NOTHING can render affliction so insupportable as the load of sin. Would you therefore be fitted for afflictions? Be sure to get the burden of your sins laid aside, and then what affliction soever you may meet with will be very easy to you.
If thou canst hear and bear the rod affliction which God shall lay upon thee, remember this lesson. Thou art beaten that thou mayest be better.
The Lord useth his flail of tribulation, to separate the chaff from the wheat.
The school of the cross is the school of light; it discovers the world’s vanity, baseness, and wickedness, and lets us see more of God’s mind. Out of dark affliction comes a spiritual light.
In times of affliction we commonly meet with the sweetest experiences of the love of God.
Did we heartily renounce the pleasures of this world, we should be very little troubled for our afflictions: that which renders an afflicted state so insupportable to many, is because they are too much addicted to the pleasures of this life, and so cannot endure that which makes a separation between them.
Mr. John Bunyan’s Dying Sayings
And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.
When sins devastate our communion with God, there is only one thing powerful enough to overcome all the accusations from Hell, …the Blood of Christ. This is how we overcome. As John Newton wrote,
“Be Thou my shield and hiding place,
That, sheltered near Thy side,
I may my fierce accuser face,
And tell him Thou hast died!”
As we grow in grace, we learn that, in failure, we have new opportunities to become conscious of the blood. When we look to the past, we see the blood. When we think of the present, we see the blood. When we think of the future, we see the blood. When Satan tells us of our defeat, we tell him of his. When he tells us our past, we tell him his. We boldly announce to him that Christ shredded and scattered his demonic troops at the cross, 2000 year ago. We remind him that he was defeated by the blood of the Lamb. We overcome by the blood when we declare what the blood has done. Our Victory is in the BLOOD.
Every spiritual blessing is in Christ! Try this one for size! Though sinners, we are entitled to plead “not guilty” to every charge. Why? Because of the blood. To do anything else would be to deny the reality of the Blood. Though we are guilty, our conscience is as completely at peace. We have learned to apply the Blood. No wonder we can now walk in victory! No longer are we pinned down by the accusing memories that fill us with remorse.
Do you remember the blood offering of Leviticus 4? It was to take care of any sins that were committed through ignorance (Leviticus 4:2). Many believers go about worrying about whether or not they are doing okay. They say to themselves, “Maybe I have not done enough good things?” or ask themselves, “Have I witnessed enough?” or “Have I prayed and given enough?” They are always worried about these things.
But, when Jesus Christ died on the Cross, His blood took care of all the sins that we know about and all those that we don’t know about. He has taken care of all the sins that we have ever and will ever commit. Knowing and applying this brings victory.
When Jesus Christ died and shed His blood, He took care of our sin and our sins. Notice, I said sin (singular) and sins (plural). His Blood legally blotted out our sin nature and covered our sins by casting them into the sea of God’s forgetfulness (Micah 7:19).
“Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin” (Romans 4:7-8). In the Gospel, both sin and sins are dealt with.
Jesus Christ has forever taken care of the sin nature of man by being reckoned as sin and paying the penalty of sin with His blood on the Cross. Jesus, the man, was considered as sin so that we will never have our sins charged to us again. That is victory!
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
Hebrews 1:3, “Who by Himself purged our sins.”
What a stunning statement. Jesus, our High Priest, purged our sins. In other words, He removed them! That’s the kind of High Priest we need. Let any other religious leaders try to do this and their efforts will come to nothing. Buddha could not take away the sins of his people. Mohammed didn’t eradicate the sins of his followers. But, Christ Jesus, our High Priest, by Himself, purged our sins.
When Jesus purged the sins of His people, it was the fulfillment of that which had been pre-figured in the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:30). On that day, Israel was temporarily cleansed from her sins. Now, fast forward to Calvary. There, Jesus, by Himself, permanently purged our sins. He is the fulfilment and the reality of the great Day of Atonement.
But, how did He purge our sins? By His teaching? No! By His Doctrine? No! By His Spirit? No! He purged our sins, “By Himself.” What an excellent word! “Himself.” Some Bible versions leave it out, but it is Gospel Truth. Take these verses, for example. “Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:22). “By His own blood, He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12). “…..how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience (Hebrews 9:14)?”
By Himself, He purged our sins. All that He had and all that He was, He gave as our ransom.
By Himself, He purged our sins. What power! Think about it, He purged our sins before we had ever committed them. Before we had ever sinned, he fully exercised His ministry of purging. What authority, ability and grace! What a Saviour!
There’s an ancient fable that tells of how Hercules cleaned out the Augean stable. But, think about it,… that was an easy task compared to the purging of our sins. The stench of our sins was fouler than the most putrid of dunghills, Yet Jesus purged our sins, by Himself.
Who was this man, this Priest, who purged our sins? He is the heir of all things. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of his person (Hebrews 1:2-3). He is the eternal God made flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). He is the one who was and is uniquely God and Man. He is not only our High Priest but also our Prophet and King. He offered Himself. The entire Christ was offered by Christ Himself!
He was High Priest, the Lamb, the Altar and the Sacrifice. It was His blood, His life, which was poured out. Because of that purging of our sins, by Jesus, our High Priest, both God and the believer can righteously approach each other and meet face to face. The distance between us has been destroyed. It has disappeared.
The sins are gone.
The guilt has gone.
The condemnation has gone.
The separation has gone.
The one sacrifice has been made and accepted. Christ, by Himself, purged our sins. It is finished!
Our approach to God is now secure. The High Priest has purged our sins. The door to eternity is open. The High Priest has purged our sins. The veil is torn from the top to the bottom. The High Priest has purged our sins. The dread of God has been removed, the hiding is over, because our priest, by Himself has purged our sins.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
Humanly speaking, one of the reasons people don’t come to Christ is simply because they don’t feel they need to. After all, they reason, it’s only sick folk who go to the Doctor. These traditional thinkers believe they are decent and good and, therefore, are qualified, by their goodness, to approach God. As Spurgeon says; “There are people who quite misunderstand the gospel; they think that righteousness qualifies them to come to Christ; whereas sin is the only qualification for man to come to Jesus.”
When we are keenly aware of our sins, it is then that we see our need for the Saviour. The more we understand of the Holiness of God, the more we see the necessity to be clothed in the righteousness of Christ. Nothing but a perfect righteousness is suitable for our approach to God. Either we are covered in our own sins or by His righteousness alone.
So, let’s look again at Jesus. See Him once more at Golgotha. Look at them, stripping Him of His clothes, the very clothes the sick had touched for healing. There He is, naked and ashamed! But why? It was so that we, who have no righteousness of our own, might be clothed in His perfect righteousness and be unashamed. Without His righteousness we would all, as it were, stand naked and exposed before the Justice of God on the Day of Judgment. Is His righteousness enough for you?
Look at Calvary. With angry nails, they fastened Him to the cross. They pierced the feet which had carried Him to proclaim the Good News. With hatred, they hammered their spikes into His hands. What harm had those hands ever done? They were the hands of help and healing yet in their rage they fasten those hands to the cross. Hear the blows of the hammer, listen to His screams, see the blood. Take note, see and above all, rejoice for here is the love of God!
“Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness 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.”
Who nailed Him there? Was it the Jews for jealousy? Was it Pilate to show his power? Was it the soldiers for spite? No, it was our sins that nailed Him there—yours and mine. As J.C. Ryle says, “Our sins struck the hammer.” It was our sins that bruised and wounded Him. It was we who crucified Jesus.
But, have you embraced this sacrifice as your own? Since you are reading this, the chances are that you’ve heard much about the cross. But is Jesus your righteousness? George Whitefield said it like this, “Here’s something we must learn, going to Church and being good will not give you access to God. The only access we can have is if we have the righteousness of Christ? Nothing but Christ! Nothing but Christ! We need Christ alone and Christ only to be our righteousness.
He went on to say; “If you love Him and He is your righteousness, let the righteousness of your Lord be continually in your mouth. Talk about His righteousness. Recommend it to others! Think of the greatness of the gift, as well as of the giver! Tell everyone you know that Christ is your righteousness and you are saved, not because you are good but because Christ Jesus is your righteousness. Let everyone know that the Lord is your righteousness and that you are waiting for the Lord Jesus to come back from heaven to fetch you!”
Jesus is excellent! Even though our sins had caused a sinkhole of destruction, in Christ, we are brought out of its depths to the Throne.
Now we face our destiny. We have an appointed day, a Day of Judgment: But in that Day, He, the Lord Jesus will present us faultless and flawless before the Throne with exceeding joy (Jude 1:24). Then shall the Judge declare us, “NOT GUILTY!”.
Is this enough for you? Is there anything you would like to add to the Righteousness of Christ?
God forbid! Jesus is enough.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
“And they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which being interpreted is The Place of the Skull)” Mark 15:22.
What sacrifice can we make that will impress the Father more than Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary? None! In the light of that one great sacrifice where Christ poured out His blood, our best efforts at self-denial fade to insignificance. The legendary missionary, David Livingstone, gave up and sacrificed everything to bring the Gospel to the continent of Africa, yet he said, “I never made a sacrifice. We ought not to talk of ‘sacrifice’ when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself up for us.”
Indeed, the heart of Christianity is neither about us nor our sacrifices, it is about Jesus. As P. T. Forsyth said; “Christianity is not the sacrifice that we make; it is the sacrifice that we trust.”
Is His sacrifice enough for us? Consider this, on the day of His death, the Lord Jesus was brought to Golgotha, the place of the skull. Look at Him, the perfectly pure, holy and lovely One. He is brought to a miserable place littered with skulls and bones, then stripped naked and publicly executed. As Isaiah said, “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7),” Did you hear that word, ‘SLAUGHTER’! Let’s not try to sanitize this. He was slaughtered for us.
Jesus—the kindest and most gracious man who ever walked, is led to Golgotha where He will writhe in tortured agony. But how can this be? His life was one of doing good and glorifying God. Yet, He is condemned to a wretched place where the worst and the wicked are executed.
Look at Him again, He is more than a man, He is God manifest in the flesh…the God/Man. One word from Him and the armies of Heaven will mobilize and launch a rescue mission. Look at Him, concealing His Sovereign power as He refuses to save Himself. The wicked men who have contrived to kill him are laughable. They think they are in charge. Look at them again and see the reality; see them maliciously scheming to murder the Young Prince of Glory. But unknown to, and in spite of, themselves they are fulfilling His will. They mean this vile act for evil but God means it for good … it’s all according to His plan.
So here He is, the Ruler and Judge of the universe being led as a lamb to the slaughter. Look again at the leaders of religion. This is the day they have plotted and planned for, yet look carefully again and see, in spite of all their supposed power, they are impotent. Again, see who it is who is really in control, It is the Lord Jesus. He did not resist them. A man in charge does not need to resist. One glance from His eyes could have vaporized them. Look at the cruel, wicked men fulfilling His will. But listen to the Master and marvel, for He says, “No man takes my life from me—I have power to lay it down” (John 10:18). So here in His sovereign authority He moves all history, the will of man and the hatred of His enemies to one inescapable conclusion…Golgotha
But why did He allow Himself to be led as a sheep to the slaughter? (Acts 8:32).
One reason He went there was because no amount of sacrificing or religious observance on our part could rescue or redeem us.
And so,”they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha” the place of ultimate disgrace. In Jerusalem, in those days, parents would warn their children that if they took the wrong path in life they would end up at Golgotha: It was the end of the line, fit only for the lowest of the low! And so the Lord of Glory, Jesus, identifies with the lowest, the vilest and the foulest. Don’t ever think, therefore, that you have gone beyond His reach or exhausted His love. You can never exhaust a love that has gone to Golgotha for you.
So here at the cross, the place of the ultimate sacrifice, we discover our meeting place with God. Here man and God meet and see each other clearly. At the cross, we declared our hand and displayed our hatred for God; yet at the cross, God meets us, and fully demonstrates His love and grace towards us.
And now, because of Christ’s sacrifice, the cross is the true center of Christian fellowship. His sacrifice is enough for the Father, is it enough for you?
“My faith has found a resting place
Not in device or creed
I’ll 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!
MARCH 18,19 – 2016
REIGN of GRACE
covenant – cross -consummation
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21 (KJV)
It seems as though in the year 2015 there has been many challenges facing us as Christians, both from outside our walls and from within.
The church needs to be encouraged with the reminder of the steadfastness and surety of God’s reign through grace,
which will not be thwarted by sin nor traitors in our ranks.
If it would please the Lord, we are hoping to achieve several things with this year’s theme: REIGN of GRACE.
Beginning on Friday we hope to provide an overview concerning a very important way in how to understand God’s redemptive plan which is interwoven all throughout the Scriptures – the Covenant of Grace. This Covenant is central to the 1689 Baptist Confession and is sure to provide God’s people with confidence and renewed hope that the Lord fulfills His promises!
Then on Saturday, following the reassurance and reminder of the promises and plans made to Christ’s people, we will offer teachings that have a more practical mood, in hopes they may exhort, encourage and equip those in attendance to continue to fight the good fight, and not to grow weary in well doing.
So then, please join us that we may continue steadfastly unto the end in the most holy faith which we confess.
Come, gather and meet new friends who share with you in precious like faith.
Since the believer’s sins have been punished on Christ, we can say with assurance that we are saved. Believers are simply this ….forgiven sinners!
But what kinds of sins was Jesus punished for?
Was it for our big sins?
What about our little sins?
And, what about the sins of omission?
Yes, for those too!
We are forgiven because Christ Jesus was punished in our place and in our stead.
The gospel truth is this, believers are covered with the righteousness of Christ. We are in Christ! We are reckoned not to have done the sins we actually have done. This is beautiful, matchless grace! I hope we never get tired of hearing this good news.
The Bible teaches that there are two kinds of righteousness. The first is the righteousness by which the uninstructed and ignorant attempt to get to heaven. The Bible, however, is ruthlessly scathing in describing this kind of righteousness. It calls it “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). The second kind of righteousness is the imputed righteousness God gives us as a free gift … the very righteousness of Christ.
Unfortunately, if we are not bathed in the gospel, we continually revert to believing that there is something we can do to get right with God. We are like the Jews of whom Paul wrote, “They are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes. (Romans 10:2-4).
So consider this, by grace, the Lord chose and accepted us. We are not saved by anything we do! Salvation is by grace alone. Don’t let anyone rob you of that precious truth.
As Dr David Dykes says, “If you could burn one single calorie of effort to bring about your salvation, then you could take a tiny part of the credit and boast about your part.” Excellent statement! … But he understates the matter…in actuality, we would take all the credit! The gospel truth is this, salvation is all of God and none of us. Charles Spurgeon expressed it this way: “If there is one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we are to insert ourselves, then we are lost.”
To further grasp this matter of being saved by someone else, we read in Colossians 2:14 that Christ has blotted 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.
Some have reasoned that the handwriting of ordinances alludes to the custom of affixing to the cross the charges which earned the criminal the death sentence. Remember how, at our Lord’s crucifixion, the charge read, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” That had been His claim. He was the King, the heavenly King, who would rule the earth. To the Jews, this was blasphemy. To the Romans, it stood for insurrection.
Others reason that by the ‘handwriting of ordinances’ is meant that God took the obligations of Mosaic Law and nailed them to the cross of Christ. By His saving work, the Lord Jesus exposed all systems of works salvation as being fraudulent.
Christ died as a substitute for the people of God. So beware of these grace robbers who tell you that you have something to do to earn heaven.
We are saved by grace alone…we make no contribution.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!