Bought by the Blood

October 25, 2009

My Monday Morning Need of the Gospel – The Gospel Coalition Blog

This is a prayer by Scotty Smith which I read on the Gospel Coalition blog. I definitely find this to be an echo of my heart’s cry recently.

Dear Lord Jesus,

While I still believe, with all my heart, you are the only Savior, I now see how more of my heart needs more of you and more of the gospel.

There is nobody on the face of the earth that needs the gospel today, and its transforming resources, more than me, and I am SO glad to be able to acknowledge this reality. I need you today, Jesus, as much as I did in March of 1968 when you washed away all my sins and covered me with the robe of your righteousness.

You have saved me in the past, when I was justified by grace alone through faith alone; you are saving me in the present, as the Holy Spirit applies more and more of your finished work to my whole being; and you will save me in the future, when you return to finish making all things new, including ME!

Lord Jesus, though I’m never tempted to look to any other name for my justification, I am very tempted to look to other names and means for my transformation—worse of all, is when I look to me to be my own savior. But only you, Jesus, are able to save completely those who come to God through you, for you are always living to pray for us and to advocate for us (Heb 7:25). You are my righteousness, holiness and redemption, and that’s why I only boast in you today! (1 Cor. 1:30-31)

So I come to you today, Jesus, right now! Save me more fully from my fear of man, my need to be in control, my ticky-tacky pettiness. Save me from trying to be anybody’s savior. I want to get irritated far less often and to be spontaneous much more often. I want to “light up” more quickly when I hear your name, Jesus, and not be downcast, when I don’t hear my name.

That’s more than enough confession for one day… Indeed, Jesus, I must be saved, I am being saved, through your name alone. Hallelujah!

via My Monday Morning Need of the Gospel – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

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October 5, 2009

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Proverbs 9:10

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
-Psalm 130:3-4

“What does this mean?  It means that filial fer, the fear of a son for His father, is produced by God’s love for us.  More exactly, it is the result of discovering that the God whom we thought of with slavish, servile fear, the holy righteous, terrifying God of judgment and majesty, is also the God who forgives us through Jesus Christ.  He is just, yet he justifies the ungodly (Romans 3:26; 5:6).  He is righteous, yet he counts sinners as righteous.  One reason why we know so little of such filial fear is that we do not appreciate the Gospel!  If we would grow in grace so that we fear God like this, we must first return to the Gospel, and to the meaning of the cross…Filial fear is always the grateful response of sinners who have become saints.”  Sinclair Ferguson on the above verse.

There are two kinds of fear that we can experience.  The first kind of fear is one that we typically think of when it comes to fear, that of dread and worrying of if we can measure up to God’s approval.  This is servile fear, from servile we get servant or slave, this is a fear for those that are working to pay off someone they are underneath.  The other kind of fear is filial and it means reverence and awe.  The latin of filius is “son” and that is where this type of fear comes from.  It is in reference to how a child fears their father and because we have been forgiven through the blood of Christ, this allows us to experience filial fear with God.  Sinclair Ferguson says about this kind of fear:

“It is that indefinable mixture of reverence and pleasure, joy and awe which fills our hearts when we realize who God is and what he has done for us.  It is a love for God which is so great that we would be ashamed to do anything which would displease or grieve him, and makes us happiest when we are doing what pleases him.”

Yesterday I talked about how our standing with God never changes.  The way we walk in fear of God can change our experience of God.  We were created for intimacy and communion with God, but sin brings a barrier between us and God.  Through Christ death on the cross that relationship has been restored, but it won’t be fully realized until we are in Heaven.  While in this life, our walk with God will have varying degrees of closeness based on how we fear Him and if we choose closeness with God or closeness with the world.  The more I fear God the closer my friendship with Him. “The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,” Psalm 25:14

We were not given grace to remain stagnant in it, but we were given grace to grow in it (2 Peter 3:18).  As we grow in grace we will be made more like Christ and our intimacy with God will increase.  Experience is very subjective and not always the best measure of if we are growing in the fear of the Lord.  Some effects of fearing God that we can be on the lookout for that will positively impact our experience of knowing God are as follows:

If I am fearing God I will grow in my desire to live a life of obedience.  “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. (John 14:21)”  My life will be characterized by wanting to bring pleasure to God.  Ultimately I will place my hope in finishing the race well and hearing “Well done good and faithful servant.”  The smile of God will be more important to me then the praise of the world.  Children are called to respect and obey their parents and I am called to respect and obey God.  “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13).”

On the flip side of that, fearing God will mean not wanting to displease God or grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30).  I will desire to put death to sin as sin blocks my view of God and feeds me lies about God’s love for me and who He is.  If I believe the promise of God and what He has done for me through the cross then I will seek to lay aside everything that hinders me from knowing Him more fully (Hebrews 12:1).  Fearing God means fiercely doing battle with my sin so that I can make my Father proud and give Him no reason to grieve over me.

Fearing God changes how I view the circumstances of this world.  If I fear God then I have nothing to fear in this life.  He is my stronghold and refuge, if He can save me from the hopeless situation that my sin had me in, then I can have hope no matter what I am facing.  “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).”  When I fear God my perspective is changed and I see that if God is worthy of awe and reverence then He is also worthy of my trust.  Just a child trust their parents for everything, I can trust God for all that I need.  “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. (Proverbs 14:26)”

We have the privilege of being considered sons and daughters of God because of His awesome and unconditional love.  We were orphans with nothing good to contribute to God’s family and no merit of our own, but God freely chose us to be His own.  Our status before God saved us was dead in sin with nothing desirable to offer, but God didn’t bring us to life because of what we could bring to the table, but only by His grace did He regenerate us.  The reality of what God has done for us should transform how we view our blessing of knowing and communing with Him because we are completely undeserving.  His praises should ever be on our lips because He has given us everything.  My fear of God should be evident by how I proclaim His love for sinners because of what He has done for me.  As a child likes to look up to and brag on their parents I should do the same thing with God .

Psalm 111
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
8 they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!P
I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart,
in the company of the upright, in the congregation.
2 Great are the works of the Lord,
studied by all who delight in them.
3 Full of splendor and majesty is his work,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wondrous works to be remembered;
the Lord is gracious and merciful.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
in giving them the inheritance of the nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy;
8 they are established forever and ever,
to be performed with faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He sent redemption to his people;
he has commanded his covenant forever.
Holy and awesome is his name!
10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
all those who practice it have a good understanding.
His praise endures forever!

August 19, 2009

Doctrine of Adoption Discussion Outline

What two states do we see Adam and Eve?
A: Pre-fall and Post-fall

Describe the difference between their relationship with God before and after the fall?
A: Adam and Eve had an intimate relationship with God with nothing hindering their communion. Their was no sin and they were not ashamed to be seen as they are by God.

How is it possible for us to have that same kind of relationship with God?
A: Through adoption by means of redemption (you can’t have one without the other.)

for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
Galatians 3:26-4:7

What have we been redeemed from?
A:The curse of the law, the power of satan and demons, the influence of our sinful flesh and spiritual death

What have we been redeemed to:
A:Living transformed lives by the power of the Spirit, forgiveness of sins, freedom from our sin nature, newness of life, hope of eternity and a resurrection body.

“What christ redeemed us from is the law, with its deadly curse. This is why it was necessary for him to be born under the law. What qualified him to redeem us from the law was the fact that he kept it perfectly. Indeed, everything Paul has said so far about Christ’s coming- his timely arrival, his eternal deity, his true humanity,and his perfect obedience – qualified him to be our redeemer. John Stott writes, “So the divinity of Christ, the humanity of Christ, and the righteousness of Christ uniquely qualified him to be man’s redeemer. If he he had not been man, He could not have redeemed men. If he had not been a righteous man, He could not have redeemed unrighteous men. and if He had had not been God’ Son, He could not have redeemed men for God or made them the sons of God.” But Christ did redeem us, and he did it as the perfect God-man who died on the cross to save sinners…Christ’s coming had an adopting purpose as well as atoning purpose. God sent his Son to make us all his sons and daughters. Christ accomplished our adoption as well as our redemption. It would be enough for God to release us from slavery, to rescue us from our captivity to the law, and so to redeem us from its curse. But God did not stop there. Once Christ had gained our freedom, he gathered us into his family. He went beyond redemption, turning slaves into sons.
-Phil Ryken

What are 5 benefits of adoption that we see in this passage

Benefit 1
V.27 All are on in Christ!
What are the implications of this?
-God does not play favorites. He doesn’t look at our works and love us more or less based on what we accomplish. He loves unconditionally because of what Christ accomplished for us. Our standing before God is secure and will never change. We cannot disappoint God or lose His love, He is committed to us and loves us with an unfailing love!
-We are defined by being in Christ. We are not defined by what we do for a living, how much money we make, our appearance, our sex, etc. The only thing that defines us is our unity in Christ.
–> Ask people where they are tempted to find their identity?
–>Followup by asking how being one in Christ helps to fight that temptation

Benefit 2
v. 29 Recepients of the promise of Abraham
What is the promise of Abraham
-We are justified and made right with God. Our greatest need is taken care of.

Benefit 3
V. 4:3 No longer under bondange
Does anyone still in feel bondage to any reoccurring or besetting sin in their life? If they do, then take time to pray for them, encourage them to either share tonight or in their next accountability meeting

Benefit 4
V. 4:7 We are heirs
What are we heirs of?
All the promises of God are yes in Christ, we receive all blessings through Him and the hope of Heaven and the new earth where we rule and reign with Christ.

Benefit 5
v. 4:6 We have the Spirit
What role does the Spirit play in our adoption
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
-Romans 8:14-17

-The Spirit leads us in holiness by directing us to Christ
-The spirit reminds us of our standing before God and His love for us.

“The Galatians had indeed received the Spirit; and when they did, they also received the assurance that they were God’s sons. For God sent his Spirit as well as his Son. First, he sent His Son to make us hils children; then he sent us his spirit to let us know that we really are his children. The adoption that was accomplished by the Son is applied by the Spirit.
Here we are drawn into the mystery of the trinity. The one true God exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Adoption is the work of the Triune God. God the Father, just because he is the Father, is the one who adopts us. He did this by first sending His son to redeem us from bondage, so that we are no longer slaves but sons. Then the Father sent His spirit to convince us that we are indeed the sons and daughters of God.”
-Phil Ryken

Application 1
Romans 8:14-17 –> What practical application do people see in this verse Answer: Self image
How does the doctrine of adoption affect self image?
– Spirit testifies who we are. It speaks to truth to combat the lies that satans wants us to believe. Whenever we are more aware of our sin or circumstances we need to remember who we are in Christ, adopted as Sons and daughter of God.
–>Have someone read 1 John 3:1 When discouragement sets in take time to marvel and be amazed at the love that God has for you.
–>Based on Genesis 2:25 what can we discern about Adam and Eve’s self image?
-There was no shame and they see themselves as God saw them.

Application 2
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
-Hebrews 12:6-11

What practical application do people see in this verse Answer: suffering and trials prove God’s love for us.
What is God’s purpose in suffering and trial as His children?
-His discipline makes us holy and helps us to cultivate righteousness
-It reassures us of His love because he only disciplines those he loves
–>How do we see Adam and Eve in this application?
-They were image bearers and before the fall they perfectly bore God’s image. God uses trials and suffering to conform us more to His image.

Application 3
Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

-Matthew 6:9

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? 11 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
-Matthew 7:7-11

What application do we see in this verse Answer: As children of God we have confidence that He answers our prayers
How does the doctrine of adoption affect prayer?
-We have that same relationship with him that Adam and Eve did. There is no shame and we can approach him freely.
-If we ask, seek and knock then he will answer us. He is a good, powerful and wise father and has the power to answer our prayers and give us the best according to our infinite wisdom.

August 10, 2009

The Lord is My Shepherd; I shall not want

The Lord is my shepherd;I shall not want- Psalm 23:1

As I proclaim with David that the LORD is my Shepherd, I am also proclaiming that I am a sheep.  To be called a sheep is not a compliment, but instead is humbling and self abasing, all sheep cry out with the John Baptist that I must become less and he must become greater (John 3:30.  This is because I am nothing and He is my everything.  I am making a statement about my weakness and need for a protector.  I am telling of my foolishness and that on my own I am prone to wander and easily get lost.  As a sheep, I am looking to my shepherd to be the one who provides for me, protects me and directs me.

In Christ, we have the Good Shepherd, the one who gladly protects and leads us back home to the Father.  He has laid down His life for you and I, taking our sin and curse, so that we may live through Him and have His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Through His atoning death for us, we have died to this world and our flesh so that we may live to God and have the hope of life forever in Heaven (Romans 6).  He has intimate knowledge of His sheep and will not leave one behind, but has died so that we may have no fear of death.  The Son is in perfect relationship with the Father and because we are in union with the Son and call Him our shepherd, the Father sees nothing hindering our relationship with Him, so that we can be adopted sons and daughters (John 10:14-15).

If we are adopted children of God, that then begs the question of how should we live?  We are to live as sojourners, we are to be people not of this world since we are just passing through (Hebrews 11:8-10).  There should be nothing in this world that captures our wants and desires because our greatest want is more of God.  If our hope is above then there is nothing in this life that can fulfill and satisfy us.  Any wants I have, I lay before the cross knowing that if it is of God then He will provide it for me (Hebrews 11:26).  It is not an issue of not wanting, but conforming my wants to God’s wants for me because I know if my desires are aligned with His then He will gladly give them to me (Psalm 34:4).

August 3, 2009

Jesus role in securing my salvation

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. – Hebrews 7:25
but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” – Luke 22:32

We now find ourselves at the fourth reason why the Westminster Confession of Faith says that we can’t lose our salvation.  Citing Hebrews 7:25 and Luke 22:32 the Westminster Confession of Faith states that because of Christ continual interceding for us we can have assurance of our salvation.  The first three reasons spoke of what God has done for us by His actions, attributes and decrees, but here in this reason we find Christ role in securing our salvation.  Here we see Christ as our older brother, doing what we can’t and lifting us up to Heaven through His prayers.  Christ has met the standards and expectations of the Father, so that all of the family of God can have a way to be right with God.  Without His completed work we would not be able to come to God justified and blameless in His sight.

Jesus death on the cross has gained us access into the new covenant.  Because of this we have a high priest who is forever interceding before the Father on our behalf.  In the old covenant, the priest were sinful and needed a sacrifice so that they could go before God to intercede for us.  Jesus is perfectly righteous and He has committed no sins, therefore He is free to spend eternity seated at the right hand of the Father interceding on our behalf.  Nothing can separate us from God’s love and we can forever be in His presence and near to Him because Jesus has brought us close by His blood.  The separation that sin had created is no more because Jesus’ blood speaks a better word then sin can and by His redemption we have an eternal inheritance that can never be taken away (Hebrews 9:15 and 12:24).

Jesus knows our weaknesses and that we are prone to sin and having a faith that wavers.  Let us take confidence in the fact that He never wavers.  Although we may deny Him like Peter, He is still faithful to pray for us and guarantees that our faith will not fail.  Even though we may sink when we see the winds of doubt, He is quick to reach out to us and pick us up.  He is not just the author of our faith, but He is also the perfecter of our faith, how sweet it is that since He has given us faith, He will also perfect that faith in us (Hebrews 12:2).  This is a promise which is why He can tell Peter, “When you have turned again,” not, “If you turn again, which I sure do hope you do because that would completely ruin my plans.”

July 30, 2009

I will never leave you nor forsake you

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  – Hebrews 13:20-21

The second reason why we can have assurance of our salvation stated by the Westminster Confession of Faith is because of God’s “decree and covenant to give them perseverance.”  There are three proof text used (2 Timothy 2:19, Hebrews 13:20-21 and 2 Samuel 23:5), but I only want to look at one and that is Hebrews 13:20-21.  To read more about God’s covenant with sinful man you can read a post I wrote called, “All We Need is Love,” today I want to focus on God’s decree and what He has decreed about us that give us confidence in our salvation.  The beauty of this doctrine that we see in Hebrews 13:21 is that it is about God’s glory.  If it was for our name sake and who we are that we have confidence in our persevering until we are glorified then we’d not have anything weighty to rest on.  Our salvation is not for the purpose of making much of us, but it is for God’s namesake (Psalms 106:8) and to make much of Him, therefore our foundation is not something imperishable, but the imperishable blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:23).  God is glorified in the fact that we can’t fall away because as Michael Horton states, “Of what sort of regeneration would the Holy Spirit be the author if those whom He he has resurrected and given eternal life are capable of dying spiritually again.”

What God has declared over us is peace, we are no longer at enmity with Him, the hostility that we had against God is over as we are now reconciled by Christ blood.  God is our peace and has made it so that no sin will ever come between us and him (Ephesians 2:14-18).  Once we were God’s enemies, but now He has adopted us into His family.   To borrow an illustration from Horton, no child can tell their parents that the mother did not give birth to them or that the dad is not their natural father.  As hard as we may try to run or fight against God, His love will always be victorious and secure those who He has called.  This is because of grace, it is by grace we have been saved and no good works of our own Ephesians 2:8-10).  What comfort we can draw from this truth of adoption by God’s grace, that there is no more striving but only feeding on God’s grace and living by His unmerited favor as He grows us.

Lastly, it is important to note that God is equipping and working in us, He is the One making it possible for us to persevere.  He has begun a good work and is faithful to bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).  If He did not work in us, then we would have plenty of reason to worry, we can trust that if He brought us out of sin and into newness of life then He will sustain us and bring us home safely to glory.  When the Israelites escaped Egypt and backslid, God could have wiped them out, but He preserved them for His glory so that all would see His power (Deuteronomy 9:25-28).  It is the same with us, God has promised to be gracious to us, and in spite of our sin and continual failure, He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  Grace is not just the basis of our salvation, but it also enables us to keep on trusting on God and works in us to bring us home to Heaven. Jesus has decreed “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. (John 10:28-29).”  Let us take Him at His Word and believe and rest in the grace that gives eternal life from start to finish.

July 7, 2009

Knowing God

But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his indignation. – Jeremiah 10:10

The most important question that any person can ask themselves is, “Who is God?”  In Jeremiah we find three essential claims to our understanding of who God is.  The first thing we learn about God is He is the true God, there are other gods that will try to take his place, but they are idols which will one day crumble.  Idols such as money, sex, power, fame and other tools of satan and this world which seek to entice, but they are false gods and have no power or eternal worth.  Secondly, we learn that God is living, He is active and sovereign over this world.  Everything is directed by Him and being guided to an end point predetermined by Him where every knee on earth, above the earth and below the earth will bow down and worship Him (Philippians 2:10).  Lastly, in this verse we see that God is the everlasting King.  He rules over this world and He is majestic in holiness (Exodus 15:11), He is the King from which all kings draw their kingship.

The second most important question we can ask is how we can be made right with this God.  To quote Matthew Henry, “Sinners should be afraid.  They have an angry God above thenm a guilty conscience in them, and a yawning hell below them.”  If we are honest with ourselves we are aware that we do not treat this everlasting King with the reverence and adoration He deserves.  None of us seek Him as we should, we are not good and do not do good (Romans 3:11-12).  Therefore, we are all deserving of His wrath and if the earth quakes under His wrath, imagine the effect that His wrath will have on us.  It is a terrifying thought to think of the weeping and gnashing of teeth that we will endure.  We will not be able to endure the outpouring of His wrath on us, although we will not be able to endure it, we will wish for it to end and for our pitiful existence to end, but Hell is real and eternal. Because sin is an infinite offense against God, the punishment is infinite as well.

The way we are made right with God is not through anything that we can do.  We cannot earn His favor, but it must come by grace or mercy.  If we would be able to earn it, then that means that the offense is not infinite.  Since we cannot earn it that means that it comes to us as a free and undeserved gift (Romans 6:23).  The means of this free and undeserved gift is the cross on which Jesus died to redeem sinners. His work on the cross reconciles and brings us near to God because we can’t come near on our own (Hebrews 9:11-22). If we claim His blood as ours then He gives us robes of righteousness to wear, when God sees us wearing Christ righteousness He passes over our sin and sees us as objects of His love.  His wrath was spent on Christ on the cross so that we may be adopted as children of the everlasting King, the true and living God.

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 15, 2009

The walls came tumbling down

And the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and mighty men of valor…So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they captured the city. – Joshua 6:2 & 20

The story of the fall of Jericho is without a doubt one of the most faith inspiring stories of the Old Testament.  For Joshua to lead the Israelites in conquest over Jericho involved having eyes of faith.  God told Joshua to see that the kings and mighty men of valor of Jericho had been given into Joshua’s hands.  With his physical eyes, Joshua saw a city with large walls that had its inhabitants walled up and safe from attack.  For Joshua to see what God was referring, he needed to walk by faith and not by sight aware that those that were on the Israelites side is greater and more powerful than any earthly army.

It is not enough just to have eyes of faith, if Joshua saw what God was doing, but did not have an obedient heart then the Israelites would have never conquered Jericho.  Eyes of faith must be accompanied by actions that are informed and motivated by faith in the unseen.  Imagine the Israelites and the faith it took to march around the walls for not one, but six days without seeing any results.  Faith did not involve doing anything practical that would appear to give them a chance for victory.  Faith for them probably involved being mocked by the soldiers who stood on the wall and saw them do nothing but fruitless marching.  What reason or hope did they have for shouting, none that they could see, only that God had told them to.  By faithfully obeying they reaped a harvest and had the conquest.

For all of those who have placed their faith in Jesus, God wants to give them hearts that are characterized by faith.  A heart that is characterized by faith is bold in sharing in the Gospel knowing that it isn’t based on outward appearance or eloquence of speech, but it is because of the fact that God is faithful that others will respond to the good news.  When our lives are led by faith then our lives are no longer our own, but we are eager to give away our money and time for the purpose of the kingdom.  A life of faith prioritizes the exaltation of God over self and makes its rallying cry, “He must increase and I must decrease.”  When we have eyes of faith we are blinded to the things of this world because our gaze is set on the world to come.  When we have faith in God as our compass then the fleeting pleasures of sin are nothing compared to the reward of the great wealth of Christ that has been freely offered to us on the cross by His sacrifice that reconciles us to God.

May 25, 2009

Glory

I am currently reading through several books right now.  One that I am highly enjoying is “Death By Love” by Mark Driscoll.  In the chapter where he talks about Chris being our example, he spends a portion of it talking about God’s glory.  That led to me meditating and worshipping God for His glorious character.  Out of that came this poem.

Lord God, Heavenly Father, you are glorious.
The whole Earth is filled with your glory,
But man’s eyes have been darkened to the ruth
And forsaken your glory for worthless idols.

Jesus Christ is the radiance of God’s glory.
He is the image of the invisible God.
His mission is to give sight to the blind
And set the captives free
So that many may live for God’s glory.

Thank you for the cross
Where your glory is on full display.
At the cross justice and mercy kiss,
Jesus paid the price of God’s justice
By receiving the wrath we justly deserved
So that we can be covered in grace and mercy.

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