Bought by the Blood

February 24, 2012

Grace and Glory

Such a great truth from Matthew Henry on God’s two greatest promises!

The Lord will give grace and glory. Grace signifies both the good-will of God towards us and the good work of God in us; glory signifies both the honour which he now puts upon us, in giving us the adoption of sons, and that which he has prepared for us in the inheritance of sons. God will give them grace in this world as a preparation for glory, and glory in the other world as the perfection of grace; both are God’s gift, his free gift. And as, on the one hand, wherever God gives grace he will give glory (for grace is glory begun, and is an earnest of it), so, on the other hand, he will give glory hereafter to none to whom he does not give grace now, or who receive his grace in vain. And if God will give grace and glory, which are the two great things that concur to make us happy in both worlds, we may be sure that no good thing will be withheld from those that walk uprightly. It is the character of all good people that they walk uprightly, that they worship God in spirit and in truth, and have their conversation in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity; and such may be sure that God will withhold no good thing from them, that is requisite to their comfortable passage through this world. Make sure grace and glory, and other things shall be added. This is a comprehensive promise, and is such an assurance of the present comfort of the saints that, whatever they desire, and think they need, they may be sure that either Infinite Wisdom sees it is not good for them or Infinite Goodness will give it to them in due time. Let it be our care to walk uprightly, and then let us trust God to give us every thing that is good for us.

February 17, 2010

The Cross: Where mercy and justice kissed

On the cross we see sin fully punished and yet fully pardoned. We see justice with her gleaming sword triumphant, and mercy with her silver scepter regnant in sublimest splendor. Glory be to the wondrous wisdom which discovered the way of blending vengeance with love, making a tender heart to be the mirror of unflinching severity, causing the crystal vase of Jesus’ loving nature to be filled with the red wine of righteous wrath.

via The Daily Spurgeon: First, the Cross.

October 8, 2009

When God Doesn’t Answer Prayer As We Desire

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. – Romans 8:26

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Martin Luther on the above verse, taken from his commentary on Romans:

“O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. (Psalm 38:9)” It is not an evil sign, but indeed the very best, if upon our petitions the very opposite happens to us. Conversely, it is not a good sign if everything is granted to us for which we pray.

The reason for this is the following: God’s counsel and will tower high above our own counsel and will, as we read in Isaiah 55:8, 9:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Hence when we ask anything of God and He begins to hear us, He so often goes counter to our petitions that we imagine He is more angry with us now than before we prayed, and that He intends not to grant us our requests at all.  All this God does, because it is His way first to destroy and annihilate what is in us (our own wisdom and will)  before He gives us His gifts; for so we read in 1 Samuel 2:6: “The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up..”  Through this most gracious counsel He makes us fit for us His gifts and works.  Only then are we qualified for His works and counsels when our own plans have been demolished and our own works are destroyed and we have become purely passive in our relation to Him.

The proud desire to be like God.  They want to place their thoughts not under God, but next to His, just as though they were perfect.  But that is much less possible than for the clay to tell the potter into what shape he should form it.  So we read in Isaiah 64:8 “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” But those who have the Holy Spirit do not despair but have faith when they see that the very opposite of what they asked for happens to them.  The work of God must remain hidden in any other form than that which contradicts our thinking and understanding.  Thus God permitted St. Augustine to fall deeper and deeper into error, despite the prayer of his mother, in order to grant her much more in the end than she had asked. This he does with all his saints.

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.

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).

June 17, 2009

Do not be deceived

Return, O faithless children,
declares the Lord;
for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion. – Jeremiah 3:15

Faith is a very personal decision.  We cannot have parents or friends with faith in Christ and believe that is good enough for us.  If we do not make it our own and have ownership of it, then we have no faith of our own.  The physical brothers and mother of Jesus could not claim blood as entry into the spiritual family of God (Matthew 12:46-48).  If we want to adopted into God’s family and chosen by Him, then we need to claim the blood of Christ as our only hope for God to accept us.  God desires a relationship with you and he knows your heart, therefore let your faith be authentic and do not try to cling on the coat tails of another person’s faith.

Not every member of the nation of Israel, was actually a descendant of Israel (Romans 9:6).  Abraham was called God’s friend, but his descendants did not follow in his footsteps.  There were jews in Jesus’ day who were deceived and thought they were doing God’s will, but they were actually doing the will of the devil (John 8:39-47).  In Joshua’s day, one family could not be comfortable with the fact that the leaders followed God.  Instead, each family must choose to worship and serve God, God was a corporate God but saving faith was not a corporate event (Joshua 24:15).

Let the reality of this truth sober you and make the need for obedience sink in.  God has no obligation to save whole families, people who go to church, or those who go through the outward motions.  Do not be deceived, God knows if your faith is your own or if you are hoping to be saved by association.  Salvation comes to those who sow to the Spirit and reap the fruit of righteousness.  Be on guard against false security, there were those in Jeremiah’s day who thought that if they were in a certain town or part of a particular family they would be saved.  God is not mocked and He is saving a people for Himself, those who give their hearts to Him, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life and keep it holy for Him who shed His blood for you.

June 8, 2009

Man up = abiding

The man declares, I am weary, O God;
I am weary, O God, and worn out.
2 Surely I am too stupid to be a man.
I have not the understanding of a man.
-Proverbs 30:1-2

I used to think of this verse as a rebuke for any man unable to man-up. After meditating on this passage and what it means to be weary, this verse is more of a rebuke for those who do not a have heavenward gaze. It is not uncommon for youths to be weary and exhausted. The problem that we find in this verse is that the man is complaining about his weariness. Whenever weariness sets in our response should not be that of grumbling, but that of prayer. When we have a prayerful attitude than we are aware of our own strength. By running to prayer we put to death self-sufficiency and go to the source of our strength. Isaiah says in his prophecy that at the first sight of weariness we do not need to muster up more strength, but to wait on God.

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
30 Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.
-Isaiah 40:28-31

Notice how in Isaiah that renewed strength does not come from one’s own discipline, but from the LORD, who is the everlasting God. He created all things and he can miraculously give your strength when you feel like you have none left. He has understanding that is unsearchable, therefore He will not put you or I in a situation where we will utterly despair or be overpowered. To complain against God due to weariness is to not know God. Those who grow weary to the point where they complain have not known or heard the character of God. To summarize the book of Proverbs, all people fall into two categories, they are either or wise or they are a fool. A wise person knows who God is and lives their life according to His will so as to please Him. The fool says in his heart that there is no God and lives a life that exhibits this world view. To have your strength renewed, you must wait on God and you cannot wait on Him who you do not know.

How do you avoid playing the fool? In one word, abide. To abide means to remain. J.C. ryle expounds on the definition of abiding by saying, “Cling to Christ. Stick fast to Christ. Life the life of close and intimate communion with Christ. Get nearer and nearer to Christ. Roll every burden on Christ. Cast your whole weight on Christ. Never let go your hold on Christ for a moment. Be as it were rooted and planted in Christ. Do this, and Christ will never fail you. He will always remain in you if you abide in him.” In day to day life what does it mean to abide? We’ll look at that next time.

March 17, 2009

Entering into worship

This morning as I was spending time with Jesus I was reading in Isaiah 45 and was brought before the throne of the Lord above with a clearer of who He is and His calling on my life.

5 I am the Lord, and there is no other,
besides me there is no God;
I equip you, though you do not know me,
6 that people may know, from the rising of the sun
and from the west, that there is none besides me;
I am the Lord, and there is no other.
7 I form light and create darkness,
I make well-being and create calamity,
I am the Lord, who does all these things.

The Lord, who is thrice holy, that reigns and is enthroned with majesty and splendor in Heaven has equipped me to know Him.  He is truly self-sufficient and has no need for me.  I can add nothing to Him and he gains nothing from being in relationship with me.  I can not bring a sacrifice that will cause Him to gain anything new, but He has sacrificed His Son on the cross so that my sins may be paid for and I can be brought from death to life.   There is no one like Him with such fathomless grace and mercy.

He desires for all people to know Him.  In His patience, He has forebeared with the sins of the world so many may repent.  He has displayed His character in creation, so that many may see His glorious attributes.   There is not one inch of creation that is not His.  From the east to the west there is none that can compete with Him.  He is the only thing worth living for.  He has created a world with many mysteries and marvels to lead us outside of ourselves and see that one greater than us has created all of this.

Light and dark do not just exist, but those are created things.  The wealthy and the poor are not that way because of chance or pulling themselves up by their boot straps, but by God’s directing as He is sovereign over all things.  He does all things and we are called to come to be empty vessels to be used by Him.  If we see God as He is, then we should align our goals and visions to be the same as His.  To live a life of worship involves a continual dying  to self so that can live for the next world and the kingdom that is to come.

He will ask “who will go?”  I will say “send me” because He has equipped me to go.”

He will say “Who will go” and I will say “send me” because He has given me joy, life, health, hope and peace.

He will say “who will go” and I will say “send me” because someone else answered the call and they told me of His love for me, which led me to repent and believe.

He will say “who will go” and I will say “send me” because I would still be dead in my sins and if someone had not followed the call to bring the gospel to me.

He will say “who will go” and I will say “send me” because there is none like Him and no  higher calling that I can serve.

April 5, 2008

Prayer for the Broken Hearted

Filed under: Character of God,God's Wisdom,Pain,Suffering,Will of God — cubsfan1980 @ 11:11 am
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Most high and awesome God,
Your will is perfect and true,
In it there are no flaws.

At times  I do not understand your will
And find myself ensnared by my pride
With the lie that my will is better.
Renew my mind by Your Word,
So that I can take every thought captive
And conform my will to yours.

Even at times when your will is painful,
Help me to look to the cross,
History’s greatest moment of tragedy,
So I can recall how you use suffering for good
And sovereignly orchestrate all things for your glory.

Because you are glorious I can hope in you.
When your will is not mine
I do not rage against you,
I am still for I know you are God.

Your will is excellent and beautiful,
On my vision is marred at times,
But your truth and character never changes
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!*

August 5, 2007

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. (Haggai 1:5)

Filed under: God's Wisdom,Haggai — cubsfan1980 @ 9:49 pm

Now this is what the LORD Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. (Haggai 1:5)

Those who have been redeemed by Christ have more reason then anyone else to give careful thought to their ways.  Your life is no longer your own, but it was bought at a price.  Because your life was purchased with the blood of Christ, consider how you can use your life for His honor and glory.  Jesus Christ gave up His life for you, in response to that sacrifice, how can you give your life up for Him?  Today and everyday forward is a day that should be used for His purposes.

Where you are right now it might seem hard to live for God’s purposes?  God might be calling you to trust Him for tomorrow when nothing in your circumstances makes it seem feasible to trust God for the desire of your heart.  There might be a situation where you feel like you have been submissive to God’s plan for long enough and you see no reward for obedience.  Maybe you have waited on God longer then you expected for a particular blessing and you now want to make things happen on your own timing.  God’s ways are not ours that is why we need to give careful thought about how we can glorify God.

When the temptation pops up to not seek God’s glory and take the shortcut instead of giving careful thought to our ways let us place our hope in the wisdom of God.  The God we serve is all-wise, therefore we can press on with confidence knowing that, no matter what, all circumstances are working for our good.  In all of the situation that Joseph went through, instead of rebelling, he gave careful thought to his ways and knew that God was in control.  When Daniel and his friends faced the threat of being thrown in the lion’s den they gave careful thought about  the God they served and chose not to bow down to other gods.  Therefore, press forward with confidence knowing that God delights to have a good purpose for your life.

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