So great salvation.
G. Campbell Morgan on the love of God in Christ which laughs at logic.
I love the words to the third stanza of Frederick Lehman’s hymn from the early 1900s, often denominated “The Love of God”:
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were ev’ry stalk on earth a quill,
And ev’ryone a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
One gets the sense that the songwriter was straining to find sufficient ways to describe the grandeur of the gospel of God’s love bestowed upon wretched sinners. In point of fact, there is no calculating how great the announcement of God’s salvation truly is. Mankind’s finite comprehension will always fail and fall short of apprehending the greatness of God’s condescending love. Which is to say, draining the ocean dry by publishing the divine genius and inexhaustible graciousness of “the power of God for salvation” is no mere poetic refrain (Rom. 1:16). Such figurative language barely scratches the surface of the news of our “so great salvation,” as the writer to the Hebrews terms it (Heb. 2:3). Indeed, as G. Campbell Morgan attests, this “great salvation” is the only way to describe the good news of God which “laughs at logic”:
The salvation is described as ‘so great salvation,’ and the term in its very simplicity is eloquent of the sublimity of the theme. It is smitten through and through with the glory of the grace of God. It is of the highest height, for it comes from the heaven of heavens. It is profound, for it descends to the lowest depths. It is so vast, so wonderful, that the only final adverb possible for the illumination of its greatness is ‘so,’ ‘so great salvation,’ the ‘so’ which laughs at logic, defies mathematical exactness, and finds its own best explanation in the equally comprehensive declaration that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten son.’ When we can place our final measurement on the ‘so loved the world’ we shall be able to express in final terms the greatness of the ‘so great salvation.’ (8:141-42)
The gospel of God’s great love can only approximately be grasped by that word “so.” That is the only word which gets one close to breadth and depth of what the Christ of God has accomplished for the whole world (John 3:16). May Christ’s church, then, continually be enamored by the love of God as seen in his Son’s passion and resurrection, a love which is “measureless and strong,” reaching far “beyond the highest star” and even to “the lowest hell.”
Grace and peace to you.
G. Campbell Morgan, The Westminster Pulpit: The Preaching of G. Campbell Morgan, Vols. 1–10 (Fincastle, VA: Scripture Truth Book Co., 1954).