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The Wednesday Word: Built on the Rock

It is a Biblical fact that the true Church is founded and built upon the Lord Jesus.” “Oh, but,” says someone, “the Church was built upon Peter, for Jesus said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build My Church’ (Matthew 16:18).

Christ’s Church built upon Peter? Hardly!

Peter above all? Bah Humbug!

Peter was doubtless a decent man but look at his performance. He was the very opposite of a steady rock. A foundation built on that dear brother would be worse than shaky, it would be quite inept and useless.

Three times in scripture the Holy Spirit records Peter’s fallings.

1. He fell in Matthew 16:21-23. Peter would have kept the Lord Jesus from the cross and because of this Jesus called Peter ‘Satan’ and an offense. That’s hardly material to build the church upon.

2. He fell in Matthew 26:74 where we read, “Then began he (Peter) to curse and swear saying, “I know not the man (Jesus).”

3. He fell in Galatians 2:11-14. There we read that Paul had to rebuke Peter because he was not ‘walking according to the truth of the gospel.’

Yet some people insist that the true church is indeed built on Peter and those of us who disagree are outside of and without salvation.

Apart from that, to hold that Peter is the foundation stone of the Church is to twist Matthew 16:18. For a moment, let´s look at the context of Christ´s declaration. Jesus and the disciples had come to the district of Caesarea Philippi, (Matthew 16:13) and He asked them, “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?” Some replied one thing, and some another; but, to bring the matter close to home, Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am.” Simon Peter immediately and emphatically responded, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;”

Now see what follows.

Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but My Father which is in heaven.’ The revelation was that Jesus was the Christ, (the anointed, promised one) the Son of the living God.

By the way, in scripture, Jesus is not called God the Son but rather the Son of God. In fact, the expression “son of God” is applied to Christ more than 40 times in the New Testament, but the designation God the Son is nowhere to be discovered.

Don’t worry, Christ, of course, was and is the Mighty God, (Isaiah 9:6), God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), the eternal Word made flesh (John 1:14) and the I am (John 8:58). The term, Son of God points, however, to His identity as God in human flesh.

Notice what Jesus said to Peter. He said, you are a Petros, (in the Greek language that means a pebble), and upon this Petra (in the Greek language Petra is a large rock). So, Jesus was saying that upon this large rock He would build His church.

So, what is the rock on which the church is built? It is the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed, promised one, the God-Man. As the anointed one, He is Prophet, Priest and King. The True Church is built on Jesus, His person, work and offices. He is both God and man, our only saviour and hope.

Scripture does not contradict itself. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:11. “Other foundation can no man lay than is laid, which is Jesus Christ and in Psalm 18:31 God Himself is identified as the Rock

Instability and impulsiveness were Peter’s great defects. A Church built on him would be no church at all. It would have a very sandy foundation. The true Church, however, is built upon Christ, the Rock of Ages, the God-Man, the Son of the living God.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: He Must Increase!

Have you ever felt dissatisfied with your faith? Have you ever thought that if only you had a better quality of faith, then you could be sure of your salvation? This is dangerous thinking.

Why? Because we are never called to have faith in faith. Since when does the Bible say, “Being satisfied with our faith, we have peace with God”? (See Romans 5:1).

Satisfaction with Jesus, His person and work is what is called for. We are never called to be satisfied with our faith but called rather to be occupied with Christ and His objective, outside of us, finished work!

Let’s look further at this.

Gospel faith takes a hold of Christ and His accomplishments on our behalf. Gospel faith releases us to set our affection on things above where Christ is seated in cosmic authority. (Colossians 3:2). Gospel faith takes us out of ourselves and into the Lord Jesus.

The result of gospel faith is satisfaction with Christ and His substitutionary work done on our behalf. Christ is all (Colossians 3:11). Gospel faith sees and rests on this!

If our desire, however, is to be satisfied with our faith, we are evidently dissatisfied with Jesus. We are not thinking as gospel believers. Our thoughts have somehow been re-arranged. By way of contrast, the gospel believer is learning to be dissatisfied with self and to be satisfied with Christ Jesus. He has taken John the Baptist’s words to heart, Do you remember, John the Baptist’s words? Speaking of Jesus, the Baptist said “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30)? As we apply them, we see that for the gospel-focused believer, growth can be explained with these three little words, “He must increase.”

He. The Lord Christ who has conquered, death, sin and the grave.

Must. It is not an alternative

Increase. In our understanding, appreciation thinking and love.

For Him to increase does not mean an increased inward self- occupation with our warm fuzzy subjective experiences, but rather it means enjoying being occupied with the risen and exalted Christ. When He, the risen Christ is increasing, everything else that vies for our attention is decreasing.

Near the pulpit, in an old church in the Highlands of Scotland there is a sign that says, “No man can give at once the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save.” This is just another way of saying, ‘He Must Increase.’ With the Lord’s help, may we all learn to be thrilled with faith’s glorious object, the Lord Jesus.

In summary, faith, no matter how perfect, is nothing in and of itself. Faith, however, points us to Jesus. It commands us to look away from ourselves and look to Christ, the risen, exalted, crucified Lord. Faith agrees that “Christ is all.” (Colossians 3:11). Faith constantly urges us to look to the One who says, “Look unto me” (Isaiah 45:22).

He must Increase!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: Jesus Our Hiding Place

How do we, with confidence, come before the all-holy God, and stand in His presence? This is a great question for both the unsaved and believers alike. The unsaved person, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, knows that his sin has separated him from God (Isaiah 59:2). Likewise, the believer, through the ministry of the Word and the Spirit, is conscious that his best efforts are flawed and that his very righteousness is like a filthy rag (Isaiah 64:6). How then can either of them come before God and receive a welcome?

No doubt this was Adam’s question when he put his fig leaves together for a makeshift covering. Somehow, he knew that, because of sin, what he really needed was a covering that left him unexposed. He tried his best, but even then, his fig leaves were inadequate … and he knew it. Sensing the inadequacy of his covering see how he rushed into the bushes to hide when God came near. But even then, concealed in the bushes, he knew there was no hiding place.

It’s interesting, by the way, to note that man’s impulse, because of sin, is to hide from God … even as believers, we often make Adam’s ancient mistake.

But sin is no barrier to grace. Although man is the hider, God is the seeker and, in grace, He came seeking to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10). In grace, the Lord called Adam and began to tell of the coming deliverer, the Seed of the Woman. In Him, men would find a better covering than fig leaves and a much better hiding place. In that day, God revealed Himself as the God who hates and punishes sin, yet who, by grace, takes the sinner’s side against the sinner’s enemy, the old serpent (Genesis 3:15). Because of the promise of the seed of the woman, the true “hiding place”, Adam could now discard his makeshift concealment and know that with God’s new covering he could stand before the Almighty without fear or shame.

We too should hear the good news as Adam did … from the lips of God Himself. When God declares a matter, the declaration is true and filled with all authority. We believe, not because the truth feels right, but because God has spoken (Psalm 32:4; Psalm 138:2)! This is the foundation of our faith.

Adam’s fall gave God the opportunity to demonstrate His character of abounding grace towards His people. We deserve nothing, yet there is nothing God will not do for us. Calvary proves that. God will go to any length to heap favors on His people. Through Christ alone, He gives us the highest place in heaven and the nearest position to the throne (Ephesians 2:6). It is high time to abandon all other hiding places and be clothed in Christ alone.

“Hail, sovereign love that first began

The scheme to rescue fallen man!

Hail, matchless, free, eternal grace,

That gave my soul a hiding-place!

Against the God who rules the sky

I fought, with hand uplifted high;

Despised the mention of His grace,

Too proud to seek a hiding-place!

Enwrapped in thick Egyptian night,

And fond of darkness more than light,

Madly I ran the sinful race,

Secure, without a hiding-place!

But thus th’Eternal counsel ran:

“Almighty Love, arrest that man!”

I felt the arrows of distress,

And found I had no hiding place!

Indignant Justice stood in view,

To Sinai’s fiery mount I flew;

But Justice cried, with frowning face,

“This mountain is no hiding-place!”

Ere long, a heav’nly voice I heard,

And Mercy’s angel form appeared,

Who led me on, with gentle pace

To Jesus as my hiding-place.

On Him almighty vengeance fell,

That must have sunk a world to hell;

He bore it for the chosen race,

And thus became their Hiding-place.

Should storms of sev’n-fold vengeance roll,

And shake this earth from pole to pole,

No flaming bolt could daunt my face,

For Jesus is my hiding place.

A few more rolling suns, at most,

Will land me safe on Canaan’s coast.

Where I shall sing the song of grace,

To Jesus Christ, my hiding-place!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: The God Who is not in Hiding

In Christ Jesus, God has brought His righteousness near (Isaiah 46:13). Therefore, when telling others of His salvation we need to stress that salvation is not some distant and mysterious thing that we have to work hard to obtain. We don’t have to coax God to come near to us. We don’t have to, for example, experience the ‘warm fuzzies’ about God in order to get saved. ‘Warm Fuzzies’ will not bring salvation any nearer than it already is. Waiting until we feel good about God before we receive salvation is just another form of legalism. Salvation has already been accomplished (2 Corinthians 5:21). It is finished!

God Himself tells us to call upon His name (Psalm 105:1) for to call upon Him is to believe on Him and to believe on Him is to rest in Him. (Romans 10:13; Romans 4:24; Acts 16:31).

As we gossip the gospel, we don’t offer people a long list of duties to do, or feelings to be formed to make God think well of us. The gospel is not about our work; rather it is the good news of the work and person of the cross, apart from and outside of us in history. Our saving work, if you would like to call it that, is to believe on Him … the One who has accomplished salvation on our behalf. (John 6:29).

God has already brought His salvation near. God is not in hiding. He has declared Himself in the person and work of the Lord Jesus (John 1:18).

When faith activates, it causes us to cease working to earn God’s favour. Faith sees that, for favour, we do nothing other than rest on the fact that all has been already accomplished on behalf of the believer.

Faith, however, does not complete our salvation; rather it embraces the salvation that has already been accomplished. Faith embraces the fact that Jesus Christ alone has paid for us and rescued us at the cross. Faith sees that this work has been successfully finished (Matthew 1:21; John 19:30).

Again, we must stress that salvation is not a matter of Christ plus faith (Acts 4:12). We must continually stress this truth because it is on this very point that so many depart from the gospel. Such people are sincere, they call themselves Christians, but they are not in the gospel. They believe that their faith makes them acceptable to God. It’s a common error. Nevertheless, to believe in Christ plus faith for acceptance is to nullify the finished work.

So, let’s say it again, although we are saved through faith, faith is not our Saviour. Our Saviour is Jesus Christ plus nothing. (John 14:6)! He is the object of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2). He alone is our rescuer. What faith does is to take hold of Jesus and His accomplishments and makes them our own. Faith grasps that our saving righteousness is not in us, but outside of us in Christ Jesus.

Faith does not bring salvation into existence, nor does it produce the righteousness by which God justifies us. What faith does, however, is to take something that is already in existence and enables us to reckon it as being our own!

Some years ago an aging Christian lady lay dying in hospital. The new minister of a certain church came on visitation to the ward and mistakenly thought this dying lady was a member of his flock. Approaching her he said, “My dear lady, I’m here to absolve you of your sins,” to which the woman sternly replied, “Let me see your hands” “My hands?” questioned the astonished priest. Reluctantly the priest proffered his hands and the old lady examined them. At length she released them, looked at the man and said, “Sir I perceive you to be an impostor: the only man who can absolve me of my sins has nail scars in his hands.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Jesus: Our Gospel!

The Lord Jesus is God’s good news from heaven about Himself. (Titus 2:13). He is our gospel.

Listen to the good news in its fullness. Christ was prophesied. Christ was born. Christ was sinless. Christ lived. Christ was crucified. Christ died. Christ was buried. Christ rose again from the dead. Christ ascended to heaven. Christ sat down in cosmic authority as our ever-living High Priest and Christ is coming back (see, 1 Corinthians 15:1ff; Romans 1:1-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 8:34; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12; 1John 2:1; Hebrews 7:25).

These are the great facts of the good news. They are few and simple; so simple that any among us can understand them. Yet these statements, although unassuming, have profound meaning. They are treasure chests that contain the riches of heaven. They are brief statements, but God’s wisdom is bound up in them. Indeed, these facts of the gospel are so simple that a child can grasp them, yet they are so deep that the intelligence of the world cannot refute them.

The gospel of Christ alone brings eternal salvation. (Romans 1:16). With respect, the collective wisdom of Confucius, Buddha and Mohamed could not cause one guilty person to be acquitted before God. But the gospel is different. In the gospel, we see that there are no lengths to which the Lord will not go to rescue His people powerfully and effectively. (Titus 2:13).

We, as believers, have the privilege to daily preach the gospel to ourselves. When we hear this gospel, something deep inside us reaches out to trust the truths that are unfolded therein. As we listen to the gospel, we learn to rest our total confidence on the risen Christ, His doing, dying and rising again.

In the gospel we discover the revelation of the name (the character and essence) of God. It is written, “They that know thy name will put their trust in thee.”(Psalm 9:10). How can anything be simpler? Salvation is in Christ alone. He Himself is the good news. He Himself is the exegesis of God. (John 1:18). He is God in human flesh appearing. (1 Timothy 3:16). In short, He is our gospel!

There’s an excellent text in 2 Timothy 1:12 where the apostle says, “… for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.” Notice the phrase, “I know whom I have believed.” Many years ago, ‘Rabbi’ Duncan the then Professor of Hebrew at New College, Edinburgh, was discussing this particular text with his class. One of the students quoted it saying, “I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded.”

Immediately, Professor Duncan stopped him and said, “Repeat that text.”

The student said, “I know in whom I have,”

“My dear sir,” interrupted ‘Rabbi’ Duncan, “you must never let even a preposition come between you and your Saviour.” It’s “I know whom I have believed.”

Yes indeed! We must never let even a preposition come between us and our Saviour!

He is our Saviour. He is our gospel.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: Christ our Slaughtered Lamb

We thank God for the incarnation, but it was not enough for Christ to be born; He also had to die. (Hebrews 9:22). We are not saved merely because God loves us. Yes, He does love us, but we are saved by love, mercy, grace, righteousness and justice working in concert with each other. There are some, however, who teach that Christ has only come to this earth to reveal the love of God. This is a sad error! “Love is the great issue when it comes to salvation,” they say … but they don’t say enough. They don’t give us the full story.

While love is a moving force in salvation, they fail to mention that Christ has come as the great substitute who satisfies the justice of God! They omit to say that He is the substitute who perfectly fulfills the righteous demands of God on our behalf. They neglect to tell us that at the heart of the gospel is the truth of substitution.

If Christ is not the Substitute, He is useless to us, regardless of how much He loves us. If He did not die justly as our sin-bearing substitute, then His death accomplished nothing. We’ve got to be clear on this point and not be misled by those who, when they preach, say that love alone saves. This is not gospel truth.

Let’s say someone sees a drowning man in the river and he loves them enough to do something for them … does he stand on the bridge and call out instructions as to how the drowning man can swim and save himself? That’s a good picture of religion, but it bares no resemblance to the gospel.

If then, the man on the bridge throws a rope to the drowning man, is that a picture of the gospel?

Not at all!

This image reduces Christ to the role of ‘Rope Thrower in Chief.’

Let’s take this further. If the man on the bridge jumps into the river and risks his life to save the drowning man … is that a satisfactory picture of the gospel?

No, it’s not!

Is that all Christ did? Did Jesus merely risk His life? No, Christ did much more; He became our substitute by giving His life for ours.

He did not come merely to give rules and recommendments. He did not come merely to throw a rope or risk his life; He came to live and die for us! He was, as it were, ‘drowned in our place’ and rose again out of death carrying us to safety.

Horatius Bonar says, “He did not redeem us by a little loss, a little sacrifice, a little labour, a little suffering, He redeemed us to God by his blood; the precious blood of Christ.”(Horatius Bonar: God’s Way of Peace.)

He gave all that He had, even His life, and gave it for us. This is the kind of salvation that causes us to worship. All glory praise and honour go, “To Him, that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.”(Revelation 1:5).

Nominal Christian wisdom rejects the substitutionary work of the Lord Christ, and glories in a make-believe gospel that needs no sacrifice of the slain Lamb. They have gone, on the whole, “in the way of Cain.” Remember Cain? He refused the blood by coming to God without it. By doing so, He declined to admit that he was a condemned sinner, in need of gracious acceptance.

The only way we can and must be saved is through the Lord Jesus for He alone is the sinner’s substitute. Without shedding of blood, there is no remission (Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22).

‘Jesus when stern justice said,

“Man his life has forfeited,

Vengeance follows by decree,”

Cried, “Inflict it all on me.”

Jesus, therefore let us own:

Jesus, we’ll exalt alone;

Jesus has our sins forgiven,

And will take us safe to heaven.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: In Christ Jesus

When Jesus began His ministry, He came preaching the good news of the kingdom. (Mark 1:15). He was and is the Kingdom of God. In Him, the heavenly authority and sovereign rule of almighty God arrived in human form. This is exceedingly good news! Christ, the Creator of all things became one of us. What a visitation from heaven! What a declaration of who God is and what He is like.

In Christ Jesus, God’s thoughts came to earth.

The people found Christ’s thoughts spellbinding. (John 7:15). Even His enemies said, “Never man spake like this man.” (John 7:46). And it was no wonder for the thoughts and words of Jesus were the thoughts and words of the Father. They were words full of grace and majesty pouring purposely from His inmost being. (John 7:16). In Christ Jesus, God’s thoughts towards His people are thoughts of peace and grace, not thoughts of fury and anger. (John 14:27).

In Christ Jesus, God’s absolutes came to earth.

Much to the annoyance of many, both then and now, Jesus was both exclusive and intolerant. He spoke in absolutes. He tolerated no way to heaven other than by Himself saying, “I am the Way, the truth, and the Life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6). He also excluded all doors to heaven other than Himself saying, “I am the door.” (John 10:9). And is it any wonder? For,

In Christ Jesus, the saving power of God came to earth!

Jesus presents Himself, not as one among many alternatives, but as the only one who is “mighty to save.” (Isaiah 63:1). He is the only one “able also to save to the uttermost; them that come unto God by Him.” (Hebrews 7:25). He is the only one who has lived, died and risen again as the sinless substitute. He is our only hope for He is the only one who has satisfied God’s just and reasonable demands for perfection and righteousness. Christ alone is the provision for ruined lost sinners. What a shelter, what a Saviour!

In Christ Jesus, God’s love came to earth.

It is in Christ that we see God’s love for the helpless. He received sinners and ate with them. (Luke 15:2). This comes as no surprise since He came to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10).

A story is told of a child, many years ago, who thought of God only with dread, as of a terrible Judge! In her stern home, God had been held before her only in this way. She had never heard a word about God’s love. But one day in her father’s printing shop, she picked up a scrap of paper and found on it just the first part of this verse, “For God so loved the world … that He gave” the remaining words were torn off … but even this mere fragment was a revelation to her.

God loved … “loved the world”, loved it well enough to give something. Exactly what He gave … she did not know … but it was enough for her to know that God loved at all and that He loved enough to give something. The new thought changed her conception of God. She learned through time what the God of love gave. She learned that the fullest demonstration of His love comes to us at the cross. God didn’t just say He loved us; He, as the representative man, went to the cross and was deluged by the floods of wrath that should have come upon us. What astonishing love! He who knew no sin became sin that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21). This really is “amazing love, immense and free.”

In Christ Jesus, we see the majesty of God as He rose from the grave triumphing over death. (Romans 6:9).

In Christ Jesus, we discover good news for all whose righteousness is insufficient to bring them to God. (Psalm 132:9).

In Christ Jesus, God’s undeserved, unearned and unmerited favour has freely come to us. (Titus 2:11).

In Christ Jesus, we see that our salvation is not bound up in how much we love God, but in how much He loves us. (1 John 4:10).

In Christ Jesus, we see that it is not our commitment to God that saves us, but His commitment to us.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Christ Jesus … the Revelation

Because Christ died and rose again, we have grace abounding towards us each day. (2 Corinthians 9:8). Unfortunately, we don’t always remember that this is the case. Indeed, we often forget the abounding grace which is ours each day.

One way this demonstrates itself is that many who claim to be believers spend their lives jumping from one new Christian fad to the next. They seem to be ever looking for some new and better experience. They pay lip service to our great Substitute, but when it comes to centering their lives on Him and His objective gospel, they say they must have something more.

Apparently, the person of Christ and His cross are not ‘deep’ enough. The gospel is for beginners, they say, and now they must go on to maturity. Thus, they reject that Christ Himself is the very wisdom and power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:24). Patronizingly they sneer at the fulfillment and unfolding of the eternal purposes of God in Christ. (Ephesians 3:11).

But the truth is, Christ Jesus is entirely amazing. If we ever caught a glimpse of His glory we would be totally awestricken. Indeed, as believers, our growth in grace comes through beholding His glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18). Also, the more we know of the glory of His person, work and offices, the more we will be totally satisfied with the gospel provision which God has made for us in Him.

It always strikes me as odd that so many professing believers make so little of Jesus. After all, He is the revelation of the eternal God and it is only as we know Him that we can know God. Job 22:21 tells us, “Acquaint thyself now with him and be at peace.” But how do we acquaint ourselves with God apart from Christ? It’s impossible! Christ the man is the revelation of God. (John 14:9). What an opportunity we have to, therefore, meditate much on God in Christ as revealed in the Scriptures!

If we look closely enough, we will discover that the attributes of God can be discovered in the Lord Jesus. He is the one mediator between both God and man. Indeed, the revelation of God comes through Christ Jesus. (1 Timothy 2:5).

Christ is the Door. (John 10:9). Doors either let people in or keep people out. When Christ claims to be the door, one of the things He is stating is that the knowledge of God comes to us exclusively through Him. He is the full and final revelation of God.

Christ Jesus is the amazing revelation.

He is in the Father, and the Father is in Him. (John 14:10).

He that has seen Him has seen the Father. (John 14:9, John 1:18).

He is “God manifest in flesh.” (1 Timothy 3:16).

His name is “Emmanuel,” God with us. (Matthew 1:23),

He is the “Saviour.” (2 Timothy 1:10).

He is the “Christ.” (Matthew 1:16).

He is the anointed One, filled with the Spirit without measure. (Jn 3:34).

He is “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).

He is the one who lovingly took our damnation. (Romans 8:1).

He is this same one Who is with us. (Matthew 1:23);

Above us. (Psalm 57:11).

Beneath us. (Deuteronomy 33:27).

Before us. (Isaiah 52:12).

Within us. (1Colossians 1:29)

He is all around us. (Psalm 125:2).

He is “the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of His person.” (Hebrews 1:3).

As we learn to focus on Him and His glory, we will discover how to not focus on ourselves. It is then that we will be fully satisfied with the gospel blessings of abounding grace and life that come through Him alone.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Continual Acceptance

I recently had a conversation with a brother who was having difficulty believing he could be continually accepted by God. That’s a more widespread problem than you may think.

As believers, one of the subtle difficulties we encounter in the Christian life is that we begin to look for qualities within ourselves as being the ground and basis of our acceptance with God. But this is deception. And, if we do not continually bathe ourselves in the gospel, this kind of thing happens to us quite frequently. An absence of the gospel will cause us to quietly forget that our continual acceptance before God is found in Christ alone plus nothing!

We may be in Christian service and ministry, but that’s not why we are accepted before God.

We may work sacrificially for the cause of Christ, but that’s not why we are accepted before God.

Indeed, we may have a great prayer life, but that’s not why we are accepted before God.

And we may abound in spiritual gifts but, again, that’s not why we are accepted before God.

The gospel truth is that we are fully and totally accepted because of one man, the God-man, Jesus the Christ. Let’s say it again, the only acceptance we have before God is Christ Himself! We are, “found in Him.”(Philippians 3:9). This must mean that our own “self” has disappeared and instead, in the Father’s eyes, there is Christ, the beloved Son in whom He is well pleased. (Matthew 3:17).

Horatius Bonar observed, “Found in ourselves, there was nothing but wrath; found in Him there is nothing but favour.” We are hidden in Christ (Colossians 3:3): we are complete in Him (Colossians 2:10). He is our continual acceptance before God.

As we grow in grace, we recognize that although we are, within ourselves, unworthy of the Father’s welcome, we are actually accepted beyond measure. Also, gospel grace teaches us that we are entirely loved in spite of being, in ourselves, utterly unlovable. Gospel grace further informs us that we are totally accepted in spite of being, in ourselves, totally unacceptable.

Because we are in Christ, we no longer put confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3). Because we are in Christ, we are liberated from the search for acceptance with God through resolutions and vows. The true believer knows that, in him, that is in his flesh, there dwells no good thing. (Romans 7:18). He knows that compared to God, everything within Him is vileness and sin. The truth is, if a man had the power to save Himself, he would not have the desire to do so; and if He had the desire to save himself, he would not have the power to do so. “Apart from Me you can do nothing. (John 15:5).

This is why the Holy Spirit always fixes our eyes on Jesus (John 16:14). He never turns our eye in on our performance as a means of gaining confidence. He never leads us to get encouragement by looking at our own character or performance. No! The way by which the Spirit gives us confidence is to continually glorify and magnify the perfections of Lord Jesus.

Are you living with something less than full assurance of your acceptance before the Father? If you are a believer Christ has died for you, Christ has risen for you and is even now seated in cosmic authority making intercession for you. (Romans 8:34). Has unbelief caused you to distrust the abilities and will of your Saviour to save you? Do you doubt the truth of God’s testimony? Do you honestly believe that the Rock of Ages is going to crumble?

John Bunyan said,

“Christ is all and in all” (Colossians 3:11). He who knows this knows what fully satisfies and cheers. He who knows this best has the deepest and truest peace: for he has learned the secret of being always a sinner, yet always righteous; always incomplete, yet always complete; always empty, and yet always full; always poor, and yet always rich.”

For continued acceptance before God and a present, joyful assurance of salvation, we need Christ and His finished work plus nothing.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Jesus – The Wonderful One

His name shall be called ‘Wonderful.’ (Isaiah 9:6).

“Wonderful” comes from the root word “wonder.” It can also be translated as ‘amazing,’ ‘surprising,’ ‘astonishing’ or ‘awe-inspiring.’ Jesus is all these things! Does Jesus bring wonder to our lives? I hope so! May we always find wonderfully surprising and astonishing things in Him.

Being that His name is Wonderful it is not strange to see there are so many wonderful things associated with Him. Salvation, for example, belongs to Him and He gives it to lost people. (Luke 19:10). He doesn’t charge them, He freely gives. That’s wonderful. Not only so, but look at those to whom He gives this Salvation … He gives it to the ungodly (Romans 4:5). That again is wonderful!

There has never been anyone as wonderful as Jesus. But, think about it, He was either wonderful or arrogant.

He came and pointed out our sins but acknowledged no sin of His own. That is either arrogant or wonderful?

He claimed to not only be sinless but also to be the Saviour from sin. That’s either arrogant or wonderful!

He came and told us we must repent but had no repentance of His own. That’s either arrogant or wonderful.

He tells us that we are sick but that He is our physician. That’s either arrogant or wonderful!

He tells us that we are His sheep and that He is our shepherd. That’s either arrogant or wonderful!

So, how say you? Is He arrogant or wonderful?

In the annals of human history, there never has been anyone like Him, and there never will be. He is called wonderful simply because there is no better way to describe Him! I dare you to make a point of telling your friends, that He is wonderful! Email them and let them know. Post it online. Let everyone know that He is wonderful!

Here’s another wonderful thing. Notice in Scripture how we are called sheep. (John 10:11-15).

We are not called lions, we’re too weak for that name.

We are not called serpents; they are wise, but sheep are dumb.

He doesn’t call us dogs. If a dog gets lost, he often finds his way back home.

A sheep can’t do that.

Sheep are weak and stupid and lose their way. But we have a shepherd whose name is Wonderful. He knows how to find us. He’s a shepherd who has a treasure house of wisdom and has all the strength that we need.” He is wonderful!

The word ‘wonderful’ is sometimes translated as marvelous or miraculous. Spurgeon says, “Christ is the marvel of marvels, the miracle of miracles. His name shall be called Miraculous,” for He is more than a man, He is God’s highest miracle. “Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh.” His Name is Wonderful!

(Spurgeon: Sermon Number 214: His Name shall be called Wonderful)

Let’s face it, Jesus is Wonderful in who He is! He is wonderful in what He did. He is wonderful in what He is doing and wonderful in what He will yet do. It’s no wonder then that the Puritan, John Flavel, wrote of Him saying,

“Out of His agony comes our victory;

Out of His condemnation comes our justification;

Out of His pain comes our ease;

Out of His stripes comes our healing;

Out of His gall and vinegar comes our honey;

Out of His curse comes our blessing;

Out of His crown of thorns comes our crown of glory;

Out of His death comes our life!”

John Flavel (1627-91).

He is Wonderful!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com