure.
How great is the love that I, me, I know me, that I should be called a child of God!
Oh the depths of the love of God. I’m afraid too of the depths. If I fall in, I might never get out … YEAH? … AND?
I won’t be who I am if I get lost in his love. I will lose my “identity”. I will just be “that guy in the Abyss of God’s love” … OK … Problem? God forbid that our identity is in our theological system and not in Christ.
We are conveying good news and judgement is part of that news because news must paint reality and proclaim possibility. Fall into it, let go to the Abyss
Chambers says “every element of self-reliance must be slain by the power of God. Complete dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest His power.”
Fall in and let God show himself
O the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments and his paths beyond tracing out!
Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?
Who has ever given to God that God should repay him?
For from HIM and through HIM and to HIM are all things to HIM be the glory forever! AmenRomans 11:33-36