“how much more shall your Father in Heaven give ….” Matthew 7:11
“how much more shall the blood of Christ …cleanse…” Hebrews 9:11
There are some declarations in the Gospels we find in opposition to our natural understanding. For example, the Bible declares that giving is better than receiving, loving life is losing life, to be last is to be first, and that meekness is the gateway to inheriting the earth. Heaven seems to be operating on a principle contradictory to strictly earthly realities. And to those who have an unqualified trust in the Author of these declarations are filled with hope. Here faith precedes and breeds hope! But then there are other declarations in which earthly realities are a faint reflection of a much grander heavenly reality. The heavens work on the same principle, only on a grander scale. The earthly principle we so easily recognize and implicitly trust is a little glimpse of the heavenly reality. Here, hope is the progenitor of faith, and it begins with these three little words, “how much more!”
If there are breathtaking vistas on earth, how much more is heaven? If an apathetic judge answers incessant cry for help, how much more a just God? If the frail earthly father displays kindness, then how much more is the Heavenly Father? If God cares for the sparrow, then how much more does he care for you? If we are capable of such great sacrificial love, how much more is God capable of? Charles Simeon, the vicar of Trinity Church in Cambridge, close to his death was reported to have said that his favorite verse in the Bible was, “In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth” because if God could make something so beautiful out of chaos, how much more had he hope yet for himself! He lived a life on the hope of a “how much more” God.
Indeed, these words are heralds of hope, but those who take them seriously, sooner or later come to realize the sobering side of these words. They are filled with hope on one side, but there is also a horror on the other. If a wayward son or daughter brings so much pain, how much more does the willful rebellion of his people bring pain to the heart of God? If humanity recoils at evil, and seeks justice, how much more shall we expect God to recoil at sin and deliver justice? If our imperfect conscience can convict our hearts of wrong doing when there is no fear of judgment, how much more when we are face to face with the perfect God who judges all hearts? The hope of the “how much more” God is also the horror of the “how much more” God. And the beauty of the Gospel is the story of the reconciliation of this hope and horror. A couple of thousand years ago, outside the city limits of Jerusalem , hung the Son of Man, the Son of God on a cross sealing the hope and stilling the horror, once and for all. How much more shall your Father in Heaven give? Gave Himself, and sealed the hope! How much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse the conscience? Cleansed completely, and stilled the horror!
Friend, let us rejoice at the cross. How much more do we need?