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The Wednesday Word: Three Wonderful Things about Jesus

Of course, there are more than three wonderful things to be said about the Lord Jesus. What follows are but three of them. When we consider Christ´s relationship with sin, we notice that…

1. Jesus Knew No Sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).

He was absolutely sinless. His nature and essence were devoid of imperfection. He was the ” holy one of God” (Mark 1:24 ). The Spirit affirms this (Luke 1:35), and the demons confessed it (Luke 4:34). In all points, He was tempted like as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).

2. “He did no sin” (1 Peter 2: 22).

Every thought of His heart, word of His lips, and deed of His life was for and to the Father. He was sinless. There was no deficiency in Him. His was a perfect beauty of character. He was pure in heart, purpose and thought!

The Father acknowledged this saying, “This is my beloved Son; in whom I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22).

Jesus knew His own sinlessness. He said, ” I always do those things that please him (the Father)” (John 8: 29).

Pilate´s wife also knew it. She sent a message to her husband saying “Have nothing to do with that just man”(Matthew 27:19).

Pilate acknowledged it. He declared, “I find no fault in Him” (John 19:4).

The dying thief recognized it. He said, ” This man has done nothing amiss ” (Luke 23:41). He, as it were, said to his fellow felon, ” You and I never did a right thing, this man never did a wrong one.”

Judas, the devil´s servant, knew it and confessed, “I have betrayed the innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). “Innocent” means there was no hurtful thing in Him, He was not harmful but was clean, and without blame. He was innocent! He did no sin.

But not only did Christ have innocent blood, it was also “THE” innocent blood. He was the only one who was genuinely innocent. All others had sin. No one was innocent, no one, that is, but Christ. His was the “The blood,” the only blood that could atone for sin.

What a contrast there is between man and Christ. And this brings us to the third wonderful thing…..

3. God “made him to be sin” (2 Corinthians 5: 21).

Being the sinless man, He was uniquely qualified to become our sin-bearer. But more than that, He was “made sin” (reckoned to be sin and treated as such) that He might put sin away.

For a person to qualify to die for our sins they would have to be sinless. In God’s courtroom, a sinner couldn´t give his life for other sinners. A sinner would have to die for His own offences. Our Lord Jesus Christ, however, was capable of standing in the place, and stead of sinners, because He had no sin of His own. He was guiltless.

He was made sin. This happened when the Father laid upon Jesus the entire weight of the sins of His people. Instead of belonging to His sheep, our sin was reckoned to Christ. However, at the same time, Christ’s righteousness was placed to the account of the guilty. The guilty are now treated as righteous because He who knew no sin, was treated as such.

I like what Spurgeon says on this matter, “Christ was not guilty, and could not be made guilty, but He was treated as if He were guilty because He willed to stand in the place of the guilty. Yes, He was not only treated as a sinner, but He was treated as if He had been sin itself in the abstract. This is an amazing utterance. The sinless one was made to be sin.”

CHS: The Heart Of The Gospel, Sermon Number 1910.

Three wonderful things about Jesus: He knew no sin. He did no sin.He was made sin.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXIII- Salvation by Grace

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXIII

SALVATION BY GRACE

5. FURTHER REMARKS

In the present state of the race all men stand before God, not as citizens of a state, all of whom must be treated alike and given the same “chance” for salvation, but rather as guilty and condemned criminals before a righteous judge. None have any claim to salvation. The marvel is, not that God doesn’t save all, but that when all are guilty He pardons so many; and the answer to the question, Why does He not save all? is to be found, not in the Arminian denial of the omnipotence of His grace, but in the fact that, as Dr. Warfield says, “God in His love saves as many of the guilty race of man as He can get the consent of His whole nature to save.” 3 For reasons known to Himself He sees that it is not best to pardon all, but that some should be permitted to have their own way and be left to eternal punishment in order that it may be shown what an awful thing is sin and rebellion against God.

Time and again the Scriptures repeat the assertion that salvation is of grace, as if anticipating the difficulty which men would have in coming to the conclusion that they could not earn salvation by their own works. Thus also they destroy the widespread notion that God owes salvation to any. “By grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory,” Ephesians 2:8, 9. “But if it is of grace, it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace,” Romans 11:6. “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” Romans 3:20. “Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt,” Romans 4:4. “Who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?” 1 Corinthians 4:7. “By the grace of God I am what I am,” 1 Corinthians 15:10. “Who hath first given to Him, and it shall he recompensed unto him again?” Romans 11:35. “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Romans 6:23.

Grace and works are mutually exclusive; and as well might we try to bring the two poles together as to effect a coalition of grace and works in salvation. As well might we talk of a “purchased gift,” as to talk of “conditional grace,” for when grace ceases to be absolute it ceases to be grace. Therefore when the Scriptures say that salvation is of grace we are to understand that it is through its whole process the work of God and that any truly meritorious works done by man are the result of the change which has already been wrought.

Arminianism destroys this purely gracious character of salvation and substitutes a system of grace plus works. No matter how small a part these works may play they are necessary and are the basis of the distinction between the saved and the lost and would then afford occasion for the saved to boast over the lost since each had equal opportunity. But Paul says that all boasting is excluded, and that he who glories should glory in the Lord (Romans 3:27; 1 Corinthians 1:31). But if saved by grace, the redeemed remembers the mire from which he was lifted, and his attitude toward the lost is one of sympathy and pity. He knows that but for the grace of God he too would have been in the same state as those who perish, and his song is, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth’s sake.”

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Wednesday Word: How God Got Rid of Our Sins

The gospel is wonderfully simple. It is the good news of the doing, dying and rising again of the God/Man. This gospel work was and is both finished and successful. As proof of this, we have, at this very moment, a glorified saviour seated in the place of cosmic authority (Hebrews 10:12).

So, let’s ask, how does God get rid of the believer’s sins? To answer this question, the Lord has taken great pains, in His Word, to show how completely He has done this. Watch how He employs word pictures that are so easily understood.

For example,

(1) In Psalm 103:12, we read, “As far as the east us so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” Where is the East? Where is the West? No matter where we are on the globe there is always an east and a west. But who can tell us their actual location? If we begin traveling west, we will still be westward bound after many days of journey. Similarly, if we set out to discover the ultimate location of the east, we will never finally arrive.

As far as the east is from the west so far has He removed our transgressions from us. This is how God got rid of our sins.

2) In Isaiah 38:17, we read, “Thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” What a precious passage to assure us that God no longer sees our sins. Who can see behind his back? No one. The good news is that He no longer sees our sins. He Himself hurled them behind His back…. And not just some of our sins, … all of them.

All our sins;

Every sin in thought, word, or deed;

Every secret sin;

Every presumptuous sin;

All our sin!

He cast our sins behind His back. This is how God got rid of our sin!

3) In Micah 7:19, we read “Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Again, we find it is His work. He Himself cast our sins there. Not simply into the sea, but into the depths of the sea. If a person on board a ship empties some coins over the ship’s side, how much of it he will get back again? Not a red cent! All the coins would go down into the depths. So also with our sins. God cast them, great and small, into the depths of the sea, never to be brought back again.

This is how God got rid of our sins!

4) In Isaiah 44:22 we read, I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins.” Have you looked at the sky recently? There was a cloud there yesterday, an imposing one. Where is it today? … It is gone! And so it is with our sins. One day our sins rise up as a thick cloud between us and God, but God Himself blots them out because of the blood!

This is how God got rid of our sins!

5) In Isaiah 1:18, we read, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Scarlet and crimson are two of the most difficult colours to destroy, but God Himself took our scarlet sins, purges them, and, as it were, makes them white as snow.

This is how God gets rid of our sins!

It is our privilege to know, as David did, that we are, with reference to sin, made whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7). God has gone to amazing lengths to get rid of our sin! (See also Hebrews 10: 17, Ephesians 1:7 and Romans 4:7-8).

Is Jesus precious to you? He remembers our sins no more. He forgives us according to the riches of His grace. Who can compute this kind of love and mercy?

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXIII- Salvation by Grace

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXIII

SALVATION BY GRACE

4. SCRIPTURE TEACHING

Let us now notice some of those scriptures which teach that our sins were imputed to Christ; and then notice some which teach that His righteousness is imputed to us.

“Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all,” Isaiah 53: 4, 5. “By the knowledge of Himself shall my righteous servant justify many, and He shall bear their iniquities….. He bare the sin of many,” Isaiah 53:11, 12. “Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him,” 2 Corinthians 5:21. Here both truths are plainly stated, — our sins are set to His account, and His righteousness to ours. There is no other conceivable sense in which He could be “made sin,” or we “made the righteousness of God.” It was Christ “who His own self bare our sins in His body upon the tree, that we, having died unto sins, might live unto righteousness; by whose stripes we are healed,” 1 Peter 2:24. Here, again, both truths are thrown together. “Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God,” 1 Peter 3:18. These, and many other such verses, prove the doctrine of His substitution in our stead, as plainly as language can put it. If they do not prove that the death of Christ was a true and proper sacrifice for sin in our stead, human language cannot express it.

That His righteousness is imputed to us is taught in language equally plain. “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in His sight… But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested… even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe… being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 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 aforetime, 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. Where then is the glorying? It is excluded. By what manner of law? of works? Nay, hut by the law of faith. We reckon therefore that a man is justified by faith apart from the works of the law,” Romans 3:20-28. “So then as through one trespass the judgment came unto all men to condemnation; even so through one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men to justification of life. For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many he made righteous,” Romans 5:18, 19. Paul’s testimony in regard to himself was: “I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith,” Philippians 3:8, 9. Now, is it not strange that any one who pretends to be guided by the Bible, could, in the face of all this plain and unequivocal language, uphold salvation by works, in any degree whatever?

Paul wrote to the Romans, “Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under law, but under grace.” 6:14. That is, God had taken them out from under a system of law and had placed them under a system of grace; and as their Sovereign, it was not His purpose to let them again fall under the dominion of sin. In fact, if they were to fall, it could only be because God had taken them out from under grace and again placed them under law, so that their own works determined their destiny. In the very nature of the case as long as the person is under grace he is entirely free from any claim that the law may have on him through sin. For one to be saved through grace means that God is no longer treating him as he deserves but that He has sovereignly set the law aside and that He saves him in spite of his ill-desert, — cleansing him from his sin, of course, before he is fit to enter the divine presence.

Paul goes to great pains to make it clear that the grace of God is not earned by us, is not secured by us in any way, but is just given to us. If it be earned, it ceases by that very fact to be grace, Romans 11:6.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Wednesday Word: You May be a Legalist If: …Part 2

You may be a legalist if you are a professing Christian but suspect that your salvation has not been secured and guaranteed by Christ. If this is the case, you are likely trying to try to supplement your salvation by your own efforts and righteousness. That means you are a legalist and legalism wants you to focus anywhere and everywhere but on the Finished Work of Christ for your salvation.

The gospel, however, brings the death knell to legalism. As gospel believers, we learn to rest entirely in who Jesus is and on what He has accomplished for us in the Finished Work.

Shortly after the feeding of the 5,000, Christ was confronted by a group of eager legalists asking, “What shall we do that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28). Christ’s reply (verse 29) is very telling. He responds, “This is the work of God that you believe on him who He has sent.” That is to say, to believe, (rest and trust) on Christ, is to do the work of God. In other words, it is not resting on our practices but resting on the doing, dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus. Only Christ´s person and work can satisfy the Father.

The legalist tries to do good things in an attempt to earn and secure God’s favour. That’s how he understands life. He feels that somehow, he must continually turn God’s heart towards him. These folks (in verse 28) wanted Jesus to give them a list of things to do. Legalists love lists. To the carnal mind, the thought of a free gift from God is nonsense. These folks wanted to do something.

It was the same with the rich young ruler: “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” (Luke 18:18):

Also, with the Jews on the day of Pentecost: “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).

It was the same with the Philippian jailer: “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

And with the prodigal son —”Make me as one of thy hired servants” (one who works for what he receives).

But, here’s the thing, our lists cannot gain us acceptance before God. On the contrary, the work of salvation is to rely upon the work of someone else to be saved.

The legalist has difficulty grasping the personal sufficiency of the atonement. He has trouble believing scriptures like;

“I, even I, am he that blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

Or, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 8:12).

The legalist struggles with the fact that God exercises His divine prerogative to forget our sins. So, let´s not remember what God has forgotten.

In reality, legalists make works not only the evidence of salvation but salvation itself. This is an attack on the Lord Jesus! He has made peace by the blood of his Cross (Colossians 1:20). Peace was not made when we added our two cents worth. Redemption was accomplished at Calvary. The work was and is finished.

If we are ultimately saved by Christ plus our works, then works become one of our mediators. But the Scripture asserts that there is but one mediator between God and man .. not two (see 1 Timothy 2:5).

If our works mediate for us, then they are partly responsible for our peace. But the scriptures know nothing of this. Peace has already been made by the shed blood of Calvary plus nothing. (Colossians 1:20).

There is one Mediator between God and man. There is one Peace-maker. We have been reconciled to God by Christ alone (2 Corinthians 5:18). And this is as it should be. What works of ours can compare to those of the Lord Christ? The best of our works are defiled by imperfections. Our works cannot make an atonement, but instead, they need one made for themselves.

I like what Daniel Miall of Portsea said as he reflected on man´s wretched condition. He declared,

“If the Lord were to bring us within one step of heaven and leave us to take that last step alone, we would step into Hell.”

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXIII- Salvation by Grace

March 18, 2020 6 comments

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXIII

SALVATION BY GRACE

3. SALVATION NOT TO BE EARNED BY MAN

All men naturally feel that they should earn their salvation, and a system which makes some provision in that regard readily appeals to them. But Paul lays the axe to such reasoning when he says, “If there had been a law given which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law,” Galatians 3:21; and Jesus said to His disciples, “when ye shall have done all the things that are commanded of you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we have done that which it was our duty to do,” Luke 17:10.

Our own righteousness, says Isaiah, is but as a polluted garment — or, as the King James Version puts it, as filthy rags — in the sight of God (64:6). And when Isaiah wrote, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price,” 55:1, he invited the penniless, the hungry, the thirsty, to come and take possession of, and enjoy the provision, free of all cost, as if by right of payment. And to buy without money must mean that it has already been produced and provided at the cost of another. The further we advance in the Christian life, the less we are inclined to attribute any merit to ourselves, and the more to thank God for all. The believer not only looks forward to everlasting life, but also looks backward into the antemundane eternity and finds in the eternal purpose of divine love the beginning and the firm anchorage of his salvation.

If salvation is of grace, as the Scriptures so clearly teach, it cannot he of works, whether actual or foreseen. There is no merit in believing, for faith itself is a gift of God. God gives His people an inward working of the Spirit in order that they may believe, and faith is only the act of receiving the proffered gift. It is, then, only the instrumental cause, and not the meritorious cause, of salvation. What God loves in us is not our own merits, but His own gift; for His unmerited grace precedes our meritorious works. Grace is not merely bestowed when we pray for it, but grace itself causes us to pray for its continuance and increase.

In the book of The Acts we find that the very inception of faith itself is assigned to grace (18:27); only those who were ordained to eternal life believed (13:48); and it is God’s prerogative to open the heart so that it gives heed to the gospel (16:14). Faith is thus referred to the counsels of eternity, the events in time being only the outworking. Paul attributes it to the grace of God that we are “His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God afore prepared that we should walk in them,” Ephesians 2:10. Good works, then, are in no sense the meritorious ground but rather the fruits and proof of salvation.

Luther taught this same doctrine when he said of some that “They attribute to Free-will a very little indeed, yet they teach us that by that very little we can attain unto righteousness and grace. Nor do they solve that question, Why does God justify one and leave another? in any other way than by asserting the freedom of the will, and saying, Because the one endeavors and the other does not; and God regards the one for endeavoring, and despises the other for his not endeavoring; lest, if he did otherwise, he should appear to be unjust.” 2

It is said that Jeremy Taylor and a companion were once walking down a street in London when they came to a drunk man lying in the gutter. The other man made some disparaging remark about the drunk man. But Jeremy Taylor, pausing and looking at him, said, “But for the grace of God, there lies Jeremy Taylor!” The spirit which was in Jeremy Taylor is the spirit which should be in every sin-rescued Christian. It was repeatedly taught that Israel owed her separation from the other peoples of the world not to anything good or desirable in herself, but only to God’s gracious love faithfully persisted in despite apostasy, sin, and rebellion.

Paul says concerning some who would base salvation on their own merits, that, “going about to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit themselves to the righteousness of God,” and were, therefore, not in the Church of Christ. He makes it plain that “the righteousness of God” is given to us through faith, and that we enter heaven pleading only the merits of Christ.

The reason for this system of grace is that those who glory should glory in the Lord, and that no person should ever have occasion to boast over another. The redemption was purchased at an infinite cost to God Himself, and therefore it may be dispensed as He pleases in a purely gracious manner. As the poet has said:

“None of the ransomed ever knew,

How deep were the waters crossed,

Nor how dark was the night that the

Lord passed through,

E’er He found His sheep that was lost.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

The Wednesday Word: You May be a Legalist If: …Part 1

March 11, 2020 3 comments

You may be a Legalist if.. you believe God loves you, but suspect that He doesn´t like you.

If God was looking at you, right now, and you managed to take a snapshot of His face, what would it look like? As He considered you, would He be smiling? Or, would He have an irritated frown? Take a moment to reflect on your answer!

What do you believe the Almighty thinks of you? Your response will reveal whether or not you are behaving as a legalist. Legalists, you see, feel that God is continually scowling at them. Try as they may, they just can´t shake off this idea of the disapproving diety. They haven´t done enough, and they know it. They, in their own minds, have earned Heaven´s well-deserved glower. That´s why they are characterised by endless amounts of guilt and self-effort.

But, what about us, are we in that camp? Do we, at times, believe the theory that God loves us but, at the same time, because of our lack of performance, He doesn´t like us very much?

We all know that loving someone and liking them are two different things. When we like someone, we enjoy their company and welcome their relationship. Does the Father appreciate our company and friendship? According to the legalist…NO! Only if we try very hard to please Him (the Lord). For the legalists, God´s love is an unproven, non-impactful theory. He´s like the man who knows the words of the song but doesn´t know the melody.

In reality, legalism challenges and denies the gospel. It denies us access to the enjoyment of God´s favour. The legalist part of us says, “I’m not good enough, and God isn’t pleased with me.” These voices continually pound in our hearts as they bring their own particular brand of bondage.

But, here´s some good news,… because of the Finished Work, the way to overcome this oppression is in and through the gospel. Instead of counting beads, as some religionists do, we can count up gospel benefits.

Here´s the gospel truth. If you have been justified by grace through faith, it´s because God really does love you. The shed blood of Christ really has removed every barricade to the Father´s presence and approval. The only thing deeper than your sin is the depth of the Saviour´s love for you.

We have an open heaven, not because of what we are doing but because of what He has done …(see Ephesians 2:18; Ephesians 3:12; Hebrews 10:19; Romans 5:2; Hebrews 6:19-20).

By grace, you have been adopted into the family of God. Understand this, when God sees you, He smiles for He sees you in Jesus. Consider the following scripture, “For you are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). That´s a magnificent verse to memorise. It is a powerful weapon in the arsenal of Finished Work truth.

The cross declares that God´s favour is on us. God both loves and likes us! May we make it personal by telling ourselves this gospel truth and telling it often. The gospel will put legalism to the sword.

Rest in Him and enjoy Him. How easy is that?

There´s a powerful scripture which tells of Jesus love and how He loves us? Accordingly, He loves us till the end (John 13:1).

In the middle of our spiritual conflict, He loves us to the end.

Amid our spiritual turmoil, He loves us to the end.

Amid all our spiritual shortcomings, He loves us to the end.

Amid our daily struggle with sin, He loves us to the end.

Amid our temptations, He loves us to the end.

Amid our rebellion of heart and self-will, He loves us to the end.

He knows all, and He still loves us. And that´s why Jesus is called “Wonderful” Because that´s who and what He is … WONDERFUL! He loves us to the end.

No room for legalism here!

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com