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Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

The Wednesday Word: It´s All About Jesus

February 26, 2020 3 comments

“The gospel of God…….concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:1-3).

There was a time when I didn´t know that the gospel was all about Jesus.” I thought that it was all about me,—what I should do, and what I should be. Many of us had similar ideas before grace opened our eyes to the truth.

Before we were saved, we mistook the message of the gospel for the message of the law, thinking its chief purpose was to make us better-behaved people. A grand mistake indeed!

But then, concerning God, the thinking of an unrenewed heart is always wrong. Saul of Tarsus thought that he should do many things contrary to the name of Jesus (Acts 26:9); but he was wrong. He soon discovered his mistake when the Lord suddenly and graciously converted him.

We may as well expect a blind man to appreciate the Mona Lisa or a deaf man to enjoy Mozart, as suppose an unrenewed person can understand the gospel. This is a strong statement, but, nevertheless, it´s true. Neither learning, labour, nor law can give a divine knowledge of that gospel which is God’s sole prerogative to communicate.

But if the gospel is not about us, who is it about? It´s about Jesus (see our text, Romans 1: 1-3).

True, it may have much to say as to both sinners and saints, but the theme and splendid subject-matter of the gospel is Jesus the Son of God. He is the centre, sum and substance of divine revelation. How little, after all, can be said about man? He blotted his copy-book and needed to be rescued! That´s his story in a nutshell. On the other hand, how much may be said of Christ? As John wrote, the world itself could not contain the books that might be written about Him (John 21:25).

When Saul was converted, the very first thing he did was to preach in the synagogue. And what was his subject? His message was that Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 9:20). That was his keynote theme, first preached in Damascus and continued through his ministry. According to Paul, that message is and will be the deepest and richest point of all Christian knowledge. That is why we read that the goal and purpose of the five-fold ministry is Christ centered…see Ephesians 4:11-13) “till we all come to the knowledge of the Son of God.”

Now, don´t get me wrong, the gospel has for its object the salvation of sinners, not their improvement, nor reformation, but their deliverance from their fallen condition to form the Body and Bride of Christ. But salvation is not the gospel. It is the result of the gospel.

Jesus is to be glorified, adored, and worshipped by the multitude who owe Him praise for their salvation. But this praise is not the gospel!

The gospel is all about Jesus, not about anything we do.

The gospel is about the Son of God and what He has done in His finished work in history.

The gospel is about the Blessed Eternal One who became a man to die.

The gospel is about the one who lived and died for the glory of the Father.

The gospel is about the one who was raised from the dead.

The gospel is about the one who when on earth, as man, made the Father known.

The gospel is about the eternal Word made flesh—full of grace and truth; to whom multitudes of needy, diseased, famished, and sinful came.

The gospel is about the one from whose lips flowed words of truth for He was the Truth.

The gospel is about the one who died the Just for the unjust that He might bring us to God (1Peter 3:18).

The gospel is about the one whose word of welcome is ” Come” (Matthew 11:28).

The gospel is about the one whose blood paid the full price of our redemption, and “cleanses from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

What a gospel! What a Saviour!

What wonderful, wonderful grace.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: Ten Short Questions

The following questions are for believers who doubt their beliefs and believe their doubts. They worry about whether or not they are saved. But here´s the truth, we all, at times, doubt our salvation. I identify with one old-time preacher who said “When I look at myself, I think it impossible that I may be saved. But when I look at Jesus, I know it´s impossible that I could be lost.”

It´s one thing to doubt our salvation, but quite another to doubt our Saviour.

As we grow in grace and the knowledge of God (2 Peter 3:18), at times the Holy Spirit demolishes our pride and self-righteousness by withdrawing His sensible presence from us. In these seasons, we get an opportunity to see how hard our hearts remain against God. We get shocked to see how much of the rebel still loiters within us. The good news is, however, the ensuing feelings of self-doubt and despair combine to cause us to realise that the ultimate foundation of our safety and security is the Lord Jesus Himself.

Here are a few questions concerning assurance and safety.

1. Can you give your hearty and enthusiastic ascent to the following declaration? “There is no other name given under heaven among men whereby we must be saved, but that of Jesus only.”

You can?

Then that´s a proof of salvation.

2. Do you believe in the fullness and freeness of His salvation?

You do!

That´s proof of salvation.

3. For redemption, does anything need to either be added to or subtracted from Christ´s Finished Work?

You reply, “No indeed.”

That´s proof of salvation.

4. Have you been persuaded that you will try no other remedy, nor look to any other source for salvation than Christ crucified? You reply that yes, you have been persuaded?

Then, that´s proof of salvation.

5. Can you listen with indifference and unconcern if you hear derogatory things spoken against the Person and work of Jesus?

You can´t?

That´s proof of salvation.

6. When you hear Christ Jesus being blasphemed, does something stir within you that causes you to feel a measure of disgust? You are ready to declare “I neither can nor will hear the name of Jesus disparaged. It offends me to hear His lovely saving name being dragged through the mud like this.”

Are you ready to stand up for Jesus?

You are?

That´s proof of salvation.

7. Would anything give you more delight and satisfaction as Jesus walking into the room, smiling at you and saying, “I am your salvation”?

You reply that there´s nothing would delight you more!

That´s proof of salvation.

8. Are there ever at least some moments when listening to a sermon, or some testimony, or the singing of a hymn, or some Scripture being read and applied that there comes the thought … Yes, Lord Jesus, you are precious?

You reply that this has in fact happened.

That´s a proof of salvation.

9. Do you enjoy the company and fellowship of those who love the Lord Jesus, or do you despise and look down on those who gather in His lovely name?

You reply that, yes indeed, you love and appreciate the company of the Lord´s people.

That´s a proof of salvation.

10. Do you hesitate to use the word “wretch”, to define yourself, or can you adopt it as the word that best describes you? You reply, “Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me.”

That´s a proof of salvation.

These ten short questions give assurance of salvation. They point to things that accompany salvation. However, splendid and vital as they are, these proofs of salvation do not provide ultimate safety for the believer. Our shelter goes beyond these questions. Our resting place is Christ alone. It is in Him we are totally safe. If we, by faith, see and embrace the sufficiency of salvation in the Lord Jesus, we may be sure our election is of God (2 Peter 1:10).

Feelings are subjective; they neither save nor damn anyone. The truth is, no one can live before God with any measure of security based on emotions. But the Holy Spirit comes to us in the gospel and enables us to see Christ’s person and experience for us as the foundation and fulness of all our hope and safety.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT

January 1, 2020 1 comment

“Whether He is a sinner or not, I don´t know; one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see” (John 9: 25).

Several believers I´ve recently met wonder about the reality of their salvation. They are in doubt because they cannot, with certainty, point to the day and hour of their conversion.

But does that matter?

It does if one holds to decisional regeneration, (i.e., we get saved by making a decision). In that case, it would seem that indeed, this matters much. It´s because, however, there is a failure to grasp the eternality of the Gospel that people fall victim to such punishing thinking. By the way, I like what John Stott says on the matter. He says, “A decision is involved in the process of becoming a Christian, but it is God’s decision before it can be ours. This is not to deny that we ‘decided for Christ’, and freely, but to affirm that we did so only because he had first ‘decided for us.’

The gospel we preach is as old as God. God chose a people for Himself and did it because of the good pleasure of His will and purpose (Ephesians 1:11; 3:11).

Salvation is of the Lord! It is His purpose to save His sheep.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, always comes looking for His sheep. Sometimes when He finds us, we have a dramatic conversion experience. Other times there is a quiet and gradual realisation that the shepherd has died and risen for us. We are not always able to pinpoint the exact moment we passed from death unto life. But we know that it has happened.

Jesus has always taken the best care to find His sheep. He says, “Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out…. and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark (Ezekiel 34:11-12).

It´s no wonder then if you cannot point to the day, nor the place, nor the means which the Lord used to bring about your conversion. These are deep mysteries. But, here´s the thing, can you with an honest heart say, “One thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, NOW I see?” Has the Spirit of God shown you your utter helplessness and ruin? Do you realise that of yourself you are hopelessly incapable of performing a single act whether of doing or believing-which would recommend you to His favour?

Once you were spiritually blind to Jesus, now you see.

Once you saw no beauty in Jesus; you didn´t see your need of Him.

Once you wondered how people could love an invisible Person.

Once you were blind to the glory of His Person.

Once you were blind to the wonders of His love.

Once you were blind to the infinite value of His precious blood.

Once you were blind to the perfection of that redemption work by which He lived, died and rose again.

As believers, we can say we once were blind, but now we see! Since we are no longer blind to the gospel, we are propelled to thank and bless the God of all grace (Acts 8:39). To open our blind eyes, and give us life required the omnipotent power of the One who once stood by that grave in Bethany and cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth! And Lazarus came out, bound hand and foot with grave-clothes.

I don’t believe for a moment that we will be questioned at the gates of the celestial city as to the day and the hour of our conversion. If we are found in Jesus, we will enter heaven with His righteousness upon us. And that perfect righteousness will be a passport which neither earth, nor hell, nor heaven itself can dispute.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com    

The Wednesday Word: Christ Lifted Up Part 2

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).

There is no doubt or hesitation in this statement. Jesus is saying, if He dies on the cross, multitudes of people will be drawn to Him. There is no hint or suggestion in this statement of any kind of failure in the cross. He MUST be lifted up and as a result He WILL draw all to Himself.

Because of His being crucified, there will be a great multitude which no man can number drawn to him. They will come to Him out of all nations, peoples, and tongues (see Revelation 7:9).

Of course, we must not read into the text (John 12:32) that which is not there. When the Master said He would draw all men unto Him, He didn´t mean all men without exception. That would be contrary to Scripture. That would mean that Hell is a monumental testimony of the failure of the cross. Plainly, the words mean that He will draw all manner of people to Him — Kings, Queens, high, low, rich, poor, moral, immoral and people of every description. All will be drawn to Him (Revelation 5:9).

If we read Acts 15:14, we will see that in the great Council of Jerusalem, James stood up and said that God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His Name.

And the truth is, God is yet calling out a people for His name, a people for His praise and a people for the glory of His grace.

If you are a believer, and I trust you are, let me ask, do you witness for Him and engage to some degree in His work? Is it not an immense encouragement to know that His death was not in vain? His work upon the cross has definite results —the results that He intended. Is it not an encouragement to know that Christ is not disappointed by the outcome of Calvary?

Every mansion in heaven will be occupied. There will be no empty seats. It is the great purpose of the Lord Jesus to, because of the cross, draw all kinds of people to Himself.

It is an immense comfort as we gossip the Gospel to know that there is no failure in the work the Lord finished. Christ is accomplishing His purposes and will continually accomplish them until He comes back again and welcomes all His believing people to Himself.

Hudson Taylor, missionary to China in the 1800s, said, if he had gone out to China with the idea that God was going to convert all the Chinese, he would have left China long ago. But he said he went there with the idea that God would call out a people for His name, and this purpose, he said, was accomplished. He said that in almost every province in China there were numbers ready to meet Christ when He returned.

And so, it is an immense encouragement, as we witness, to know that the Lord´s purposes shall be fully accomplished; His death was not in vain. He shall see, the travail of His soul and be satisfied” (Isaiah 53:11).

Therefore, we should take Him at His word and believe Him when He says,

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto Me” (John 12:32).

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: Christ Lifted Up: Part 1

And if I be lifted up from the earth: I will draw all men unto Me; (see John 12:32-33.)

THREE times in the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to the fact of His being lifted up on the cross. On the first occasion, He spoke about it in a private conversation with Nicodemus. Remember how He said, ´´As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness. even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish; but have eternal life´´ (John 3:14-15).

Notice also how He spoke of the necessity of the cross. He said, “Even so MUST the Son of Man be lifted up: “

Again, in a public discourse: in the Temple, Jesus said. “When you have lifted up the Son of Man then shall you know that I am He.” (John 8:28).

Then shortly after His triumphal. entry into Jerusalem He said, “And, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me ” (John 12:32-33).

Those were prophetic words telling of the manner and results of Christ’s death.

If He had been put to death by the Jewish authorities as a blasphemer, His death would have been by stoning; But that was not the way the Father intended. He had purposed to inflict the death penalty on the Beloved One, the representative man. The Father was responsible for Christ´s death. Neither the Jews nor the Romans killed Jesus…. They were used in that terrible event, but Jesus was executed by the Father. Otherwise, justice would not have been served.

But back to our main theme. One of the things we learn from our text is that the drawing of men to Christ would be absolutely dependent upon His death. The Master said, “And if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto Me.” There could have been no ‘drawing of men’ to Christ for salvation if He had not died upon the cross!

We read in John 6:44, “No man can come unto Me except the Father which hath sent Me draw him.” But what would have been the point of the Father drawing men if Jesus had not died for their sins? There would have been no salvation if Christ had not died! And so, in John 12:24 He says, ” except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides, alone.” Jesus was speaking of Himself. He was that corn of wheat, and unless He had died on the cross, He would have been alone. No one would have been saved.

And so, our Lord here teaches us that it was absolutely necessary for the salvation of His people that He should die upon the cross. He does not say. ” If I go on working miracles, my miracles will draw all men unto Me “; or ” I if I go on living a holy, and godly life I will draw all men unto Me. No! A thousand times No! Here´s what He did say. “If I be lifted up (on the cross) I will draw all men unto Me. Thus, our Lord fixes our attention upon His death in order to show that His death was essential for our salvation.

His death upon the cross is the great central truth of the Gospel and except He had died no one would ever have been saved. Therefore, let us hold fast to what has sneeringly been referred to as “Blood Theology.” Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (Hebrews 9:22). God justifies … freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24). Whom God hath set forth to be a wrath offering through faith in His blood (Romans 3:25).

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: SAVED

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved”(Acts 4:12).

SAVED! What a great Bible term. Some people say it is antiquated, but I disagree. It means deliverance instead of destruction, life instead of death, acquittal instead of punishment and rescue instead of ruin. Saved! What a wonderful multi-faceted word! May we never drop it from our vocabulary.

We are saved!

And how did we get saved? We got saved on the basis of Christ’s finished work outside of us in history (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Believers have been delivered from damnation (Romans 5:1). We are saved.

Believers are no longer under wrath (Romans 5:9)…..we are saved.

Jesus said, ¨I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture¨ (John 10:9).

Again, In Acts 2:21 we learn that “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

‘But surely I am saved by giving up my bad habits?’ Not at all! As Harry Ironside said, “The Gospel is not a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

Inspite of our unworthiness, we, by faith, receive a complete and finished salvation. We are not half condemned, we are saved. We are not half accepted, we are saved.

Because of the doing, dying and rising again of Christ Jesus we are saved completely (Colossians 2:10).

We are saved forever, (Romans 11:29).

And, we are saved for his glory (Romans 15:7).

Notice how our salvation begins with grace and ends with glory. Grace is the forerunner of Glory. Glory is the consummation of grace.

Across the history of the believer’s life is now written in large bold letters ..SAVED. The more we understand the Gospel the more we realise that the Father cannot discover any state to ‘unfit’ us for Jesus. (see Romans 8:33-39). We are saved!

It’s a wonderful thing to know that the Lord Jesus has nothing against us. We are saved! We are saved because Christ Jesus suffered on the cross. He was charged with our sin and He acknowledged our sin to be his. We are saved! In His life, He gave himself for us. At the cross, He gave Himself for us. We are saved!

What sin can keep the believer out of Glory?

Would you say blasphemy? No it can’t be blasphemy for Saul of Tarsus said, “I was a blasphemer”(1 Timothy 1:13). Yet, God saved him.

Would adultery keep a person out of Glory? That can’t be so. Rahab the harlot had practiced prostitution (Joshua 2:1). Yet God saved her.

Would you say murder would keep a person out of glory? Well, David had a hit man go and kill Uriah; that’s murder. (2 Samuel 12). Yet God saved him.

Would you say divorce would keep you out of Glory? The woman at the well was married five times (John 4:16-18). But God saved her.

We have too small a view of the Lord’s power, grace and mercy. He is the Saviour! We are the saved.

As you remember, the name Jesus comes from the Hebrew ‘Jehoshua’, meaning “Jehovah saves”. Jesus was born as our Saviour. If he loses us, he’s not the saviour who was born to save. But He died on the cross as our saviour. He was buried and rose again as our Saviour! Therefore, we are safe and we are saved!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: The Gospel: Our Best Friend

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? Hebrews 9:14.

We often feel that we are not worth saving … and this, of course, is an accurate assessment. As Spurgeon said, “When you feel yourself as totally unworthy you have hit the truth.” That is why, as we grow in grace, the Gospel is our best friend.

Let me illustrate. The story is told of how the devil sought to discourage the mighty reformer Martin Luther by continually making him feel guilty. Satan, it seems constantly reminded the great preacher of the list of his sins. When the devil had finished, Luther purportedly said, “Think harder: you must have forgotten some.” And the devil did think, and he listed more sins. When he was done enumerating the sins, Luther said, “Now, with a red ink write over that list, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin.” The devil had nothing to say in the light of Luther’s best friend … the Gospel.

As we look by faith to the Lord Jesus, and see His shed blood, we find healing for our wounded conscience. By faith, we understand that His blood has satisfied all claims that unalterable divine justice made against us.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Our sins have been purged perfectly by a perfect offering made with perfect blood. These are the truths to continually feed to the troubled conscience.

If we are regularly condemned by the consciousness of our past sins, we have an evil conscience (Hebrews 10:22). However, the Gospel gives us a perfect conscience that is free from the guilt and condemnation of sins.

The Gospel is our best friend.

I will admit that the legalist in me is sometimes uncomfortable with this arrangement. Maybe you are like me, resistant, at times, to the accomplishments of grace? This is why we need to continually saturate our minds with the Gospel. When we find ourselves more conscious of our former sins than we are of the accomplishments of Christ on our behalf, we need to cleanse our thinking by applying Finished Work teaching to our thinking.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Do you know that your sins are forgiven? Someone says, “I can’t say that they are, but I am doing my best to change my life.” That’s great, but it will never work! You can do your best to reform, but that will never purge your conscience. Only applying the blood of Christ can do that.

The Gospel is our best friend.

Christ, as a man, was the Servant of Yahweh, the one in whom the Father delighted. It was the Father’s purpose to save and cleanse a people for Himself, and His plans were flawlessly executed by His beloved Son, the God/Man. It is only by the shedding of His blood that we are saved, and that blood was shed 2000 years ago at Calvary. The work is finished. He gave His life a ransom for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:10). Do you know this? Is this truly personal to you?

Our best religious efforts cannot cleanse the conscience. But the Lord wants us to hear him say “Be of good cheer; your sins, which are many, are forgiven” (Matthew 9:2).

What can prevent us going to Him? Our sins? No, it is our sin that is the reason to approach Him. Let us go to Him with freedom of speech (see Hebrews 4:16) to obtain mercy and grace to help in the time of need. He alone can purge the guilty conscience and give peace to the troubled mind.

The Gospel is our best friend.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com