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The Wednesday Words for the Year 2014

To view article. click on title

Date

Title

01/15

Misunderstood Matters about Grace, Part 2

01/22

Misunderstood Matters about Grace, Part 3

1/29

Righteous Grace, Part 1

02/05

Righteous Grace, Part 2

02/12

Righteous Grace: Part 3

03/05

A Bad Case of SDS!

03/12

Saved to the Uttermost

03/26

Saved to the Uttermost: Part 2

04/23

More, More about Jesus!

05/07

Our Gracious High Priest

05/14

He Became Like Us

5/28

Love, Worship and Approaching God

06/04

Noah, the Big Boat and the Blood!

07/02

Sanctified by the Blood, Part 1

07/16

Sanctified by the Blood, Part 2

08/06

Sanctified by the Blood, Part 3

08/20

Holding to the True Jesus

09/03

The Gospel and “The Holy Man of God”

9/17

The Believing Believer

10/1

The Danger of Praying “Our Father”

10/15

Who Is This Man Jesus? Part 1

10/29

Who Is This Man Jesus? Part 2

11/12

Who Is This Man Jesus? Part 3

12/09

Motivated by Grace Alone

12/30

God Does Not Forgive Sins

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Wednesday Words for 2008

Wednesday Words for 2009

Wednesday Words for 2010

Wednesday Words for 2011

Wednesday Words for 2012

Wednesday Words for 2013

Wednesday Words for 2015

Wednesday Words for 2016

Wednesday Words for 2017

The Wednesday Word, Jan. 15, 2014: Misunderstood Matters about Grace, Part 2


 


Another thing about grace is that it is completely undeserved! I question if we really understand this. I suspect that many of us pay lip service to the undeserved nature of grace, but often the power of this truth has not permeated the depths of our being.


If we don’t believe that grace is entirely undeserved, we should consider how utterly worthless we were when grace first saved us. We were enemies of God and without strength (Romans 5:6, 5:10). We were as John McNeill graphically put it, “Ownerless dogs prowling the garbage heaps of humanity.” Now ask yourself this; have you, through the years, become so wonderful that you are now worth saving? I hope you answer no! The truth is that grace saves people who have absolutely, “no good thing” in them worth saving (Romans 7:18). If we think there is one good thing about us … one shred of perfect, unadulterated goodness that deserves to be saved, there is no room for grace.


If we believe in salvation by grace alone, we have recognized that we are, in ourselves, destitute of everything. We are in agreement with the scripture when it says, “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint” (Isaiah 1:5). Believing this, we have no difficulty accepting that grace both sent the gospel to us, and opened our eyes to it.


Grace is both the seeker and the finder. It was the personification of grace who sought and found Zacchaeus in Luke 19. It was grace that found Noah and by grace that Noah was saved (Genesis 6:8). Indeed, the sole reason that any of us love the Lord is because of grace and grace alone.


If God withdrew His gracious hand from us, then we would be exposed, naked and undone before the awful holiness of God. But grace saves those who cannot, by their own efforts, produce one continuing trace of goodness or even one suggestion of holiness that could recommend them to Heaven. This is good news for people like me! Grace is for the lost, the guilty and the hopeless. Grace is for those who were too weak to walk towards God, but who were abundantly energetic when it came to running away from Him. These are the only people whom grace saves!


By the way, in this day and age when absolute right and wrong have been almost entirely dispensed with, it is, humanly speaking, very difficult to get people saved since so few will admit that they are actually lost, incurably lost and entirely dependent on someone else to save them Why, after all, consent to someone else saving you when you don’t know you need to be saved in the first place? When it comes to evangelism, we can get people to raise their hands at the end of a meeting because they want to go to heaven, but let’s face it, who in their right mind wants to go to hell? This kind of ‘soul winning’ activity can often be a long way off from bringing salvation! Salvation is for lost people, for ruined sinners and for hopeless cases. Salvation is only for those who need grace.


The Lord gives us grace upon grace (John 1:16; James 4:6). In other words, we both start and continue this Christian life by grace alone. Grace is the great changer of lives and the subduer of indwelling sin. A man may spend his entire life trying to reform, but we are saved from beginning to end by grace, pure grace, righteous grace and that alone. John Newton, the author of the grand old hymn, “Amazing Grace”, said it like this,


“By various maxims, forms and rules-

That pass for wisdom in our schools-

I sought my passions to restrain,

But all my efforts proved in vain.


But since my Saviour I have known

Are all my rules reduced to one-

To keep my Lord by faith in view-

This faith supplies, and motive too.”


And that’s the Gospel Truth


The Wednesday Word, Jan. 22, 2014: Misunderstood Matters about Grace,

Part 3



When it comes to salvation, another misunderstood thing about grace is assuming that our faith creates the grace of God. However, the truth is that grace, righteous grace, already lived in the heart of God before anyone ever exercised faith. In our un-saved state, we were excluded from the life of God and lived in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and the mind (Ephesians 2:1-4). But God graciously made us alive unto Himself (Ephesians 2:5). Faith came because of grace. In fact, faith is nowhere, in the scriptures, said to create grace; it’s quite the opposite. Our faith does not make God gracious. God’s righteous grace already existed before faith was given. For by grace you are saved (Ephesians 2:5).


Because of grace we are given faith. Faith will cause us to grasp that the sacrifice of Christ at Calvary is a righteous, finished sacrifice (John 19:30). As believers, faith continues to lead us to hug the truth that, in Christ crucified, righteousness and grace have already embraced and we are now covered, not merely by grace, but with the robe of righteousness.


When faith reads, “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, (Isaiah 61:10) it says a vigorous amen! Faith sees that the reason God loved us and took delight in us was not discovered in some goodness or worth within us but found, rather, in the gracious good-pleasure of God Himself (Matthew 12:32). Faith sees that Christ’s destiny is our destiny. Faith sees that He was made alive and that we were made alive together with him.  Faith believes that He was raised up and that we were raised up together with him.  Faith reckons that He was made to sit at the right hand of the Father in heavenly places, and we have been made to sit together with him. Why? There is one answer and only one. It’s grace, pure grace, sovereign grace (Ephesians 2:5-7).


So let’s say it again, faith does not bring grace into existence. If we have received grace, then it not because we gave anything to deserve it … and that includes faith! Let’s face it, if we believe that our faith brought grace into existence then we must conclude that we are co-providers of salvation. Perish the thought!


God saves us by his grace, and not because of our faith! Although we were dead in our sins (Ephesians 2:1), “God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, quickened (made us alive) together with Christ — by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5).


Nonetheless, someone objects saying, “But, we need faith.” I reply, “Of course we do; we are not suggesting that faith is not vital, but nowhere does God look and see if we have faith before He justifies us. We are saved “through” faith and not because of it (Ephesians 2:7). Faith is the instrument, the channel through which we receive salvation. Grace, on the other hand, is the very ground of our salvation.


We are dependent on Him, and not on our faith. He is completely reliable, He never fails. Our faith, on the other hand, often fails but the object of our faith, the Lord Jesus never does!


Faith receives salvation, but it is a very poor foundation on which to attempt to build our salvation. We build on Christ alone + nothing!


This God is the God we adore,

Our faithful, unchangeable Friend,

Whose love is as great as His power,

And knows neither measure nor end!

’Tis Jesus, the First and the Last,

Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;

We’ll praise Him for all that is past,

And trust Him for all that’s to come.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.


The Wednesday Word, Jan. 29, 2014: Righteous Grace, Part 1

God is the God of all Grace (1 Peter 5:10). He is also the God of righteousness (Ezra 9:15). It is as we see that God saves us, not only by grace, but also through righteousness that we enjoy His full and perfect peace (Isaiah 45:21, Romans 4:5; Isaiah 26:3).


At the heart of the gospel, we discover that grace is, as Horatius Bonar terms it, “Righteous Grace.” Unless we understand this, we will continually struggle with assurance and peace. God justifies the ungodly (Romans 4:5) and does so as a matter, not solely of love, but also of righteousness. At the cross, the justice of God punished Christ as though He were the worst of sinners (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because God refused to gloss over the sin problem, Christ was condemned as though He were us. Justice has, therefore, been satisfied.


Luther, at first, struggled to understand this very thing. One day he read David’s prayer in Psalm 71:2: “Save me in thy righteousness” and cried out, “What does this mean? I can understand how God can damn me in His righteousness, but if he would save me it must surely be in His mercy.” Through time, however, He came to understand that gospel grace is righteous grace.


In the Gospel, we are not confronted with a vague forgiveness, arising out of some sort of paternal love on the part of a bemused God. That would be far from righteous grace. We’ve got to get to grips with this!  We need to know both the righteous and gracious basis of our acceptance before God. Indeed, if we are not clear on this, we have no gospel! If we take away either righteousness or grace from the gospel, we have eliminated its very life-blood, and there is, as Spurgeon says, “Nothing left worth preaching, worth believing, or worth contending for.”


Righteous grace is at the heart and soul of the gospel: without it, the gospel is dead. Without righteous grace, there is no comfort for the troubled conscience. From first to last, everything in salvation is of grace and that grace comes to us righteously.


Additionally, to help us understand this we need to ask:


1) Did God recognize our absolute guilt, but chose to ignore it since He is our Father?


2) Or, did God acquit us because He loves us and, at the back of it all, He is very good-natured?


3) Or, is God indifferent to sin?


4) Or, was it that because God’s absolute holiness demanded He took action against our sin, He punished Christ Jesus at the cross of Calvary?


So, how say you? On what basis does God acquit us? Are we declared not-guilty because God is kind and tender? Or, does God forgive us in a righteous, just and gracious manner? We must be clear on this. We must be clear that, at the cross, our sins were paid for by our substitute. Christ was legally cursed on our behalf (Galatians 3:13). Our gracious acquittal is, therefore, based on the work of righteousness. It was righteousness that had condemned us in the first place. It was righteousness that had barred us from heaven and if ever we were to be saved it had to be done righteously.


Now that Christ has been righteously punished in our place, our condemnation has been righteously and graciously removed (Romans 8:1). Christ has died in place of the ungodly and has been righteously condemned. Believers have now been declared righteous, not because the Lord is nice, but because of righteous grace. Christ died and intercepted our well-earned wrath as He purged and took our sin away (Romans 3:25, Hebrews 1:3, John 1:29).


Since the perfect righteousness of Christ has now been graciously reckoned to us, it would be, therefore, an unrighteous thing for God to condemn anyone for whom Christ died (Romans 4:22-25, Romans 8:34).


And that’s the Gospel Truth.


The Wednesday Word, Feb. 5, 2014: Righteous Grace (Part 2)



It’s one thing to feel good about the gospel, but quite a different matter to grasp its ramifications. I have met many professing Christians who, for example, are ‘martyrs’ to a bad conscience. They know the words, “saved by grace,” but suspect that grace means, ‘God’s lackadaisical kindness’. Not having understood that the grace which saves is righteous grace, they have no peace. The ‘gospel’ that they know ministers calm to neither their mind nor their conscience (Jeremiah 6:14).


For true peace we, as gospel believers, continually find ourselves going back to the cross. When your conscience tells you that you are a rat, then asks you if you are sure that God is merciful?” … What do you do? And just as you are thinking about the question, your conscience pipes up again saying “What if God grows weary of you and forgets to be gracious?” What can you say? The only answer to these accusations is the cross for it boldly declares that, “Christ Jesus was set forth as a substitutionary wrath offering for sin.” At the cross, we learn that He saves by both love and justice. At the cross, we learn that we are saved as a matter of righteousness grace (Romans 3:24-26).


He saves us justly.  This is good news for we easily could imagine a scenario where God could cease to be merciful, but we could never envision Him ceasing to be just.


Righteous grace is no new concept. In the Old Testament, the blood of the sin offering was sprinkled on the mercy seat. Justice and mercy combined. The sinner was, consequently, saved, not only by grace, but also saved righteously. Likewise, in the New Covenant, the God of the gospel graciously justified the ungodly by ruthlessly punishing our sins in the person of our substitute Jesus Christ. Although we are saved by grace alone, saving grace is never alone for it is inseparably joined to righteousness. Our salvation and right standing with God now rest on the righteous and gracious work which God has already accomplished for us, outside of us, in the Person of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24).


Two thousand years ago there was an objective, actual, historical event when God Himself broke into human history as one of us. He became our representative and was so identified with us that all which He did was, not only done for us, but was exactly the same as if we had done it ourselves. When He graciously bore the punishment for our sin, we were righteously punished in Him. When He arose, we arose. When He was exalted to the right hand of the majesty on high so were we (Ephesians 2:6)! It is finished!  We can now be at peace.


Have you ever had a troubled conscience? I have! The following are some scriptures (in personalized form) that I have frequently used to defeat the accusations of a bad conscience. Take these wonderful truths and confess them.


"Christ died for my sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3).


"He was wounded for my transgressions; he was bruised for my iniquities" (Isaiah 53:5).


"Christ was once offered to bear my sins" (Hebrews 9:28).


Who gave himself for me, that he might redeem me (Titus 2:14).


He was “delivered for my offences and was raised for my justification" (Romans 4:25).


He “gave himself for my sins" (Galatians 1:4)


"Christ died for me" (Romans 5:6).


"He has appeared to put away my sin by the sacrifice of himself" (Hebrews 9:26).


See also 1 Peter 4:1, 1 Peter 3:18, 1 Peter 2:24.


Notice how the words, ‘Himself’ and ‘He’ appear frequently in the preceding verses. This is because the gracious and righteous Lord Himself is our salvation. He is our robe of righteousness.


Someone once asked Irenaeus, the 2nd Century, iconic champion of the faith, "Irenaeus, what has Christ brought that other religious leaders have not brought?"  He answered, "He brought Himself."


That's what makes our gospel different. God came here Himself to righteously and gracious deal with sin and sinners. This is good news for the troubled conscience.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.


The Wednesday Word, Feb. 11, 2014: Righteous Grace: Part 3

 


It is written, "The soul that sins it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4). In the light of this scripture, we see that each one of us was under the death sentence. Indeed, the righteous demands of God made our death a necessity. Therefore, to meet this dreadful obligation and to rescue us, the Eternal One, in grace and love, became one of us and died in our place.


Let’s say someone was to die for a person for whom there was no need to die; we would be unlikely to call this death a proof of affection. Quite the contrary, we would likely consider it a strange and illogical demonstration of pointlessness.  However, to die for someone, when there was really a need for dying … now that’s the test of true and genuine love. The hymn writer said it well when he penned the lines,


“Here is love, vast as the ocean,

Loving-kindness as the flood,

When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,

Shed for us His precious blood.

Who His love will not remember?

Who can cease to sing His praise?

He can never be forgotten,

Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.”


If ever we were to be saved from damnation, Christ Jesus had to die. Because of this necessity, grace and righteousness combined and led the eternal One to the cross. There at Calvary, He died in the sinner’s place and thus made it a righteous thing for God to cancel the believing sinner's guilt and to rescind his sentence of death.


Thomas Watson, the Puritan, said, ‘When we were rebelling—He was dying! When we had weapons in our hands—then He had the spear in His side! This is the very quintessence of love! "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!" (Romans 5:8). When we were engulfed in misery and had lost our beauty—then Christ died for us. O amazing love, which should swallow up all our thoughts!”


Had it not been for Christ’s doing and dying, God and the sinner could not have met, and righteousness would have forbidden reconciliation. It was love working in harmony with righteous grace that secured our salvation.


“On the mount of crucifixion,

Fountains opened deep and wide;

Through the floodgates of God’s mercy

Flowed a vast and gracious tide.

Grace and love, like mighty rivers,

Poured incessant from above,

And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice

Kissed a guilty world in love.”


Unless God had punished our substitute at the cross, it would not have been correct for God to receive us or indeed, safe for us to come to Him. But now, in Christ, mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed (Psalm 85:10). Now, through Christ, gracious salvation is also righteous. It is as faith grasps both the righteous and gracious nature of the work of Calvary that our conscience finds peace (Hebrews 9:14). Peace flows to us as we see that our reconciliation is anchored in the righteousness of God (Ephesians 2:13-16) and this righteous reconciliation will stand every test and will last throughout eternity.


The troubled conscience can only find true peace in the gospel as it understands that Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). Faith grasps that God justifies, not the godly, but the ungodly (Romans 4:5). The righteous grace which is ours, through the sin-bearing work of Christ, tells us that there can be no possible condemnation nor even a hint of mild disapproval for one who is saved by the free grace of God alone (Romans 8:1). God is Just, yet the Justifier of the ungodly (Romans 3:26)! This is astonishing news! This is super abounding grace!


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, March 5, 2014: A Bad Case of SDS!


 

There are many Christians who have not as yet grasped the applications of the gospel.  They have no idea how much God loves them.


Let me ask you---do you enjoy being a Christian—a follower of Jesus?  Some folks, if they are honest, would have to answer “no” to that.  They are not satisfied; they have a bad case of ‘SDS’... They’re ‘Saved, Dissatisfied and Stuck!’


Does this description fit you? You are earnest, but you have no joy, you are sincere, but you have no peace. You are not sure whether or not God accepts you and your performance!  You quietly think that if you can obey God He will accept you, but if you fail and disobey, He will reject you. You, my friend have caught a bad dose of religion!  You are not walking in the gospel.


In the gospel, we learn that we are accepted with God, not because of our doing, but because of the doing of another, the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:19). This is good news---this is Gospel Truth. We are accepted because of His performance.  And yes, we do obey the Lord …but not to gain acceptance, rather, we obey because we have already been graciously accepted (Titus 3:8).


Acceptance with God is a central benefit of the gospel (Ephesians 1:6; John 1:16). This is a demonstration of God’s wisdom. After all, there can be no acceptable worship unless there are acceptable worshippers. This is not the way that religion tells it. The religious man thinks that by worship and performing his religion he can find acceptance with God: But the truth is just the opposite.  Man must first be accepted and only then can he worship.  He must first be accepted before He can present any acceptable worship to the Father.


The great mystery, when we consider things, is how the all-holy God can possibly accept us.  We are, after all, by nature corrupted and vile sinners (Psalm 148:2; Mark 7:21-23).  The gospel, however, answers this question for, by the gospel, we understand that our acceptance is in Christ alone! He has bought and paid for us with blood … His blood! Faith grasps and confidently holds to this. Faith knows that our works, prayers and tears cannot save us! Faith grasps that we are saved by Christ alone apart from any contribution we might hope to make. Faith causes us to rest in the truth that Christ’s blood has powerfully redeemed us!


Someone once said it like this:


“Faith is looking to Christ, not to how much faith I have. It is not faith that saves, but it is Christ who saves!


Faith is looking to Christ and not to my prayers, my worship, nor my meditations.


Faith is looking to Christ and neither to the name I wear nor the doctrines I hold. It is not what, but Whom we believe.


Faith is looking to Christ and not the law. The law wounds but never heals; it kills but never gives life.


Faith is looking to Christ and not to His mother, nor His apostles, nor to an image of a cross. There is one God and one Mediator.


Faith is looking to Christ, and not to the brethren; neither the best nor the worst of them – we put no confidence in the flesh.


Faith is looking to Christ, neither to my strength nor to my weakness. All grace or strength we have is by His grace, and when I am weak, then I am strong.


Faith is looking to Christ, not my works! Without Him our righteousness is filthy rags.


Faith is looking to Christ yesterday, today and tomorrow.


Faith is looking to Christ at all times, and we never stop coming, looking, resting, trusting, believing, depending nor leaning on the Lord Jesus Christ.”


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, March 12, 2014: Saved to the Uttermost


‘Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them."—Hebrews 7:25.


One of the biggest words in our language is the word, “Uttermost.”  It has been said that, ‘no one has ever seen the uttermost nor travelled there. We have mapped the earth, pinpointed the stars and measured the distances between the planets, but in spite of all our learning and knowledge no one has ever located the uttermost!’


The uttermost is like the horizon; it’s always further on. Our understanding of God’s love is like that. Just when we think we have begun to understand it, we see that He loves us to an even deeper degree than we have yet imagined.  He loves us to the uttermost! We read in John 13:1, “Having loved his own he loved them to the end (literally, to the uttermost). His love is always greater than we can fathom. He has lavished His amazing love upon us yet, in our experience, its fullest extent, the uttermost, is always farther on.


When we look at Christ’s incarnation and life on our behalf, we glimpse a measure of His love for us, but we are so spiritually dull that it remains only a glimpse.  When we look at the cross we continue to receive a sight of His love, but again we can’t grasp its fullest extent because the complete appreciation of His love is always further on. We are loved to the uttermost, but we have not yet arrived there in our understanding. Much as we grasp the wonderful things of the gospel, we are faced with a love that is greater than our comprehension, a love that is always further on. It’s a love to the uttermost!


Notice how in Hebrews 7:25 that we have a Saviour who not only loves us to the uttermost, but who also saves to the uttermost.  I’m not sure why some people insist that Jesus can save us and then lose us for the Scripture is clear …He saves us to the uttermost. He has wonderfully accomplished our salvation and now, as our ever-living High Priest, He richly applies that same salvation to His blood bought possession.


He is able to save to the uttermost!


He is able to save us to the uttermost because He did not save himself (Luke 23:35).


He is able to save us to the uttermost because He died as though he were us (Galatians 2:20).


He is able to save us to the uttermost because He loved us and paid for us with His blood (Revelation 5:9).


He is able to save us to the uttermost because He has an endless priesthood (Hebrews 7:15-17).


He is able to save us to the uttermost because He appears in Heaven for us (Hebrews 9:24).


He is able to save us to the uttermost because, as He appears in Heaven, He presents Himself with His blood (Hebrews 9:12).


He is able to save us to the uttermost for He is applying the blessings of eternal redemption to us (Hebrews 9:12-15).


He is able to save us to the uttermost because he ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).


That same Priest, who died on the cross, is alive never to die again. That same Jesus, who was buried in the tomb, is risen. He ever lives to ensure that His purchase is saved to the uttermost. He alone, plus nothing, is our salvation, and we rest our faith on Him alone. He is the crucified and risen Lord, the Master of all. He alone is our ever-living High Priest who saves to the uttermost.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, March 26, 2014: Saved to the Uttermost - Part 2

 

‘Wherefore, He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them."—Hebrews 7:25.


Here is some excellent news; Christ Jesus, our great High Priest, has been entrusted with full authority and power to save all for whom He died.  He is able to save to the uttermost. Many a doctor has wanted to save a patient, but has not been capable of doing so.  Many parents have been willing to transfer the suffering of their child to themselves, but were unable to. The will was there, but there was no ability. Do we think Christ is like that?


Here’s the gospel truth; the Lord Jesus is not merely willing to save; He doesn’t just try to save or do His best to save, but He actually saves to the uttermost all who come to God by Him.


Christ Jesus succeeds where everyone else fails! He saves to the uttermost. He saves with an all-sufficient omnipotence. He takes us at our worst and saves us completely … or as one old-time Irish preacher used to say, “He saves us from the guttermost to the uttermost.”


Because He saves to the uttermost, He sacrificed Himself on Calvary. Because He saves to the uttermost, He made full satisfaction for our sins. Because He saves to the uttermost, He intercepted the wrath of God which was headed straight at us. Because He saves to the uttermost, He rose from the grave. Because He saves to the uttermost, He ascended into Heaven. Because He saves to the uttermost, He now makes constant intercession for us.


He is the Great High priest who saves to the uttermost.


Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of guilt.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of condemnation.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of damnation.

Because He is our High Priest, He saves from the uttermost of death.


He is able to save to the uttermost!


What a staggering gospel. At the cross, Christ was the victim, at the resurrection He was the victor. Christ died, Christ has risen, Christ has ascended to the right hand of the Father and ever lives to make intercession for us (Romans 8:34). He saves to the uttermost! Having obtained eternal redemption for us at Calvary, He now applies the blessings of His accomplishments from the Holy of Holies. He is alive with the power of an endless life and thus guarantees that we will realize the full benefits and blessings of His sacrifice. He ever-lives and because of that endless life we have the pledge that we will be saved to the uttermost by Him.


As the Hymn writer wrote,


“Five bleeding wounds He bears, received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers they strongly plead for me;
“Forgive Him O forgive,” they cry,
“That ransomed sinner must not die.”


Christ saves all who come to God by Him. He saves completely with an exhaustive, all-encompassing salvation. The Christ of the cross is now the High Priest and King of Heaven. He is perfectly suited to those who cannot save themselves because He is able to save to the uttermost. Christ Jesus died on the cross, but unlike the priests of the Old Covenant, his death did not signal a cessation of His ministry.  Christ Jesus rose from the dead and entered glory as our great High Priest. In Him, we are presented before the Father. He is the guarantee that we will never perish.  He saves to the uttermost!


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word. April 23, 2014:  More, More about Jesus!



Hebrews 4:14: Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.


 We so very often miss the “little big” phrases of Scripture. We’ve just read one of them. It said, “We have.”  Did you notice it? “Seeing then that we have a great high priest.”  I’m glad that it didn’t merely say, “There is a great high priest!”  It says, instead, that we have a great high priest. He is already ours!


Our High Priest is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ!

He is the One who is superior to all the high priests of the Old Testament.

He is the One who replaced all the high priests of the Old Testament.

He is the One who is now seated on the throne of grace.

He is the One who is filled with love and sympathy for His purchased people.

He is the One who ever lives to apply the benefits of His atonement to his people.

He is the One who brings us into the welcoming presence of God.


In the Old Testament, the high priests of Israel were but; “faint types and shadows of Christ.” However, they carried the names of the tribes of Israel upon their breastplate. This pointed towards Christ’s love for His people. These same names were also upon the high priest’s shoulders. This pointed towards the power of Christ in carrying His people (see Exodus 28:6-14; Exodus 28:15-29). Likewise, at this very moment, our great high priest, the Lord Jesus saves us with both love and strength. What an amazing salvation! What an amazing Saviour!


“Before the Throne of God above

I have a sure and perfect plea;

A great High Priest whose name is love,

Who ever lives and pleads for me,

My name is graven on His hands,

My name is written on His heart;

I know that while in Heaven He stands

No tongue can bid me thence depart.”


Once each year, under the Law, the Jewish high priest went behind the veil and into the holiest of all to sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat (Leviticus 16). But our high priest, the Lord Jesus, has, once for all, passed through the heavens and entered the heavenly sanctuary, with His own blood, where He, at this moment, gloriously represents us (Hebrews 9:24).


Let me ask you, do you know what it is to have a high priest or is this a mere theory? Are you living in this knowledge or is your life characterized by regret? Are you constantly thinking, “If only I had not made that stupid mistake…or if only I hadn’t done this or that”?  Is your past robbing you of today’s joy? Then it’s time to put your past behind you! Your great high priest has finished His work----it is over. His blood has cleansed every wicked thing that you have ever done or thought (John 19:30).


You might say, “But you do not know what I have done in the past!”


I don’t need to know. The blood of Jesus cleanses all sin (I John 1:7). Consider Paul; watch him and see how in a murderous frenzy he wasted the early church. I’m sure that was hard for him to forget. But he knew about the shed blood of the Lord Jesus. He knew that his Lord was his great high priest and intercessor. He knew that his sins had been taken away and, as a result, he was able to forget those things that lay behind.


Like Paul, we can forget our past for we have a great high priest. Our past is past. It has been wiped out. It is gone!


Jesus our High priest sympathizes with us in our temptations. He supplies us with strength. He is everything we need!


And that’s the Gospel Truth.


The Wednesday Word, May 7, 2014: Our Gracious High Priest



Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may … find grace to help in time of need.


Everything that Christ does as our priest flows freely from His finished work. Having redeemed us, He entered into the heavenly sanctuary to apply the benefits of His finished work to us (Romans 8:33-34). Since this is true, we may now come boldly to the throne of grace … and find grace to help in time of need.”


But how should we approach Him? According to our verse, we are to come ‘boldly.’  To come ‘boldly’ means we are to come with confidence, pouring out our hearts to Him, holding nothing back. It means, “saying it all” with assurance and frankness.  It is there, at His throne that we confess our sins, our fears, our hopes and our griefs to the One who is filled with tender compassion for us. Horatius Bonar says;


 “Tell the High Priest, not what you desire to be, nor what you ought to be, but what you are. Tell him the honest truth as to your condition at this moment. Confess the impurity of your motives; all the evil that you feel or that you don't feel; your hard-heartedness, your blindness, your unteachableness. Confess everything without reserve. He wants you to come to Him exactly as you are, and not to cherish the vain thought that, by a little waiting, or working, or praying, you can make yourself fit, or that you can persuade Him to make you fit.”


Notice how our verse tells us of our freedom in the gospel. Under the law, every mouth was shut because of guilt (Romans 3:19), but now, under grace, our mouths are open wide because we have a faithful high priest (Hebrews 4:16). We may tell Him everything.


Notice also that our high priest sits on the Throne of Grace. It’s not the Throne of law, it’s the throne of love. It’s not the throne of religion, it’s the throne of rescue.   It’s not even called the Throne of Majesty, although it could have been. If verse 16 had said, “Let us come to the place of enthroned sovereign majesty,” we would have been afraid to go there because we know our failings and fallings. Sin makes cowards of us all (Proverbs 28:1).The thought of God the majestic ruler strikes fear into us. He’s too boundless, too big, and too powerful. How wonderful then to read that, the throne of our royal Priest is the Throne of Grace.


The One who is enthroned and seated in grace, is grace incarnate. Wonder of wonders, in His doing and dying, He became our substitute. He is the One who is touched by the feeling of our infirmities. He is the One who is headquartered on the Throne of Grace, and there is no wound the law can make that His grace cannot heal.


To go to His Throne, the only 4 things we need to be convinced of are that;


(1) We have a great high priest.

(2) We are sinners.

(3) Our high priest has a sympathetic ear.

(4) He freely invites us to come to Him.


This is why we can come freely and without pretending to be what we are not.  We have already been accepted apart from our works. What we do or haven’t done can neither improve nor diminish that.  Our High Priest knows our failures and He, in spite of what the legalizers tell us, is not recording them (Romans 4:7-8).


Our High Priest is entirely ours, His perfect obedience, His perfect prayer life, worship, sacrifice at Calvary and perfect resurrection are all ours! When He sat down on the throne of grace, He was ours. We are constantly in His thoughts for we are precious to Him. The more we are convinced of these things, the more we will come boldly to Him.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, May 14, 2014: He Became Like Us



Hebrews 2:17 Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.


The Eternal Word became one of us in order to redeem us.  Indeed, our verse says, “He was made like unto his brethren.” He took our nature and paid for us with His blood. If ever we were to have been saved, there was an absolute necessity for Christ to have become one of us. Consider our predicament: we were on earth and God was in heaven. We were polluted, but God was pure. We were unrighteous, but God was just.  How then could He look upon us and grant us grace?


We were without hope and without God (Ephesians 2:12). We needed someone to span the immense divide between God and us and rescue us.  But to do this, this rescuer would have to become low enough to reach the bottom of our pit (Genesis 18:27).  He would also have to be high enough to reach the exalted glory of Yahweh (1 Timothy 6:16). But, where could we find someone low enough and high enough all at the same time? The answer was and is in Christ alone, our Great High Priest. He was and is the exclusive hope of sinners for He alone established the bridge between man and God.


He is now our great high priest and is according to our text both merciful and faithful!  Mercy is an interesting word which is inseparably linked to the concept of misery. The objects of mercy are those who were in misery.  Indeed, it is only the miserable who sue for mercy! In his misery, for example, Blind Bartimaeus cried out, “Jesus son of David have mercy on me” (Mark 10:47). In His mercy, our priest, the Lord Jesus destroyed the eternal misery of death and the grave for us! In mercy, He destroyed the misery of Satan’s authority over us. In mercy, He took away our sin and misery and reckoned us with His righteousness. He is our champion. Because of mercy, no believer need ever be destroyed by the misery of sin.


But not only is our high priest merciful, He is also faithful. In His faithfulness He finished His work (John 17:4). In His faithfulness, He is our present help in time of trouble! In His faithfulness, He brings all needed gifts and blessings of God to us.  In His faithfulness, He understands and sympathizes with us.  In His faithfulness, He helps and strengthens us. Because He is faithful, He can be trusted (1 Peter 2:6).


Don’t be mistaken, there is no access to God without a priest and there is no priest qualified to act on behalf of sinners but Jesus Christ. Unlike human priests, Jesus is perfectly holy.  Unlike other priests, He understands all our temptations and struggles. Unlike other priests, He Himself is that one, perfect non-repeatable and finished offering for sin. Unlike other priests, in Him we encounter God. Unlike other priests, He will never die, for unlike other priests, He ever lives to make intercession for us. Unlike other priests, mercy and faithfulness meet together in Him. On this point, William Gouge says, “His mercifulness was the ground of His faithfulness and His faithfulness was the evidence of His mercy.


A Man there is, a real man,

With wounds still gaping wide,

(From which rich streams of blood once ran),

In hands and feet and side.

(Tis no wild fancy of our brains,

No metaphor we speak;

The same dear Man in heaven now reigns,

That suffered for our sake).

This wondrous Man of whom we tell

Is true Almighty God;

He bought our souls from death and hell;

The price, His own heart's blood.


Joseph Hart


Jesus by His suffering and death has become our merciful and faithful high priest. He has ascended and has presented us to the Father and declared us unblameable and perfect. We are saved by His sacrifice for us, not by our sacrifice for Him.  We are saved by His faithfulness to us, not by our strivings to be faithful to Him.  We are saved by His merciful and faithful commitment to us, not by our failed efforts of total commitment to Him.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, May 28, 2014: Love, Worship and Approaching God



Genesis 22:1-14


Have you ever heard of ‘The Law of First Mention’? It’s a rule of biblical interpretation which states that the first mention of something in the Scriptures is especially significant and sets the stage for how it is to be understood in the rest of the Word.  It is of great interest, therefore, to notice that in this passage (Genesis 22:1-14), we get the first mention of the word “Love” in the Bible. It is found in verse 2 (“Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest”) and appears in the context of Abraham’s blood sacrifice of Isaac. Love was not mentioned in the Garden of Eden where we would expect it to be, but rather, first mentioned in the story whose central truth is that of substitution.  Thus, we are, once again, pointed towards Calvary.  It is there, at the cross, that we see the greatest proof of God’s love for us. God so loved that He substituted His Son for us upon a gruesome and ghastly cross.


May every believer’s conscience embrace, with gladness, the love of the Lord revealed in this substitutionary work; "Christ died for our sins." "He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities." "Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many." "He gave himself for us." "He was delivered for our offences." "Christ died for the ungodly." "He hath appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."  "Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh."  "Christ hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust."  "His own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree."


Praise God for our substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ! May every one of us come to know the assurance and embrace of His love, demonstrated so vividly in Christ Jesus.


But back to the Law of First Mention; in this Genesis passage we also find the first mention of ‘Worship’ (Genesis 22:5 “I and the lad will go yonder and worship”).  This surely tells us that the only foundation of worship is the blood of Christ.  Worship is more than singing; it is a lifestyle that incorporates all that we do (Romans 12:1-2).


However, our only approach to the Father is through the blood. If we believe that living a good life qualifies us as worshipers, the gospel has not yet grasped us. Access and right of approach to God comes only through the doing, dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus! Acceptable worship, therefore, comes only from worshipers who have been made acceptable through the blood! Only those who by faith know the unearned covenant blessings of Christ’s righteousness can be counted as true worshipers.


The truth is, none of us has any right to life and, had it not been for God’s plan and purpose in the cross, the whole of the universe would have imploded and fallen in upon the heads of rebel man when Adam sinned.  I like the words of the old hymn;



“All the worth I have before Thee.

Is the value of the blood;

I present when I adore Thee,

Christ the first-fruit unto God”.


We can never bring our merit to the Throne of Grace. It is, after all, the Throne of Grace, not the Throne of Works! We can never approach God on the basis of how righteous we are in ourselves.  To do so would be sheer folly since God has already brought His guilty verdict against man’s supposed goodness saying; “There is none righteous, no not one” (See Romans 3:10 and following verses). Our only access and qualification for a life of worship and approach to the Father remains the shed blood of Jesus Christ.


“My faith has found a resting place,

Not in device or creed;

I trust the ever-living One,

His wounds for me shall plead;

I need no other argument,

I need no other plea,

It is enough that Jesus died,

And that He died for me.”


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, June 4, 2014: Noah, the Big Boat and the Blood!



Just about everyone knows the story of Noah and the Big Boat! There’s an endearing little children’s song about it that goes; “The animals went in two by two, hurrah, hurrah! The elephant and the kangaroo, hurrah, hurrah! They all went in just to get in out of the rain.”  But of course, the song, cute as it is, is nonsense.  They didn’t go in two by two, only the unclean animals went in two by two ----the clean animals went in by 7s.


Why 7s? Simply this; when Noah got off the boat and placed his feet on dry land he planned to build an altar and offer blood sacrifices.  And that’s exactly what he did! I like this man Noah; He built his altar before he built his home.


So let’s consider Noah’s blood sacrifice! He took animal number 7 out of the various ranks of the clean animals and sacrificed them. But why animal number 7? Because, number 7 is the number of spiritual perfection, and spiritual perfection points towards Christ.


For example, there were 7 days in the beginning of creation. The seventh day of rest declared that God’s creation works were finished and perfect.


There were 7 covenants mentioned in Scripture, the final one, the New Covenant, being the perfect one.


Joshua marched around Jericho 7 times.


7 priests with 7 trumpets also marched around Jericho and on the 7th day they marched around 7 times.


Naaman washed 7 times in the Jordan.


Elijah prayed 7 times.


Every 7th day was a Sabbath.


Every 7th year was a Sabbath year.


Every 7 times 7 years was a year of Jubilee.


Three of the feasts of Israel lasted 7 days.


Between the first and second feasts there were 7 days.


The term “First and the Last” is used 7 times.


There are 7 seals in the Book of Revelation.


There were 7 churches,


7 candlesticks,


7 stars,


7 spirits before the throne of God.


The Lamb had 7 eyes.


Before His crucifixion, Christ passed through 7 trials.


Christ gives seven petitions to His people in the Disciple’s Prayer


There were 7 accusations against Christ.


There were 7 testimonies to the innocence of Christ.


There were 7 questions from Pilate to Christ.


There were 7 sayings from the cross.


Here, at Noah’s blood sacrifice, it was the seventh animal that was sacrificed.  This points to the perfection of Christ’s offering. We further see that after Noah’s blood sacrifice, the Lord promised blessing to mankind (Genesis 8:20-22). The nations of the world are, likewise, blessed because of Christ and the cross (Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:14; 3:18). In Genesis 8:21, we also read that Noah’s sacrifice was ‘a sweet savour’ unto the Lord.  It is no wonder then that we read in the New Testament that; “Christ hath loved us, and given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour;” (Ephesians 5:2).


On a very practical note, Noah’s sacrifice shows that Noah knew he still must approach God through shed blood. Noah didn’t get off the boat prideful that he and his family had been the ones chosen by God to be saved.  Nor did he now presume on some new privileged relationship with God: Noah still knew himself to be a sinner, and thus he offered a blood sacrifice because it was the only appointed way he could approach the all- holy God.


In the same way, God has chosen us, not because we were better than our neighbours, but because of grace and grace alone. Even so, we will do well to remember that as we approach Him, we should do so exclusively through the blood of Christ.  He alone is our perfect approach and acceptance before God.


And that’s the Gospel Truth



The Wednesday Word, July 7, 2014: Sanctified by the Blood: Part 1



Hebrews 13:12: Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without (outside) the gate.


The blood of Christ is so powerful that it has purged every one of our sins and set us apart unto God. The all-seeing, all-piercing eye of Yahweh could discover no flaw in the blood for it contained no tinge of sin. It was and is the blood of the Lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19). The Lamb’s blood was pure, untainted and clean and, therefore, it alone was exclusively suitable to sanctify us.


When Jesus Christ went to heaven in the ascension, He took us with Him, and positionally seated us there with Him as ransomed, redeemed and sanctified believers (Ephesians 2:6). From that point forward, the Father could never again see us in sin or see sin in us. Our growth in grace and the knowledge of God will be greatly accelerated as we grasp this truth. It is a finished work. Now the big question that occupies our mind is, not what we can do, but what He has done (Colossians 3:1). Our lives are now hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). We are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). He will never reckon sin or sins to us. We are washed and sanctified by the blood.


If we sin, and to our shame we say we will, we have the privilege of instantly bringing our wretchedness to our High Priest. Our sins may cause us to cower in alarm as we think of God’s great displeasure, but it is the blood that tells us what God really thinks of us. He sees us as set apart and sanctified unto him. Because of the blood, we cannot be taken from Him. Spurgeon tells us;


“The apostle says that we who are the priests of God have a right as priests to go to God's mercy-seat that is within the Vail; but it were to our death to go there unless we were perfect. But we are perfect, for the blood of Christ has been sprinkled on us, and, therefore, our standing before God is the standing of perfection.”


CHS: New Park Street Pulpit: Sermon No. 232: Delivered on Sabbath Evening, January 2nd, 1859.


If, however, we insist on remaining in wilful sin, then, although our standing before God is un-altered, we reap what the sin produces and what the Holy Spirit of God must do to chastise us ---to bring us away from the love of our sin. This does not mean, however, that we are legally separated from the One to whom the blood has already attached us. The Apostle Paul instructs us that; “Neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers nor things present nor things to come nor height nor depth nor any Creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).


Does this give us a license to sin? God forbid (Romans 6:2; Romans 6:15)!  The true believer wants to continually fellowship with the Father through the Son. But, if we sin and grieve the Holy Spirit, there is no way we can enjoy fellowship in the plan of God. Therefore, as we grow in grace, the Spirit of God begins to teach us a holy hatred of sin. However, this holy hatred does not separate us unto God any more than the blood has already done. We, as sanctified believers, have continual access with boldness to the throne of grace, and we may come in all our time of need. Because of the blood, we are always perfect and always qualified to come to the His throne, whatever our doubts, whatever our sins.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, July 16, 2014: Sanctified by The Blood Part 2



Hebrews 13:12: Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without (outside) the gate.


Usually, when non-gospel centred people hear me, or people like me, talk about the blood, they say we are teaching that anyone can sin and get away with it. I am not teaching that at all. What I am saying, however, is because of grace alone, we are in Christ and in Christ there is a superabundance of grace to cover us when we fall. We are sanctified, redeemed, purchased and legally set apart unto God by the blood and neither we nor Satan can destroy that which God has accomplished. Since believers are the recipients of eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12), we will neither be re-sold into the slavery of sin nor prised away, nor fall from the loving, powerful hands of the Master.


Listen to Hebrews 10:14; “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” We are sanctified, forever, because of gospel grace. We are part of the New Covenant. The blood has made us perfect and has set us apart in the sight of God. Isn’t it time to believe this from our hearts?


Adolph Saphir states; “The Holy Ghost Himself witnessed by the prophet Jeremiah that the New Covenant was connected with complete and eternal forgiveness of sin. …The characteristic of the New Testament standing of believers is that they are free from sin in the sight of God, and that always and forever. “No more remembrance of sin;” because Christ is seated at the right hand of God.


This is our sanctification; this is our standing before God.”


Adolph Saphir: The Epistle to the Hebrews: Kregel Publications: Page 645.


If a priest of Israel sinned (Leviticus 4:2-5), he did not begin working harder. He did not say, “Now, wait a minute, I am not sanctified enough. I need to do more.” He did not look back, he didn’t look inside himself, —he almost didn’t do a thing. He instead brought a bullock to the Lord. But, even that required a little work. Bullocks are heavy beasts. A little, just a little, work was needed to bring the sacrifice … this shows one of the flaws in the Old Covenant!


In the New Covenant, however, when a person sins, they only need by faith to bring the offering. And what is the offering? The offering is Jesus Christ. In Hebrews 10:10 we read; “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  The sinner, by faith, brings the offering that has been presented 2000 years ago by Christ. Christ offered Himself---and He is the offering we bring. We don’t have to carry him, or lead Him, we simply, by faith, present Christ and His shed blood.


Someone asks, “How long do I have to wait to be restored after I sin?” The answer is simple, there is no waiting time. While there may be time given in the church assembly, decreed for healing and restoration to service after a serious fall, there is no fellowship probation in Heaven’s courtroom. Bring the blood and enjoy instant communion with the Father. We have already been purchased forever. He does not cast us off and spurn us.


Jesus was numbered among the transgressors and publicly displayed on the accursed cross. As He became our sin offering, He was reckoned as being sin. To the unbelieving Jews, He was a curse. Indeed, multitudes of people yet find no beauty in Him. The Hymn writer speaks well of His passion saying;


“O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,

Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;

How pale Thou art with anguish, with sore abuse and scorn!

How does that visage languish, which once was bright as morn!


J.W. Alexander 1830


However, this same, despised and rejected Saviour, who poured out His blood and died, rose from the dead, entered the most holy place with His own blood, ascended to His throne and has sanctified and perfected us forever. We look to Him and not ourselves. He is our only hope. He is our certain hope. He is our assured hope!


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, August 6, 2014:  Sanctified by the Blood:  Part 3



Hebrews 13:12: Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without (outside) the gate.


We are sanctified (set apart) by the blood. We were bought and paid for by the blood. We were then seated in heaven, in Christ, having been totally delivered by the One who created us. It is finished!


In the Old Testament, however, nothing was finished. Back then, animal sacrifices were burned outside the camp of Israel (Leviticus 16:27). In like manner, Jesus suffered outside the gate of Jerusalem in order that He might sanctify the people of God. His blood has entirely sanctified and cleansed us before the Father. Christ is all and in all (Colossians 3:11). He is our peace offering, our burnt offering, our meal offering, and our sin offering. There’s nothing in Christ’s sacrifice that should be out of it and nothing out of it that should be in it. It is complete, and we are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10).


Furthermore, Leviticus 4:4 addresses the sinner saying; “And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.”


Notice, this verse does not tell the fallen sinner to do penance and be miserable for 40 days to atone for his sin. He is not told to go away and be depressed for four weeks in order to pay his debt. He is not given any sanctification techniques. He is not told to bang His head against the wall and then to go fast, pray and whip his back for another month to pay for what he did. No, the sinner is simply told to bring the “bullock without blemish” before the Lord.


Now to New Testamentize this. The Father does not endorse penance programs; He endorses the gospel. As believers, no matter who or what we are, or what we have done, when we sin, fall and fail, we don’t enter into self-punishment mode. No amount of self-flagellation will help. We are already sanctified and set apart by that one great work which happened outside of us 2000 years ago. We simply, by faith, on the basis of Calvary, bring Christ to the Father and discover instant restoration before God.


In the New Testament, we have a better mediator than they had in the Old (Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 8:6). His name is Christ Jesus and He is sufficient. It is, therefore, a shame to take Him for granted. It’s a shame to think that He is anything less than all and in all (Colossians 3:11). No matter how badly you feel about your sin, present Christ to the Father.


Let me ask, as a sinner, when you get on your knees, do you present yourself? No! If you are schooled in the gospel, you present Christ. We come to the Father in Jesus’ name. By the way, “In Jesus’ name” is not merely a little formula that we attach to our prayers. No indeed! When we pray in Jesus name, we are pleading the merits of the Son and all that His shed blood has gained and guaranteed for us. We are declaring that He, Jesus, is our only and sufficient qualification for being there before the Father.


We read; “By one offering He has perfected for ever those who are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). Jesus did what the Old Testament sacrifices could never do. He perfected us! Everything essential to the salvation of the individual is included in this one great gift of Christ, which the believing sinner receives, by faith in Christ. Every believer fits the category of, “Those that are sanctified.” To lessen Christ’s accomplishments on our behalf and to insist on a certain level of personal piety to qualify us to talk to the Father is to go back to the Law.


Leviticus 4:6 says the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord. This points towards the perfection of the New Covenant. Jesus Christ has finished and perfected the work for us. He has sanctified and set us apart unto God by His blood. Every one of our sins has been purged by His blood and taken away. We are His sanctified possession.


And that’s the Gospel Truth.


The Wednesday Word, August 20, 2014: Holding to the True Jesus


“As man He walked, as God He talked:

His deeds were miracles, His words were oracles:

Of man the finest specimen, of God the full expression:

Behold the Man! Behold thy God!

Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see!

Hail, Incarnate Deity!”


As true believers, we have the privilege to hold, defend and propagate the truth that the full revelation of the Almighty God Himself is in Christ alone. It is Jesus, the Lord from heaven, who is above all (John 3:31). He is the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9). He both has and is the wisdom and the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:24). In Him dwells the fullness of the Godhead in all knowledge, power, grace, mercy, truth and holiness.


As gospel purposed believers, it is our privilege to propagate the message that the Lord Jesus possesses all that God is. If people want to know what God has said, we should point them to the words of Jesus. If they want to know how God acts, then we help them to study Jesus and see what He has done.  Jesus is the unabridged version of God: He is the very mystery of God! Jesus is the full and accurate interpretation of the mind of God. To meet Him is to meet God. To be saved by Him is to be saved by God. He is the final word that God will ever speak about Himself (Hebrews1:1-3).


It should be of no surprise, therefore, to discover that He is still despised and rejected by men. The radical Muslims, as they vie for world domination, witness against His deity. The Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses also deny that He is the Mighty God. They do not receive Him for who He is, the Lord from Heaven, and have, therefore, no authority to teach in His name. Indeed, in many Christian circles His identity has become blurred. Who then will stand up for Jesus in this generation? Will you?

 


Paul warned that another Jesus was being preached and accepted (2 Corinthians 11:4). But this Jesus was a fake. We need to realize that any Jesus who is less than the Divine/Human Savior in Whom alone is salvation is, ‘another Jesus’ and not the Jesus of the scripture. To present people with a Jesus who does not represent Himself as the exclusive way to the Father is to present a false Christ.  To present a Jesus who is less than God is a betrayal!  To present a Jesus whose work is unfinished is a mockery. To present a Jesus who is a reduced God and whose work must be augmented is a travesty!


According to some ‘enlightened’ pundits, however, it is not for us to get too specific. “Just love Jesus … it doesn’t pay to get too technical, just love Jesus, a created Jesus or a Jesus who is less than God, any Jesus will do! ---Just love Him and everyone else--- that’s what it’s all about!” ---O hokey, cokey, hokey!


And indeed they are right, why should it matter which Jesus leads us?  After all, God doesn’t really care which God we go after. Any old God will do! He didn’t mean it in the first commandment when He said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Let’s face it, the first commandment is really the first suggestion. Let’s not get too doctrinal!


But alas, I digress to sarcasm!


The truth is, we must have the correct God before us (See Exodus 20:2-3). And by the self-same token, any old Jesus won't do either. The Jesus of the Scriptures is God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). He is the God/Man. And this same Jesus gave the somber warning in John 8:24, "Unless you believe that I am (HE), you shall die in your sins."


The deity of Christ is an amazingly joyful and life-giving truth.  It’s remarkable to consider that that man who lived in our place was our God.  That man who hung on the cross for us was our God.  That man who poured out His blood for us was our God.  That man who paid our ransom was our God.  That man who became a curse for us was our God.  That man who became our surety and rose from the dead for us was our God.  It is God Himself who has saved us!


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


For more on this subject, read “Jesus is God, He Always was and Always will be” by Miles McKee. To order from Amazon (either paperback or Kindle.) CLICK HERE.


The Wednesday Word, September 3, 2014: The Gospel and “The Holy Man of God.”



I pity the poor spaceman coming to earth to try to discover the God of the Christians by examining the various standards that are presented as holiness.  What a variety of views he’s got to choose from! For example, some groups of Christians drink wine while others think such practices to be accursed.  Some watch TV; others make TV a taboo. A friend of mine once went to preach in Germany. He showed up on the first Sunday morning and was met by the elders who told him to remove his tie.  Ties were worldly they said. That evening, he was to preach for another group just 50 miles away so he showed up without a tie.  The elders met him and told him, in no uncertain terms, that he could not preach without a tie.  The lack of a tie was a sure sign of laxity and carnality. Go figure!


Some groups eat everything while some refuse to eat meat.  Some go as far as to stick strictly to the Old Testament food laws.  One group I knew were so confident of their stand on the food laws they even crooned about it in their services.  They sang;


“Keep the food laws, they are good laws

You know I’m feeling fine since I left off eating swine.

Keep the food laws they are good laws,

I aim to keep the food laws all the time”


What a jolly little chorus!


Some groups insist that their women wear hats or head coverings while the same denomination perhaps in a different location would not have the same emphasis. I’ve found that standards of piety can vary and change by geography.  Unfortunately, we have become masters at teaching for doctrine the standards of man and our group piety is often subtly presented as the way of obtaining “Grade A” status before God.


But the gospel is not about our piety.  It is about Christ’s piety. Jesus Christ completely pleased the Father in everything he did. He worshiped and glorified the Father with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.  Everything Christ did not only pleased the Father but “well” pleased Him. His actions were, not only always right and correct, but were also always done from a pure heart and a right motive.


 Psalm 24 gives us a wonderful picture of Jesus.  It asks, “Who shall ascend unto the hill of the Lord or who shall dwell in His holy place.”  It then gives the answer, “He that has clean hands and a pure heart who has not lifted up His soul unto vanity.”  Jesus Christ is the only one who perfectly fits this picture.  He is the only one whose hands are truly clean and whose motives are utterly pure. We would do well if we worried less about how to have clean hands and occupied ourselves with the one whose hands are already entirely clean.  Our clean hands will follow along afterwards.


So be warned, preoccupation with ourselves and our standards removes us from the gospel because our condition and behaviour, once more, become the central focus of our Christian life.  


Important to us as they may be, no church standards are able to grant us acceptance before the Father. Christ alone does that! Since standards cannot gain acceptance for us, then they certainly can not make us more accepted before God than the others who do not share them. The world is not in need of more Christians going out proclaiming their religion.  The world does not need to hear about this or that group piety. It is not in need of a “don’t smoke, don’t chew, don’t go with girls that do” message.  The need of the hour is a return to gospel proclamation.  We need once more to announce the Excellencies of the Person of Christ, His doing and dying and rising again!


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, Sept. 17, 2014: The Believing Believer


It is the Holy Spirit alone who draws us to the cross and fastens us to the Saviour. He is the revealer of Christ.  Just as the Son brings us to the Father so the Spirit brings us to the Son. In the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have the gift of Christ Himself (John 14:18). What a splendid gift!


To become believers, we need the regenerating power of the Holy Ghost. If we think that anyone can come alive to God without the power and action of the Spirit, we have yet to learn the extent of human sinfulness and helplessness. We were dead in trespasses and sin and, therefore, needed divine intervention to bring us to life (Ephesians 2:1).  That’s why we read in Ephesians 2:8-9, "By grace are ye saved, through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God."


The Holy Spirit generates faith and it is this faith that links the sinner to the Sin-bearer. Faith, however, does not qualify us to receive God’s acquittal, for salvation is by grace alone.  Faith, on the other hand, receives and understands the sufficiency of His great sacrifice for our sin.  Faith makes the gospel personal. Faith sees that the Faithful Shepherd has laid down His life, not merely for the sheep (John 10:11), but for us in particular.  Faith causes us to see that the Lord Jesus came to this earth for the express purpose of ransoming, not in general (Matthew 20:28), but in particular (Galatians 2:20b).  Faith sees that Christ came not simply to say something about our sin, but to do something about our sin.  Indeed, faith sees that Christ came, not primarily to preach the gospel but that we would have a gospel to preach. Faith recognizes that salvation is something that God has already accomplished outside of us, in the person of Jesus (Acts 13:32-33, 38-39). Faith lifts us up to heaven where our righteousness resides in a person, the Lord Jesus, and receives His righteousness as our own.


“The best obedience of my hands


Dares not appear before thy throne;


But faith can answer thy demands,


By pleading what the Lord has done.”


Faith is not something that buys us salvation; the believing believer knows this and takes God at his word. The believer gives God credit for speaking the honest truth when he declared that, "Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). Faith recognizes that because of Christ’s death for sinners, no further payment is necessary!


But what if my faith is weak?


All of us, at times, suffer from weak faith, nevertheless our rest comes from two words--‘in Christ’ (1 Corinthians 1:30a; 1 Corinthians 15:22). We are in union with Christ, we are in Him.  His destiny is our destiny. The strength of our faith, therefore, is not our security.  Faith is not the purchaser of our salvation. Faith has no blood with which to pay for anything. Christ alone has bought us!  Christ alone has redeemed us. A weak faith may indeed sometimes interfere with our enjoyment of salvation, but our security is in Christ alone.  He is our covenant head. All that He has is ours! We may feel like the lowest and the least; we may feel that we are too weak to even grasp the promises---but no matter, the promises have grasped us. Our Saviour has already taken a hold of us and He will never lose us (Hebrews 13:5).


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, October 1 2014: The Danger of Praying, “Our Father”



Probably the most famous and often repeated prayer in the world is The Disciples Prayer (often called The Lord’s Prayer).  Here in ‘Catholic Ireland’ it is simply known as the ‘Our Father’ and countless numbers of pray it daily to their detriment.


Detriment? Why so? It’s because, when we pray this prayer we are claiming that the God of the Bible is, in fact, our Father. That’s all well and good, but the God of the Bible, the living and true God, is not everyone’s Father. For example, Jesus informed the Pharisees that they belonged to their Father the devil (John 8:44). Clearly then, not everyone can assume the paternity of God.


“But,” says someone, “God is the Father of everyone because He created us.” Indeed he created all things, but that does not mean He is the Father of all things.  He created the rocks and the soil, but He is not a Father to them.  He created angels but to which of the angels has he said, thou art my son, this day I have begotten thee (Hebrews 1:5)?


Now, before you get too upset with me, consider this.  Our heavenly Father has commanded that we should love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. But we don’t! We, at best, partially conform to this commandment. Why do we then call Him Father, when we don’t obey Him? If He is as we confess in prayer, our Father, he has a right to our utmost love and deepest respect.  But do we give him that? Do we really want to see His will done here on earth as it is in Heaven? Do we want to read, listen to and be guided by His written Word?


Furthermore, when we say, ‘Our Father,’ that speaks of community.  He is not merely my Father but ‘our’ Father.  ‘Our’ speaks of our neighbour and especially speaks of the other members of the redeemed community. So, here’s the question, have we loved our neighbour as ourselves?  Many people who pray the ‘Our Father’ are not even members of any redeemed community so, again, it is impossible for them to honestly pray those two words. They fail to realise that by praying ‘Our Father’, they are declaring themselves to be liars and rebels against God.


But, who then can pray this prayer? Let’s be honest, we have all failed to love God and our neighbour perfectly; so who, then, is qualified to pray these two words? Here’s the answer. Only redeemed believers can pray ‘Our Father’ (Isaiah 63:16). The redeemed believer has received Jesus the Lord as His mediator and therefore has access to heaven.  Christ Jesus alone is the Saviour and hope of those who believe.  He, as our substitute, has loved the Father perfectly.  He, as though He were us, has loved his neighbour as Himself. He alone is our salvation! And the good news is that His holy obedience is ours by faith alone, apart from any works we can produce.


Oh, the folly of the unsaved who presume that they can pray, ‘Our Father!’  God, the heavenly Father, is so pure that he cannot be approached by sin. He is of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look upon iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13). Yet, countless numbers who are not looking to Jesus alone as their one great sin offering presume to pray, ‘Our Father.’



Furthermore, redeemed believers have now been adopted into the family of God. Therefore, it follows that, from our hearts, we will call God our Father. We read that; “… because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). But the non-member of the Family of God, the one who tries to approach God without the mediator, the Lord Jesus, makes himself a liar from the moment he begins this prayer.  God is not His Father, his heart is far from him.  He would be better to erect a golden calf and talk to it rather than mock God by praying the words, ‘Our Father.’


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, October 15, 2014:  Who is this Man Jesus? Part 1



In the upcoming issues of the Wednesday Word, we will try to answer a profound question; “Who is this man Jesus?”  In Matthew 16:13-16, our Lord asked His disciples; “Who do men say that I the Son of Man am?”  They replied, “Some say that you are John the Baptist and some say that you are Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Christ said to them; “But who say ye that I the Son of Man am?”  Peter answered and said; “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”


So then, who is this man Jesus?


He was born in poverty, in a cave converted as a stable, to an un-wed Jewish teenager. He was then placed in a feeding trough for cattle. There was no room for Him anywhere else.


Who is this man Jesus?


As an infant, he was made a refugee as His parents fled for safety to Egypt. This was necessary to avoid the murderous sword of Herod, which was aimed at the heart of the young child.


Who is this man Jesus?


He was raised in an obscure, unassuming village called Nazareth. His foster father was a carpenter with neither riches nor influence. Being from a poor family, Jesus, himself, was deprived of the privilege of formal training and education at the feet of the sagacious and learned Rabbis of His day.


It has been observed by others that Jesus never travelled above 90 miles from His home.  He, at no time, owned a piece of ground or a piece of property. His only possession was the robe on His back.


Who is this man Jesus?


He never held a public office. No one ever voted for him.


Who is this man Jesus?


As He travelled throughout Israel preaching, He was accompanied by, “A band of unschooled ruffians and a few old fishermen.” As far as we can tell, His friends were all poor, anonymous types.


Who is this man Jesus?


Although he went about ‘doing good,’ He was indicted for violating the Law of Moses. Furthermore, because He claimed equality with God, He was accused of blasphemy.  False witnesses rose up against Him. Paid liars attacked Him with their tongues.  He was then, illegally, sentenced to death and executed.


Who is this man Jesus?


Of His inner circle of friends, one of them sold Him out for a pitifully small amount of money.  Another one denied Him three times. Nearly all of them forsook Him and fled.


Meanwhile, Jesus suffered and died in torturous pain, encompassed by a sense of forsakenness. He was then taken down from the cross and buried in a borrowed tomb.


Who is this man Jesus?


Some have remarked that this man, Jesus of Nazareth, never wrote a book, yet more books have been written about Him and His work than about any other person. Although He sang songs, He never composed one yet He has been the theme of more songs than anyone else in history. He never founded an institute of higher learning, yet a staggering number of colleges and universities have been dedicated to the advance of His cause.


Who is this man Jesus?


In the wilderness, Satan could not seduce Him.  As a child, the wisdom of the Jerusalem Rabbis could not answer Him. During His ministry, lawyers and scribes could not entangle Him in their wicked webs of sophistry.  The leaders of the nation hated Him. Pilate could find no fault in Him.


Who is this man Jesus?


At the cross, He dealt death a death blow. In His burial, the grave could not contain Him.


Who is this man Jesus?


Even those who don’t follow Him admit that His life on this earth was above reproach. His teachings were of not only of the purest quality but also breath-taking.  However, since the time He walked on this earth, controversy has continued to rage around Him.


Who is this man Jesus?


We have merely asked the question and scratched the surface of this excellent theme.  Next time, God willing, we will explore more about this magnificent subject.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

The Wednesday Word, October 29, 2014: Who is this Man Jesus? Part 2



Gregory of Nazianzus, (A.D. 381) said of Jesus,


“He began His ministry by being hungry, yet He is the Bread of Life.

Jesus ended His earthly ministry by being thirsty, yet He is the Living Water.

Jesus was weary, yet He is our rest. Jesus paid tribute, yet He is the King.

Jesus was accused of having a demon, yet He cast out demons.

Jesus wept, yet He wipes away our tears.

Jesus was sold for thirty pieces of silver, yet He redeemed the world.

Jesus was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, yet He is the Good Shepherd.

Jesus died, yet by His death He destroyed the power of death.”


Who is this man Jesus?


He was taken before Pilate and accused of having claimed to be the Son of God. Pilate, the Roman Governor, being greatly troubled and unsettled, confronted Him in the Judgment Hall asking many questions. But, “He answered him not a word” (Matthew 27:14).  “He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).


Who is this man Jesus Christ?  Who is Jesus of Nazareth?  Who is this man called “the Christ?”


First of all: He is God Almighty.


Don’t misunderstand what I am saying.  Jesus was not merely the Son of God or God’s ambassador, or even God’s messenger. He Himself was and is God Almighty. The Scriptures made this clear. They declared, “Behold the Lord Himself will give you a sign; a virgin shall conceive and bear a Son and thou shall call His name Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14) which being interpreted is God with us” (Matthew 1:23}.


In John 10:30, Christ boldly declared; “I and My Father are one.”  The disciples said, “Show us the Father.” Jesus replied, “He that hath seen me has seen my Father” (John 14:9). Jesus further makes this great truth clear by saying, “If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him” (John 14:7).


Who is this man Jesus? “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God and all things were made by Him; without Him was nothing made that was made” (John 1:1-3).  


Who is this man Jesus?  He is God come to this earth.  He is God in human flesh. Jesus of Nazareth is the living and true God who visited this earth in the “likeness of sinful flesh.”  God came to earth and He reconciled us unto Himself in Christ.  God was in Christ.  “He purchased the church with His own blood.”


And this same Jesus, the God/Man, is our only hope.  Some hundreds of years ago, a Monk lay dying in his bed.  The priest had come to give him the Final Unction. However, the Monk, in spite of his cloistered life, been exposed to the gospel.  To the shock and of the other monks he dispatched the priest, refused the crucifix and ordered his room to be emptied of all the other religious trappings. He then, with dying eyes, looked to heaven and cried, "Tua vulnera, Jesu! Tua vulnera, Jesu!" "Thy wounds, Jesus! Thy wounds, Jesus!"


This man knew who Jesus was.  He knew we are not saved by anything we can do, but by that which the God/Man has done for us. We are not saved by what we have suffered, but by what Christ has endured. "Tua vulnera, Jesu! Tua vulnera, Jesu!"  Our everlasting hope was hung upon the cross.  In His doing, dying and rising again is all our acceptance before God. We are called to trust in Christ in life and in death.


Who is this man Jesus Christ?  He is the God/Man and He is our only Saviour.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, Nov. 11, 2014: Who is this man Jesus? Part 3


"From Jesus is the Creator:  What a beautiful view of County Sligo!


But not only is the Lord Jesus the Creator, He is the Christ.


By the time Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the people had long held the hope of a coming deliverer to route their enemies. In fact, this expectation of an emancipator began way back in Genesis 3:15 with the promise of the coming seed. This coming one would be a champion of their cause. He would crush the enemy’s head. This anticipated one was their hope. He would overcome all oppressors. Generation after generation added to this expectation as the seers gave prophesy after prophesy concerning Him and His arrival.


This champion would be descended from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David.  He was to be the anointed one (Psalm 2:2: Daniel 9:26). He would be born of a virgin in Bethlehem (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2). Indeed, so numerous are the prophesies, types and shadows concerning Him, we can sum up the Old Testament with three words, “Behold He Comes.”


Who is this man Jesus?


He is the Christ!


This is what Peter confessed. The Lord asked, “Who do you say that I the Son of man am?”  Peter replied, “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God.” The woman at the well left her water pot and went back to the town, saying, “Come see a man that has told me everything I have done.  Is not this the Christ” (John 4:29)? The apostle John asks in 1 John 2:22; “Who is a liar?”  Then he informs us that “he that denies that Jesus is the Christ.  The same is both a liar and an antichrist.”


When we confess Jesus as the Christ, we are declaring that He is the anointed one. We are affirming that He is the appointed one, chosen to deliver His people from the penalty and power of sin (Luke 4:18; Matthew 1:21).


As the Christ, Jesus fulfills the role of Prophet, Priest and King. He is the prophet, because He spoke the final word of God to man (John 1:1–18; 14:24; Luke 24:19; Hebrews 1:1-3). He is the priest, because His death atones for our sins and reconciles us to the Father (Hebrews 2:17; 4:14). He is the King because all authority is given unto Him (John 18:36; Ephesians 1:20–23; Revelation 19:16).


Who is this man Jesus Christ? He is pictured throughout the Old Testament. Here are but a few of the portraits.


Genesis: The Seed of the Woman


Exodus: The Passover Lamb


Leviticus: The High Priest


Numbers: The Pillar of Cloud and The Pillar of Fire by night Deuteronomy: The Prophet like Moses and the Great Rock


Joshua: The Captain of the Lord of Hosts


Judges: The Judge and Lawgiver


Ruth: The Kinsman Redeemer


1 & 2 Samuel: The Trusted Prophet


1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles: The Reigning King


Ezra: The Lord of Heaven and Earth


Nehemiah: The Rebuilder of the Broken Walls


Esther: Mordecai


Job: The Daysman Mediator


Psalms: The crucified one of Psalm 22


Proverbs & Ecclesiastes: The Wisdom of God


The Song of Solomon: The Lover & Bridegroom and the Chief among 10,000


Isaiah: The Suffering Servant, the Mighty God and the Prince of Peace


Jeremiah & Lamentations: The LORD our Righteousness and the Weeping Prophet


Ezekiel: The Wheel Turning and The Four faced man.


Daniel: The 4th Man in the Fiery Furnace


Hosea: The Faithful Husband


Joel: The One Who Pours out His Spirit


Amos: The Restored Tabernacle of David


Obadiah: Deliverance


Jonah: The God of a Second Chance


Micah: The One who will be ruler in Israel


Nahum: The Publisher of Peace


Habakkuk: The Minister of God crying out For Revival


Zephaniah: The Restorer of God's Lost Heritage


Haggai: The Glory of the Latter House


Zechariah: The Fountain opened up for Sin and uncleanness


Malachi: The Son of Righteousness rising with healing in His wings


He is the Christ, the prophesied One.  He is the One who   conquered death and is alive forevermore.  You can trust Him with your soul and be safe.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!


The Wednesday Word, December 9, 2014: Motivated by Grace Alone


 


The daughter of one of the attendees at

The Gospel of Grace Conference in Yadgir , India


In attempts to help congregations grow in the Lord, it is easy for pastors to cross the line between grace and works. To my shame I have to admit that I’ve crossed that line oftentimes … and I’m not alone. Sometimes we pastors find ourselves trying to motivate our listeners by the Law and its demands instead of by the gospel. However, it takes no spirituality whatsoever to get behind the pulpit and demand change as we warn about bad habits and lax living.  But, this is not gospel preaching!


For example, in our zeal to see God’s people grow in grace we can continually demand repentance.  Yet, the doctrine of repentance, although vital, saves no one. Granted, no one is saved without it, but repentance is not the gospel. It is the gospel of Christ alone that is the power of God unto salvation, not the gospel plus our repentance (Romans 1:16).


Here’s the gospel truth, the Good News is neither a call nor a demand to repent. In fact, the gospel is not even a demand that we change our lives. Indeed, the gospel is not a demand to do anything.  In the gospel, all demands were laid on Christ and He fulfilled them all.


So let’s say it again, nowhere in the scriptures do we discover that the gospel is about our repentance. Along these lines, Charles Spurgeon once said, “You must not expect that you will be perfect in 'repentance' before you are saved. No Christian can be perfect. 'Repentance' is a grace. Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself.”


(CHS Repentance unto Life: Sermon # 44, New Park Street Pulpit).


The gospel is not the story of what we must do, it is the story of what has already been done in history, by the Lord Jesus Christ. Far from being about us or anything we can do, the gospel is about the perfections of the doing and dying of Christ.


The gospel is not about how we behave, it is about Christ’s behaviour in our place and stead. The gospel is not even a demand that we give up worldliness. Indeed, there are no demands at all in the gospel.


One old time preacher put it like this, “The Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed.” He was right! But as preachers, it is easier, at times, for us to demand that the flock obey the Word rather than for us to preach the accomplishment and person of Christ. It’s easier to demand personal righteousness than to hold forth an invisible, alien righteousness that is ours by faith alone.


Nowhere, in scriptures, do we find the gospel presented to us as a duty or a call to reformation.  So why is our preaching so full of demands and devoid of the gospel? Behavioural demands, unless bathed in the gospel are a toxic diet to feed the flock of God.


This gospel, by the Spirit, produces godly desires in its hearers and under its preaching God’s people become a grateful people who desire to follow and obey the Lord Jesus Christ.


And that’s the Gospel Truth!



A special greeting goes out to Pastor Devadas who forwards the Wednesday Word to seventy pastors in his state of Andhra Pradesh, India.  Also, a big welcome to the pastors and leaders from Karnataka who have signed up to receive these gospel messages.


Many thrilling things are happening both in Ireland and India.  Will keep you posted.


Gospel Blessings

Miles

The Wednesday Word, December 30, 2014: God Does Not Forgive Sins

   


Let's get this straight, God, because He is righteous, holy and just, hates sins! He does not forgive them! He does not cancel their penalty. Sin is a direct assault on Him and, as such, has earned His wrath, fury and severe displeasure.


Sin is the real obstacle between God and man. We, by nature, have an inbuilt hardness and hatred towards God. We are sinners.  We deserve damnation. Yet God, in grace, forgave us but not our sins.


“But, how is this possible?” you ask, “If He didn’t forgive our sins what did He do with them?” Here’s the answer. He punished them! He purged them and He put them away. In grace, love and mercy, He gave us the Sin-Bearer, Jesus the Christ, who laid down His life in our place, becoming a curse instead of us. Our sins were laid on Him instead of us. He became our substitute and died instead of us. Christ was punished instead of us!


The gospel truth is this, God does not forgive our sins, He forgives us. God is much too holy to arbitrarily forgive sins. He was righteously insulted by our sins. His holiness was offended by our sins. Because of this, in grace, the Father voluntarily gave Christ up unto death.  And what the Father did, that also did the Son (John 5:19).  During His life, Christ voluntarily made His way to the cross where He died instead of us. There at the cross, He became obedient unto death and by Himself, purged our sins (Hebrews 1:3).  By Himself, He put away our sins (Hebrews 9:26).


Today, we stand forgiven because our sins were neither forgiven nor swept under the carpet. Our sins were dealt with as the crimes they were. The believer now, by faith, receives personal forgiveness because his sins have already been punished in Christ.


So why did God not merely turn a blind eye to our sins?  The answer is discovered in His Holiness and justice. God could not be just, and at the same time lay aside His law.  He could not ignore the condemnation we had earned. On the contrary, in His grace and justice He did something about our sins. In the fullness of time, He, in Christ, condemned sin in the flesh (Romans 8:3). By becoming our sin offering, as one of us, Christ condemned the sin of His people and passed judgement on it.


Keep telling yourself this amazing gospel truth. Keep telling yourself that your sins have already been condemned and you have been set free.


The Lord Jesus has implemented and executed judgment upon all our sins and we have been forgiven. He has put our sins away and forgotten them (Isaiah43:25). But again, let us be very clear on this, God did not forgive our sins. Instead, He ruthlessly punished them and their bearer at Calvary. In that way, He can righteously forgive us.


What an amazing truth this is to tell yourself. There is now no damnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). The penalty of our sins has been paid for by blood, the precious blood of the precious Lamb. As Adolph Saphir said:


“All our sins were lain upon Jesus, everyone (of them) was punished… He executed judgment upon all our sins ... for all the Children of God"


Adolph Saphir: The Epistle to the Hebrews: Chapter 5


And that’s the Gospel Truth!

 

*************************************************************************


The New Year is upon us!  

Our 2015 outreach plans can be realized, under God, only by the generous support of friends like you. In this next calendar year we are concentrating on preaching the gospel in Ireland (both North and South).


In addition to our gospel work in Ireland, we are holding a leaders conference in Malawi in April and also holding three leaders conferences in India in November. It is a really exciting time for the gospel and we are so privileged to be the ones to do this.  Time is flying past and we don't have nearly enough time to reach the lost.


We are grateful for every gift that enables us to play our part in the Great Commission. Your gift of any amount will help us start the New Year in strength as we provide people around the world with Christ-centred Bible teaching.


Happy New Year!


Miles and Gillian


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