Bought by the Blood

July 7, 2011

Casey Anthony and the Cross

Chris Brauns has some great insight on how Christians should respond to the Casey Anthony verdict.  Below are a couple of highlights, but you can read the rest here

  • Point people to the Cross. Situations like this are the opportunity for Christians to point to a balanced view of forgiveness that stresses love, justice, and grace. Casey Anthony is not the only one who will stand before her Creator. We are all sinners, and we will all be there. If we don’t know Christ, then the wrath of God abides on us (John 3:36).
  • Examine yourself. If you find yourself feeling terribly ungracious towards Casey Anthony, then perhaps it is because you haven’t been thinking enough about God’s grace in your life.  Indeed, this is what happened with the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. Do you get more energized about the sin or perceived sin of someone else or your own? Consider 2 Corinthians 13:5.
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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.

September 28, 2009

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement

“Today Jews around the world are celebrating Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which is considered the holiest and most solemn day of the year in modern Jewish practice. What relevance does this Jewish celebration have for Christians? Biblically, quite a lot.”  Hop over to the blog for the Resurgence to know more about the Bible and the Day of Atonement

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 3, 2009

Jesus, my substitute

Filed under: cross,God's love,John Stott,sin,The Cross of Christ,Wrath of God — cubsfan1980 @ 6:34 am
Tags: ,

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

August 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 22, 2009

Only with the cross can we esteem God’s Word rightly

As Jehudi read three or four columns, the king would cut them off with a knife and throw them into the fire in the fire pot, until the entire scroll was consumed in the fire that was in the fire pot. Yet neither the king nor any of his servants who heard all these words was afraid, nor did they tear their garments. – Jeremiah 36:23-24

King Jehoiakim had no regard for God’s Word.  For those who live in reverence to God’s Word it is more delightful than all riches (Psalm 119:14).  To king Jehoiakim the Word of God was worthless and he used it to cut it up and as fuel for a fire.  In cutting up the Word of God he was cutting up his own soul and committing suicide of the soul.  He could have used God’s word to burn away the sin in his life, but instead by  neglecting it he made the wrath of God burn hotter towards him.

The proper response to God’s Word would have been one of fear.  Through God’s Word we see ourselves more clearly and also see God more clearly.  By the Word of God we are able to see more clearly His holiness and glory.  Scripture is also a mirror and we see ourselves in light of who God is we are made aware of our sin and our separation from God.  This is a very fearful thing as it shows that no one has lived up to God’s standard and all are worthy of punishment (Romans 3:23 and 6:23).  When we see the debt that we owe God, as it is one that we could never repay, we should have the opposite reaction of Jehoiakim and be humbled.

To be honest, I don’t always prize God’s word as I should approach it with humble gratitude.  It is a fight to esteem God’s Word rightly.  Thankfully this is not a battle that I fight on my own.  I have the Holy Spirit to empower me to deny my self so that I can seek God through His Word.  This is not something that I do to earn God’s favor, but it is because I have God’s favor through Christ death on the cross for my sins that my response is to commune with Him through His Word.  The cross isn’t just the means by which I am saved, but it also is the process of my sanctification.  If the cross is not at the center of my sanctification then I am not seeking to exalt Christ, but to exalt myself.  Not only can I not save myself, but I can’t continue to make progress in my relationship with God unless He is working in me and carrying me along the process.  Therefore, I do not feel condemned when I fail to have the right attitude towards God’s Word, but instead remember it is all of grace and seek Him to pour out more grace because without His undeserved favor I am in the same boat as Jehoiakim.

Josh Harris gave a great message at Covenant Life Church on this passage which you can listen to here.

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 8, 2009

Idol Factories

The Lord once called you ‘a green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit.’ But with the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and its branches will be consumed. The Lord of hosts, who planted you, has decreed disaster against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, provoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.” – Jeremiah 11:16-17

One of the greatest sins that we can commit is that of idolatry.  The first two sins listed in the ten commandment speak out against idolatry and the rest of the sins are listings of the overflow of an idolatrous heart. Idolatry is having something else as a functional god in our lives, that something else can be other things, other people, or even ourselves.  In Jeremiah’s time the primary idol of that time was Baal and Israel’s worship of Baal provoked God to anger.  No matter what idol we have in place of God, He views all idolatry as shocking, appalling and a cause for us to be utterly dismayed (Jeremiah 2:12).

Our glory is in having the one true and living God as our God.  If we turn from him to an idol, then we have no source of glory (Jeremiah 2:11).  All of our boasting and joy will be empty without Him.  God has made us beautiful, but because of sin that beauty has been marred and we need Christ imputed righteous to restore us to the beauty that God intends.  Our purpose is to bear good fruit for God, but no one does that without God.  If we are not fruit bearers, but instead weeds then God will set fire to us and we will burn up in the eternal torment of hell.

When we commit idolatry two evils are functioning in our lives.  First, we forsake the fountain of living waters and find no satisfaction in this life.  Idolatry is a slow and steady spiritual death as our souls cannot get the water that will nourish and refresh us.  Secondly, idolatry denies God glory and seeks to brings us to the point of a relentless pursuit after nothing.  The other gods that we worship besides the one true God are nothing, they have no worth and no value.  If you seek an idol, it will only leaving you wanting more and when you get to it you will never be filled up.  Going to an idol is similar to driving a car with an oil leak, it will eventually break and leave you stranded and in despair (Jeremiah 2:13).

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.

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