Bought by the Blood

December 24, 2009

God and Sinners Reconciled

For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? Mark 8:35-37

In the beginning was God. He created all things and through Him all things were created.  He was eternally and infinitely blessed with there being nothing that could ever add to His happiness (John 1).  Despite all of this, God made Himself nothing and gave His all to save the souls of man.  He came down from His throne in Heaven and forfeited His perfect communion with the Father as well as all the attributes of the Godhead to rescue sinners.  By taking on flesh He was able to die our death and give up His righteousness so that our penalty could be His and we can have an inheritance greater than the whole world (2 Corinthians 5).

Although He was God, He took on the form of a helpless baby. His was a lowly status so that He could serve all mankind, to return to us the soul’s that we lost at the fall when sin and death took Adam’s helpless race into bondage.  Jesus embodied humility and this is evident by His life of obedience and submission to His Father’s will (Philippians 2).  He counted the cost and bore the scorn and shame of the cross to save sinners.  The Son of God gave up His life on the tree so that we could have it to the full.

Therefore how should we live?  The Christmas story calls us to be ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5). Our lives should be joyous ones because we have been given good news of great joy (Luke 2:10).  Every step we should take should be one of liberation because one who was fully God and fully man has broken the head of satan who enslaved us to unrighteousness and sin (Genesis 3).  Jesus lost His life so that we can gain ours, therefore we need to find our life in Him and be a people defined by His redeeming work.  Our greatest profit is the reward of being reconciled to God.   Christ was born in a manger on Christmas day, died on the cross in our place, raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so that we too might walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4).

December 14, 2009

The Christmas Spirit

The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity – hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory – because at the Father’s will Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable so that thirty years later he might hang on a cross.  It is the most wonderful message that the world has ever heard or will hear.

We talk glibly of the “Christmas Spirit,” rarely meaning more by this than sentimental jollity on a family basis.  But what we have said makes it clear that the phrase should in fact carry a tremendous weight of meaning.  It ought to mean the reproducing in human lives of the temper of him who for our sakes became poor at the first Christmas.  And the Christmas spirit itself ought to be the mark of every Christian all year round.

It is our shame and disgrace today that so many Christians – I will be more specific: so many of the soundest and most orthodox Christians – go through this world in the Spirit of the priest and Levite in our Lord’s parable, seeing human needs all around them, but (after a pious wish, and a perhaps a prayer, that God might meet those needs) averting their eyes and passing by on the other side.  That is not the Christmas spirit.  Nor is it the spirit of those Christians – alas, they are many – whose ambition in life seems limited to building a nice middle-class Christian home, and making nice middle-class Christian friends, and bringing up their children in nice middle-class Christian ways, and who leave the submiddle class sections of the community, Christian and non-Christian, to get on by themselves.

The Christmas spirit does not shine out in the Christian snob.  For the Christmas spirit is the spirit of those who, like their Master, live their whole lives on the principle of making themselves poor – spending and being spent – to enrich their fellow  humans, giving time, trouble, care and concern, to do good to others – not just their own friends – in whatever way there seems need.

-J.I. Packer

October 20, 2009

Be Filled with the Spirit

And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, – Ephesains 5:18

I was talking to men in my small group about this verse recently and how I believe that Paul is trying to make a comparison and contrast with the Christian and the drunk.  The way that an alcoholic craves alcohol and is dependent should be the same way we seek the Holy Spirit.  We need to have an attitude of not being able to live without the Holy Spirit and seeking to have our lives constantly, every second of every day, being filled with the Holy Spirit.  We should thirst and crave after the Holy Spirit with an attitude that our lives are not complete unless we are more aware of His presence to strengthen and guide us.  Unfortunately that is not my typical attitude and it is more often than not that I am self-reliant.  On my own I can accomplish nothing, but God invites me to seek Him because He is a good Father that enjoys giving good gifts to His children.  I love the convicting questions J.C. Ryle asks based on Luke 11:9-13

Do we pray in the name of Jesus as needy sinners?  Do we know what it is to ‘ask,’ and ‘seek,’ and ‘knock,’ and wrestle in prayer, like men who feel that it is a matter of life or death, and they have must have an answer? Or are we content with saying over some old form of words, while our thoughts are wandering, and our hearts far away?

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” – Luke 11:9-13

October 4, 2009

I Come Running

“You will enter Heaven as fully by grace as if you had never lived a godly life, nor had practiced a single virtue.” Charles Spurgeon

I have read this Spurgeon quote several times over and the first time it really shook me.  It definitely flies in the face of the legalistic tendency that we can be so prone to.  Spurgeon is not saying that there is no place for works.  Instead he is referencing what it takes to enter into Heaven.  Our entrance into Heaven is not based on anything that we do.  It is based on grace and not anything we do.  This statement by Spurgeon is in reference to Luke 18:16 “But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”  The way that parents unconditionally love their children is the same way that God loves us.  The Kingdom of God belongs to those who know that they can’t earn God’s favor.
Grace should motivate my obedience.  I follow God not out of obligation, but out of thanksgiving, as an overflow of how He has changed my heart.  I don’t obey God to earn His favor, because I am His adopted child, I can’t help but to want to live for Him.  My obedience can’t bring me any closer to God, so that frees me to live for Him without fear.

“The little child receives Christ humbly, for he never dreams of merit or purchase.  I do not recollect ever having met with a child who had to battle with self-righteousness in coming to Christ.” Spurgeon

If I am to be like a child I am to come empty handed.  When a child comes running to their father’s arms when the father comes home the child does not do it out of duty or out of believing they have earned the chance to be with the father, instead it is out of delight and a free relationship.  That is what it is like with communing with God, we come running to him excited to be with Him.  We don’t dread our sin impeding our relationship with Him because He sees us like He sees His only begotten Son because of Christ imputed righteousness through the cross.  This frees us to come not based on good we have done.

A child’s confidence for food and shelter isn’t in what they do and what they can provide.  Every child finds their hope for all that they need in their parents and what they provide.  The same goes for us.  Just as Miya is dependent on me, I am dependent on my Heavenly Father.  I can run to God as my refuge and ever faithful Father who gives my weary heart rest from all my troubles.

I Come Running
By: Mark Altrogge

Jesus, I am blind, be my light
Darkened in my mind, be my wisdom
Bend my stubborn will to Your own
Open up my ears to hear Your Spirit
Melt my conscience once again
Help me hate the slightest sin
And when Satan comes to tempt me

I come running to You, when I fear, when I’m tried
I come running to You, to Your blood, to Your side
And there my soul finds rest
There my soul finds rest in You

Shepherd of my soul, lead me on
To the pastures green in Your Scriptures
Make me to lie down by waters still
Fill me with Your peace in the tempest
I take my refuge in Your cross
By your sacrifice I’m washed
And when Satan comes accusing

Once I was Your foe, a slave to sin
A stranger to Your love, a hopeless outcast
But You have brought me near, I’m bought with blood
Now I’m Your precious child, an heir with Jesus
You pour heaven into my soul
Your wondrous love, it overflows
And I marvel how You love me

© 2005 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI).

August 22, 2009

Boice on dreaming big dreams for God

Filed under: Boice,Daniel,Godly Ambition,Luke — cubsfan1980 @ 8:19 pm
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Image Courtesy of Theopedia

Image Courtesy of Theopedia

James Montgomery Boice is my theological hero.  Just as every Friday is dedicated to fathers, I want to make Saturdays dedicated to Dr. Boice.  Below is a quote from his commentary on Daniel about deciding to live for God.

“Most young people want their lives to count, and most Christian young people want their lives to count for God.  Youths dream big.  That is right.  You should dream big.  But youth is also often impatient and undisciplined, and young people are tempted to let the little things slide.  You must not do that if you are God’s young man or woman.  God will make your life count, but this will not happen unless you determine to live for him in the little things now.  You know what Jesus said: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10).  Being wholly given over to God now is the essential and best possible preparation for future service.”

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.”

February 21, 2009

The Bible and Abortion

Filed under: Abortion,Genesis,Jeremiah,Luke,pro-life,Psalms — cubsfan1980 @ 3:54 pm
Tags: , , ,

At the Real Choices blog Christina writes about the scriptural basis for being pro-life.  It’s a great look at Scripture and how God is active at creating life in the womb.  To deny that abortion is murder is to deny the truth of what Scripture says.  It is to kill the image of Christ as what we do unto the least of these we do unto Christ.

“If we search the Bible for signs of when God first begins to love each of us, we see that His love is eternal — that it preceeds our existence. But how are we, who live within the limitations of time, to live out that love to one another? We can not act in love toward those who, from within our prison of time, do not yet exist, except to be prepared to welcome our fellows when they arrive in this finite world, to live out their lives among us. To countenance abortion even in theory is to prepare to reject those who God holds in His mind, who He already loves with His perfect love. And to practice abortion in reality is to reject our brothers and sisters, in a very real and concrete way, by killing them. In doing so, we sin not only against our brothers and sisters by breaking the Commandment against murder; we sin against Christ by killing Him in them, for as we do to them, we do to Him.”

You can read more here.

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Attributes of God,Christmas,Luke,Psalms — cubsfan1980 @ 12:37 pm

Luke 2:14 “Glory to God in the highest.”

the poem that I wrote for Christmas today is based on Psalm 57 and Psalm 60 and the glorious one that came on Christmas morning.  As I was reading Psalm 57 I loved how it spoke so much about God’s attributes and in Christ we see all of those attributes.  Psalm 59 closes with the following verses and I knew I wanted to write a poem based on these verses and so God used these two Psalms to speak this poem to my heart

16 But I will sing of your strength;
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love in the morning.
For you have been to me a fortress
and a refuge in the day of my distress.
17 O my Strength, I will sing praises to you,
for you, O God, are my fortress,
the God who shows me steadfast love.

Christmas poem

Little one in a manger, come from Heaven above,
I will sing and make melody to you
For you are the glorious One
And your glory is over all the earth.

A helpless babe is the One
Who gives strength to all,
I will sing of your strength
For you are the mighty one
That saves sinners.

High and exalted One that rules over all
You came down from Heaven
To proclaim the Father’s grace and mercy.
I will sing aloud of your steadfast love,
Be exalted, O Savior, above the Heavens.

Crucified and risen Lord of creation,
You have defeated sin and death,
In you I find life and joy.
Despite my weaknesses your purposes
Are being fulfilled in me
O my strength, I will sing praises to you.

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