JESUS

APPEASING WRATH

 “…the cross is the monumental display of how God can be just and still pardon guilty sinners.  At the cross, God, having imputed the sins of His people to Christ, pronounces judgment upon His Son as the representative of His people.  There on the cross God pours out the vials of His wrath unmixed with mercy until His Son cried out, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p12).

“He is treating His Son as a criminal.  He is causing Jesus to feel in the depths of His own soul all of the fury of the wrath that should be vented upon us” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p12).

“We begin to take seriously that we have dared to defy the God Who consigned angels to everlasting darkness when they rebelled against Him” Albert N. Martin (ref#221. p13).

“The cross of Jesus displays the most awful exhibition of God’s hatred of sin and, at the same time, the most impressive manifestation of His readiness to pardon it….The death of Jesus was the opening and emptying of the full heart of God; it was the outpouring of that ocean of infinite mercy that longed for an outlet; it was God showing how He could love a poor guilty sinner” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 29th).

FATHER, You used Your own Son to propitiate Your wrath toward us.  “propitiate– to cause to become favorably inclined; win or regain the good will of; appease or conciliate…” (ref#110, p1079).  May I daily contemplate CHRIST’s suffering for my sins and offer thanks for such love from Him and You.

JESUS

REASONS FOR THE APPEARING OF JESUS

Did JESUS come to appease an angry GOD?  From a human viewpoint that makes sense because I know I am a sinner and certainly GOD is not pleased with me.  But, no, “He has come to lift the veil and reveal the heart of a gracious, sin-pardoning God.  He declaring that the ‘Father Himself loves us,’ and that ‘he that hath seen me,’ so full of grace, ‘hath seen the Father’ (John 14:9); in other words, He affirms that He is a copy, or a representation, of the Father.  The love, grace, truth, holiness, power, compassion, and tenderness exhibited in such fullness of supply by Jesus, and distributed by Him so profusely, had their origin and their counterpart in God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 24th).

“He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature…”(Heb 1:3 ESV).

“Why did God bruise his Son and bring him to grief?  He did it to resolve the dissonance between his love for his glory and his love for sinners….God-dishonoring sin could not be ignored….Because God loves the honor of his name….his Son…will demonstrate to all the world the infinite worth of the Father’s glory” John Piper (ref#220, p161).

“Righteousness and the glory of God are his passion….He came from heaven primarily to vindicate God’s glory and God’s honour, and not just to save us….the great motive was the glory of God, which had been violated by the Devil and by sin….His anger is roused against the enemies of his holy and righteous Father” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#265, p271).

“Jesus wants us to see that his willingness to lose his life is because of his love for the glory of the Father” John Piper (ref#220, p165).  “In that very moment when the Son was taking upon himself everything that God hates in us, and God was forsaking him to death, even then the Father knew that the measure of his Son’s suffering was the depth of his Son’s love for the Father’s glory” John Piper (ref#220, p176).

So, FATHER, to give You the deepest pleasure I need to give my life for Your glory—as one willing to show how much I love You.  Make me make it so.

JESUS

THE RESTORER

FATHER, the making of creation in six days is amazing enough but the love You show me in my recreation is beyond phenomenal!

“…the work of restoration is a greater achievement of power than was the work of creation….In one day He [GOD] made man; He spent four thousand years redeeming man.  It cost Him nothing to create a soul; it cost Him His dear Son to save it….He met with no opposition in creating man; in re-creating him, Satan, the world, and man himself are against Him” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 4th, brackets mine).

“…behold what sinhas done!  Man has lost his original resemblance to God.  It is true, he still retains his spiritual, intelligent, and immortal nature: these he can never lose.  But his moral likeness to God—his knowledge, purity, justice, truth, and love—is blotted from his soul; darkness, impurity desolation, and death reign there instead. With the obliteration of his moral resemblance, the soul has lost all love to God….there is not only the absence of love, but there is active enmity….Man has revolted from God, and, having thrown off all allegiance to Him as his sovereign, he seeks to be a god to himself….This being the moral destitution of man, God has ceased to dwell in him;…it is impossible for God to make your heart His dwelling place while every thought, feeling, and passion is up in arms against Him, as it would be for Christ to dwell with Satan, or light to mingle with darkness.  You must be renewed in the spirit of your mind.  You must be born again” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 3rd).

“Here is a world that has rebelled against God.  It spat into His holy face; in arrogance it lifted itself up against Him; it said, ‘I have a right to be equal with God.’ Now, a world like that deserves nothing by punishment; it deserves perdition.  Yet into that very world…God sent His Son…His very appearing and coming…is proof that God loves us” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p67).

“’For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life”(John 3:16 ESV).

JESUS

THE DIVINE REMEDY FOR SIN

“A biblical Christian is one who has seriously considered the one divine remedy for sin….all of our true help comes down from above and meets us where we are” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p9).

FATHER, I lose my way around the Bible if I take my eyes off JESUS (Alistair Begg). When GOD first spoke of evil in Gen 3:15, He announced His remedy to defeat the now prince of the power of earth’s air, satan.  A descendent of Adam would crush his head.  Throughout the Old Testament, I see glimpses of GOD working out His plan until finally JESUS, born of a woman (Adam’s descendent) comes to earth.  The entire Bible presents GOD’s plan to redeem men back to Him.  It portrays a loving GOD’s effort to save a people for Himself.

There are few passages that capture the disaster of sin and what it does to people made in God’s image better than Genesis 6:5-6:

“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.” (ESV)

“Note two things from this passage.  First, the affect of sin on people was deep, heart deep.  Sin is not just a matter of bad behavior.  It is a condition of the heart.  That’s why you cannot free yourself from it.  Second, the effects of sin on you and me are comprehensive. Note the words ‘every intention’ coupled with the words ‘only evil continually.’  But the passage tells us more.  God was not satisfied leaving us in the disaster of sin.  The disease that infected the heart of every human being produced sorrow in his heart.  But his sorrow was not just the sorrow of remorse or the sorrow of judgment; it was the sorrow of grace.  The words of Genesis 6:8—‘But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD’—tell you that Genesis 6 is not the end of the story.  God would not just punish sin; he would raise up a nation out of which his Son would come to live and die to deliver us from it.  The cross of his Son stands as a lasting reminder of just how desperate our need is for the grace that that cross represents” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 29th).

“…’there is no condemnation’ to a poor soul that shelters itself beneath the cross of Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 5th).

CHRIST

DOOM ON THE WHOLE WORLD

“The cross does not only reveal sin for what it is…it pronounces doom on the whole world…The cross of Jesus Christ makes this great proclamation.  Unless I believe in Him, unless I believe that His death…is the only thing that reconciles me to God, I remain under the wrath of God.  If I do not see that the wrath of God against my sin has been borne there by the Son of God, then the alternative is that I must experience the wrath of God.  That is the essence of the Christian Gospel.  I either believe that my sins have been punished in the body of the Son of God, or else they will be punished in me.  It is the judgment of the world.  The world apart from Him is under the wrath of God, it is doomed, it is damned, and He alone can save it…There was no other way, for God would never have allowed His Son to endure all that if there had been another way” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 21st).

“…the Lord Jesus Christ…gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father,” (Gal 1:3-4 ESV).

FATHER, I come humbly and with amazing fear—fear of Your wrath and amazed that You consider putting in the effort to save me from it.  I cannot save myself; it is beyond my abilities.  Without Your kind input I would not desire to be what You have created me to be.  I would fall completely under Your wrath (ref#190, Sept 30th).

“…we are all sinners. We are all in the same desperate condition.  None of us is better off than any other.  None of us is more righteous.  None of us is more deserving….We all need to be rescued from the dark rebellion of our own hearts” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Nov 28th).

“If you don’t understand and accept the gravity of your condition and your inability to alter it, the Bible, and particularly the work of Christ, will make no sense to you at all.  Why did God go to the history-shaping extent of sending his Son to earth?…Why was it vital for him to suffer and die?  Why did there absolutely have to be a resurrection?  Why?  The answers to these questions can be found by tracing a thread that runs throughout the Bible….We were not only hopelessly ensnared by sin and tragically guilty before God, but we were also completely unable to help ourselves” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Sept 30th).

FATHER, “There is only one hope for us all—the amazing, forgiving, rescuing, transforming, and delivering grace of Jesus” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Nov 28th).

CHRIST

PRE-EMINENCE OF CHRIST

JESUS was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times (1 Pet 1:20).  “The story of Jesus doesn’t begin with Jesus.  God had been at work for a long time.  Salvation, which is the main business of Jesus, is an old business. Jesus is the coming together in final form of themes and energies and movements that had been set in motion before the foundation of the world” MSG Intro to Matthew (ref#262, p9).

“…from the beginning I [CHRIST] have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit”(Isa 48:16 ESV, brackets mine).

“…everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled…’Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations…” (Luke 24:44,46-47 ESV).

“God has given to Him all power and all authority.  As the Son of Man, He is now Head over all things to His church, and He reigns over heaven, earth, and hell with the keys of life and death” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, April 27thPM).

“As we are ordained to salvation, so Christ is ordained to be the head of all that shall be saved.  He was chosen eternally, and chosen in time.  He was singled out to the work by God; and all others that are chosen are chosen in Him.  There has been no choosing of men but in Him; for God saw us so defiled, lying in our filth, that He could not look upon us but in His Son.  He chose Him, and us in Him” Richard Sibbes (ref#225, April 25th).

“…we see all God’s creation and salvation completed in Jesus, and all the parts of our lives—work, family, friends, memories, dreams—also completed in Jesus.  Lacking such a context, we are in danger of seeing Jesus as a mere diversion from the concerns announced in the newspapers.  Nothing could be further from the truth” MSG Intro to Matthew (ref#262, p9).

FATHER, grant me a fuller understanding of You.  In awe I wish to contemplate Your efforts to bring me to salvation through CHRIST and to honor CHRIST properly as my Priest, Savior, and King.

GOD

MY FATHER

My precious FATHER…”my precious”—that sounds like I own Him.  But I do.  He is my FATHER and my FATHER is love—.  My precious LOVE who completely gives Himself—all of Himself, to His lover—me. Me!

“You could do nothing more important than to wake up every morning of your life and remind yourself that the One who created and controls everything that exists has been made, by grace, to be your Father.  He thinks of you with pure and faithful fatherly love.  He acts toward you with the giving, providing, instructing, patient, and forgiving love of a perfect father.  He is always with you.  His hand is always upon you.  He never stops watching you.  His heart is always for you.  He is always at work accomplishing his plans for you and through you.  He lifts your burdens and lightens your load.  He is your God, your Savior, your Friend—your Father. Nothing can ever be the same again because you now live in the Father’s house, where glorious grace decorates every room” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, May 4th).

“It may well be, in fact, that human beings in aggregate and through the centuries have given more attention and concern to divinity than to all their other concerns put together—…But that God is here right now, and on our side, actively seeking to help us in the way we must need help—this qualifies as news….” The MESSAGE (ref#262, p87, [Introduction to Mark]).

“Nothing pleases our Lord better than to see His promises put in circulation.  He loves to see His children bring them up to Him, and say, ‘Lord, do as You have said.’…It is His delight to bestow favors” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Jan 14thAM).

“…He doesn’t abandon me.  He sees how much joy I take in pleasing him” (John 8:27-29 MSG).

GOD

GOD IS LOVE

“…search and rescue impulse is in the very center of God’s heart” Doug Newton (ref#166, p35).

GOD is love (1 John 4:8). He is not just loving.  Love is not one of His attributes, it is what influences His attributes.  Yet, GOD does not love to glorify Himself, His focus is on His people.  “…love does not look at itself—it is absorbed in the object of its love” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p116).

“In enriching us with his gifts, God gains nothing for himself, yet he would have the splendor and beauty of his character manifested in bountifully dealing with us….” John Calvin (ref#164, March 7th).

“I will dwell among the people of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of the land of Egypt that I might dwell among them. I am the Lord their God”(Ex 29:45-46 ESV).

“…God searches passionately for people who are lost, finds them and does whatever He must to make them His possession” Doug Newton (ref#166, p36).

FATHER, You are absorbed in the objects You love.  And not only in loving me but all Your human creation that I, privileged as Your helper, search also to bring to You.

GOD

GOD, OUR HOST

“God is a ‘host’ who deliberately creates His own parasites; causes us to be that we may exploit and ‘take advantage of’ Him.  Herein is love.  This is the diagram of Love Himself, the inventor of all loves” C. S. Lewis (ref#227, p176).

“The idea that God was under any obligation or necessity to reveal Himself to man cannot be seriously entertained,…such a revelation to fallen creatures of Himself, His mind, and His will, having been made, must be regarded as an astounding act of His sovereign mercy…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 19th).

Think about it; a parasite cannot live one minute without a host.  FATHER, sober me today as I contemplate my inabilities.  My knowledge of You overwhelms me with a sense of Your love.  Unlike created hosts, You are eternal and artesian—never losing Your fullness.  No matter what we parasites take from You, You overflow in continued abundance.

“…God is reconciled and one with the believer; all His feelings are love, all His thoughts are peace, and all His dealings are parental…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 19th).

GOD, You can be described with action verbs: (A sample taken from the first chapter of Luke.)

You remember mercy and help me (Luke 1:54).

You visit and redeem me (Luke 1:68).

You save me from the hand of all who hate me (Luke 1:71).

You deliver me from my enemy that I might serve You without fear (Luke 1:74).

You show me the mercy; You promise and remember Your covenant (Luke 1:72).

You fill me with good things (Luke 1:53).

You speak with me forever (Luke 1:55).

You guide my feet in the way of peace (Luke 1:79).

You cause me to serve You in holiness and righteousness all my days (Luke 1:75).