Like a traitor, scorning justice,
Head unbowed before God's Law,
Given glimpses of the Holy,
Tyranny was all I saw.
Soul infused with serpents' venom,
Purposing unholy war,
Hands devising clever mischief,
All of this was I, and more.
He, dispensing awful justice
Haled me up before His throne,
Bound on me the grave indictment
Of commandments hewn in stone.
"Answer now," the judge demanded,
"Justify yourself to me.
Saints and angels wait your answer—
Enter your judicial plea."
I, exposed by blinding justice,
Naked in its righteous glare,
Stripped of every self-deception,
Stood with nothing to declare.
"Guilty!" uttered heaven's ruler.
"Guilty!" echoed hosts on high.
"Guilty!" charged my trembling conscience.
Guilty, and condemned to die.
Then the shouting storm grew soft, the
Shuddering of the earth grew still,
Blazing glory darkened, smoldered,
Waiting for the judge's will.
Crushed beneath the graven statutes,
Prostrate in the judgment hall,
Cringed I from impending judgment—
Dreadful fire about to fall.
Multitudes in glooming silence,
Wrath inscribed on every face—
Heard each one a small voice utter,
"I will take this sinner's place."
"Lay his guilt on my account, and
Let Thy righteous will be done.
May Thy Law be satisfied!" Thus
Pled for me the Judge's Son.
"Thou art My Beloved Son, Thou
Firstborn from eternity."
These words spake the Holy One, then
Turned His loving gaze toward me.
"Strip this sinner of his guilt, and
Grant My Son as He has prayed.
Lay on Him the Law's demand—now,
LET THE PRICE BE PAID."
Thirsty whips and thudding hammers,
Iron nails and angry thorns—
Darkness grows as guiltless suffers;
Stunned to blackness, Heaven mourns.
Like a Lamb, offered to justice,
Bloodied, broken by God's Law,
In His person, ever holy,
Guilt—my guilt—was all God saw.
* * *
Stands the sacrifice complete, for
Justice has been satisfied.
Vengeance here is spent, exhausted,
Once the Lamb of God has died.
Now again the Mighty Savior
Lives enthroned as God the Son:
Goodness, justice, judgment, mercy
Reconcile in Him as one.
My whole duty now to trust, for
He alone can free the soul.
Rightly seeks He my submission
Lovingly I yield, heart-whole.
Here I kneel in adoration,
Fear displaced by grateful trust,
In the Captain of Salvation—
Justifier, yes! and just.