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Monday, December 31, 2012

The Resurrection - A New Beginning

Four Spans in the Bridge of Salvation

Colossians 1:18, "And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence."

Through the last Adam God has provided another way of union with the human race and in Him He has made a new beginning. Through the perfection of His incarnate manhood, God's second Man has qualified to become the Head of a new creation, through the victory of His crucifixion He has put an end to the old creation, and now through the power of His resurrection a new order of beings is formed of which He is appointed the executive Head. As firstborn from the dead He becomes the Progenitor of a new race of redeemed men and women, the Head of a new company of people whose life on earth is to be transformed daily into His image from glory to glory and who are ultimately to share the perfection of His glorification.

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, as twin events, certain definite issues in the conflict between God and satan were met and eternally settled. The victory over satan was fully and finally won which robbed him of the last vestige of claim to sovereignty over the earth or the race. He is henceforth a usurper and a thief. Jesus Christ gained back all that had been lost and now the earth and all that is therein is His not only by right of creation but by right of conquest.

To the believer in Jesus Christ it means that the sovereignty of satan over his life is ended and the sovereignty of God begins; that he leaves the sphere of sin, death, darkness and disorder, and enters the sphere of righteousness, life, light and liberty; that he ceases to be a subject in the kingdom of satan and becomes a subject in the Kingdom of God; that he severs his alliance with satan's system, the world, and avows his allegiance as a member of Christ's body the Church, to Christ Himself who is its Head. It means, in other words, that the old creation with all that pertains to it ends at the Cross and is buried in the tomb and that a new creation comes forth in the resurrection. It means that the old relationship with sin, self and satan is altogether annulled and a new union with God in Christ Jesus is made, and that in this new relationship Christ becomes not only the believer's Saviour but his Lord and is Life.

Through His death on the Cross Christ Jesus willed to every man who will take it perfect salvation from the pollution, penalty and power of sin; perfect victory over death, both spiritual and physical; perfect release from the bondage of satan. Through the resurrection from the dead He is appointed by the Father to be Executor of this will; to be the Mediator of the New Covenant; to be the Dispenser of all the blessings and benefactions which were given through grace to all those who have become sons and heirs of God through faith in Him. The resurrection of Christ Jesus is the third span in the bridge of salvation.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 1 - "Ascension and Exaltation")

Search Me, O God!

Proverbs 27:23

Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.
Every wise merchant will occasionally hold a stock-taking, when he will cast up his accounts, examine what he has on hand, and ascertain decisively whether his trade is prosperous or declining. Every man who is wise in the kingdom of heaven, will cry, "Search me, O God, and try me"; and he will frequently set apart special seasons for self-examination, to discover whether things are right between God and his soul. The God whom we worship is a great heart-searcher; and of old His servants knew Him as "the Lord which searcheth the heart and trieth the reins of the children of men." Let me stir you up in His name to make diligent search and solemn trial of your state, lest you come short of the promised rest. That which every wise man does, that which God Himself does with us all, I exhort you to do with yourself this evening. Let the oldest saint look well to the fundamentals of his piety, for grey heads may cover black hearts: and let not the young professor despise the word of warning, for the greenness of youth may be joined to the rottenness of hypocrisy. Every now and then a cedar falls into our midst. The enemy still continues to sow tares among the wheat. It is not my aim to introduce doubts and fears into your mind; nay, verily, but I shall hope the rather that the rough wind of self-examination may help to drive them away. It is not security, but carnal security, which we would kill; not confidence, but fleshly confidence, which we would overthrow; not peace, but false peace, which we would destroy. By the precious blood of Christ, which was not shed to make you a hypocrite, but that sincere souls might show forth His praise, I beseech you, search and look, lest at the last it be said of you, "Mene, Mene, Tekel: thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting."

~Charles Spurgeon~

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Resurrection - A Sure Pledge

Four Spans in the Bridge of Salvation

The body that had been specially prepared for Him in incarnation (Hebrews 10:5), that had been laid down in death upon the Cross (Hebrews 10:10) was now raised and came forth from the tomb.

Matthew 28:5, 6, "And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay."

John 20:27, "Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust in into my sides: and be not faithless, but believing."

In resurrection as in incarnation He was still the God-man. He arose from the grave on that first Easter morning with the body which He had taken in incarnation, which had been nailed to the Cross in death, which had been placed in Joseph's tomb, which had been preserved from corruption and which after three days had been raised from the dead. In that body He appeared to the disciples proving to them His identity by the nail prints in His hands and feet and the spear print in His side. In that body He ascended to Heaven and sits today at the right hand of the Father receiving the worship of countless multitudes out of every kindred, and tongue, and people and nation who are redeemed to God by the blood of the Lamb slain on Calvary. In that glorified yet scarred body He will live through the ages of the ages, the visible reminder to redeemed sinners "of the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."

While the body of the risen God-man was the same body yet it was a changed body. From the truth revealed in Phil. 3:20, 21 and 1 Corinthians 15:42-50 it is clear that the body Christ Jesus had in resurrection was a glorified, incorruptible, mighty, spiritual, heavenly body. The limitations of His earthly life were those of His human nature; the limitations incident to the humiliation to which He had voluntarily submitted. But in the resurrection He threw off all these fetters of the flesh. "His birth marked the voluntary self-limitation of His Godhood in His descent into our race in His incarnation. His resurrection marked His ascent out of these limitations and His return to His former glory. It was the passageway through which He went to the resumption of the unlimited powers of His Godhood."

The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the sure pledge of the resurrection of the believer. When comforting Martha about her brother Lazarus who had been dead four days Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live." Just as truly as Christ's prophecy concerning His own resurrection was literally fulfilled with this promise to Martha concerning the resurrection of every believer also be fulfilled. The resurrection of Him who is the Head of the body makes the resurrection of every member of the body not only certain but essential.

1 Corinthians 15:20-24, "But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept.  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming."

And as He rose with a glorified, incorruptible, mighty, spiritual, heavenly body, so shall we. "As we have born the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1 Cor. 15:49).

Phil. 3:20, 21, "For our citizenship is in heaven; whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall fashion anew the body of our humiliation, that it may be conformed to the body of his glory, according to the working whereby he is able even to subject all things unto himself."

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 1 - "The Resurrection - A New Beginning")

Watch for God

"I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me" (Hab. 2: 1).
There is no waiting on God for help, and there is no help from God, without watchful expectation on our part. If we ever fail to receive strength and defense from Him, it is because we are not on the outlook for it. Many a proffered succour from heaven goes past us, because we are not standing on our watch-tower to catch the far-off indications of its approach, and to fling open the gates of our heart for its entrance. He whose expectation does not lead him to be on the alert for its coming will get but little. Watch for God in the events of your life.
The old homely proverb says: "They that watch for Providence will never want a providence to watch for," and you may turn it the other way and say, "They that do not watch for providences will never have a providence to watch for." Unless you put out your water-jars when it rains you will catch no water.
We want to be more business-like and use common sense with God in pleading promises. If you were to go to one of the banks, and see a man go in and out and lay a piece of paper on the table, and take it up again and nothing more--if he did that several times a day, I think there would soon be orders to keep the man out.
Those men who come to the bank in earnest present their checks, they wait until they receive their gold, and then they go; but not without having transacted real business.
They do not put the paper down, speak about the excellent signature, and discuss the excellent document; but they want their money for it, and they are not content without it. These are the people who are always welcome at the bank, and not triflers. Alas, a great many people play at praying. They do not expect God to give them an answer, and thus they are mere triflers. Our Heavenly Father would have us do real business with Him in our praying.  --C. H. Spurgeon
"Thine expectation shall not be cut off."

~L. B. Cowman~

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Resurrection - A Consummated Victory

Four Spans in the Bridge of Salvation

Acts 2:23, "Him, being delivered by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."

In undertaking the reconciliation and redemption of the world God obligated Himself to deal fully and finally with sin and all its consequences. Every man was a sinner and the sinner's greatest need is a Saviour.

In the incarnation God provided a potential Saviour in the Holy One who was always everywhere Victor. But to make this potential Saviourhood effectual for man's salvation it must be actualized. Christ's personal victory must become a racial victory if it avails for the sinner. But the only way in which the benefit of Christ's victory over sin could be bestowed upon the sinner was by having the guilt, penalty and judgment of sin born by the Saviour. If the sinner were to take Christ's place of holiness, victory and obedience Christ must take the sinner's place of sin, death and judgment. If any sinner were ever saved Christ must take upon Himself the sin of all sinners and bear its full responsibility. To pay the wages of sin the Author of life died. In the deep and unfathomable mystery of the Cross His Spirit was separated from God and went into Hades, and from His body which went into the grave (Acts 2:27).

The eternal Son becoming the incarnate Son had given the world a perfect Man; the incarnate Son becoming the crucified Son had given to the human race a perfect Saviour. He had been victorious in the wilderness temptation, in the Gethsemane struggle and finally in the Calvary conflict. But now what? He lies buried in a tomb and a stone seals His grave. Has He been conquered at last? Was His victory but a seeming victory? Has the world had bequeathed to it nothing but the example of a sinless, perfect life it is impossible to follow and the memory of a well meaning but futile sacrifice for sin? Will the Author, Preserver and Upholder of all life Himself succumb to death, and ill the palm of victory after all belong to him "who has the power of death, that is the devil"? Such will surely be the case if the God-man remains in the grave.

But this is unthinkable. Christ had said that He would not only lay down His life but that He would take it again (John 10:17-18). And He did rise from the dead! Death could never hold Him who had said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25).

"Death could not keep his prey -
Jesus, my Saviour,
He tore the bars away -
Jesus, my Lord!
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o'er His foes;
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose! Hallelujah, Christ arose!"

1 Corinthians 15:55-57, "O death where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

The victory of the resurrection gathered up into its embrace all the other victories in His life and death and gave to them meaning and power. The victories of incarnation and crucifixion were merged into the victory; perfect, powerful, permanent victory over the triumvirate of hell: sin, death and satan.

The Resurrection - The Divine Seal

Acts 2:24, "Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death; because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."

Upon the life of the perfect Man and the work of the perfect Redeemer, God, the Father set His divine seal of approval and appraisal by raising the God-man from the dead. Christ Jesus had cried from the Cross, "It is finished," and it was the cry not of a victim of satan, but of a Victor over satan; not of one vanquished by death, but the cry of the Vanquisher of death. In that cry of victory Christ showed that He anticipated His resurrection; He expected the Father to raise Him from the dead. Had He a right to expect His Father so to act? Most assuredly!

To His perfection of life as God's second Man the Father had set His seal of approval both at His baptism and at His transfiguration by opening the heavens and saying, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." Would the Father remain silent now? Would there be no witness to the Father's satisfaction in the all-sufficiency of the Son's sacrifice of Himself upon Calvary's Cross to save men? To Christ's death on the Cross as the perfect Saviour God would set His seal by opening the tomb and raising His Son from the dead, thus expressing in language more eloquent than words His satisfaction with the Saviour's  redemptive work and its sufficiency for the sinner's salvation. "Upon all the virtue of His life and the value of His death and the victory of His conflict, God set the seal in the sight of heaven and earth and hell, when raising Him from the dead." "The resurrection is the Father's 'Amen' to the Son's exclamation 'It is finished.' "

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 2 - "The Resurrection - A Sure Pledge")

Tethered Preaching

'Tethered' Preaching: John Calvin & the Entertaining Pastor 

The Bible tethers us to reality. We are not free to think and speak whatever might enter our minds or what might be pleasing to any given audience—except God.
By personal calling and Scripture, I am bound to the word of God and to the preaching of what the Bible says. There are few things that burden me more or refresh me more than saying what I see in the Bible. I love to see what God says in the Bible. I love to savor it. And I love to say it.
I believe with all my heart that this is the way God has appointed for me not to waste my life. His word is true. The Bible is the only completely true book in the world. It is inspired by God. Rightly understood and followed, it will lead us to everlasting joy with him. There is no greater book or greater truth.

The implications of this for preaching are immense. John Calvin, with the other Reformers, rescued the Scriptures from their subordination to tradition in the medieval church. The Reformation, let us thank God, was the recovery of the unique and supreme authority of Scripture over church authority.

Commenting on John 17:20, Calvin wrote,
Woe to the Papists who have no other rule of faith than the tradition of the Church. As for us, let us remember that the Son of God, who alone can and ought to pronounce in this matter, approves of no other faith but that which comes from the doctrine of the Apostles, of which we find no certain testimony except in their writings.  (Commentary on John)
Calvin's preaching inspires me to press on with this great and glorious task of heralding the word of God. I feel what he says when he writes to Cardinal Sadolet
O Lord, you have enlightened me with the brightness of your Spirit. You have put your Word as a lamp to my feet. The clouds which before now veiled your glory have been dispelled by it, and the blessings of your Anointed have shone clearly upon my eyes. What I have learnt from your mouth (that is to say, from your Word) I will distribute faithfully to your church. ("Letter to Cardinal Jacopo Sadoleto," quoted in J. H. Merle D'Augigne, Let Christ Be Magnified, Banner of Truth, 2007, p. 13).
For Calvin, preaching was tethered to the Bible. That is why he preached through books of the Bible so relentlessly. In honor of tethered preaching, I would like to suggest the difference I hear between preaching tethered to the word of God and preaching that ranges free and leans toward entertainment.

The difference between an entertainment-oriented preacher and a Bible-oriented preacher is the manifest connection of the preacher's words to the Bible as what authorizes what he says.
The entertainment-oriented preacher gives the impression that he is not tethered to an authoritative book in what he says. What he says doesn't seem to be shaped and constrained by an authority outside himself. He gives the impression that what he says has significance for reasons other than that it manifestly expresses the meaning and significance of the Bible. So he seems untethered to objective authority.

The entertainment-oriented preacher seems to be at ease talking about many things that are not drawn out of the Bible. In his message, he seems to enjoy more talking about other things than what the Bible teaches. His words seem to have a self-standing worth as interesting or fun. They are entertaining. But they don't give the impression that this man stands as the representative of God before God's people to deliver God's message.
The Bible-oriented preacher, on the other hand, does see himself that way—"I am God's representative sent to God's people to deliver a message from God." He knows that the only way a man can dare to assume such a position is with a trembling sense of unworthy servanthood under the authority of the Bible. He knows that the only way he can deliver God's message to God's people is by rooting it in and saturating it with God's own revelation in the Bible.
The Bible-oriented preacher wants the congregation to know that his words, if they have any abiding worth, are in accord with God's words. He wants this to be obvious to them. That is part of his humility and his authority. Therefore, he constantly tries to show the people that his ideas are coming from the Bible. He is hesitant to go too far toward points that are not demonstrable from the Bible.
His stories and illustrations are constrained and reined in by his hesitancy to lead the consciousness of his hearers away from the sense that this message is based on and expressive of what the Bible says. A sense of submission to the Bible and a sense that the Bible alone has words of true and lasting significance for our people mark the Bible-oriented preacher, but not the entertainment-oriented preacher.

People leave the preaching of the Bible-oriented preacher with a sense that the Bible is supremely authoritative and important and wonderfully good news. They feel less entertained than struck at the greatness of God and the weighty power of his word.

Lord, tether us to your mighty word. Cause me and all preachers to show the people that our word is powerless and insignificant in comparison with yours. Grant us to stand before our people as messengers sent with God's message to God's people in God's name by God's Spirit. Grant us to tremble at this responsibility. Protect us from trifling with this holy moment before your people.

~John Piper~

Friday, December 28, 2012


Four Spans in the Bridge of Salvation

Having granted that incarnation and crucifixion are necessary spans to the bridge of salvation, one is driven to the acceptance of resurrection as the third span or all that has been gained through the other two will be lost.

The intimate relationship between these three fundamental truths, their unbreakable connection in fact, is brought out very wonderfully in Peter's sermon on the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2:22-36. The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is shown to be the essential indication of His incarnation and crucifixion. Without the resurrection the other two spans in the bridge of salvation would be futile; through the resurrection every claim God had made regarding the person and work of His Son both had been vindicated and realized.

Let us get the setting of these words. A tremendous event had taken place. It was a post-resurrection event. The risen, ascended, exalted Christ had poured forth the Holy Spirit who had filled every believer and had caused each one to speak in another tongue the wonderful works of God so that people from every nation under Heaven gathered in Jerusalem at that time had heard them speak in their own language. The multitude were confounded and amazed and asked for an explanation.

This the Apostle Peter gave in a sermon the theme of which was the resurrection of Christ. He deals with it both in retrospect and in its relationships. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit which they had seen and heard had been promised, but it was conditioned upon the realization of God's eternal purpose which He had purposed in Christ, His Son (Ephesians 3:11) and upon the fulfillment of His divine plan. According to that purpose and plan it was the risen, exalted Christ who was to shed forth the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:32, 33, "This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses, Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear."

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit was an accomplished fact attested to not only by the little company of believers but by devout Jews from every nation. The shedding forth of the Holy Spirit was proof that Christ had risen from the dead. Now that we have the setting of the words under consideration let us study their significance.

The Resurrection - An Essential Vindication

Acts 2:22, "Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know."

In these words the Apostle Peter records God's satisfaction in the person and work of the incarnate Son. He had sent His Son into the world to live such a life as none other had ever lived and to do such a work as none other had ever done. He had lived the life and done the work and had received the Father's unqualified approval.

Let us get clearly before us in review what the task was to which the Father had set His Son. In the equality of Deity Father and Son had worked together to create a universe and the race which was in inhabit it. Into this perfect creation sin had entered first through a celestial being and then through a human being. Death, darkness and disorder followed in the trail of sin and threw everything in God's world out of harmony with Him. God Himself was even dethroned both in His world and in the hearts of men.

As Father and Son had worked together in the creation of the race so would they work together for its regeneration. God in Christ would reconcile the world unto Himself. As sin had entered the world through God's first man, salvation would enter through God's second Man.

To this end the eternal Son would become the incarnate Son. The second Man would start exactly where the first man started, with a perfect life, a human nature, a direct fellowship with God through the Holy Spirit, the right to will and the power to will Godward, but He would start in a world where everything would work to drag Him down into defeat and destruction. In such a world He must live a life such as none other had ever lived - a life of unspotted holiness, unceasing victory and unwavering obedience. It must be a life literally "without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing," unsullied by either the slightest desire to sin born from within or by the yielding to any temptation to sin brought from without. It must be a life from center to circumference lived wholly within the will of God.

Through such a holy Man God would establish a new union with the human race and through such a sinless Mediator God would open a way of  reconciliation and redemption to rebellious sinners.

The Apostle Peter in the sermon at Pentecost witnessed to the fact that the incarnate Son had lived such a life on earth. Three times God had even opened heaven and spoken to all who would hear the words of divine satisfaction in the perfection of His Son. But the wold did not reckon to it such worth or give to it such honor. Many had rejected Him; some had even dared call Him an impostor and a blasphemer. A further public witness and open vindication of the  Father's satisfaction in the perfection of the Son was essential. This God gave in the resurrection.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 1 "The Resurrection - A Consummated Victory")

All My Sins and Slips!

All my sins and slips!

(James Smith's autobiography, "Marvelous Mercy!")

I found that sin always wounded my conscience, and caused me much trouble of soul; nor could I again obtain peace, or enjoy comfort--but as I looked afresh to the blood of Jesus, and felt its cleansing efficacy within.

I have generally found that all my sins and slips began in the prayer-closet; when I grew cold or lukewarm there--Satan was allowed to attack me, and he generally in some degree, gained the ascendency over me. 

Never could I, never can I, be glad that I have sinned. Yet the grace of God, taking advantage of my weakness and folly--has wrought sweetly in my soul afterwards. And blessed, forever blessed, be the name of my Lord and Savior--He has sanctified my sins to me, for my real benefit! 

1. My sins have made me fly unto Him afresh, as into a strong tower, in which the righteous are safe at all times. 

2. My sins have brought me to feel my own weakness, and to see the desperate wickedness of my heart--in a way and manner which otherwise I could not. 

3. My sins have revealed to me the fallacy and folly of trusting in my own heart at all. 

4.My sins have made me more cautious, and kept me crying to Him for strength against temptation. 

5. My sins have given me an opportunity sweetly and powerfully to prove the efficacy of the blood of Christ to cleanse from all pollution.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Cross of Christ

The Cross of Christ - The Place of Decision that Determines Destiny

"The Cross of Christ has measured out the moral distance between God and man and has left them as far asunder as the throne of heaven and the gates of hell." (Sir Robert Anderson). Scripture bears ample testimony to the solemn truthfulness of these words.

But praise God it is equally true that the Cross of Christ has measured out the length and breadth and height and depth of the love of God in the gift of a Redeemer who closed the gates of hell and opened the gates of Heaven for all who will believe.

As sin through Adam had been universal so salvation through Christ must be made potential to all. Where sin abounded grace did much more abound and opened away back to God for every sinner. The bridge of salvation provided a way out of the old sphere into the new for all who will acknowledge themselves sinners needing a Saviour.

Titus 2:11, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men."

 Timothy 2:5, 6, "One mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all."

Isaiah 53:6, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."

Hebrews 2:9, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."

In tenderest compassion God broods over every sinner and bleeds for his sin. His great yearning heart of love reaches to the uttermost corner of His universe and seeks to draw each heart unto Himself through His Son.

1 Timothy 2:3, 4, "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth."

1 Timothy 4:10, "For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe."

2 Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness; but is longsuffering to you-ward, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

That all men might have an adequate opportunity to know God's way of salvation He commanded the disciples to carry the Gospel to the ends of the earth preaching it to every creature.

Acts 1:8, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth."

Mark 16:15, "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature."

God commands every sinner who hears the Gospel to repent and turn to Him.

Acts 17:30, "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent."

God invites all sinners to come to Him and promises eternal life to all who truly believe and receive His Son."

John 6:37, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh  to me I will in no wise cast out."

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Countless sinners throughout the ages have refused the grace of God manifested in His salvation and have rejected Christ, the Saviour, but the death of Christ on the Cross of Calvary opened a way back to God for all men everywhere. "No man is lost for want of an atonement, or because there is any other barrier in the way of his salvation than his own most free and wicked will."

Dear reader, on which side of the Cross of Christ are you living? Your relationship to the crucified Christ will determine your destiny.

~Ruth Paxson~

(the end)

(Next: Four Spans in the Bridge of Salvation - Resurrection)

The House of Bread and War?

The House of Bread and War?

Charles Spurgeon

The word Bethlehem has a double meaning. It signifies, “the house of bread” and, “the house of war.” Ought not Jesus Christ to be born in “the house of bread”? He is the Bread to His people! As our fathers ate manna in the wilderness, so do we live on Jesus here below! Famished by the world, we cannot feed on its shadows.

In that blessed Bread of Heaven, made of the bruised body of our Lord Jesus and baked in the furnace of His agonies, we find a blessed food! There is no food like Jesus to the desponding soul or to the strongest saint! The very meanest of the family of God goes to Bethlehem for bread—and the strongest man, who eats strong meat, goes to Bethlehem for it, too.

But it is also called, “the house of war” because Christ is to a person either “the house of bread,” or else, “the house of war.” While He is food to the righteous, He causes war to the wicked, according to His own words—“think not that I am come to send peace on the earth; I am not come to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, the daughter against her mother and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.”

And now for that word Ephratah. That was the old name of the place which the Jews retained and loved. The meaning of it is, “fruitfulness,” or, “abundance.” It is fitting that Jesus was born in the house of fruitfulness, for where comes my fruitfulness and your fruitfulness but from Bethlehem?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Cross of Christ - A Divinely Prepared Turning Point

Spans in the Bridge of Salvation

A double barrier separates God and the sinner. Sin has caused man to be offended toward God as truly as it has caused God to be offended toward man. The Cross of Christ shall have failed to deal adequately with sin if it only removes the cause of offence in its Godward aspect and does not equally remove it in its manward aspect.

And this is exactly what the Cross of Christ does. "We love him because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). "By grace are ye saved through faith." The grace of God built the bridge of salvation before ever a single sinner made a start toward crossing it. Grace took God into the garden in the cool of the day to seek the first two sinners and to offer them the gracious promise of salvation through a Saviour even before He dealt righteously with their sin in pronouncing upon them the judgment of the curse. Even in the prophecy - promise given in Eden God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. God took the initiative in effecting reconciliation by giving His Son to die.

Romans 5:10, "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled we shall be saved by his life."

Colossians 1:21, 22, "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works yet now hath he reconciled.  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreprovable in his sight."

2 Corinthians 5:18, "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ."

The Son of God endured the suffering and the shame of the Cross that thereby He might tell a world of sinners who have turned their backs on God that God loves them with an everlasting love. When the sinner sees the Saviour suffering, the just for the unjust, when he sees Christ crucified by his sin, dying his death, enduring his punishment, then his heart is melted, his rebellion is removed, his whole attitude toward God is changed from enmity to love, from estrangement to fellowship, from indifference to devotion, from fear to faith, from shame to peace.

In Christ crucified God has provided such propitiation and reconciliation as has made possible the removal of the barrier of separation between God and man, and has opened a merciful yet righteous way of access and acceptance; thus giving to every man who will avail himself of God's grace the opportunity for full restoration to God's favor and fellowship.

The Cross of Christ - The End of the Old Creation and the Beginning of the New

Through propitiation and reconciliation accomplished in the death of Christ adequate provision has been made for a change of relationship between the sinner and God which effects a radical change in the sinner's position before God. But is there provision for a change in his condition also? The natural man is a slave, "sold under sin" (Romans 7:14).

Where sin abounded grace did much more abound. God's boundless grace was undaunted by the sinner's helpless, hopeless condition. God's right to proprietorship through creation still remained but it had been lost to Him through man's surrender of himself to the sovereignty of another. But God would Himself go down unto the slave market of sin and buy back that which was His own. He would then take the sinner out of the sphere of satan, out of the slave market of sin, and set him free in the glorious liberty of a new life in Christ.

Such redemption demanded a ransom. it required a life for a life. "The life is in the blood." To redeem the race from the bondage of sin involved the paying of a price which was nothing less than the precious blood of the spotless Lamb of God. To buy back His own for a possession God paid the costly price of His own blood.

Acts 20:28, "take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God,  which he hath purchased with his own blood."

1 Peter 1:18, 19, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers. But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

Revelation 5:9, "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."

But God did not go into the slave market of sin only to buy the captive sinner but also to bring him out from that old sphere of bondage and set him free in a new sphere of liberty. Not alone would He lead him out of Egypt but He would bring him into Canaan. Christ Jesus would become not only the sinner's Saviour but He would be the believer's Lord and Life. In the Cross of Christ God rejected the old order of fallen, sinful humanity "sold under sin" through the first Adam's disobedience that He might raise up a new order of holy, heavenly beings redeemed from sin through the last Adam's obedience.

The death of Christ upon the Cross not only redeems but it re-creates; it not only provides complete emancipation from the old life but abundant entrance into the new.

Exodus 13:3, "And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place."

Exodus 13:11, "And it shall be when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites, as he sware unto thee and to thy fathers, and shall give it thee..."

Titus 2:14, "Who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 1 - "The Cross of Christ - The Place of Decision that Determines Destiny.")

Who Do You Want to Please?

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
-First Thessalonians 2:4 (King James Version)

For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.
-First Thessalonians 2:4 (New Living Translation)

Let me start out with a question: Who are you trying to please with your life? Common answers may be: employer, family, friends & coworkers. Who should we really be trying to please? I think the answer is found in First Thessalonians 2:4.

The past few weeks on Talkin' Scripture, we have been focusing our study on teachers. I stated that, whether we admit it or not, or whether we know it or not, each and every one of us is a teacher to others. We teach other about Jesus, and about God, through our way of life. In First Thessalonians 2:4, Paul reveals the importance of his calling, and the importance of the calling God has on each and every one of us. "For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News." We, you and me, are messengers of the Gospel message. We are to be sharing that message with others. Then, Paul says, "Our purpose is to please God, not people." Paul knew that the Gospel message was one that some people didn't want to hear. Paul knew that bringing the Gospel message to people who never heard of God would not be easy. Paul taught some tough doctrine to the churches he ministered to on his missionary journeys, and in the letters he sent to various churches. Yet, his aim was to please God. Would it have pleased God if he "candy coated" or "watered down" the message that he was entrusted with? If Paul decided that he would "tone down" his teaching, so as not to offend anyone, would God be pleased? Absolutely not! And, God is not pleased with us when we proclaim anything less than truth of the Gospel message. Paul writes in Second Timothy 4:3-4, "For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths." People, today, have rejected the truth, and have found themselves "teachers" who are aiming to please the people instead of pleasing God. God help the person who isn't preaching the truth!

So, again, I ask you: Who are you living your life to please? 

~Think About It~

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Cross of Christ - The Place of Victory # 2

Spans in the Bridge of Salvation

The death of Jesus Christ meant an open and decisive victory for God over all the principalities and powers in rebellion against Him. It severs the believer from the powers of darkness.

Colossians 2:14, 15, "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

The devil has two active, aggressive allies in his diabolical work of keeping sinners living in self-will and rebellion toward God. They are the "world" and the "flesh". For the defeat of both of these God has made ample provision in the Cross of Christ.

Galatians 6:14, "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world."

Galatians 5:24, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts."

In the Cross of Christ the sinner who truly desires it may find complete deliverance from the evil one and all his entanglements. satan's reign over him may end there if he seeks release through the Cross.

The Cross of Christ - A Divinely Provided Meeting Place

Sin made every man unrighteous in God's sight, (Romans 3:10-12) and by so doing it created an impassable chasm between a righteous God and an unrighteous sinner. It did more than that, it totally disqualified man for doing anything to bridge this chasm thus placing upon God the whole responsibility of making a way of access into His presence and of providing a meeting place between Himself and the sinner.

But how could a righteous God be just and the justifier of sinners. (Romans 3:26). How could God maintain His holiness in His dealing with sin and at the same time manifest His graciousness in mercy toward the sinner? How could God provide such a meeting place and not deny Himself through compromise?

Before God was a law which was holy and right. It was the expression of His own character; the essence of His own nature. To ignore or condone man's rebellion and disobedience as evidenced in that law broken would be to deny Himself. God could not do that; He must be true to Himself so He must treat sin as sin and deal with it as such. It must be condemned and its merited punishment meted out. "Even God cannot change the character of righteousness by altering, or lessening to the slightest degree, its holy demands. What is done for the satisfaction of His love in saving any one whom His righteousness condemns must be done in full view of all that His righteousness could ever require."

Before God was not only a broken law but a broken relationship, a broken bond of love which had united Him to the human race. Before Him, too, was the desperate need of those whom He loved with an everlasting love, the undone condition of those who were precious in His sight. Before Him was His own broken heart made desolate by the prodigal's departure into the far country.

Viewing the sinner in his relationship to God his fundamental need is a way of access and acceptance with God despite his guilt. Viewing God in His relationship to the sinner His fundamental necessity is a way of granting favor and fellowship to the sinner despite His holiness. A meeting place between a righteous God and an unrighteous sinner is the demand made upon the righteousness of God. But it is equal to even this necessity for in His death upon Calvary's Cross Jesus Christ became the propitiation for the sins of the world.

1 John 2:2, "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world."

Romans 3:25, 26, "Whom God set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done before time, in the forbearance of God; for the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus."

To the spiritually minded Christian who has a realization of the awful chasm sin made between him and his God the truth that centers around the word "propitiation" is inexpressibly precious. But to the natural man living still in pride, rebellion and self-satisfaction, it is insufferably offensive.

"Propitiation" means a mercy seat or covering, a divinely provided meeting place. In Old Testament times on the Day of Atonement the great high priest took the blood of the sacrificial lamb into the Holy of Holies and with it sprinkled the mercy seat. Within the ark under the cover of the blood was the broken law. The blood-sprinkled mercy seat provided a meeting place between God and the sinner where the guilty one could come to God without remembrance of his past offences and without fear of judgment and where the Holy One could receive the sinner without compromise and yet without condemnation. "A holy God could righteously meet a sinful man and a sinful man could fearlessly meet a holy God."

God set forth His well-beloved Son to be such a propitiation for all the guilty sinners in all the world. Through the shedding of the precious blood of the Lamb of God on the Cross of Calvary such a covering for sin and for broken law was provided. In His death Jesus Christ honors God's holy law by bearing in full the punishment meted out to the sinner for breaking it. Thus in the crucified Lord the sinner has found a meeting place with God and a way of access into His favor and fellowship.

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 1 - "The Cross of Christ - A Divinely-prepared Turning Point.")

Heart Exam

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.
-First Thessalonians 2:4 (KJV)

For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. 
-First Thessalonians 2:4 (NLT)

This week, we've been looking at Psalm 19:14, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." We've been studying about how we can live a life that is acceptable to God. Yesterday we studied about our words. Read that post HERE.

Today, I want us to focus on the second part of that verse, "...and the meditation of my heart..." I think what David was thinking about is the desires of his heart. Whatever our true desires lay, that is where our hearts are. It's a principle that Jesus taught in Matthew 6:21, " For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." So, how can my heart be acceptable to God? 

Well, first, we must understand what Paul wrote in First Thessalonians 2:4, "For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts." That single verse contains so much that we're going to have to study it again tomorrow. Anyway, I want us to focus on the last sentence of that verse, " He alone examines the motives of our hearts."  God examines the motives of our hearts. Think about that. Our desires, our motives are what dictates the direction of our lives. Since God examines our motives, how can I make sure they line up with Him? Psalm 139:23-24 reveals to us a prayer, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: 24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. The writer of Psalm 139 asks God to search him, and know his thoughts and heart. Do you or I have the courage to pray a prayer like that? But, if we want to live a life acceptable unto God, we must. Ask God to search you, and see if there is any left over wickedness from your life in sin that needs to be dealt with. Then, make Psalm 51:10 your prayer, "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." God examines the motives of your heart, allow Him to reveal any wickedness that is still there, and then allow Him to create a clean heart and right spirit in you. 

~Think About It~

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Cross of Christ - The Place of Victory

God has but one problem in His universe - it is sin. All other problems of whatever nature emanate from this one. The sweat of grinding toil, the suffering of broken hearts, the sorrow of the world's crushing maladjustments, all have their beginning in sin.  God has but one enemy in the universe - it is satan. All other enmities, whether among angels or men, have their ultimate source in him. To regain His rightful sovereignty over the world and in the human race God had a double victory to win. This twofold victory was won through the Saviourhood of Jesus Christ. Salvation from sin and all its consequences, deliverance from satan and all his allies, were gained for the sinner at the Cross.

The Old Testament classic which reveals Jesus Christ as the Sin-bearer is Isaiah fifty-three.

Isaiah 53:4, 6, 11, 12, "Surely he hath born our griefs, and carried our sorrows.  And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin. For he shall bear their iniquities. He bare the sin of many."

The New Testament is full of the same truth.

John 1:29, "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."

Hebrews 9:28, "So Christ was once offered to bear the sin of many; and unto them which look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."

Jesus Christ faced the problem which sin had created and solved it by taking upon Himself the whole responsibility for it. When He entered into human life and as the Son of Man became the connecting link between God and the ruined race, He pledged to become responsible for sin and its effects.

Sin had brought upon man four terrible consequences for which Christ as Sin-bearer assumed responsibility. The first is guilt. The whole world is guilty before God (Romans 3:19). The whole of man is defiled and depraved. That this guilt might be removed God made Christ sin and then treated Him as sin.

2 Corinthians 5:21, "Him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in him."

The second is death. "The wages of sin is death." The sentence of death rested upon the whole human race. As the last Adam Jesus Christ assumed all responsibility for the first Adam's sin and its consequences. Therefore He executed the death sentence upon sinners by Himself dying.

Romans 5:6, "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."

The third consequence of sin is the curse. Sin is lawlessness and the penalty for broken law is the curse. Jesus Christ acknowledged the justice in God's judgment upon sin and voluntarily offered to assume even this responsibility on the sinner's behalf.

Galatians 3:13, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."

The fourth consequence of sin is the wrath of God. God hates sin. God's holiness demanded that He take some action against it. So God was compelled to decree that sin would bar sinners from His presence through time and eternity. Here again Jesus Christ assumed responsibility for the presence of sin in men and on the Cross of Calvary bore the full force of God's wrath against it even to the point of conscious separation from His Father's presence.

Romans 5:9, "Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him."

In becoming the Sin-bearer Jesus Christ fully met and solved the problem of sin. "In His death everything was made His that sin had made ours ... everything in sin except its sinfulness." 

The Cross of Christ is God's starting point of victory over satan and all his allies. God is the One who has been hurt most by sin. "satan was putting the knife into God's heart through Adam's hand." So any effectual dealing with sin must go back to its first cause and any permanent victory for God must be a crushing defeat for satan.

The first curse pronounced after the fall was upon the serpent. The serpent's curse and the Saviour's Cross are inextricably interwoven. The prophecy containing the curse foretells a double bruising. "It shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel."

Men and women are being taught that the record of the fall in Genesis three is just a myth and that no scholarly person believes it today. This is indeed the devil's lie and he has a very good reason for telling it. By the death of Christ his head was bruised, his doom was sealed. The Cross of Christ robbed that world and of all dominion over any man or woman who fully trusts in the atoning blood of the Saviour and who yields to the Lordship of Jesus. Christ's cry of victory from Calvary's Cross "It is finished" was satan's death knell. The  victory over the devil commenced in the wilderness, continued in Gethsemane, culminated on Calvary. The hour of Christ's death was the hour of satan's defeat.

John 12:31, "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out."

The death of the Cross deprived him of his power and rendered him inoperative.

Hebrews 2:14, "Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil."

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 2)

Christ Is Superior to Angels

"Having become . . . much better than the angels" (Heb. 1:4).

Man is a wonderful and amazing creation--higher than plants, animals, and any other material creation in this world. But there are created beings even higher than man--angels.
Hebrews 2:9 shows this to be the case because when Jesus became a man, He was "made for a little while lower than the angels." After the fall of the rebellious angels under Lucifer, the angels in heaven were no longer subject to sin. These angels are holy, powerful, and wise. They are special beings created by God before He created man.
The Jewish people understood the exalted position of angels because they knew that the Old Covenant was brought to men and maintained by angelic mediation. Galatians 3:19 says, "Why the Law then? It was added because of transgressions, having been ordained through angels by the agency of a mediator, until the seed should come to whom the promise had been made."
Because of this high regard for angels by his readers, the writer of Hebrews was faced with a problem. If he was to show that Christ was the mediator of a better covenant, he would have to prove that Christ is better than angels. To do so, he used seven Old Testament passages to verify his claim.
If he had tried to prove from Christian writings that Christ is a better mediator, his unbelieving Jewish readers would have said, "We don't accept these writings as being from God." So in effect he wisely replies, "Open up your own Scriptures and I'll prove my claim from them." It results in a powerful and irresistible argument.
For the next several days, we'll see in what ways Christ is superior to angels and how He could mediate a better covenant for us.
Suggestion for Prayer:
Because much of our understanding of the New Testament is based on the writings of the Old Testament, thank God for how He has brought His complete Word to us intact throughout the centuries.
For Further Study:
Read Galatians 3:8, Romans 9:15, and Matthew 4:4.

  • What Old Testament verses to those passages quote?
  • What truth does each of them verify?
~John MacArthur~

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Crucifixion # 5

Four Spans in the Bridge of Salvation

The theme of the entire Bible is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. "Cut the Bible anywhere and it bleeds; it is red with redemption truth." A suffering, crucified Christ was the Christ preached by the Apostles and to them His sufferings were a vital factor in the sinner's salvation because of their expiatory nature. Paul testifying before King Agrippa preached a suffering Christ.

Acts 26:22, 23, "Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and the he should be the first that should rise from the dead."

Peter told us that it was through the victorious, atoning sufferings of Christ that men were brought back to God.

1 Peter 3: 18, "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit."

John taught that there was no cleansing power except in the blood of Christ shed on Calvary.

1 John 1:7, "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin."

Respectable sinners will flock to the church today to hear ministers preach on the life of Jesus; many are even not averse to listening to an occasional sermon of the death of Christ, providing that death is preached only as the greatest example of sacrificial love, or as the culminating event in a life of obedience, or as an act of martyrdom in a good cause. But in this age there is a widespread refusal on the part of the man in the pew, and on the part of the man in the pulpit a conspicuous rejection of the Biblical, evangelical teaching regarding the death of the Cross. The reason for this will grow more apparent as we proceed with our studies.

The Cross of Christ - The Great Divide

The Cross of Christ makes a clean cut cleavage between the two spheres, the sphere of death, darkness and disorder, and the sphere of life, light and liberty, and it challenges sinners to decide in which they purpose to live. The Cross of Christ is the battlefield on which the conflict between satan and God over the sovereignty of human lives is being waged and it compels men to take sides either for or against God. The Cross of Christ marks the boundary line between the kingdom of satan and the Kingdom of God and it calls subjects in the one to come out and to become subjects in the other. The Cross of Christ finds men living on the plane of the natural and it  opens a way for them to live on the plane of the spiritual and then appeals to them to enter the open door. The Cross of Christ is the Great Divide: it separates men into two classes, the unsaved and the saved.

1 Corinthians 1:18, "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

The Cross of Christ - A Double Exposure

The Cross of Christ is the place of exposure. There as nowhere else is revealed the hatred of man for God and the love of God for man. Sin is seen at its worst and love is seen at its best in the Cross. Man's sin and God's love both reach a climax on Calvary. There the hideousness of the one and the glory of the other are brought out into sharpest relief.

Acts 2:23, "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain."

The desperate, despicable wickedness of the human heart is uncovered at Calvary. All the rebellion, self-will and enmity of the natural man found vent in this one act. In the crucifixion of the Holy One sin came out into the open and disclosed its inwardness.

"Him - ye have taken and by wicked hands have crucified and slain." Sin nailed the Saviour to a Cross and by doing so exposed to the world its ugly hideousness. Sinners stained their hands with the blood of their Saviour and thereby revealed the length and breadth, the height and depth of the infamy of sin.

However, the sin of man could not outstrip the love of God. Nor could sin defeat God by taking Him unawares. Before that hydra-headed monster had raised its head in rebellion against God He had accomplished its defeat. "Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God." In the eternal counsels of the Godhead and Cross of Christ was set up in love before man and was made or the world created. In the atoning death of the well-beloved Son on the Cross of Calvary God was fully prepared to assume responsibility for sin and its consequences. God, the Father, spelled out in capital letters on the Cross His unquenchable love for sinners.

The Cross of Christ reveals not only the love of the Father but the love of the Son as well. In the  lament over Jerusalem, in the parable of the father's love for the prodigal, in the tender look at the denying Peter, and in the pathetic question to Judas the betrayer, Jesus Christ showed His sorrow for sin and the outreaching of His loving heart to the sinner. But only in the laying down of His sinless life in death as the sinner's Substitute do we see the perfect outshining of His infinite, limitless love. With the most perfect apprehension of what the sin of man was on the one hand, and of what the mind of God toward sin was on the other and of sin's due from God, there went up from the depths of Christ's sinless humanity a perfect Adam to the righteous judgment of God against sin, and a willingness to bear that judgment.

The Cross of Christ is the heart of God broken by sin. It tells you and me that the God who must judge and punish sin will save and forgive the sinner. It discovers to us the unfathomable depths of God's love.

Romans 5:8, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."

John 3:16, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son."

Galatians 1:3, 4, "Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father."

~Ruth Paxson~

(continued with # 6 - "The Cross of Christ - The Place of Victory")