Tag Archives: redemption

hem

Hem Me In

He had hemmed me in
Behind and before,
Drew the lines that fall
But I thought to soar
Past sunsets that looked
Like bars might prove more.

Pastures green, like plain
Bread, stale and dry
Rolled on for days; Streams
Meandered nearby-
My eyes gazed elsewhere,
I refused to lie.

“Pleasant places, these,”
Said a lamb. I nod,
Pretend, but o’er the
Valley there’s a broad
Place with less restraints-
To please! But not God…

Oh, but there to taste
To spread like wild vine!
Should such a pleasure
Be deprived of mine?
Can sweet fruit not grow
Among fainter lines? Continue reading

Hdr-The-Gospel-of-Grace

The Gospel of Grace: A Refresher Crash Course

Do you find yourself constantly coming back to the foundational truths of Christianity found at the cross, or are you trying to walk out your Christian life in your own strength? Are you motivated to obey God today, or do His commandments feel like a heavy burden? Do you feel that Jesus Christ has made you free indeed or do you live under a weight of guilt and uncertainty about your salvation? Did you know that the gospel is not only the entry way for unbelievers but the entire residence of Christian living? Consider the following, which I hope might prove encouraging and helpful.

Galatians 3:1-3 “O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

How did you get saved? Was it by law-keeping or by hearing the gospel and receiving grace through faith? I think you know the answer. If you are saved you know the power of the risen Savior Jesus Christ. Salvation has come in a person who is “Christ Jesus, whom God made our wisdom and our righteousness and sanctification and redemption. Therefore, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord (1Corinthians 1:30-31).” He is all these things for us, and He will produce fruit in us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
In regards to our salvation the law contributed nothing but only bound everything up under sin (Galatians 3:22) and shut every mouth in regards to making an appeal of innocence before God (Romans 3:20). “For by works of the law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin (Romans 3:21).”

So the question comes- if we were saved apart from the law (read the rest of Galatians 3, or Romans 3:28), and if Jesus Christ is our salvation and our sanctification, then what becomes of the law?
Now, as believers, “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary we uphold the law (Romans 3:31).” We recognize that “the law is good if one uses it lawfully”- which is to use it for its intended purpose of convicting unbelievers of sin and pointing them to Christ (see 1Timothy 1:8-11). There is no problem with the law, but it presents a problem for law-breakers. God’s righteous standards still stand, and in fact, Jesus Christ explained the heart of the commandments in such a way that he exposed sin hidden within men’s hearts (see Matthew 5:17-48). Jesus upheld the law, kept the law, and bore the punishment for our law-breaking, so that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13).” Now, we see the law, but we turn away from looking to law-keeping to gain righteousness, and we look to Jesus Christ who redeems us and sets us free to live by grace. That is faith. Continue reading

Who Will Deliver Me?

Who Will Deliver Me?

Oh sin, that dwells within
That wages war and threatens
To destroy my joy,
That sin that seeks to win
The battle and mock at my defeat.

Oh sin, that enemy within
Crashing through my great resolve
Outpouring words, I’ve cringed and heard
Them, hasty and marking me a fool.

Continue reading

God Is Glorified In Justice

The Bible teaches that God will be glorified in His saints the day of His return, but Psalm 76:10 also says that “Surely the wrath of man shall praise you; the remnant of wrath you will put on like a belt.”  Proverbs 16:4 states that “The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.”  What good purpose could come from the terrible day of judgement that will fall upon wicked people?  What type of praise will God receive for having executed his wrath upon men? Continue reading

He Has Mercy On Whom He Wills

The doctrine of election is an important truth that greatly helps us to properly understand, humbly accept, and greatly appreciate the love of God displayed in Christ’s death.  The emphasis in scripture has always been that God freely sets His special love and affection on particular people.  I know that I’m stepping on toes.  I’m aware that I’m dwindling down my audience, but scripturally it is impossible to avoid this topic if I’m going to discuss the love of God in depth.  Consider God’s chosen people Israel:

“The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.  It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath the he swore to your fathers… (Deuteronomy 7:6-8)” Continue reading

What Is So Valuable That Christ Would Die?

What is God’s highest aim in man’s redemption?

 

So then we have considered in part what is wonderful, lovable, and glorious about the cross from our human perspective.  We have reflected on Christ’s awe striking humility, His willingness to save a God hating people like us, and the accomplishment of saving our souls and changing our hearts.  But there is something even deeper going on than just the act of making an unrighteous heart, righteous.  There is more to rejoice about than even that Christ has spared our soul’s eternal Hell and has prepared for us an eternal home in Heaven.  Though immensely significant, the ultimate gift that God has given us is not just the forgiveness of our sins and the future hope of life in heaven, but that He has done everything to make it possible for us to behold and have Him in His glory.

1.  His aim:  Glory, Exaltation, Praise, and the magnification of His Name.

To start let’s put us, not out of the picture, but somewhere off dimly in a corner of the picture, with God gloriously filling up the center with all brilliance and splendour.

I want to clearly state, that in no way do I want to understate the purpose of Christ’s dying for us, so that we may have eternal life and forgiveness; nor do I want to underemphasize the value that Jesus Christ places on a single lost soul.  These are topics that we will revisit again and again to understand God’s heart for lost people.  But what I want to try and express, is that we are not the focus point of God’s purposes and plans.  We are not the center of Christ’s dying for us, but rather God’s plan of redemption and the execution of it, at the foundation of its’ goal is that Jesus Christ Himself would be displayed in “the radiance of the glory of God (Hebrews 1:3).”  God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit alone are exalted and displayed in the redemption of man.

The heart of God glories in receiving the Glory that is due to His name.  His ways exalt Himself as supreme over all the earth and everything that has been made and been done throughout all history.  God must love Himself, in all the beauty and fullness of the Trinity, and He must love and put Himself first above all things.  I have heard it explained that if God, who sees all of the perfection and majesty that belongs to Him alone, were to love another more than His self, He would be an idolater.  So it must be that even in Christ’s coming in the likeness of man, yes even in His humbling himself to death on a cross, the furtherance of His glory and exaltation of His name would be in view. 

Philippians 2:6-10 “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 by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Look also at these verses, which are only a sample of several of like them, and note God’s purpose for executing His plans, or even from withholding His wrath.

Isaiah 48:9-11 “For the sake of My name I delay my wrath, and for My praise I restrain it for you, in order not to cut you off.  Behold I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned?  And My glory I will not give to another.”

I think it extremely important to show you that God has not changed in the New Testament.  He has not gone from becoming a God-centered God to a man-centered God.  His purposes are still being perfectly carried out primarily for His sake, His Honour, and His praise, yes even in and especially in the salvation of sinners.

Matthew 10:22 “You will be hated by all for my name’s sake.”

Matthew 16:25 “…Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

Ephesians 1:11-12 “In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

Our Lord wants us to delight and be satisfied in Him, and when we are made able by Him to glory in this way, as we are chiefly created to do, God has great pleasure in what He has accomplished in us. 

(This is only point one of the chapter entitled “What Is So Valuable That Christ Would Die?”  I will post the other points as I write them.  This is again, a portion from the book I’m working on called “The Complex Nature of God’s Hear For Lost People.””)