Bought by the Blood

February 6, 2011

Redeeming Love

For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God…For the LORD your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them.
(Deuteronomy 4:24 & 31 ESV)

The fire of Yahweh as a jealous God is the fire of an exclusive commitment to this people that demands an exclusive commitment in return.  It is, in short, the fire of redeeming love that had brought them out of the fires of bondage and would therefore tolerate no rival…It was the fire of God’s jealousy that protected the strength of God’s mercy and covenant faithfulness to this people.  In rebellion and idolatry they would find the God of verse 24.  In return and obedience they would find the God of verse 31.  This is the same unchanged God, responding to a tragically unchangeable people.

– Christ Wright

September 13, 2009

God Is Infinite

God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” – Exodus 3:14

Q. 7. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit, in and of himself infinite in being, glory, blessedness, and perfection; all-sufficient, eternal, unchangeable, incomprehensible, everywhere present, almighty, knowing all things, most wise, most holy, most just, most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.

To ponder the infinite nature of God’s being is truly mind boggling. We are finite humans and cannot fathom what it means for God to not be finite.  I remember before I was a Christian one of the things I struggled with was the infinite nature of God.  Where did he come from, how did he come about to be?  His state of being God has always been and He has never been more or less of the God that He is right now.  There is no way to describe or define the infinite nature of God.  Just like how God is the Father from whom every Father gets its name, He is the being from which every created thing gets it being (Ephesians 3:14-15).

What a blessed thing that we trust in an infinite God.  We don’t trust finite man or any created thing, but our trust is in the infinite One who not only has heaven and earth at his disposal, but is the creator of heaven and earth.  The fact that God is infinite should motivate us in our pursuit of knowledge of Him since we can never exhaust the knowledge of who He is.  God’s infinite nature is summed up by Job’s friend Zophar in Job 11:7-9, “Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven —what can you do? Deeper than Sheol—what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.”

We most clearly see the infinite nature of God at the cross. At Calvary the infinite justice and holiness of God is expiated when Jesus lays down His life for his sinners.  From before the foundation of the world God ordained that through His Son Jesus He would show His infinite love by propitiating His infinite wrath by Jesus atoning death.  Infinite grace and mercy is made available to sinners at the cross by the fact that for those that God has adopted they can never sin their way out of God’s covenant with them.  This has only be a brief overview and does not include all of God’s attributes, but for a more thorough analysis please see A.W. Pink’s “Attributes of God” and Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology”.

August 6, 2009

In The Grips of Grace

I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. – Jeremiah 32:40

I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. – John 10:28

It’s been a nice two day break and we are back to our series on how a believer cannot lose their salvation.  I am skipping the sixth emphasis that the Westminster Confession of Faith makes because it is abiding by the strength of Spirit and I did several blog posts about this earlier this summer.  You can read those related post on abiding by doing a search for abide on the right hand toolbar of the blog.  This leaves me with two points of emphasis left and today’s is that we “can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace” and this is based off of Jeremiah 32:40 and John 10:28.  If anything, I feel like this point perfectly sums up the beauty of this doctrine.  We are in a state of grace and the grace that justifies and sanctifies is guaranteed to glorify (Romans 8:30).  In this state of grace we will wander from God because our hearts are prone to wander, but God’s grace is greater than our sin, therefore we cannot totally fall away from God’s grace.

God has made an everlasting covenant with you and I.  God is eternal and knows the beginning and end of all things, therefore He is able to ensure that nothing can stop His plan for being in relationship with us for all eternity.  If God didn’t have a foreknowledge that looks into all of time, then there would be reason to doubt our eternal security since there might be something God doesn’t know.  We can also take comfort in the effectiveness of God’s will, when God wills something nothing can deter his will.  If God desires that we not turn from Him, then His giving us a fear of Him will be effectual and sure (Isaiah 46:10 and Daniel 4:35).  Lastly, God is committed to doing good for His children, His ultimate good is our salvation and no amount of sin in our lives can separate us from the Father’s love because His commitment isn’t based on our performance but Christ finished work.

Jesus came to give us life and life to the full (John 10:10).  His mission was accomplished on the cross (John 19:30).  If after receiving new life we can die spiritually then Jesus did not succeed in giving us eternal life, that would have been more like “life with the hope of eternity if we don’t mess up.”  The cross would have only made partial atonement if any amount of sin could outweigh the righteousness that was given to us by Christ death in our place.  The basis of my salvation is not how tight I am holding onto God, but how tight He is holding on to me.  Theologian J.I. Packer said in Knowing God: “Your faith will not fail while God sustains it; you are not strong enough to fall away while God is resolved to hold you.”

June 29, 2009

How Salvation Puts Trials In Perspective

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy! – Psalm 130:1-2

The state of the Psalmist is not any different then yours or mine.  Any cry or plea that we made to God is made from the depths.  Due to the sinfulness of our fallen hearts, we can never reach up to God and any striving that we make will still leave us in the depths.  In our own strength and power we can do nothing to come close to God, therefore we need a mediator to bring us from the depths and into God’s presence.  If God were to come down to us and we didn’t have a mediator we would cry out like Isaiah, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts! (Isaiah 9:6).”

Thankfully, God has provided a mediator.  It is the man, Christ Jesus, He lived a perfect and sinless life which we could never do.  His life was offered up as a ransom to purchase us from the power of sin and death.  By the blood of Jesus we have been brought into a covenant of grace that makes us the recipients of His steadfast love.  Through this covenant we have been redeemed from the slavery of our flesh and our captor the devil that once held us prisoner (1 Timothy 2:5, Hebrews 9:15, 12:24).  We now have the Holy Spirit as a down payment of our eternal inheritance, the benefits of this we already enjoy because we have been lifted up from the depths and are seated with Christ in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3,13-14).

Even though we are seated with Christ above, emotionally the circumstances of life can still make us feel like we are in the depths.  At times like this we must be become the most talkative people that we know.  First, we have to talk to ourselves instead of listening ourselves.  We need to drown out the voice of our feelings and remind ourselves of the truth that if God would send His Son to die for us, how will He not do all other things (Romans 8:28).  We must also use our voices to speak to God and cry out to Him.  He is ready to listen and ready to answer our prayers.  He is rich in mercy and like all good fathers He is a protector of His children.

June 3, 2009

A greater mediator than Moses

because you broke faith with me in the midst of the people of Israel at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, and because you did not treat me as holy in the midst of the people of Israel. – Deuteronomy 32:52

Moses is being disciplined by God for his lack of faith and not trusting God’s Word. Moses is a great man of God and even considered the most humble ever. God once even proposed to Moses that due to the sinfulness of the people of Israel that it might be worth a shot to wipe them and start over with the seed of Moses. Here we find that Moses is not perfect, even though God choose him as the mediator between himself Israel we need a better mediator than Moses. There is no one perfect, there is no one who continually lives a righteous life that glorifies God, even the best ones fall short.

Praise God that we have a better mediator than Moses. There is one mediator between God and man, that is Christ Jesus. His blood welcomes us into a covenant of grace that is based upon His finished work on the cross. Since he is our mediator with the Father our surety is safe and secure. We have no condemnation or wrath to fear from God. Because we are children by Christ blood, we can welcome God’s discipline knowing that although it is not pleasant it aids in us sharing in Christ righteousness so that we may bear good fruit. We will all still fail to live a righteous life, but we now have Christ righteousness imputed to us.

Being in Christ we are called to live holy as He is holy. This means treating God as holy and living a life that is set apart for His glory instead of for this world. Every moment of our lives is spiritual worship where we offer up ourselves as living sacrifice to the one who sacrificed Himself for us on the cross. Christ has set us free from our flesh, so that we may not be entangled by sin or the matters of this world. Since there is no yoke of slavery we are free to pursue God and be transformed by His grace. Let us therefore treat God as our hope and refuge in this depraved world so that unbelievers may see Him in us and be compelled to ask questions and come to know Him.

February 15, 2009

Fruit of the Word

Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
-2 Corinthians 7:1

As Christian we are called to cleanse ourselves of every defilement of body and Spirit.  We have been washed by the blood of lamb, so sin’s mark is gone and we are now identified with the lamb of God, pure and holy and for Him.  The cleansing of self is something that we do as part of sanctification, the continual process of putting off sinful thoughts and actions and replacing them with that which pleases God.  This is only possible through washing with the water of the word.  Through God’s Word we are renewed and able to view all of life through the lens of the Gospel.  God’s Word allows us to see who God is and how to reflect His image.  By daily being in His Word we know what God’s revealed will is and how to live in obedience to Him.  Without His Word and applying it to life then we cannot free the body and spirit from that which so easily defiles it.

Application of God’s Word is what brings holiness to completion.  If we read God’s Word and do not apply it, then we are like a man who looks in the mirror and walks away and has forgotten what he saw.  Without application of God’s Word we deceive ourselves and do not receive the full benefits of what God intends for us through His Word.  We are called to act on God’s Word and if we do this we will find blessing.  God’s word is like a seed and by applying it, it is able to take root in our hearts and bear fruit.  If we truly fear God, we will hide His word in our hearts that we might not sin against Him.  (James 1:22-25, Psalm 1:2-3, Psalm 119:11).  God intends for His word to change us, but it cannot do that if we are not investing in it.  He doesn’t want His word to just to hit the surface level, but to penetrate deep down into our hearts.

It is because of the promises of God that we seek holiness through applying God’s Word to our lives.  He lives in our hearts and has promised to dwell among us.  We do not deserve this nearness to Him and it is a privilege to live for Him.  He is committed to being our God and this is not based on any good in us, therefore we should commit ourselves to Him and living to please Him.  On the basis of Christ sacrifice He has welcomed us into His blessing, so with our lives we should seek to give Him blessing, honor, praise and glory.  Since we have redemption purchased on Calvary by Christ blood we are now sons and daughters of the most high king.  Like all children, our goal should be to grow and mature and be like our Father.  Because of this great adoption our primary calling is to reflect the image of God by fearing Him and walking in holiness (2 Corinthians 6:16-18).

February 12, 2009

He Gives No Bad Gifts

who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s
-Psalm 103:5

For the Christian, our eyes need to be constantly directed to the blessings that God has showered on us.  He is good and does good and His disposition towards those that are His children is always good (Psalm 119:68).  We can praise Him for His goodness because He has forgiven all of our sin and brought us from spiritual death to new life.  He has lifted us up from the darkness and despair we were in and placed us in the path of His steadfastness love and mercy (Psalm 103:2-4).  Even in trials and hardship we can have confidence that God will work that for our good (Romans 8:28).  As God’s children we know that when He disciplines us it is for our good, to make us holy.  Although it may not be pleasant it will yield fruit if we are submissive to what God is doing (Hebrews 12:7-11).

Due to our fallen minds, we need to train ourselves to view all that comes to us as God’s goodness.  He gives no bad gifts.  There is no circumstance that God is not sovereign over.  Every Father wants to give their children the best and that is what God is always doing, He will not give us pain for no reason, but to refine us as gold.  It is fully in His power to give us goodness upon goodness, so why should we ever doubt that He is giving us what is perfect for us in every moment of our lives.  If God dealt with us according to our sins or repaid us according to our iniquities we would be continually receiving the just due for our sins, which is His burning and continuous wrath.  Because of the grace that is available through the cross He has given us goodness, mercy and love all the days of our lives.

In God there is a richness of grace and mercy (Ephesians 2:4).  Because of this He shows common grace to all, so that in some His kindness might lead them to repentance (Romans 2:4), which is why we don’t all immediately receive the condemnation we deserve our sins.  For those who fear God, He has imposed on us supernatural grace to give us soft hearts to seek Him and initiate a relationship with us.  We would never fear God if He didn’t first turn our hearts toward Him.  On tip of that, God gives undeserving sinners gifts that we don’t deserve so that we can be renewed and strengthened.  He blesses us so that as we give thanksgiving for all temporal gifts we are brought back to our ultimate source of thanks, eternal life forever with Him.  These blessings spur us on towards faith and obedience and remind us of the unchanging and praiseworthy character of the God is that we serve.

August 5, 2007

‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ (Haggai 2:5)

Filed under: Covenant,Haggai,Holy Spirit — cubsfan1980 @ 10:11 pm

‘This is what I covenanted with you when you came out of Egypt. And my Spirit remains among you. Do not fear.’ (Haggai 2:5)

It is an amazing thing that God would choose to make a covenant with you and I.  He has declared us to be His people and He is our God.  He did not choose us because of our worth.  We were completely helpless and dead, of no use at all to God.  God being full of compassion initiated an intimate relationship with us where He not only confirms the covenant, but also fulfills it because there was nothing that we could do.

We deserve condemnation and eternal punishment, we should be removed from God’s presence forever, but He has made a legal agreement on the basis of what Christ did on the cross that He will never leave us or forsake us.  He will not leave His people alone, but He will always come to their rescue.  When the Israelites were in bondage to the Egyptians and had no hope for freedom, God broke in and delivered them.  You and I were enslaved to sin and powerless to free ourselves, but God by the power of Christ blood freed us for Himself.  Not only did He free us, but He also gave us His Spirit as a guarantee that we His and will spend eternity with Him.

Let us constantly be aware of the gift of His Spirit that we now have.  His Spirit has freed from us from all anxiety and worry because if He is for us then who can be against us.  For those that have His Spirit there is no longer any cause for fear, but we now have the capability to share in God’s power and love.  Those that God has given His Spirit to can be bold and stand firm in a world that is against them.  Let us praise God for the gift of His Spirit that allows to live with discipline and seek His glory in all things.

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