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The Wednesday Word: Righteous Grace: Part 3

February 19, 2014 1 comment

It is written, “The soul that sins it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4). In the light of this scripture, we see that each one of us was under the death sentence. Indeed, the righteous demands of God made our death a necessity. Therefore, to meet this dreadful obligation and to rescue us, the Eternal One, in grace and love, became one of us and died in our place.

Let’s say someone was to die for a person for whom there was no need to die; we would be unlikely to call this death a proof of affection. Quite the contrary, we would likely consider it a strange and illogical demonstration of pointlessness. However, to die for someone, when there was really a need for dying … now that’s the test of true and genuine love. The hymn writer said it well when he penned the lines,

 

“Here is love, vast as the ocean,

Loving-kindness as the flood,

When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,

Shed for us His precious blood.

Who His love will not remember?

Who can cease to sing His praise?

He can never be forgotten,

Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.”

 

If ever we were to be saved from damnation, Christ Jesus had to die. Because of this necessity, grace and righteousness combined and led the eternal One to the cross. There at Calvary, He died in the sinner’s place and thus made it a righteous thing for God to cancel the believing sinner’s guilt and to rescind his sentence of death.

Thomas Watson, the Puritan, said, ‘When we were rebelling—He was dying! When we had weapons in our hands—then He had the spear in His side! This is the very quintessence of love! “God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” (Romans 5:8). When we were engulfed in misery and had lost our beauty—then Christ died for us. O amazing love, which should swallow up all our thoughts!”

Had it not been for Christ’s doing and dying, God and the sinner could not have met, and righteousness would have forbidden reconciliation. It was love working in harmony with righteous grace that secured our salvation.

 

“On the mount of crucifixion,

Fountains opened deep and wide;

Through the floodgates of God’s mercy

Flowed a vast and gracious tide.

Grace and love, like mighty rivers,

Poured incessant from above,

And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice

Kissed a guilty world in love.”

 

Unless God had punished our substitute at the cross, it would not have been correct for God to receive us or indeed, safe for us to come to Him. But now, in Christ, mercy and truth have met together, righteousness and peace have kissed (Psalm 85:10). Now, through Christ, gracious salvation is also righteous. It is as faith grasps both the righteous and gracious nature of the work of Calvary that our conscience finds peace (Hebrews 9:14). Peace flows to us as we see that our reconciliation is anchored in the righteousness of God (Ephesians 2:13-16) and this righteous reconciliation will stand every test and will last throughout eternity.

The troubled conscience can only find true peace in the gospel as it understands that Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6). Faith grasps that God justifies, not the godly, but the ungodly (Romans 4:5). The righteous grace which is ours, through the sin-bearing work of Christ, tells us that there can be no possible condemnation nor even a hint of mild disapproval for one who is saved by the free grace of God alone (Romans 8:1). God is Just, yet the Justifier of the ungodly (Romans 3:26)! This is astonishing news! This is super abounding grace!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles McKee

 

Minister of the Gospel

6 Quay Street, New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland,

http://www.milesmckee.com

Please forward the Wednesday Word to your friends and family.

Thomas Watson on Death

We spend our years with sighing; it is a valley of tears; but death is the funeral of all our sorrows

Thomas Watson

 

Concerning God’s Love towards Us

February 14, 2012 Leave a comment

 God will not be behind-hand in love to us: for our drop, we shall receive an ocean.

Thomas Watson

Knowledge of Religion Furnishes us with Weapons

Knowledge of the grounds of religion much enriches the mind….. (3.) It furnishes us with armour of proof; weapons to fight against the adversaries of the truth.

Thomas Watson ‘A Body of Divinity’ (A Preliminary Discourse to Catechizing)

Knowledge of Religion

(2.) Knowledge of the grounds of religion much enriches the mind. It is a lamp to our feet; it directs us in the whole course of Christianity, as the eye directs the body. Knowledge of fundamentals is the golden key that opens the chief mysteries of religion; it gives us a whole system and body of divinity, exactly drawn in all its lineaments and lively colours; it helps us to understand many of those difficult things which occur in the reading of the word; it helps to untie many Scripture knots.

Thomas Watson ‘A Body of Divinity’ (A Preliminary Discourse to Catechizing)

Concerning knowing basic Theology

Here let me speak to two things:

[I] That we should be grounded in the knowledge of fundamentals. The apostle speaks of ‘the first principles of the oracles of God.’ Heb 5:12. In all arts and sciences, logic, physic, mathematics, there are some praecognita, some rules and principles that must necessarily be known for the practice of those arts; so, in divinity, there must be the first principles laid down. The knowledge of the grounds and principles of religion is exceedingly useful.

(I.) Else we cannot serve God aright. We can never worship God acceptably, unless we worship him regularly; and how can we do that, if we are ignorant of the rules and elements of religion? We are to give God a ‘reasonable service.’ Rom 12:2: If we understand not the grounds of religion, how can it be a reasonable service?

Thomas Watson ‘A Body of Divinity’ (A Preliminary Discourse to Catechizing)

 

Christians Should be Settled

The second proposition is, that the way for Christians to be settled is to be well grounded. ‘If ye continue grounded and settled.’ The Greek word for grounded is a metaphor which alludes to a building that has the foundation well laid. So Christians should be grounded in the essential points of religion, and have their foundation well laid.

Thomas Watson ‘A Body of Divinity’ (A Preliminary Discourse to Catechizing)