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Posts Tagged ‘salvation’

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: 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: The Bringer of Salvation

Titus 2:11 … the Grace of God that brings Salvation.

In Titus 2:11 we see that grace, not Law, brings salvation. I love the word “brings” in this verse. God did not merely send salvation, He brought it. He didn’t entrust the bringing of salvation to anyone other than Himself. He by-passed the angles and archangels refusing to use them as His messengers in this matter. I think I see Him talking to Gabriel and saying, “Gabriel, you are a trustworthy servant, both faithful and true, but I cannot send salvation with you. Furthermore, faithful as they are, I must also bypass the seraphim and cherubim and every heavenly being for I must, by Myself, bring salvation to my people.”

Consider Him, stepping out of eternity and into time and descending to earth.

He came down to rescue us.

Down, down, down He descends to fertilize the Virgin’s womb. Down, down He comes to take His place as the tiniest of embryos in the Virgin’s womb.

Down He comes from heaven to be born among us.

Down He comes into the midst of our rebellion and misery. Down, down He comes to become the servant. Down, down He comes till He becomes our substitute at the cross. And there at the cross, He was wounded for our transgression and bruised for our iniquities. (Isaiah 53:5).

There at the cross, as a man, He intercepted the wrath of God that was headed straight for us. There at the cross, He who knew no sin was reckoned as sin on our behalf. (2 Corinthians 5:21).

The grace of God has indeed brought salvation. Our gracious Saviour didn’t stand in heaven and shout, “Come up to heaven and, if you are able to climb this far, I will save you.” No indeed, He came here to seek and to save that which was lost, and it was only when He had made His descent from the heavenly realms that He said, “Come unto me.” (Matthew 11:28).

He is Wonderful! Don’t you think so?

Like the good Samaritan of old, (Luke 10), Jesus came to where we were and brought salvation with Him.

He came to where we were and found us dead in trespasses and sin. (Ephesians 2:1).

He came to where we were to save us, to die for us and to rise again for us. And, today, He continues to come to where we are, to, by His Spirit, raise us up to new life.

Salvation is all by grace.

We would do well to remember, however, that our only qualification for His grace is our sinfulness. Our only plea is that we are ruined. He will not accept any attempt, on our part, to save ourselves, for it is His grace alone that brings salvation.

“But don’t we need faith?” Yes indeed, faith takes hold of an already accomplished salvation, but we don’t depend on our faith or the fact that we have it. No indeed, we don’t depend on the fact that we have been converted to Christ or that we are resting on the fact that we have had a change of our heart. No indeed, we depend on the wonderful person of the Lord Jesus, the One who lived and died in our place. He is the Saviour; He is the bringer of Salvation. (Isaiah 61:10). He is the grace of God. He is Wonderful!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: The Wounds of Jesus

Charles Spurgeon when preaching a sermon on the wounds of Jesus told the following story. He said,

‘There were two elderly monks in different cells in their monastery. They were studying the Bible together. One of them came to faith in Jesus and he believed on Christ with a true evangelical faith. The other one was timid and could scarcely think it true; the scheme of salvation seemed so great to him he could scarcely lay hold upon it.

But, at last, he came to the point of death, and he sent for the other to come and sit by him, and to shut the door; because if the superior had heard of that of which they were about to speak, he might have condemned them both.

When the monk had sat down, the sick man began to tell how his sins lay heavy on him; the other reminded him of Jesus.

“If you would be saved, brother, you must look to Jesus who hung upon the cross. His wounds must save.”

The dying man heard and believed. He trusted in Christ alone. Almost immediately afterward, the superior came in with the priests; and they began to grease him in extreme unction. This poor man tried to push them away; he wanted nothing to do with the ceremony, and as well as he could he expressed his dissent. At last, he called out in Latin, “Tu vulnera Jesu! Tu vulnera Jesu!” … ”Thy wounds, oh Jesus! thy wounds, oh Jesus!” … He then clasped his hands, then lifted them to heaven, fell back and died.

Oh, I would that many a Protestant would die with these words on their lips. There was the fullness of the gospel in them. Thy wounds, oh Jesus! thy wounds; these are my refuge in my trouble. Oh may you be helped to believe in His wounds! They cannot fail; Christ’s wounds must heal those that put their trust in Him.

From the sermon, ‘The Wounds of Jesus.’ (adapted)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, January 30, 1859, New Park Street Pulpit Volume 5.

This dear monk had come to know who Jesus was. He had come to know that we are not saved by anything that we can do, but by that which the God/Man has already done for us.

“Tu vulnera Jesu!” We are not saved by what we have suffered, but by what Christ has endured.

“Tu vulnera, Jesu!”

Our everlasting hope was hung upon the cross. In His doing, dying and rising again is all our acceptance before God.

We are called to trust in Christ in life and in death.

Jesus, the Lamb went to Gethsemane and there sweat drops of blood.

He went on to Gabbatha to the judgment and there, from the wounds received from the crown of thorns and the beatings came streams of blood.

Then at Golgotha, on the cross, came rivers of blood.

He was wounded for our transgressions (Isaiah 53 3).

The hymn writer wrote a beautiful verse that has refreshed the hearts of many for hundreds of years. It says;

‘Five bleeding wounds He bears,

Received on Calvary;

They pour effectual prayers,

They strongly plead for me;

“Forgive him oh forgive,” they cry,

“That ransomed sinner must not die.”

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com 

The Wednesday Word: God’s Thoughts or Man’s?

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8).

A few years ago, a lady, dying of cancer, became very anxious about her place in eternity. As a result, she began asking almost everyone she met about their views of salvation. She received various replies. One person told her to pray a lot and she’d be OK. Another told her to do a lot and she’d be fine. That person went on to say that salvation came by working for God and doing good deeds. One man, on the other hand, went as far as to tell her there was no such thing as salvation. He said that we are born, we grow up, we get old and then we die … that’s it. It’s all over. Finito. There’s nothing more beyond.

A Christian then visited her. The sick lady, now bedridden, earnestly inquired, “What are your views of salvation?”

“I have no views,’ was the reply.

The ailing lady was amazed.

“You seem very surprised,” said the Christian, “but supposing I had an opinion, what good would it be to you, seeing it would be but the views of a fellow mortal? What use would that be? Opinions and theories about salvation are like noses, everyone has one. “

The patient was stunned.

The Christian then said, “I can, however, give you something much better than my opinion on the subject; I can give you God’s thinking. If I understand you correctly, you are concerned about what you need to do to receive salvation? The divine answer is that we are to believe, trust and rely on the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Christian then pointed her to Acts 16:31 and urged her to trust and rest in Christ and be saved.

“But surely salvation must be through some kind of good works?” the patient questioned.

“Good works? Yes, but not our good works. Christ lived a life of good works and did so on our behalf. His works are credited and reckoned to us who trust in Him.”

The Christian then took her to Romans 4:5 and read, “To him that works NOT, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The Christian continued, “Believers are those who have trusted that salvation is, “NOT by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” (Titus 3:5). It is evident from these and other passages of God’s Word, that no one can be saved through their works, prayers, church attendance, or religious observance. Trusting in those things is simply a way of embracing man’s opinions on salvation and not God’s.”

The Christian then continued, “God’s thoughts on salvation are quite different than any man-made theories.”

The anxious lady abruptly inquired, “You mean I can’t earn salvation… what, then, should I do?

“Here’s what you do, if you could even call it ‘doing’, you simply accept as your own that which has already been done and accomplished. Put your trust in Christ Jesus. By simple faith receive the salvation which is in Him. Look unto Him and be saved!” The Christian finished by quoting a verse of a hymn,

“There is life in a look at the Crucified One,

There is life at this moment for thee.

Then look, dear sinner, unto Him and be saved-

Unto Him who was nailed to the tree.”

The dying lady said, “I see it now. It is God’s thoughts that matter and not the opinions of men. I am now trusting the Lord Jesus Christ. He is my sin-bearer. He is my Saviour.”

Not many weeks after the lady fell asleep in Jesus but before doing so, she testified to all who came to see her that the Lord Jesus was the final and full answer to the question of salvation.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Wednesday Word: 14 Things that Jesus Would Never Say to His Followers

February 16, 2022 2 comments

1) “You haven’t repented enough so I can’t forgive you!”

Jesus would never say that!

Our salvation does not depend upon how much we repent. It rests entirely on the doing, dying and rising again of the Lord Jesus Christ.

2) “Shape up or ship out.”

Jesus would never say that!

If we were qualified for salvation because of our efforts none of us would ever be saved. Our efforts do not reach perfection but Christ’s effort to save us was perfect. It is finished!

3) “You have sinned, so I am, therefore, putting you on probation.”

Jesus would never say that!

After a sinful fall there is no waiting time for restoration of fellowship with God. While there may be necessary time given in the church assembly, decreed for healing and restoration to service after a serious fall, there is no fellowship probation in Heaven’s courtroom. If you have fallen, bring the blood and enjoy instant communion with the Father. We have already been purchased forever. He does not cast us off and spurn us.

4) “I am one of the many ways to get to God.”

Jesus would never say that!

Jesus was both exclusive and intolerant. He excluded all other teachers and would not tolerate any others who claim to be the way to God. (See John 14:6).

5) “You are wearing my patience very thin.”

Jesus would never say that! (Numbers 14:18 a). Jesus is the God of all patience (Romans 9: 22-24). He is entirely patient with us.

6) “You are not sanctified enough. I need you to do more before I accept you.”

Jesus would never say that!

He already is our sanctification. (1 Corinthians 1:30). In Him we are fully sanctified.

7) If you really loved me, you would not have fallen into sin.

Jesus would never say that!

In sovereignty, He chose us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). His choice of us was by grace alone … not because He foresaw how much we would love Him (see Ephesians 2:7)

8) “Go into all the world and make me look cool.”

Jesus would never say that!

We have an unpopular message (for the unsaved). Nevertheless, we should never attempt to make Jesus look ‘cool.’ Unpopular message? Yes indeed! As a build-up to the gospel to let someone know that they are a sinner before the all-holy God is uncool in the world’s eyes. To inform them that their only hope is the Lord Jesus is also uncool. But the truth is Jesus never compromised to gain followers. To the unbelieving Jews, He was a curse. Indeed, multitudes of people to this day find no beauty in Him.

9) “My passion is that everyone lives in peace”

Jesus would never say that!

In Matthew 10:34 He says the very opposite.

(10) ¨ You must get baptized or you can’t get to heaven!

Jesus would never say that! Jesus accomplished our salvation at the cross. He proclaimed, ‘It is Finished’ (John 19:30). While we believe in Baptism, we also believe it cannot alter our standing before God.

11) “I’m taking my gift of eternal life back.”

Jesus would never say that!

His gifts are irrevocable (see Romans 11:29)

12) “I will love you in the proportion to which you love me.”

Jesus would never say that!

Our love for Him is imperfect … at best. But Jesus demonstrated how much He perfectly loved us by going to the cross. He said ¨Greater love has no man than this than a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus has loved us with the greater love … a love, not conditioned by our love for Him. (See John 15:13).

13) “Your love for me is not steady and consistent so I’m going to love you in the same inconsistent way.”

Jesus would never say that!

Jesus is far from childish. Our love for Him never determines His love for us. His love was set upon us before time existed (Ephesians 1:4).

14) Follow me and have a trouble-free life.

Jesus would never say that!

(See Matthew 16:24).

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  

If you be the children of God, learn that lesson

Lastly, If you be the children of God, learn that lesson–Gird up the loins of your mind, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to your former conversation; but be ye holy in all manner of conversation. Consider that the holy God is your Father, and let this oblige you to live like the children of God, that you may look your Father in the face, with comfort, another day.

John Bunyan- Bunyan’s Last Sermon

The First Use

[THE APPLICATION.]

The first use is this, To make a strict inquiry whether you be born of God or not; examine by those things I laid down before, of a child of nature and a child of grace. Are you brought out of the dark dungeon of this world into Christ? Have you learned to cry, ‘My Father?’ (Jer 3:4). ‘And I said, Thou shalt call me, My Father.’ All God’s children are criers–cannot you be quiet without you have a bellyful of the milk of God’s Word? cannot you be satisfied without you have peace with God? Pray you, consider it, and be serious with yourselves; if you have not these marks, you will fall short of the kingdom of God–you shall never have an interest there; ‘there’ is no intruding. They will say, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us; and he will say, I know you not.’ No child of God, no heavenly inheritance. We sometimes give something to those that are not our children, but [we do] not [give them] our lands. O do not flatter yourselves with a portion among the sons, unless you live like sons. When we see a king’s son play with a beggar, this is unbecoming; so if you be the king’s children, live like the king’s children; if you be risen with Christ, set your affections on things above, and not on things below; when you come together, talk of what your Father promised you; you should all love your Father’s will, and be content and pleased with the exercises you meet with in the world. If you are the children of God, live together lovingly; if the world quarrel with you, it is no matter; but it is sad if you quarrel together; if this be amongst you, it is a sign of ill-breeding; it is not according to the rules you have in the Word of God. Dost thou see a soul that has the image of God in him? Love him, love him; say, This man and I must go to heaven one day; serve one another, do good for one another; and if any wrong you, pray to God to right you, and love the brotherhood.

John Bunyan- Bunyan’s Last Sermon

It is natural for them to depend upon their father for what they want

7. Children, it is natural for them to depend upon their father for what they want; if they want a pair of shoes, they go and tell him; if they want bread, they go and tell him; so should the children of God do. Do you want spiritual bread? go tell God of it. Do you want strength of grace? ask it of God. Do you want strength against Satan’s temptations? go and tell God of it. When the devil tempts you, run home and tell your heavenly Father–go, pour out your complaints to God; this is natural to children; if any wrong them, they go and tell their father; so do those that are born of God, when they meet with temptations, go and tell God of them.

John Bunyan- Bunyan’s Last Sermon