Category Archives: The Cross

And Such Were Some Of You

1Corinthians 6:9 “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?  Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you.  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Sometimes I feel quite done with this world.  I hear about the atrocities that men commit and must admit I’d rather stop my ears.  People’s hearts in this world are so cold, hard and impartial to others that it is shocking.  More and more often I hear news reports that verify what the Bible has taught us from the beginning: that mankind is radically evil.  We needn’t be nearly as afraid of bears and lions, tsunamis and earthquakes, as of the evil that is in people’s hearts.

Sometimes, if you’re like me you feel a sense of despair and you just want Jesus to come back now.  How can He be so patient?  As wrong as I know it is, there are times I feel like Jonah.  “Lord, they continue to do evil and why do you let it go on?  Come at last in your fury and let all vengeance belong to you.  Wipe the wicked from the face of the earth.”

It is not necessarily sinful to anticipate, long for, and even pray for the Lord to hasten His judgement.  David, after worshipping God in awe that God would so love and care for Him, suddenly turns from intimate and heartfelt praise to say “Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!  O men of blood depart from me (Psalm 139:19)!”  I confess I find it unfortunate that so few people talk about verses 19-24 of Psalm 139.

However, I think that whenever we come face to face with a foul mouthed God hating sinner, a news report about the latest child pornography ring, or the headline about the latest thief who bludgeoned an elderly person- we need stop and think through these words: “And such were some of you.  But…”

I used to have this resolution of Jonathan Edward’s taped up beside my bed.  I find it mightily convicting, humbling, and effective:

“Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.”

Does my own heart contribute any pure goodness that would prevent me from committing the same crimes as others if I were given the same opportunity and circumstances?  No.  As Christians I think it is possible (but wrong!) to slip into an attitude of moral superiority, with disgust and disdain towards the people of the world, instead of recognizing that it is only because of God’s grace we have been kept from certain sins.  I see nothing wrong with feeling disgusted by sin and in fact we are probably not disturbed enough by it.  However, there is something wrong when we stop identifying ourselves as a part of the same fallen race, capable of the same level of depravity apart from the grace of God.  We should never look down our noses at other sinful people as if we had something on them.

I have heard people complain, also very much like Jonah, that God should not forgive certain kinds of people.  If we think this way, we have too high a view of self, and too low a view of the mercy of God poured through the cross of Christ.  Is there a point at which God will give people up to their debased mind with no further chance of hope?  Yes there is (Romans 1:21-32, Hebrews 6:1-6).  But can finite humans know when or whether God should do that?  No.

The potential for a person to come to Christ has nothing to do with how many good things they think they have done, nor how many unspeakable sins they might have committed.  Jesus simply said “No one comes to me unless the Father who sent me draws him (John 6:44),” and that “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is of no avail (John 6:63).”  God says “’I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’  So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy…He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills (Romans 9:15-16,18).”

Without getting too deep into theology and to put it plainly, He can have mercy on whomever He wants to, whether it is little-goody-two-shoes or a mass murderer.  If we are Christians this should provoke gratitude towards God in our hearts for the gift of salvation, as well as a strong desire for all people everywhere to be given the gift of repentance and faith.  God is a great saviour; His arm is never too short to save!  Jesus Christ has paid the debt in full for whoever would cry out to Him.  If Jesus Christ was willing to bare the wrath of God that was headed for rapists and thieves, then why would I not desire that all people be saved?  Why should I lose hope for anyone?  And if I needed that same saviour to shed the same blood for my crimes, why should I sneer at other sinners who need the very same thing?

“There is a fountain filled with blood

That flows from Emmanuel’s veins

And sinners plunged beneath that flood

Lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoice to see

That fountain in his day

And there may I though

Vile as he

Wash all my sins away!”

I want to get personal for a moment as I close.  There is no certain “type of person” that Jesus saves, other than that He came for sinners who would confess that they were sinners.  I think sometimes our view of His love and ability to save people wherever they are at is too low.  I was a foul person with a crude mouth, a thief with a strong taste for rebellion, acting in pride and ignorance every day of my life.  Sometimes that’s all we see of a person on the outside.

I have no interest in excusing sin or making people the victim of their own sin.  No, we are willing participants in sin with no excuse.  But people would have never thought that I laid awake guilty at night, that I feared there was a God who would send me to Hell if I died, and that I hated myself more and more for my sin each day.  You might know people, or simply see them on the street making a scene, but you have no idea what God might be doing in their heart.  It’s not our place to judge unbelievers, but to tell them the gospel that can save their soul and change their life.  God can redeem anyone, and He is all the hope we need in this dark world.  He will either save the wretched sinner, or in the end He will rid the earth of all who remain in their wickedness- but either way, justice will have been dealt and He will receive all glory due to His name.  And we, the redeemed, will cover our mouths, bow the knee, and thank the God who loved and spared us.

So may our attitude be this:  Lord come and bring both your Justice and your Peace to this world.  But until you come, have mercy on sinners Lord, to whatever extent may glorify you as Most High, Gracious, Forgiving, and Merciful God.  Thank you Lord for forgiving me of many shameful acts, and sparing me from those I could have easily committed.  All credit goes to You.  May we be merciful, who have been shown so much mercy.  Put the gospel on our lips and let the light of Christ shine from our hearts.  Amen.

His Humiliation

Acts 8:33 “In his humiliation justice was denied him.  Who can describe his generation?  For his life is taken away from the earth.”

Philippians 2:6-8 is essential for understanding this and I want to look at it again.

“Though he was in the form of God, (he) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself to the point of death, even death on a cross.” 

You see, He was and is God.  What does it mean that He did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped?  It does not mean that He could not understand it, believe it, or comprehend it.  Jesus Christ knew that He was one with God, and stated Himself “before Abraham was I AM (John 8:57).”  The word grasped, in the original language means to be “seized” or to “hold fast.”  So in other words, although He was God and deserved to receive from people all that God demands, He humbled Himself, laying down His rights as God and did not demand to be treated as God.  He did not exercise His full benefits and capabilities as God. 

Though He had all power to provide for His own needs, as well as destroy all hindrances in His way, He can be found in scripture hungry, tired, thirsty, and with no place to rest His head (Luke 9:58).  He can be found on His knees offering “prayers and supplication, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death (Hebrew 5:7).”  See Him facedown in Gethsemane “greatly distressed and troubled… ‘sorrowful, even to death.’(Mark 33-34).”

Though able to execute justice or to stop men’s mouths, He was lied about, ridiculed, and scrutinized by mere men.  In fact, He allowed Himself to be treated like a worm, like a dog, like an apostate, like a murderer.  For a time He chose to serve His creation, to bear with them and sacrifice Himself in love for them, even to the point of death on a cross.  It is incredibly important to understand that His nature did not change, but rather that He laid aside His rights as God.  Listen to these words of Jesus that show how much He humbled Himself and had to have much patience while living among a cursed, finite, and unbelieving generation of people.

Matthew 17:17 “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you?  How long am I to bear with you?”

Mark 8:17-18 “Do you not yet perceive or understand?  Are your hearts hardened?  Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear?”

He patiently endured our weakness, blindness, idolatry, false religion, arrogance, sin, self love,  hate, and the list could go on forever and ever.  Through it all His love held steadfast towards sinners while He faithfully preached the Kingdom to them, healed them, fed them, and fought to free them from slavery to religious hypocrites.  He became a servant of man to such an extent that He even washed the feet of the friends who would abandon Him at His impending death.  And finally, dear friends, the hate that we had for Him lead to the place where He willingly laid down His life for us and took upon Himself the punishment we deserve.

Jesus looking out saw them

Hurling insults and stones

Crying out “Crucify Him!”

Forsaking Him all to His own.

Jesus looking out crying

“Father forgive them please!

They don’t know what they are doing

For this crime too I will bleed.”

Jesus looking out dying

Bearing God’s wrath and all man’s strife

And here I can picture Him saying

The good shepherd lays down his life

For the sheep…No one takes it from me

For them I will lay it down willingly.” (John 10:11,18)

Are you beside yourself in amazement?  Dear friend, you should be.  This truth seems to me so great that our body of flesh cannot even bare the glory of it.  I feel that if this earth were shot through with the blazing glory of this truth, the universe as we know it would collapse under its greatness.  So awesome is Jesus Christ.

How He Loves Us

1John 3:14 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us…”

1John 4:18 “In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

The love of God is not primarily manifested in how big your pay cheque is. It is not proven by the blessing of a healthy body, a loving family, or by statements that make you feel good about yourself.  The love of God is on display in the bloody crucifixion of Jesus Christ, more than it has ever been or will ever be in any other action or blessing of God.  If you try to sanitize and make more palpable for sinners the cross of Jesus Christ and its purpose, you will tone down the love of God. His love is beyond human capability or imagination.  Just as the wrath of God could melt this world like wax in ways that we could never contrive, the love of God is so vast and unfathomable that these lyrics are a very accurate estimation of it:

“Could we with ink the ocean fill

And were the skies of parchment made

Were every stalk on earth a quill

And every man a scribe by trade

To write the love of God above

Would drain the ocean dry

Nor could the scroll contain the whole

Though stretched from sky to sky.”

I have mentioned before that I believe the love of God has been trivialized, sentimentalized, presumed upon and a whole slew of other things it was never meant to be.  “God loves you” has become a statement almost entirely void of power to the sinners ears, instead of the heart breaking, earth shattering, knee driving, repentance causing statement that it should be.

And why is this?  Why does the love of God no longer make people fear and stand in utter amazement?

The reason is this:  Christ crucified underneath the wrath of God on the behalf of wretched sinners has been downplayed, if not entirely removed from evangelism and congregations, and therefore the love of God has been stripped of its power.  It is the greatest tragedy coming out of churches today.  We think that people will view God as more loving if He just loves and accepts everyone the way they are, and we ignore that God has chosen to reveal His love by His Son satisfying divine justice while dying in pain and agonizing separation from the Father in the sinners’ place.

As much as I have laboured to explain that God is angry with sinners, I now want to express how much He loves them. And I pray, in the light of understanding our trespasses against God, His love would make us stand in awe in a way that it never has before.  Words fall absurdly short, but here is my attempt to share truths about the nature of God’s love for sinners.

He Came Loving Sinners

One might think that God would come to save those who were keeping His rules as closely as possible.  Or maybe He would have a special interest in those who said the longest and most frequent prayers.  Seeing as He is God, and that He is perfectly holy and hates sin, you would not expect Him come and break bread with well known and well despised sinners would you?

The King of Heaven come to earth, should come expecting to be served, shouldn’t He?  If He is God, why hasn’t He set up His throne to rule and reign?  And seeing as He has so much power, shouldn’t He make Himself known to the public, as all powerful, great and mighty, miracle- working God?

Yet this Jesus sat himself at a table with tax collectors and sinners, and answered his sceptics: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”  He repeatedly exposed the hypocrisy of the self righteous religious leaders, even going so far as to say “the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you (Matthew 21:31).”  The same God who is so deeply offended by our sins can be found in the pages of scripture offering forgiveness to a woman five times divorced, a prostitute weeping at his feet, a criminal crucified beside him, and a close friend who betrayed and denied Him on the day of his death.

He is a God beyond our comprehension.  How can He be so rightfully angry with us, and yet look at us with compassion?  How does He endure such hostility from our hands and yet bid us come to Him?

Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

John 7:37 “Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink!’”

Philippians 2:6-8 “Though he was in the form of God, (he) did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

They expected Messiah to come set up His Kingdom.  They expected Him to rule their enemies with a rod of iron.  But the humble, meek, servant-King Jesus, is absolutely not what they were looking for!  This “self-proclaimed” Son of God, who would dine with the wicked, was to them an abomination.

He Endured with Patience: Hostility, Abuse and Indifference From Men

Does God demand worship, obedience, honour, homage, and holiness from all people everywhere?  Is He always angered by sin and just to punish?  The answer is a definite yes. As mentioned before, people have tried to draw a line between the “God of the Old Testament” and Jesus Christ, but if you do that you destroy Christianity. With God there is “no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17).”

The truth is, throughout the entire Bible God can be seen as incredibly angry and ready to punish, but also as extremely patient with sinners.  Just look at these verses:

Psalm 145:8-9 “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.  The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”

Psalm 103:9, 13-14 “He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever…As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.  For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.”

The book of Romans explains that God patiently endured the sins of people in the Old Testament, at times not bringing immediate punishment upon them, because He was being merciful to them and waiting until the day when He would pour out that wrath on His own Son Jesus Christ.

Romans 3:23-25 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.  This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

God has not changed. Jesus Christ perfectly displayed the divine forbearance of God, by physically coming here and enduring such hatred from us.  To this day He is still “patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance (2Peter 3:9).”

Time and time again He watched people walk away preferring money over him, religious status over him, or even just wanting His miracles and benefits, but not caring about Him.  He is the one who “endure(d)…from sinners such hostility against himself (Hebrew 12:3).”   He kept Himself in the hands of wicked men who dragged Him “like a lamb that is led to the slaughter” and yet He “opened not His mouth (Isaiah 53:8).”  We may think, “Oh Lord!    What could you be doing?  Call down fire and destroy your enemies!”  Or like Peter when Jesus told Him of the death that was to come, take the Lord “aside and be(gin) to rebuke him, saying, ‘Far be it from you, Lord!  This shall never happen to you (Matthew 16:22)!’”

And there should rightly be within us some kind of shock that the Messiah would come to live and die this way.  It is difficult for us to reconcile infinite power and burning wrath, with the silence of Jesus Christ in the face of His mockers and executioners.  In the event of the crucifixion His love and patience towards mankind is on display most painstakingly bright.  They pressed a crown of thorns onto His head, stripped Him and gave Him a purple robe, mocking His Kingship.  Ridiculing Him they “blindfolded him and kept asking him, ‘Prophesy!  Who is it that struck you?’”  They drove nails through His hands and feet, spat in His face and set up a sign “King of the Jews” at His cross, as if to say “What kind of pathetic King is this? Look at Him now.”  “He saved others; He cannot save Himself (Matthew 27:42).”

Should not the ground have caved in on them all and swallowed them into the earth?  But listen to these astonishing words, spoken by Jesus at His arrest:  “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so (Matthew 26:55-56)?”

What is going on here?  You see, the love of God and the crucifixion have become far too common to us!  How can we not be amazed by His coming and by His death, when we rightly understand how Mighty and Holy He is, and how far His creation has fallen from glory?  His willingness to live among sinners and die by their hands should leave us stunned.  “Amazing love, how can it be? That thou my God should die for me!”

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWgeUrD4MHI

Astonished By Mercy

That you would shed your blood for me

When I was foulest enemy

And on your back I’d place the cross

For in rebellion I was lost.

 

Willingly I scorned your name

It should be I who bared the shame

Why would you die for sinners cruel

Who despise your reign and rule?

 

Oh dreadful heart, within me beat

And out flowed poison

I could not retreat

From rallying against the Son

For I despised the Holy One.

 

And now that I can see so clear

That is was God who drew me near

When I would beat Him with clasped hands

He fulfilled the laws demands

And was dealt justice in my place

The King of Earth took my disgrace,

What can I say, how can I ever

Express my love

To Him who never

Owed me breath

Or forgiveness sweet

Who took my death

And waits to meet

Me at His throne

I’ll stand alone

Now washed in blood

A precious flood

Dressed in white

And declared right

With God

My God

No words can say

What marvel, and wonder

Is on display

In my heart-

Gasping, silence, song

May say it best

Or in the longing

Of my flesh

To be with you

With all things new

There I will praise

You all my days

For dealing with me

By extending mercy.

 

Glory, glory to the lamb

Who laid down His life for the vile!

Honour, honour to the lamb

For this sinner He reconciled.

God’s Deep Love For His Enemies

This may sound absurd to you, but I believe that if you do not understand and accept the wrath of God as truth, then you will not even begin to understand the depths of His love.  It is essential to understand the just anger of God, in order to begin to understand God’s heart for lost people.  I feel very small and very weak to try to explain such profound and complex truths.  Please test everything I say through scripture, and if I falter than toss it aside.

God’s Word reveals that His anger is intensified because of His loving kindness.

 I have noticed that God’s most intensely emotional, personal and angry responses to sin are fuelled in part by His love and strong desire for His chosen people Israel when they sinned.  Look at God’s words to Israel found in Hosea 7:13-16.

“Woe to them, for they have strayed from me!  Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me!  I would redeem them, but they speak lies against me!  They do not cry to me from their heart, but they wail upon their beds, for grain and wine they gash themselves; they rebel against me.  Although I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against me.  They return, but not upward; they are like a treacherous bow; their princes shall fall by the sword because of the insolence of their tongue.  This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.”

Do you hear how deeply personal this is?  God is grieved, and cut to the heart because of His chosen people’s sin.  God could have been a distant God, having no love or concern for a sinful people.  He could have remained far off, not bearing with man, not pursuing man, not revealing Himself and calling out to man.  He could have left us to ourselves, and let each of us perish.  But rather there He is in the pages of scripture saying:

“I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me.  I said, “Here am I, here am I,” to a nation that was not called by my name.  I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually (Isaiah 65:1-3).”

Just think about it.  If you had no love or care for a person, how deeply would they be able to offend you?  Would you not be much more affected, angered, and hurt if your own Mother or spouse railed against you, calling you names, and dishonouring your wishes, than if a complete stranger sinned against you?  To the extent that you care about a person, to the extent that you have invested in them and value them, you will be grieved by their trespasses against you.

With that in mind, do you think that God’s anger is a sign that He cares nothing for us?  Don’t get me wrong, He would still be angry because of our sins against Him even if He didn’t love for us.  In that case, there would be nothing for us but anger.  But my conclusion is that, based on an abundance of scripture that portrays God as a loving (and yet angry) husband pleading with an adulterous wife to return to Him, God has revealed His anger to us in a way that should help us see that He cares about this world.  He cares even though, on account of our rebellion, He is not obligated to.

Psalm 8:3-4 “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

What an appropriate response to our Great God of Glory.

If we won’t understand what great enemies of God we have been, we will never appreciate or understand God’s love and mercy as we ought to.

 Some people may think I have been harsh to write the way I have, to speak so openly about the wrath and even hatred of God.  People today think it loving to spare others from unpleasant thoughts about Hell, sin, and “that angry God of the Old Testament.”  On account of this, many of today’s Christians have a shallow love, a shallow joy, and a faith that is not sustainable through life’s trials.  We’ve been robbed of understanding the “depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God (Romans 11:33).”

Do you realize that the love of God is so great, so beyond our comprehension that Paul prayed this for believers:  “That he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses understanding.”

Is that how we view the love of God today?  Is it not more often, made a thing that is common, mandatory of God to offer, unsurprising, general, and therefore far from special?  If love is something He owes us, if it is something that we should just expect from Him, then why do we need to be strengthened by God to understand it?

The love of God today is expected, and trivialized because men think they deserve it.  But what does the Word of God say about man’s relationship to God, apart from salvation in Jesus Christ?

We are all originally “alienated (from God) and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds (Colossians 1:21).  We are friends of the world and therefore enemies of God (James 4:4).  We are “dead in trespasses and sins” and follow the “prince of the power of the air” who is Satan, living in the “passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and mind” and are by nature “children of wrath like the rest of mankind (Ephesians 2:1-3).”

How do we feel about the true God in Heaven?  We are “gossips, slanderers, haters of God… Romans 1:29-30).”  In our unrighteousness, we “suppress the truth (Romans 1:18)” that we do know about Him.  When told about God’s kindness and patience, in and of ourselves we don’t repent, but rather take it as an excuse and motivator to continue in rebellion.  We “presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead (us) to repentance (Romans 2:4).”

Between us and God is a “dividing wall of hostility (Ephesians 2:14)” which only He can abolish.  If a person cannot identify these truths within himself, if he is blind to his own depravity and does not view himself as an enemy of God, than the cross can accomplish nothing for him and has no purpose for his life.   You will have to change your gospel to reach this man, and the gospel you give him cannot save him.  If you impersonalize and abolish the wrath of God and the reign of sin in man’s heart, than you will successfully remove the offense of the cross, and the necessity of Christ’s atoning work, and will create false converts for yourself.

If a person can recognize himself as an enemy of God, deserving nothing short of immediate Hell, than the preaching of the cross will be to Him a beacon of light and a floodgate of mercy.  Jesus Christ will be to him, the most beautiful person he has ever seen.  He will need supernatural strength to comprehend such an undeserved and extreme love.

Ephesians 2:4-8 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ- by grace you have been saved- and raised us up with him and seated us with him the in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing: it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

That He would love us should astound us.

Part 8: How Can You Refuse Him Now?

I hope you have come to see that Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father, and is infinitely worthy of our love, our praise, and our lives.  Reflecting on His love and worth one day I wrote:

“Who has loved me more than Jesus, when He bore my sin away?  As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed my transgressions from me.  Oh what a Saviour!  Mighty Redeemer is He!  He took my shame and bore God’s wrath to set this captive free.

And now what friend do I have like Jesus, who at sun down watches over my sleep?  He keeps account of my tossings; He puts my tears in His bottle, are they not all written down?  Who knows my frame like the Lord does?  He remembers that I am but dust.  He does not keep His anger forever, or treat me as my sins deserve.  What rest I have in Jesus!  He who keeps me in the palm of His hand will never leave me or forsake me.  If I am faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

I love You so my Jesus, who hears my every prayer, who treats me with compassion, who covers me with care.  Even in the darkness His word is a lamp unto my feet and I know that He is working out His perfect will for me.

Who gives hope for the future like Jesus?  The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength.  The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.  Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, but blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.

Jesus Christ, my friend and Lord, I know that He is coming swiftly.  Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay.  He who has overcome death is coming; He who destroys the power of sin is coming, and He who has loved me from the foundations of the world- He is coming.” 

Psalm 73:4 “You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.”

Have you seen how wonderful He is?  Has His mercy towards you astounded your heart?  Have you yet forsaken your sin and your life so that you could find new life in Him?  If not, you must come to Him while you still have today.  If you put off Jesus Christ you risk being lost entirely.  Hearts that leave Him behind again and again, although warned and enlightened grow increasingly hard.  Jesus Christ must be sought out as a treasure, and once found be most precious to you!

The following warning in Hebrews is for people who have come to understand the gospel message, and have even taken outward steps towards following Christ, but in the end have chosen to turn away from Him.  Don’t let this be you.

Hebrews 6:4-6 “For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they then fall away, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.”

When Christ comes back there will only be two types of people, those who are saved and those who are not.  Those who are children of God and those who are enemies.  Those who go away into everlasting punishment and those who enter into the rest of their Maker.  There is a terrible day coming for many.  Jesus said “Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels (Mark 8:38).”  I cannot think of anything more devastating than standing before Jesus Christ, no longer veiled but in His full Glory, and upon His face as He looks at you is open shame.  Oh Lord, spare men from such a fate.

But there is a glorious day and eternity for whoever would confess Jesus as Lord no matter the cost in this life.

1Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

Revelations 21:3-4 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

What an awesome God, that He would reach down into the miry clay to scoop up us sinful creatures and bring us near to Him.  He takes a broken vessel and transforms it into a temple for His spirit and at last He will transform our lowly bodies into Heavenly bodies.  What an extravagant King, who would make His Kingdom an eternal home for little people like you and me.  He will not cast us away the one who trusts in Him, but one day will draw so near that He Himself will wipe away each tear and walk alongside us.

I end with these words from “How Can You Refuse Him Now?” by Hillsong.  I pray that no one who has taken the time to read this article would refuse to bow down to Jesus Christ.  Come to Christ today.

There’s a story old that has often be told

Of how our Saviour died

As they nailed His hands, He cried

“They don’t understand”

As the blood flowed from His side.

As He hung there on the tree

He prayed for you, He prayed for me

There was no one His pain to ease

Before He died He faintly cried

“Father forgive them please.”

How can you refuse Him now?

How can you refuse Him now?

How can you turn away from His side?

With tears in His eyes, on the cross where He died

How can you refuse Jesus now?

He Saved Me- Isn’t it Enough?

One of my favorite videos on youtube.  No matter how many times I watch this it blesses my heart.  We don’t need to wait around for “special” revelation to be motivated to live for Jesus Christ.  If He would save sinners like me, He is worth living for and dying for, whether I receive any further earthly blessings or not.  Praise God! 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J471VobaZks

Part 7: Give Your Life To Follow Him

Repentance is not only a part of our conversion to Christianity, but a daily part of our Christian lives.  I mentioned that I would come back to the idea that we are not only to repent of obvious sins but also of self-centered living, which we are all guilty of and naturally accustomed to.  Can I say that I am writing this to myself as much as to any new Christian or others?  Jesus Christ’s call to a radical, self sacrificial, willing to die for Him kind-of- living is practically unheard of in our culture.  A Christian who does the bare basics is applauded.  The believer who lives a moral lifestyle, attends a bible study, and isn’t embarrassed to confess they attend church on Sundays is considered a good example of the faith.  I’m not trying to demean anyone.  I understand that everyone is in a growing process, and for some this may be the point in their Christian walk they are meant to be at.  But how many of us are actually growing in radical self sacrifice for the sake of reaching lost souls with the gospel of God?  I am truly speaking to myself.  So many of us are stagnant, complacent, and lacking in passion.  It ought not to be this way!

Continue reading

Part 6: His Call For You

1Corinthians 2:14 “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

We discussed above that it is salvation that Jesus talked about as being impossible for men, but possible with God.  You may have tried in your own strength and wisdom to comprehend the Bible and even to live like a Christian and found yourself greatly discouraged and frustrated.  Such was the case with me.  You cannot rightly understand the gospel, nor respond to it, in and of your own desire or striving.  It must be spiritually understood, and this can only be granted as a gift from God.  Our lack of capability serves a glorious purpose: “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God (1Cor 1:29),”and “that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1Cor 2:5).” Continue reading

Part 4: How Does Jesus Make Entrance Into His Kingdom Possible?

Matthew 19:23-26 “And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”  But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.””

It is common for Christians to make “all things” mean “whatever I want God to do for me.”  What many people miss out on here is a much greater and stunning truth.  With man salvation itself is impossible, and can only be granted as a gift from God. Continue reading