Shattering Grace

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Dilemma wretched: how shall holiness
Of brilliant light unshaded, tolerate
Rebellion’s fetid slime, and not abate
In its own glory, compromised at best?
Dilemma wretched: how can truth attest
That God is love, and not be ashamed by hate
And wills enslaved and bitter death–the freight
Of curse deserved, the human rebels’ mess?

The Cross! The Cross! The sacred meeting-place
Where, knowing neither compromise nor loss,
God’s love and holiness in shattering grace
The great dilemma slays! The Cross! The Cross!

The holy, loving God whose dear Son dies
By this is just–and one who justifies.

—D.A. Carson, Holy Sonnets of the Twentieth Century, p. 101. (Out of print but available as a free PDF here. Sonnet based on Romans 3:21-26.)

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