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The Wednesday Word: The Cities of Refuge (Part 1)

“Then you shall appoint cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person accidentally may flee there. (Numbers 35:11).

At that time, throughout the Middle East, when a man was killed accidently or by malice, the nearest relative, his heir, or any person related to him, could take revenge for him. In Joshua 20:7-8, as a response to the instruction of Numbers 35:11, they appointed 6 cities (Kedesh, Shechem, Kirjatharba (Hebron), Bezer, Ramoth and Golan) as cities of refuge for the protection of those guilty of unintentionally killing someone. Such a person could take refuge in any one of these cities and not die by the hand of the ‘avenger of blood.’

Mark this down, all these cities, in their names, point us to the sinner’s safe-haven, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the true City of Refuge. He is the preserver of all those who flee to Him for mercy (see Hebrews 6:18). He is our divinely appointed Saviour who saves to the uttermost all those who come to God by him (Hebrews 7:25).

The names of these six cities have much to tell us about the Lord. They are, in fact, six lovely pictures of the Saviour. May they, as we examine them, motivate us to love the Master even more.

The first city we encounter is,

1) Kedesh.

What does this name tell of Christ?

The Hebrew word Kedesh means “Holy. Our city of refuge, Jesus, is, in fact, “The Holy One.” Not one stain of sin polluted His holy human nature (I Peter 2:22; 1John 3:5).

The angelic creatures in heaven, rested not day and night as they cried out to Him, “Holy! holy! holy!” (Revelation 4:8).

Devils on earth recognized Him and were compelled to exclaim, “We know thee who you are, the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24).

Paul wrote about Him and said “He was Holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners” (Hebrews 7:26).

He challenged His enemies saying, “Which of you convinces me of sin?” (John 8:46). The word in Greek for ‘convinces’ literally means to reprove, rebuke, convince, convict, expose, admonish to call to account or demand an explanation. Jesus was utterly sinless and entirely holy. He could not have been exposed as being a sinner for He was pure.

Then consider the disciples. They had lived with Him for three years. For more than 36 months they had shared their lives yet not one of them could point to any sin He had committed. When it comes right down to it, living with others is when we find out what the other person is really like. But no one could find fault in Jesus. He was and is Divine Holiness in human expression. What an amazing city of refuge!

However, there is something about holiness that scares, and threatens us. People, who claim to be holy can make us feel uncomfortable, inferior, unworthy, guilty, and condemned. But in Jesus the opposite is true. In Christ, the worst of sinners finds the deepest of love. The Lord’s holiness does not threaten the believer. Jesus says, ‘come unto me and I will give you rest … not retribution.’

In addition, Christ’s holiness does not stand against us. In fact, through grace, it is reckoned to us. It is calculated to the believer’s account (1 Corinthians 1:30).

May we always remember that Jesus could not have saved us had He not been sinless. If He had had one sin, we would have been lost forever. As J.R. MacDuff observed, “Just as one leak in Noah’s ark of old would have sunk it, so one leak of sin in Jesus, the true Ark, would have plunged us all in the depths of eternal despair.

He is our Kedesh. He is our holiness! May the Lord help us to say,

“I love the name of Jesus,

Immanuel, Christ the Lord;

Like fragrance on the breezes,

His name abroad is pour’d;”

“I long to be like Jesus,

Meek, lowly, loving, mild;

I long to be like Jesus,

The Father’s HOLY Child!”

The next city of refuge we encounter is Shechem, but we’ll have to look at that next time.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: Good News for Believers Part 2

Romans 8: 38-39, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Notice the ‘US.’ Nothing shall separate ‘us.’ Who are the ‘Us he’s talking about?’ Last time we discovered that they were the foreloved, the predestinated, the called,the justified and the glorified ones. Here, therefore, is good news for believers … we can never be separated from the love of God. There will never be a moment in history when God will cease to love us.

Paul says, I am persuaded that death cannot separate us from Christ’s love. The long icy finger of death could grip any of us at any time … no one is immune.

But the cold clammy hand of death cannot separate us from the love of God. When we pass through the valley of the shadow of death the Lord will be there (see Psalm 23)

Death will not separate us from His love.

“In peace let me resign my breath,

And thy salvation see.

My sins deserved eternal death,

But Jesus died for me.”

Death cannot separate us from Jesus for He has died for us. Life cannot separate us for Jesus is ever living for us.

Life with all its problems,

Life with all its perplexities,

Life with all its difficulties,

Life with all its disappointments.

Life with all its trials,

Life with all its temptations,

Life with all its tears and storms. Cannot separate us from the love of God in Christ. No matter how much you may feel that you have failed or let the Lord down. None of this can separate you from the love of God. Dear believer, He still loves you. No matter what you’ve done.

Then Paul continues, “I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels…”

Angels are mighty beings – of which there are 2 classes. “Yes” said the wee boy in Sunday School, there are 2 classes of angels, there’s bad angels and there’s Charlie’s Angels!”

Well, no!

There are good angels (Luke 15:10; Hebrews 1:14) and bad angels (Jude 1:6; Psalm 78:49).

Good angels would never dare to separate us from God’s love. And bad angels cannot even if they dared.

“I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor powers… “

Principalities and powers? That’s the organized array of Satan’s army … not even that can separate us from the love of God in Christ.

The worst onslaught from Hell can’t separate you. You will not be destroyed. The Lord will stand with you and not abandon you. Don’t listen to Satan’s lie … What’s Satan’s lie? His lie is that God doesn’t care for you anymore.

Then Paul says, I am persuaded that ‘Things present.’ cannot separate us

We live in a world of change but there is nothing new in it.

Look at the news and see rape, theft, hurt, bad things, un- happy things. But they have all happened before. Nothing is new, it is just the same bad old things happening to different people.

But none of these things can separate you.

Things present cannot separate you … your present state cannot separate you. What is your state? You may feel very backslidden. There was once a time when you felt remarkably close to the Lord but things present have taken their toll.

Listen to me. God loves you just the same. He has not been shocked by you. Your sins may indeed bring dishonour to the name of Jesus. They may have made you blush. You may have changed, but God hasn’t.

He loves you still – come back home to him.

I am persuaded that things to come cannot separate us from His love.

The future is filled with uncertainty but there’s one thing of which we can be certain … Judgment day ! It is appointed once to die and afterwards the Judgment (Hebrews 9:27). And we can face judgment because the judge and our lawyer are one and the same (Isaiah 33:22; 1 John 2:1).

Then Paul says, “I’m persuaded that Height nor depth cannot separate us from the love of God.” What is height and depth?

What does this term mean? Recent scholarship shows this to mean superstitious.

Superstition cannot separate us from God’s love. A true Christian can sit down at a table with 13 people, can spill salt, break a mirror, put an umbrella up inside a room, walk under a ladder, have a black cat run across his path, and all this can happen to him on Friday 13th yet none of it can separate him from the love of God in Christ.

Then there’s ‘Any other Creature’ – literally any created thing.

What can possibly separate us from God’s love? What can possibly stop God from loving us? Sometimes life is a fog. Everything is as clear as mud. We don’t know where to turn. It feels as if God has forsaken us. It feels as if God doesn’t love us.

Well, that’s a lie!

Believer if you want to know who God loves and for whom He went to the cross then look in the mirror. Look to Calvary and there see the holy, harmless lamb of God dying in your place and stead.

Listen to these amazing truths again.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: Good News For Believers (Part 1)

Romans 8: 29-39 (Read)

God loves the believer – not the religionist – Did you know there’s a big difference between a religionist and a true believer? Religionists trust that they are members of what they think is the true church and assume that if they follow their church teaching to the best of their ability, they will get to heaven.

The true believer, on the other hand, trusts and rests on the Lord Jesus Christ alone.

God loves the believer, and nothing can stop Him doing so. Do you know why I say that? It’s because of the scriptures we’ve just read … Romans 8:29-39.

In Romans 8:29 we read about a people God foreknew… Quite literally they were a people He foreloved. That’s us … the believers. We were loved before time.

Then again in verse 29 we read that these believers were predestined. Predestination also took place before time. Spurgeon quipped, “I’m so glad that God chose me before He saw me because if He’d waited ‘till He saw me He might not have wanted me.”

Every believer has been predestined; therefore, it is safe to say that God will never stop loving them.

In verse 30 Look and see how many of the predestined people are called? …how many? … look at the text … ALL of them …”for whom He did predestinate them He also called.” And, in verse 30 we read that those He called He justified. So just how many of the called are justified? … All of them!

But what does it mean to Justify? … It means to acquit. For believers it means that all charges against them have been dropped.

Then again in V 30 we discover that He glorifies those whom He justifies. And how many of the justified ones does He glorify? All of them …’for whom He justified them He also glorified.’ It’s a done deal!

He is the God who sees the end from the beginning. He sees redemption as already accomplished … He sees us as already glorified!

In biblical language this is what has been called the ‘prophetic past tense.’ Many things are set down in scripture as already accomplished which have not actually occurred in the point of time. For example, it was possible for God to tell men in the Old Testament that their sins were paid for when Jesus had not yet come to die. The fact is salvation was always accomplished in the mind of God. It was a certainty and a reality though not yet completed in time.

Are you ready for this, God looks at us as if we are already in Heaven (that blows the you can be saved and yet eventually lost theory!)

So, let’s ask how do we bring God’s called ones back home to where they know the love of Christ? … It’s by the preaching of the Gospel of Christ crucified. It’s by the good news of His doing, dying and rising again. It’s by the good news of the substitutionary sacrifice of the one, true and omnipotent saviour.

In Christ, we are not guilty. In Christ we are already glorified. Glorified, not because of anything we have done but because of what Jesus has done on our behalf.

The believer is saved … We are, however, still in the fight against sin (Ephesians 6:12) but saved none the less. I love what Luther says on this matter – “a Christian is always a sinner, always a penitent yet always right with God.” Avoid those who erroneously teach that you can reach perfection, other than perfection in Christ, this side of glory.

Notice, in our passage of scripture that we have a He-He Christianity. He foreknew, He predestinated, He called, HE justified, He glorified

That’s good news – the gospel is all about Him. It’s about who Christ Jesus is and what He has done. Sometimes we feel sure everyone else but us will make it. But listen to me, we are already there. We are glorified.

Then Paul asks the question v 31

“What shall we say to these things? If God be for us who can be against us.” In other words, God is going to do all these things because,

The Foreloving belongs to God.

The Predestination belongs unto God.

The Call belongs to God.

Justification belongs to God,

And the glorification belongs to God.

Then who can be against us?

Notice that little pronoun ‘US’

The ‘US’ are the Foreloved, the Predestinated, the called, the Justified and the Glorified.

(More next time)

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: Jesus Christ: Martyr or Sacrifice?

September 29, 2021 Leave a comment

The definition of a martyr is that of someone who suffers death for advocating, or refusing to renounce, a religious or political belief or cause. A sacrifice on the other hand is a religious rite in which someone or something is offered to a divinity to establish, maintain, or restore a right relationship between humans and that deity.

Jesus was not a martyr. He was a sacrifice.

The Lord Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice (Hebrews 10:12). In doing so He demonstrated His teaching of John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this, than a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Jesus died as a sacrifice to bring us back into relationship with God and He did so voluntarily. During His life, He moved events in accordance with His eternal purposes. He was, always in full control! Likewise, with His death, He was in charge. Listen to the Master as He tells the disciples of events which must surely come to pass. He says, “Therefore, doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. (John 10:17-20).

What a declaration from the God/man. Speaking as a man, He implied that, rather than being killed as a martyr, He would voluntarily lay down His own life. No wonder His hearers accused Him of being demon possessed and insane. But He was the God/ man, fully human and fully God. When He spoke in terms of being subject to the Father that doesn’t mean He was less than God. It simply meant that He was speaking as a man.

By the way, please don’t ever say Jesus was a good man but not God. If He was not God, He was the vilest of vile blasphemers … no ifs, ands or buts.

Jesus willingly gave Himself as a propitiation … (a sacrifice which turns away the wrath of God). He had foretold He would do this very thing when He said, “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28).

What a wonderful purpose! He was no martyr helplessly being tossed along by uncontrollable events.

Through His death believers are cleansed from all sin! What immense power!

Dr. Joseph Cook, speaking at the first Parliament of World Religions at Chicago in 1893, pictured Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth rubbing her hands and lamenting, “Will these hands ne’er be clean?” She had blood on her hands from her part in murder, and Cook questioned, “What religion can wash Lady Macbeth’s hands?” He continued, by stating that, other than Christianity there is no religion in the world, that has the power to remove that bloody spot from Lady Macbeth’s hand. But Christ can remove that stain. Then Cook quoted the scripture, “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

The truth is, the only way you can ever be clean before God is to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.”

That’s the message for today. It’s not a new message, it’s not a modern message, it’s the old, old story of Jesus and his love – but it’s as new a message today as it has ever been!

Only the blood of Jesus Christ poured out at Calvary can cleanse from the guilt and power of sin. It completely removes all sins past, present and future.

Jesus gave Himself as a sacrifice to successfully reconcile us to the Father. He never was a Martyr!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: The Greatest Speech God Ever Made Part 2

September 22, 2021 Leave a comment

(For Part 1, see last week’s Wednesday Word).

Before we consider Isaiah 53:1-7, let’s stir up our pure minds by way of remembrance and think of John 12:41. There we are told that the enthroned King of Isaiah 6 is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, Isaiah realizes that the despised sufferer in Isaiah 53 is the very same person he had encountered in Isaiah 6 … and he is stunned!

You can tell by the way Isaiah is writing chapter 53 that he is living in the events and vividly seeing them. He is writing with a sense of shock.

The one whom He sees as despised, deserted and dying in agonizing pain is the same One he saw high and lifted up in overpowering splendor.

Can we be unmoved when we read this passage?

Remember how in Mark 14:33 when Christ came near to Gethsemane the pressure of our sins intensified into a crushing horror. He was ‘sore amazed and very heavy.’

Literally, He was astounded, staggered, bewildered and utterly dumbfounded.

The hymn writer described it this way,

Oh, never, never can we know,

That crushing weight of sin and woe.

When He our great sin bearer bled.

The Lamb of Calvary in our stead.

But back to what Isaiah saw in that sacred chapter. In Isaiah 53:5 he tells us that Christ was wounded. The creator controller of the universe was indeed wounded. He was nailed to the cross by iron spikes … but why? For our transgressions … that’s why. For my sin … your sin … our sin. For Jesus, sin was the real horror of the cross … not the pain of the beating or the spikes.

I am disturbed when I realize that it was my sins that put Him on that cross.

Read these Isaiah verses with ‘I,’ ‘My’ and ’Me’ instead of ‘We,’ ‘Our’ and ‘Us.’ Let’s personalize this passage.

‘He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and I hid as it were my face from Him; He was despised, and I esteemed Him not.

4 Surely He has borne my griefs, and carried my sorrows: yet I did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But He was wounded for my transgressions, He was bruised for my iniquities: the chastisement of my peace was upon Him; and with His stripes I am healed.

6 I, like a sheep, had gone astray; I had turned to my own way; and the Lord has laid on Him all my iniquity.

7 He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth.

8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? for He was cut off out of the land of the living: for my transgression was He stricken.

It’s no wonder that Isaiah was stunned! As the Hymn writer said,

Was it for crimes that I had done,

He groaned upon the tree?

Amazing pity grace unknown

And love beyond degree.”

See the crown prince of heaven hanging naked, mocked and pain racked on that cross for you. Observe the lacerations on His back. Notice the bruises from the wicked fist blows. Look at the iron spikes in His hands and feet. The one high and lifted up is oppressed and afflicted.

Does it not leave you speechless?

The king of kings takes off His crown and is baptized in blood.

The cross says something astounding about God. It is this – God is Just – Loving – Merciful and Gracious.

Calvary is God’s greatest speech, and it leaves me speechless.

Today He is calling us to follow Him.

Will you trust Him? … Today? …

Believe on Him.

Rest on Him.

He is wonderful.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

Categories: Gospel Tags: , , ,

The Wednesday Word: The Greatest Speech God Ever Made: Part 1

September 15, 2021 2 comments

Hebrews 1:1-2, “God … Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son…”

History is riddled with wonderful and mighty speeches – Consider the Gettysburg address or any of the moving speeches Churchill made during the Second World War.

God is also a speech maker. He made many speeches through the ancient Hebrew prophets.

Yes, He spoke by the prophets but His finest speech was made in the person of His son … the God/man … the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ’s whole life was an articulate speech announcing to us exactly what God was like.

Indeed, the greatest speech God ever made about Himself was on that day 2000 years ago when our Master was impaled on a Roman gibbet. Unfortunately, we can become so familiar with this event that we cease to be amazed by it.

But what an astonishing speech Christ Jesus made at the cross! Isaiah the prophet had a vision of this event and was stunned.

To get the backdrop, read John 12: 38-41. Verse 41 says, “These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spoke of him”.

There were two occasions when Isaiah saw the Lord.

The first was in Isaiah 6 :1-7. We read, “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.

2 Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.

3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

4 And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

6 Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar:

7 And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.”

Let’s look at these verses,

V1 After 52 years on the throne Uzziah had died. This must have ushered in a time of national instability. The king is dead! But amid the crisis, Isaiah “saw the Lord.”

The King was dead, but Isaiah entered the temple and saw another king. The ultimate king who sat forever upon His throne – The Throne of glory, the Throne of government and the Throne of grace.

V2 the Seraphims – covered their faces.

They couldn’t look directly at Him.

Moses was like this… the glory of God was too intense for any human being (see Exodus 33), therefore, He was only allowed to see the Lord’s back. Yet, when He came down from the mountain, his face frightened the people – He had to wear a veil. Just the reflected glory of the Lord’s back was devastating to the people.

V3 Holy, Holy, Holy – this characteristic, Holy’ was repeated for emphasis. The Bible never says God is love, love, love or God has mercy, mercy, mercy or Justice, Justice, Justice, or even wrath, wrath, wrath. But He is characterized by intense holiness.

In Isaiah 6:4 the doorposts moved. Doorposts can’t hear, see or speak but they had the good sense to move when God showed up in His temple.

And they weren’t the only thing shaking!

When Isaiah saw the living God the reigning monarch of the Universe in all His holiness, He cried out ‘WOE IS ME!’

The word ‘WOE’ sounds a bit old fashioned. But it is the critical word here.

‘Woe’ means ‘absolute despair!’ or “I’m undone” or – I’m disintegrated.” In the silent movies we often encounter the poor young girl chained to the railway track with the train coming straight for her. She could say with all-honesty, “Woe is me.”

Well, that’s what Isaiah said when He saw the Lord. This man was a respected godly man – a paragon of virtue. But in the brief second, he was exposed to the gaze of the thrice holy God he felt spiritual annihilation.

Remember now in John 12 41 we read … “These things said Isaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.”

According to this, in the Temple that day, Isaiah saw Jesus!

But more about that next week

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: How God gets us to Heaven Part 3

September 8, 2021 Leave a comment

The next matter we want to consider in this short series on justification is,

4) Christ’s resurrection from the dead.

In Romans 4:25 we read that Christ was “delivered for our offences and was raised again for our justification.”

Here’s the truth of the matter, we were in spiritual debt, but Christ paid our account in full (Hebrews 9:28). Our condemnation caused Christ to willingly be executed in our place. At Calvary, Christ was condemned, and we were acquitted (justified).

Three days later, the Lord Jesus rose from the dead to demonstrate that Heaven was satisfied with the payment which was made for our sins.

Let’s say a man is in jail for an unpaid debt. As long as the debt is in arrears the man stays in jail. But when the debt is paid, the man goes free.

Similarly … Christ took our place and paid our bill. He redeemed us! The prison of death could no longer hold Jesus. His resurrection demonstrated that our justification had been accomplished.

When we go in and pay a phone bill, we get a receipt to show that the payment has been made.

If the phone company attempt to collect the bill again, we produce the receipt to show we don’t owe that debt. The matter is cleared.

Figuratively speaking, the Lord Jesus walked up to Calvary … God’s desk for the payment of the bill of sin. The account was long overdue and heavy against us and the only way the Lord Jesus could settle the account was by shedding His blood and dying for us.

So, Christ offered Himself (Hebrews 7:27; 9:14). His life was pure and perfect, but the Father, on our behalf, took His spotless lamb and executed Him.

Christ hung there on the cross and as He was suspended between heaven and earth paid the entire debt of His people’s sin.

After His death they put Him into a tomb. But death couldn’t hold him. The grave couldn’t contain Him., and as a cashier would stamp a receipt paid in full, so Christ was raised from the dead as a sign that there was nothing more to pay. His resurrection was the receipt.

I’ve a confession to make … sometimes I don’t feel saved, but I have learned to look away from myself and look to the Finished Work where I see the resurrection is proof that I am.

The final matter we encounter in this short series is that we are,

5) Justified by Faith

Romans 5:1 “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Faith takes a hold of the accomplishments of the gospel and makes them our own.

We are not justified on account of our faith but we, by faith, say yes to the wonderful accomplishments of the Lord on our behalf … and the result is … peace.

Our justification is found in Christ not in our faith. By faith we receive that which has already been accomplished by Him. In other words, faith takes a hold of the justification obtained at Calvary. But remember, faith itself is not the quality that justifies us. A justified believer has had their sins taken away, but they were not taken away by faith. They were taken away by the Lamb (John 1:19).

Faith sees and grasps this!

In conclusion,

God is the source of our justification.

Grace is the cause of our justification.

Christ’s blood is the ground of our justification.

Christ’s resurrection is the proof of our justification.

We take a hold these truths by faith and faith makes them our own.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: How God Gets us to Heaven: Part 2

September 1, 2021 Leave a comment

The next matter we want to consider is that we are Justified by Grace. Romans 3:24 says, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:”

He declares us justified…..not guilty…..by grace.

I was talking to a man once and mentioned that we are justified by grace. “Oh no” he said. We are justified by faith (as if they were contrary). However, we don’t need to reconcile these truths, they are not at war. They are friends and not enemies.

Justification by grace is one of the vast kaleidoscope of truths discovered in the great doctrine of Salvation.

A person who is Justified by grace realizes that there is nothing deserving in him that made God declare him not guilty. It is justification by grace … unearned and undeserved favour. We are declared ‘Not Guilty” without a cause in us. That’s grace!

Not only is Justification without a cause in us, but it is also without a cost to us. – We are justified …FREELY.

Notice our text in Romans 3:24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: “

It was in God’s heart to do it this way for He is the God of all grace (1 Peter 5:10). Justification is free to us and without a cause in us.

In John 15:25, Jesus, quoting from Psalm 35:19 said, ‘They hated me without a cause.’

Jesus was hated, and here’s the truth of the matter… He was hated freely … literally without a cause.

There is nothing in us to recommend us to God. You and I each deserve Hell. But we have been justified ‘freely’ … literally justified without a cause and without a cost to us. We are justified by grace.

We have learned two things so far in this series …

1) It is God who Justifies and

2) He does so by grace.

There will be only one person in heaven who deserves to be there … His name is Jesus. But there will be an uncountable number there because of Him.

The next matter about Justification that we want to mention is that we are Justified by blood.

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

There is no cleansing, magical quality in the chemical makeup of the blood of Calvary.

No indeed!

It cleanses because it is the blood of the God/man … Jesus the Christ.

Remember how in the Old Testament, it was the blood that was the essence of sacrifice. It was the blood that made an atonement for the soul … Leviticus 17:11.

The sacrifices in the Old Testament pointed towards the Lamb of God who would intercept the just and holy wrath of outraged majesty. This fury was coming straight at us.

In the Bible we see that without shedding of blood there is no remission of our sins (Hebrews 9:22). Which again brings us back to Jesus.

Because of the one great blood sacrifice that Jesus made at Calvary our sins are cleansed and taken away. He has justified us by His blood.

Do you believe this?

It’s vital that you do. Jesus said, “He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. He who hears my word and believes him who send me and does not come into judgement (John 5:24).

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: HOW GOD GETS US TO HEAVEN! Part 1

Today, let’s consider the grand truth of Justification. Luther called it – ‘the truth by which the church stands or falls.’ If this is true, it means it is also the truth by which you and I stand or fall.

What a vital doctrine! If we think that we can be truly saved and lost, we have no understanding of Justification. Likewise, if we think that getting to heaven depends upon whether or not we die in a state of grace then, again, we have no understanding of Justification.

Here’s a good definition of Justification, ‘God out of his mercy and grace for Christ’s sake acquits us of sin and declares us righteous.’

So, let’s consider this truth of Justification. May we, in doing so, profit in our understanding and come to appreciate and love the Lord Jesus even more.

The first thing we notice is,

We are justified by God.

Romans 8:33 “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect. It is God that justifies.”

Please turn loose your sanctified imagination with me for a moment. See the scene. You are in the Courtroom of God … in the dock.

The question is asked, “Is there anyone here who can accuse this person?” The request is greeted with silence.

Again, the inquiry is made, “Who will bring an accusation against this person?” Again, there is absolute silence … no voice is heard. No one speaks up!

So, the question is raised yet again, “Who shall bring a charge against this person? No one steps forward. Then, suddenly, there is a commotion in the courtroom. A voice calls out, “Make way for the Prosecutor in Chief.” We look around and there he stands, Lucifer, his satanic majesty himself.

He calls out, “I am the accuser of the brethren and I charge the person in the dock with sin.” His charges against you are valid for all have sinned.

But here’s the Gospel Truth. The only one who can declare a guilty sinner guilty is the judge of all the earth … the Almighty One. Satan and His accusations get nowhere with God because ultimately, all sin is against God not against Satan.

There is a moment more silence and then the Judge speaks up and tells Satan to hush, then declares, “My verdict is that … there is now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus. All in Christ are acquitted of all charges against them.”

That’s stunning!

Let me explain. Sin had made us guilty, condemned and separated from God. But by virtue of Christ’s death on our behalf instead of being declared guilty, believers are now declared not guilty.

God the Judge declares this!

He is a righteous judge …In other words, His verdict is right.

He is the all-powerful judge. That means, His verdict will stand and not be overturned.

God had been sinned against so God Himself did something about the problem.

And what did He do?

He clothed Himself with humanity and in His power and wisdom became man without ceasing to be God. He did not become partly man and partly God, but was, in the person of Christ Jesus, fully God and fully man. The early church believed this. Here is the translation of an ancient inscription about Jesus, found etched in marble in Asia Minor,

“I am what I was – God.

I was not what I am – man.

I am now both — God and man.”

God came to this earth, became one of us and as man lived blamelessly and offered Himself to the Father as a sacrifice for our sins. He died on that cross, was buried and rose from the dead. All this He did as His people’s substitute.

He, the highest judge in all the universe has brought in the not guilty verdict to all who trust in Christ Jesus.

We are justified by God.

To be continued.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: The Amazing Blood of Jesus Part 3

In Parts 1 and 2 we saw that the blood of Jesus both redeems and cleanses us. Today we want to consider that the blood of Jesus also preserves us.

Do you remember the dreadful night when the death angel went across the country of Egypt killing the first born of every house? (see Exodus 12)

A woeful cry went up across the land. The first born of every house was slain … from Pharaoh’s palace to the servant´s shack.

Death had struck.

But there were some houses the death angel did not enter. Those inhabitants were protected!

Why?

Were they better than their neighbours?

No!

Were they holier?

No!

Were they church goers?

No!

What preserved them then?

It was the blood on the lintel and the two side posts of their homes. This was in accordance with the promise the Lord had made to the Israelites. He had given His Word saying, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” (Exodus 12:13).

The Blood preserved the Israelites from the controlled fury and judgement of God and will do the same for the believer at the End Time Judgment.

The blood of Jesus, you see, not only redeems and cleanses but it also protects us from the wrath of God.

I want to finish this series by saying – the blood of Jesus has many enemies.

Preachers don’t preach about it.

Christians are not thrilled with it.

We are told by our critics that we have a slaughterhouse religion … This does not offend me in the slightest because Isaiah says of Jesus, “He was lead as a lamb to the slaughter.” There is no true Christianity without the blood!

But why all this blood?

Why?

Because the wages of sin is death.

What a punishment. Who could pay such a penalty?

Only Jesus … He only could pay the price of death and then live again to ensure that all for whom He died would be brought to Glory.

There was a young sceptic who confronted a gospel preacher saying,

“You preachers are always going on about the load of sin and how unsaved people have to carry it … just how heavy is it? 10lb? 20lb? 40lb? How heavy is it for I have never felt it?”

The preacher was silent for a moment then with wisdom responded, “If you put a 400 lb load on a corpse would it feel the load? “No of course not” replied the young man, “The corpse is dead – It feels nothing.” Then the preacher astutely remarked “With respect sir, in much the same way, if you have never felt the load of sin, we must conclude you to be spiritually dead. If you don’t realise you are a sinner and that your sins separate you from God, you will never know the saving power of the blood of Jesus.”

There is no other way to God than through Christ. He said with all authority, “I am the way.” He is the one who went to the cross and shed His blood. From Him comes all our security and cleansing!

May you trust Him today. There will be good people, kind people and nice people standing before God on judgement day and expect to get into heaven, because they were good, kind and nice but they will be refused admission.

Why?

Because they were not washed and preserved by the blood.

But never mind about them. What will the Almighty say to you? If you reject the shed blood, you reject God´s only provision.

If you reject the shed blood, you reject God´s only deliverance.

May we always remember that His blood is redeeming, cleansing and preserving.

It is Amazing Blood!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com