Bought by the Blood

March 9, 2012

Matthew Henry On The Mercy of God

The fountain of mercy is inexhaustibly full; the streams of mercy are inestimably rich. When we speak of God’s mercy to us, it becomes us thus to magnify it…Even the best saints owe it, not to their own merit, but to the mercy of God, that they are saved from the lowest hell; and the consideration of that should greatly enlarge their hearts in praising the mercy of God, which they are obliged to glorify for evermore. So glorious; so gracious, a rescue from everlasting misery, justly requires the return of everlasting praise.

-Matthew Henry

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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

Hope In Hopeless Places – The Blazing Center

Filed under: Attributes of God,cross,Gospel,Hope,Mercy of God,Wrath of God — cubsfan1980 @ 12:34 pm

I definitely felt encouraged by reading this earlier.  It’s neat (but hard) to think about the reality of walking by faith and not finding my hope in what I see or the immediate external circumstances

Where do we find hope in hopeless situations? When life is collapsing, and our prayers don’t seem to be answered, and our strength is waning, where do we turn? How do we know that God is still with us?

We turn again to the cross.

Do you see the nails going into Christ’s hands? He took those nails for us. Do you see the blood pouring from His body? He suffered for us. Do you see the Father turning His back on the Son? It was for us. Do you see Jesus enduring the wrath of God? He endured wrath so that we could experience mercy…He treated Christ as our sins deserved, and He treats us as Christ deserved.

Read the rest here Hope In Hopeless Places – The Blazing Center.

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 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.

August 18, 2009

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  – Psalm 23:6

We know the goodness of God through the fact that we are in relationship with Him.  God is our ultimate good and by communing with Him we have the highest privilege and pleasure that anyone could ever ask for.  Thomas Manton has stated,He is essentially good; not only good, but goodness itself: the creature’s good is a superadded quality, in God it is His essence. He is infinitely good; the creature’s good is but a drop, but in God there is an infinite ocean or gathering together of good. He is eternally and immutably good, for He cannot be less good than He is; as there can be no addition made to Him, so no subtraction from Him.”

We know God’s goodness through the mercy He has shown us on the cross.  We have all sinned and because of this do not deserve to know God’s goodness.  God is merciful and with Christ blood has paid the price that we could not, so that through His mercy we can be in relationship with Him and experience more of His goodness.  His mercy endures for all the days of our lives, so we never have to fear being cut off from Him.  It is by sovereign grace that we receive mercy and it is nothing that we can earn.

Since we have received such awesome mercy and goodness from God our lives should be lived for His glory.  We are called to live in the fear of the Lord, because like any proud parent, He is always near by to support us.  There is no moment in this life when we are not dwelling with Him, so our actions should reflect this great truth.  Let us not settle for the counterfeit glory that this world has to offer, but instead strive to be satisfied with His glory in our lives.  The one thing we thing should seek to gain is not more money, fame or prestige but a greater awareness of how our shepherd is transforming our lives and living within our hearts to prepare us for the eternal glory He has called us to.

July 21, 2009

Great is God’s faithfulness

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

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

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

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

July 2, 2009

Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities. – Psalm 130:7-8

The problem with many Christians, myself included is that we are not astounded and utterly blown away by how magnificent the love of God is.  God’s love is steadfast, it is a love that never changes, if we are in Christ we cannot sin our way out of His love or make Him lose His grip on us.  His love will never fail us and is more than sufficient to guide and provide for us.  There are no conditions on God’s love, we can’t do anything to earn it, we must only receive it as broken sinners in need of mercy.  Take a moment to marvel at the fact that we can never exhaust His love, let this amazement lead to worship since it is far past finding out or understanding.

It is crucial understand that God’s love is costly. God cannot love us as we are because we are wicked and sinful, but by the blood of Christ God has made a way for us to draw near. He has redeemed us from our sins and iniquities through the atoning work of Christ on the cross when He died in our place and took the wrath we deserved.  For us to be redeemed the Son of God had to step down from His throne, take on human flesh, suffer on a cross and take our punishment so we can have His righteousness.  Because of this redemption satan has no power over us, the law does not dictate us and sin is no longer our only option.  Only if we’ve been empowered by Christ redeeming work can we have the ability to live holy lives and have the hope of life forever with God.

Redemption is only possible because God is infinite in mercy.  When we realize the benefits of redemption it should completely change our whole outlook on life.  Life no longer becomes about us, but living for God, not out of legalism, but as an overflow of gratitude because of what He has done in our lives.  John Loftness once said, “It is hard to have a bad day when you are a Christian,” and if you ask C.J. Mahaney how he is doing he will tell you “Better than he deserves.”  The reason these men can respond this way is because they are aware of the great love they are recipients of and the plentiful redemption that God has offered.  This means that for the adopted child of God anxiety triggers such as finances, job, and other things that are concerns of this world have lost their power to steal joy from those who have placed their hope in Christ.

*Title of this blog post came from the hymn “Redeemed.”

July 1, 2009

Waiting, Hoping and Watching

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

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

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

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

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