Bought by the Blood

August 12, 2009

How to walk through the valley of the shadow of death

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. – Psalm 23:4

Take a moment to consider what is your shadow of death.  Is it the potential of financial hardships? Does the prospect of gloom come from some relational unknown like your kids not walking with the Lord?  Have health concerns made you downcast and uncertain about God’s control of good and evil.  If we call God our shepherd we have no need to fear these things.  The essence of living by faith is knowing that even though we may walking in the midst of the valley of the shadow of death that God is with us, His Son has already gone before us, and we have no need to fear because He is faithful and trustworthy.

The reason we can fear no evil is because of the cross.  At the cross we see God providing for our greatest need by atoning for our sins and sending Christ to take the punishment that we deserved.  God could have kept His Son out of harm’s way, but instead made Him drink the cup of His wrath, so that we wouldn’t have to.  If God would do that for undeserving sinners like us, then we can be confident that He will protect us from all evil.  when the circumstances of life have us down we need to immediately run to the cross as our comfort and refuge.

Note that the Psalmist walks through the valley of the shadow of death, he walks calmly at an even pace and is not frantic or running because He can rest in God.  His rest in God is based on the fact that sin has been defeated through Christ victory on the cross.  The Psalmist does not state that there is no evil, but he knows that evil exists and is well aware of the force of evil against him.  Even more than evil, He is aware of the God who is sovereign over evil and will let any trial come to him that will not work for his good or God’s glory.  The Psalmist knows that God is wise and has a plan to bring him through this valley to the mountain where he will see more of God’s glory and love for him.

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August 1, 2009

A.W. Pink on God Glorifying and Preserving the elect

Image taken from http://www.bythewayministries.ca/

A.W. Pink on Perserverance of the Saints

“God is faithful in preserving His people. “God is faithful, by whom ye are called unto the fellowship of His Son” (1 Cor. 1:9). In the previous verse promise was made that God would confirm unto the end His own people. The Apostle’s confidence in the absolute security of believers was founded not on the strength of their resolutions or ability to persevere, but on the veracity of Him that cannot lie. Since God has promised to His Son a certain people for His inheritance, to deliver them from sin and condemnation, and to make them participants of eternal life in glory, it is certain that He will not allow any of them to perish…

God is faithful in glorifying His people. “Faithful is He which calleth you, who also will do” (1 Thess. 5:24). The immediate reference here is to the saints being preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God treats with us not on the ground of our merits (for we have none), but for His own great name’s sake. God is constant to Himself and to His own purpose of grace whom He called. . .them He also glorified (Rom. 8:30). God gives a full demonstration of the constancy of His everlasting goodness toward His elect by effectually calling them out of darkness into His marvelous light, and this should fully assure them of the certain continuance of it. The foundation of God standeth sure (2 Tim. 2:19). Paul was resting on the faithfulness of God when he said, I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day (2 Tim 1:12).”

July 30, 2009

Spurgeon on Eternal Salvation

“Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
John 6:37

No limit is set to the duration of this promise. It does not merely say, “I will not cast out a sinner at his first coming,” but, “I will in no wise cast out.” The original reads, “I will not, not cast out,” or “I will never, never cast out.” The text means, that Christ will not at first reject a believer; and that as he will not do it at first, so he will not to the last.

But suppose the believer sins after coming? “If any man sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” But suppose that believers backslide? “I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.” But believers may fall under temptation! “God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” But the believer may fall into sin as David did! Yes, but he will “Purge them with hyssop, and they shall be clean; he will wash them and they shall be whiter than snow”; “From all their iniquities will I cleanse them.”

“Once in Christ, in Christ for ever,
Nothing from his love can sever.”

“I give unto my sheep,” saith he, “eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” What sayest thou to this, O trembling feeble mind? Is not this a precious mercy, that coming to Christ, thou dost not come to One who will treat thee well for a little while, and then send thee about thy business, but he will receive thee and make thee his bride, and thou shalt be his for ever? Receive no longer the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby thou shalt cry, Abba, Father! Oh! the grace of these words: “I will in no wise cast out.”

-Taken from “Morning and Evening,” July 30th evening reading by Charles Spurgeon http://www.heartlight.org/spurgeon/0730-pm.html

July 29, 2009

Once Saved, Always Saved

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
-Jeremiah 31:3

The first reason that the Westminster Confession of Faith states that we can’t lose our faith is because of the unchangeable love of God.  The proof text for this is Jeremiah 31:3 which proclaims the everlasting love of God that is based on nothing other than God’s faithfulness.  The Jesus Storybook Bible defines God’s everlasting and unchangeable love with these words, “Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”  It is because God is love that He is able to love fallen and sinful people like you and I.  God’s love for us is most clearly seen at the cross where His Son’s blood was shed to purchase sinners for Himself so that we can be in relationship with Him.  James Montgomery Boice said on Ephesians 1:7, “Having been purchased at the infinite cost of the blood of God’s own Son, there is no one who can possibly top the price and thus purchase us away from Him.”

An example of this love that God has for us is the metaphor of marriage that the Bible uses to illustrate God’s relationship with us.  This love in all of its extremes and glory is seen in the story of Hosea.  God commands Hosea to marry Gomer a woman he know would be unfaithful so that he could illustrate His love for a people that are spiritually unfaithful.  We all play the role of Gomer because of our hearts that always wander to sin.  God plays the role of Hosea who goes to the auction block and purchases us back from slavery for Himself.  We have done nothing to deserve Him redeeming us from the power of sin and death through Christ blood.  Despite the fact that we were dressed like a whore seeking to continue a life of spiritual adultery, God has bought with Christ blood and clothed us in His righteousness.

In the New Testament there are three words used to convey this idea of redemption.  Two of the words, agorazo and exagorazo respectively mean “to buy in a marketplace” and “to buy out of the marketplace.”  This second word in particular is of great encouragement to all believers because it shows the effective and permanent nature of redemption.  God did not buy us out of slavery to send us back and He is faithful to keep and sustain us.  The other word used for redemption is “luo” which means “to loose, set free or deliver.”  This term denotes the idea that we have bought free from sin to never return, sin and death can never make any claims to us.  If have been redeemed by the lamb then “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).”

July 21, 2009

Great is God’s faithfulness

It may be that the house of Judah will hear all the disaster that I intend to do to them, so that every one may turn from his evil way, and that I may forgive their iniquity and their sin.” – Jeremiah 36:3

It has been said before that what separates the God of the Bible from the God of other religions is His grace and mercy towards sinners.  When God makes a covenant with sinners it is for His glory and namesake and not on the basis of anything deserving in us.  If God’s relationship with Israel was based on Israel’s merit then He would have left Israel in the wilderness and found a new people.  In the days of Jeremiah the people of Israel had denied God and sought only evil.  Because of their sin, instead of receiving blessing, they got disaster and judgment by means of the exile.

Although God’s people were defeated by the Babylonians, had their city burned and taken captive into a faraway land, all was not lost.  God was still faithful to His people and using judgment to teach them His holy nature, wrath towards sin and the weight of being called to live for His glory.  God’s faithfulness is also seen in the promises that He made to Israel while they are in exile.  Just because they were in exile does not mean that God give up on them or disowned them. Israel was still God’s people and their sin could never change that.  He has a plan and purpose and will protect and preserve His people through judgment (Jeremiah 29:11-14).

God has faultless foreknowledge and knows that Jehoiakim will not listen to the prophecy from Jeremiah, but still He provides warning, so that the people may have a way to repent and receive forgiveness.  Even when Jehoiakim rips up God’s Word He continues to turn the other cheek by having Jeremiah write another scroll.  God’s heart for us does not change even though our hearts are distant from Him (Ephesians 2:8).  When He seals us with the blood of Christ, we are His forever and He cannot deny those who are in Christ (Romans 3:3).  What great encouragement this is for us when we are facing the consequences for sin.  Even when God disciplines us, He never leaves us or forsakes us (Hebrews 12:6-11,13:5. When sin abounds, grace abounds even more Romans 5:20).

July 1, 2009

Waiting, Hoping and Watching

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning. – Psalm 130:5-6

Here in this passage we see the psalmist assuming three postures; waiting, hoping and watching.  The psalmist waits on God, knowing that God is faithful and true to His Word.  The psalmist can wait on God because He knows that God will not let Him down.  If God will be our salvation and lifts us out from the depths, then He will do all else that we need.  Just like a child can wait for their parents knowing that they will pick them up after school, we can wait on God knowing that He hasn’t left us to ourselves and our own ability.  The moment His love and mercy ends is when we should stop waiting on Him, but we rest on the promise that His love never ceases and His mercy has no end.  His goodness is as deep as the oceans so that we could never touch the depths of it, therefore we can seek out His goodness knowing that we will never exhaust it (Lamentations 3:22,25-26).

It is impossible to wait on God without hoping in Him.  Spurgeon says about this posture that the source, strength and sweetness of our waiting is found by hoping in God.  When we become acquainted with the love of God, then he becomes our portion and nothing becomes more satisfying than knowing Him and His glory (Romans 5:5).  If fulfillment in our lives come from God, then hoping in God takes on a whole new meaning (Lamentations 3:24).  When our circumstances make us downcast, we can hope in God knowing that although circumstances change, He is always the same (Psalm 42:5).  Hope does not disappoint, therefore we can “rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope (Romans 5:3-4)”.

Primarily, we do not watch for outward circumstances to change, instead we watch for God reveal more of Himself through our circumstances.  We seek to have eyes of faith to be aware of God moving and working in our lives to conform us to Christ image (2 Corinthians 5:7). We are diligent in watching God act.  The watchmen stay up all night to guard against intruders.  So too, we stay awake to guard against unbelief and lies that can be dangerous for the soul.  The watchmen stays awake when it is dark so they are not surprised by a sneak attack.  We also prepare our souls with the Gospel so that satan, our flesh and this world cannot distract us from God’s call and purpose.  The only thing more watchful than the watchmen waiting for morning is the Christian that standing fast until Christ return.

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.

May 28, 2009

Praying through the Sermon on the Mount

This last piece of more of a prayer. Reading Valley of Vision has really helped my writing in terms of writing prayers and not feeling constrained. When I write prayers I try to reach more of a honesty and a crying out. This poem is about being like Jesus and being free from this anxieties and worries of this world through growing in prayer.

Dear God, draw me close to you.
Help me to realize all of the privileges
Of being your adopted child through Christ blood.
Fill me with your Spirit,
So that crying “Abba” is second nature.
I want to talk to you naturally
And come in your presence with no pretense.
Make me delight in giving you thanksgiving and praise.
Aid me in being bold for asking great things of you.
You know my needs before I ask
And you are a trustworthy father,
So give me grace to be on guard against anxiety
By seeking you for all provision
Since I know you are faithful and will do it
For you have met my greatest need on the cross,
How can you not meet my lesser one.

August 1, 2007

Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; (Psalm 127:1)

Filed under: faithfulness of God,grace,Psalms — cubsfan1980 @ 6:06 pm

Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it; (Psalm 127:1)

 

Imagine that a contractor comes to you and tells you that they want to build for you a house with unimaginable splendor and glory. Not only with this builder build the house for you He has promised to pay all of the cost. This house has come at no easy cost, but He sacrificed His own Son so that you may have every blessing. Although the builder will build the house, He has asked for your help, for you to come alongside Him and do His will. He will strengthen you to do His will and give you all that you need.

All this builder requires of you is obedience. Although obedience sounds like an easy task, your flesh will resist it. You will want to do good to satisfy the builder, but the good you will want to do, you won’t and the evil you desire to resist you will give into. Some of the complaints about the builder are His time schedule and how it is natural to wait on Him even though He is good and His plan is perfect. Another popular complaint about Him is that He is all glorious and humbles those that are lifted up, whereas in our natural state we love control and to be able to call the shots.

Despite our failure to wait on Him or submit humbly to His will, He is still faithful to build the house, not on any merit of our own, but because of what His Son has accomplished on our behalf. The Lord knows our weakness and insufficiency. He is a patient and loving Father whose mercy endures forever. Even though His children never deserve it, He always delights in blessing us. How much more that should motivate us to obedience and living lives of ceaseless worship.

July 28, 2007

“He never fails,” Zephaniah 3:5

Filed under: Character of God,faithfulness of God,zephaniah — cubsfan1980 @ 9:16 pm

“He never fails,” Zephaniah 3:5

 

Our God is one who never fails. He never sleeps nor slumbers. He is aware of every circumstance and situation at all times. All moments of your life, He has appointed in His sovereignty so that He may be glorified and so that you can experience His goodness.

 

All of God’s decisions are just. His ways are never wrong. Take a moment and reflect upon His providence and how He has never failed to meet all of your needs. Let this meditation of His providence take you back to the cross where it is apparent that He has met your greatest need. At the cross, God has justly punished your sins by placing them on His Son so you may know His mercy. If He will not fail you in giving life, joy and peace, then He can be trusted.

 

When the wicked prevails and it appears that God is failing you, remember that He has never failed you before. During the night of weeping when God’s face seems hidden, rest in His unfailing love because in the morning you will dance for His faithfulness never ends and His joy is always right around the corner. His favor will last for your life time, so let that be reason to sing of His glory and give Him thanks forever.

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