Bought by the Blood

October 26, 2009

The Free and Unconditional Love of God

Filed under: Charles Spurgeon,God's love,Hosea — cubsfan1980 @ 8:26 am
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I wrote a devotional on this verse a couple of years ago, but recently came across a meditation on it by Spurgeon that is really good.  One of my prayers for myself is that I will find myself more in awe and amazed by God’s awesome electing love in which I am undeserving of.

Hosea 14:4

I will love them freely.

This sentence is a body of divinity in miniature. He who understands its meaning is a theologian, and he who can dive into its fulness is a true master in Israel. It is a condensation of the glorious message of salvation which was delivered to us in Christ Jesus our Redeemer. The sense hinges upon the word “freely.” This is the glorious, the suitable, the divine way by which love streams from heaven to earth, a spontaneous love flowing forth to those who neither deserved it, purchased it, nor sought after it. It is, indeed, the only way in which God can love such as we are. The text is a death-blow to all sorts of fitness: “I will love them freely.” Now, if there were any fitness necessary in us, then He would not love us freely, at least, this would be a mitigation and a drawback to the freeness of it. But it stands, “I will love you freely.” We complain, “Lord, my heart is so hard.” “I will love you freely.” “But I do not feel my need of Christ as I could wish.” “I will not love you because you feel your need; I will love you freely.” “But I do not feel that softening of spirit which I could desire.” Remember, the softening of spirit is not a condition, for there are no conditions; the covenant of grace has no conditionality whatever; so that we without any fitness may venture upon the promise of God which was made to us in Christ Jesus, when He said, “He that believeth on Him is not condemned.” It is blessed to know that the grace of God is free to us at all times, without preparation, without fitness, without money, and without price! “I will love them freely.” These words invite backsliders to return: indeed, the text was specially written for such-“I will heal their backsliding; I will love them freely.” Backslider! surely the generosity of the promise will at once break your heart, and you will return, and seek your injured Father’s face.

via Morning and Evening 10/22 AM.

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October 3, 2009

Amazing Love

Filed under: cross,God's love,Missions,Psalms — cubsfan1980 @ 1:08 pm
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I just came across this great meditation on Psalm 18:19 that I wanted to share with y’all.  Psalm 18:19 says, “He rescued me because He delighted in me.”  As we look at this verse the question we have to ask is does God love and then save or does he save and then love.  The reason why we answer this question correctly is because it shows that God’s love is unconditional.  God can love anyone and that should motivate us to take the gospel out to those around us and loving people who are different then us and seem unlovable.

It’s not a case of Christ loving the saved me (though of course He does). But it’s the radical gospel truth that Christ has loved me at my putrid worst. He doesn’t clean me up in order to love me. He loves me and so cleanses me through His atoning death.

Which means when I ask myself, ‘Does God love me?’ – I can look to the cross alone. I don’t have to check my own saved status. I don’t have to worry whether the cleansing has taken sufficient effect to allow me entrance into His affections. I can simply look at Christ crucified and say – God loves me. There is His demonstration – a love for sinners at war with Him. He has not fixed His love on me at my best. He has fixed His love on me at my worst.

My salvation – won through His blood alone – proves His love for me. His love is not a bonus for the godly but is specifically aimed at enemies. Such love is the very ground of all He does. If I’m looking at the Son lifted up on the cross then I’m seeing God’s love for me because there I’m seeing my salvation. This salvation in Christ is infallible proof of God’s immovable, inexhaustible and unfathomable love for me.

You can read this at Glen’s blog

October 1, 2009

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.

Amazingly, God describes His very essence in terms of His relationship to us. He is “merciful.” Surely there is no need of mercy within the Trinity, for the Father, Son, and Spirit never do anything condemnable that one should need to exercise mercy. He is “gracious,” “slow to anger.” These qualities of God are only necessary in connection with creatures needing graciousness and slowness to anger and steadfastness, lest they die…

The mercy and graciousness of God also slice through any preconceived, hard-and-fast notions about what God can and cannot do in our New Testament age. He can do whatever He pleases. Therefore I will ask whatever I please, unhindered by man-made theologies that put God in a box. If my hair is falling out like mad (which it is), I will ask for him to arrest it. On what basis? Mercy. Graciousness. God will answer as He pleases. But there is no harm in asking, and no one will steal my hope. No one—no matter how fancy his theological proofs and paradigms—will hinder me from asking anything of a God who describes himself as the source of all “mercy” and “graciousness.”

via WORLDmag.com | Community | Blog Archive | An insomniac’s Psalm 103: Verse 8.

September 29, 2009

God’s Wonderful Deeds

I will recount all of your wonderful deeds – Psalm 9:1

“Here is eternal work for us, for there can be no end to the showing forth of all his deeds of live. If we consider our own sinfulness and nothingness, we must feel that every work of preservation, forgiveness, conversion, deliverance, sanctification, etc., which the Lord has wrought for us, is a marvelous work.” Charles Spurgeon

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”.

September 10, 2009

The Gospel in Ezekiel

And while they were striking, and I was left alone, I fell upon my face, and cried, “Ah, Lord God! Will you destroy all the remnant of Israel in the outpouring of your wrath on Jerusalem?” Then he said to me, “The guilt of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great. The land is full of blood, and the city full of injustice. For they say, ‘The Lord has forsaken the land, and the Lord does not see.’ As for me, my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity; I will bring their deeds upon their heads.”- Ezekiel 9:8-10

I love Chris Wright’s exposition of the above passage.  It shows us who God us in His justice and compassion while pointing us to the cross.  In God’s judgment of Israel we see the true of sinfulness of sin.  Wright also uses the example of Ezekiel for showing us a model of God honoring prayer.  I highlighted some of my favorite parts and was definitely tempted to highlight the whole thing.  All of the last paragraph is highlighted because as I read it this morning during my quiet time I was led to worship and adoration of Christ atoning death for me on the cross and how great the sacrifice was to redeem me from my sins.

Ezekiel’s intercession, then, like that of Abraham and Moses, is based not merely on heart wrenching pity for those who were being slain, but on the ultimate purpose and glory of Yahweh among the nations.  In that respect, also like Abraham and Moses, it stands as a model for what ought to be the primary motivating force behind all our own intercession for the world, and especially for the church when, through hardness, disobedience and apostasy, it puts itself in the path of God’s imminent judgment. It is of course entirely right to pray out of compassion for others.  Jesus and Paul both did.  But Ezekiel models an even deeper foundation for intercession – passion for the glory and purposes of God in the world

It would be easy to, with all the surrounding scenes of armed execution and terrible carnage, to image God’s words being spoken with vicious coldness and implacable malice.  Actually we need to remember that they were being spoken by the God who longed more than anything else to show pity, by the God who had spent centuries with this people withholding the full extent of his wrath, by the God whose very name ‘Yahweh’ is defined as ‘compassionate and gracious.’   If there was steel in the voice, there were tears in the eyes and unbearable pain in the heart…

And yet, he had to do so because of their unchanged rebellion, and the northern kingdom was destroyed in 721 BC.  This is the same God whose mercy long to triumph over justice, whose love outlasts his punishment on a scale of 1,000 to 1, who is ‘slow to anger and rich in love’, and who is ‘good to all’ and ‘has compassion on all he has made’.  For such a God to be brought to the extermity of having to utter the terrifying words we read here speaks more loudly than anything else could of the horrific, detestable, and intolerable nature of human sin, and the moral necessity of its being finally and justly punished.

Rather than merely recoiling from the iciness of the words, we should reflect on what it cost the heart of the God of all love, mercy and pity to have to utter such words at all.  And such reflections will ultimately drive us to the cross, for only there do we find the mystery of the infinite justice of God fully exposed before human gaze.  For there, under the whips, swords, nails and torture of Roman rather than Babylonian enemies, God’s love absorbed God’s justice in God’s own self, and the words’ I will not…pity or spare’ were breathed again by the Father as, for our sake, he turned his eyes away from the agony of his own beloved son.

September 3, 2009

Jesus, my substitute

Filed under: cross,God's love,John Stott,sin,The Cross of Christ,Wrath of God — cubsfan1980 @ 6:34 am
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“Divine love triumphed over divine wrath by divine self sacrifice…The concept of substitution may be said, then to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation.  For the essence of  sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man.  Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be be.  Man claims prerogatives which belongs to God alone; God accepts penalties which belongs to man alone. ” The Cross of Christ by John Stott

August 16, 2009

God’s love motivates our intimacy with Him

Filed under: Communing with God,God's love,Matthew — cubsfan1980 @ 7:33 pm
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I have much love for Francis Chan and really enjoyed His book “Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a relentless God.”  Here is an excellent quote from that book about we shouldn’t have a legalistic mindset for spending time with God, but instead be motivated by His love to meet with Him.

Image couretsy of 4nwleaders.files.wordpress.com

Image couretsy of 4nwleaders.files.wordpress.com

Over time I realized that when we love God, we naturally run to Him – frequently and zealously.  Jesus didn’t command that we have a regular time with Him each day.  Rather, He tell us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”  He called this the “first and greatest commandment (Matt.22:37-38).  The results are intimate prayer and study of His word.  Our motivation changes from guilt to love.

This is how God longs for us to respond to His extravagant, unedning love: not with a cursory: “quiet time” plauged by guilt, but with true love expressed through our lives.  Like my little girl running out to the driveway to hug me each night because she loves me.

-Francis Chan

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.

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.”

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