JESUS

OUR GIFT—THE PRIESTHOOD

FATHER, Your Son is my High Priest: “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf”(Heb 9:24 ESV).

“When our coldness, our old nature, our neglect, our ingratitude, and our backslidings might have prevailed, He [CHRIST] has never entirely and forever withdrawn.  His post is to watch…with a sleepless eye of love…’He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous’ (Job 36:7)…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, May 1st, brackets mine).

“It is a personal, an anticipative, and a present intercession.  It embraces all the personal needs of each believer…it bears the saint and his sorrow before the throne.  At a crisis of his history, at a juncture, or perhaps even at the most critical moment in his life when a believer’s heart is oppressed with emotion and cannot breathe a prayer—Jesus is remembering him, sympathizing with him, and interceding for him” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, March 27th).

JESUS is our High Priest who goes before making us priests also.  “…To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever…”(Rev 1:5-6 ESV).

As JESUS is our High Priest, we then, can be priests to others.  “In the kingdom of Christ each individual is a priest.  The priest’s work is not limited to any order of the ministry. All may offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving: all have direct access to the holiest through the blood of Jesus: all Christians, as priests, are to minister to one another and to plead for one another” Marvin Vincent (ref#271).

“…the three fundamental functions of the priesthood. Worship—insuring that people exalt God’s greatness. Intercession—insuring that people experience God’s grace.  Blessing—insuring that people enjoy God’s favor”Doug Newton (ref#166, p140).

“If you have believed in God’s decontaminating work in your own life…you are now qualified to function as a priest.  You are now called to use your words to intercede on behalf of people and pronounce over them the blessings of God’s mercy and grace as God directs you” Doug Newton (ref#166, p141).  “God…is saying…If you will make your whole life about bringing the benefits of my presence and grace to others, you will have Me in a way the others never will.  I will be your portion” Doug Newton (ref#166, p141).

JESUS

CHRIST DOES EVERYTHING

“…Every person the Father gives me eventually comes running to me [JESUS].  And once that person is with me, I hold on and don’t let go….” (John 6:35-38 MSG, brackets mine).

FATHER, You call me into fellowship with JESUS (1 Cor 1:9).  And JESUS employs Himself to my aid.  He enriches me in every way in all speech and all knowledge (1 Cor 1:5).  He maintains me with gifts while I wait for His physical appearance again (1 Cor 1:7).  He also sustains me until the end, guiltless (1 Cor 1:8).  He is my all.

“…the Father has given all power to the Son, that by his hand he may govern, cherish, sustain us, keep us under his guardianship and give assistance to us.  Thus, while we wander far as pilgrims from God, Christ interposes, that he may gradually bring us to full communion with God” John Calvin (ref#113, p321).

“…we have a double need: on the one hand cleansing from defilement, and on the other a new heart with new desires and aspirations….For Christ died to make us clean, and by the inward working of his Holy Spirit he can make us new” John Stott (ref#258, p78-79).

“…many ways Jesus loves his own…visiting them with his gracious presence, instructing and guiding them by his Word and Spirit, preserving them in his providence, strengthening them by his grace, comforting them with his love, and maturing them for his eternal glory” Charles Ross (ref#241, p19).

CHRIST constantly pulls me out of the God-ignoring flames of this earth.  He doesn’t just help me stand every once in a while when I think I need help but constantly rescues me.  O FATHER, I am so thankful.

“…Christ has entered…into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf”(Heb 9:24 ESV).

JESUS

DELIVERED

FATHER, CHRIST saved me from Your wrath by making me acceptable to You by taking the punishment for my radical, complete, disobedience.  I am redeemed!—by CHRIST’s obedience.  You made the plan; CHRIST made it work (Eph 1:7).

“The cross declares how dire is our condition apart from Jesus.  It announces how deep the sin goes, how profound the rebellion is, how impossible is our plight apart from Help from the outside.  There’s nothing we can do, no effort we can exert, no law we can follow” (by David Mathis, http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/a-reason-to-be-really-offended).

“We need to be delivered from the power of the devil, we need death and the grave to be conquered—and our Lord Jesus Christ has done it all.  And beyond all that, we need a new nature, because we need not only forgiveness of sins, but to be made fit to have communion and fellowship with God” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 19th).

“He delivers us also from the power and from the pollution of sin.  His work is such that He takes away our sin in a more vital sense.  We are growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord; we are increasingly being made to conform to the image of His Son. We are being delivered—we have been, we are, and we shall be ultimately.  The glorification is coming when He will take away our sin altogether, so that we shall be blameless and faultless and spotless and perfect in His holy presence” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Oct 21st).

“’He died that we might be forgiven’; yes, but ‘He died to make us good’ is equally true” Martyn Lloyd Jones (ref#189, Oct 21st).  He “…gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works”(Titus 2:14 ESV).

“…we must never separate sanctification from justification; we must never talk about a kind of series of separate blessings.  It is all one—it all belongs together.  And it is all a matter of this law that condemns us and from which Christ delivers us through the cross and by the gift of new life.  He went to that cruel death on the cross not only so that you and I might have pardon. Thank God, that does come out of it, that is the first thing.  But He did it really to separate, to put aside, a people for Himself as a special treasure and possession who, as Paul puts it, should be ‘zealous of good works,’ who should live a holy life” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189. Oct 21st).

JESUS

SIN’S REMEDY

FATHER, You have put us all in the prison of sin.  We all start out in identical conditions (Rom 3:9).  Then You invite all to come to the cross of CHRIST.

“The cross of Christ triumphs only in the hearts of believers over the devil and the flesh, over sin and wickedness, when they lift their eyes to behold the power of the resurrection” John Calvin (ref#313, p82-83)

“…God has imprisoned everyone in disobedience so he could have mercy on everyone”(Rom 11:32 NLT).

“Sin is every human being’s core disease.  It is completely beyond the power of any human being to escape it.  It separates you from God, for whom you were created. It damages every aspect of your personhood.  It makes it impossible for you to be what God created you to be and to do what God designed you to do.  It robs you of inner contentment and peace, and it puts you at war with other human beings. It renders you blind, weak, self-oriented, and rebellious.  It reduces all of us to fools, and ultimately it leads to death.  Sin is an unmitigated, almost incalculable disaster…you and I have no ability whatsoever to escape from the hold that sin has on us.  It is the moral Vice-Grip that has held the heart of every person who has ever lived” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 29th).

“It is the cross of Christ that brings us all down to the same place. ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.’ The differences between nations and groups within them and individuals are nothing when you look at the cross of Christ.  We are all miserable, helpless, hopeless sinners” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 15th).

“…the eternal Word Who became man, uniting a true human nature to his divine nature…the two natures joined in the one Person forever….if your personal problem of sin is ever to be remedied in a biblical way, it will be remedied only as you have personal dealings with the person of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Such is the unique stand of the Christian faith: the sinner in all his need, united to the Savior in all the fullness of His grace; the sinner in his naked need, and the Savior in His almighty power, brought directly together in the gospel.  That reality is the glory of God’s good news to sinners” Albert N. Martin (ref#221, p10-11)!

JESUS

JESUS LED BY THE SPIRIT

FATHER, the familiar and habitual life I lead humanly is that of selfish desire which leads to unholy action.  This is my born-with nature—a desire to do what I want to do.

“…the lie of autonomy…tells you that you are an independent human, that your life belongs to you, and that you have the right to live your life as you please” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Nov 30th).

But when I study the life of JESUS on earth, I do not see Him doing what He wants to do, even though He is the Son of GOD!  Instead, He emptied Himself to allow You, FATHER, to give Him the fullness of Your SPIRIT:

“Our Lord’s life was mapped out for Him.  He came to do the Father’s will, and that will was unfolded and interpreted to Him by the Holy Spirit….He was led of the Spirit, taught of the Spirit, and strengthened in the Spirit….He was constantly dependent upon the Spirit…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#195, p79).  “…he was anointed by the Spirit to be a herald and witness of his Father’s grace…” John Calvin (ref#113, p318).

“…the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.  He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear, but with righteousness he shall judge…” (Isa 11:2-4 ESV).

JESUS, the Son of GOD and also the Son of Man, belonged to GOD; I also belong to GOD. “We don’t own our mentality, our spirituality, our emotionality, our psychology, our personality, or our physicality.  We are not independent beings and we do not have a natural right to do with our physical and spiritual selves whatever we desire to do” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Nov 30th).

FATHER, I do not want to judge situations with my own eyes and ears but with the wisdom of the SPIRIT within me.

JESUS

THE SINLESS LIFE

JESUS exposes the works of the devil by His sinless life: He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth”(1 Pet 2:22 ESV).  “Jesus…was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”(Heb 4:14-15 NKJV).

“He committed no act of sin” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p54).  “He remained free, uncontaminated and uncompromised” John Stott (ref#258, p62).

JESUS who knew no sin exposes sin.  “He exposes the perversion and the twistedness of evil—the foulness and ugliness of sin.  In His teaching He is undoing the lie, the works of Satan….He gets down to the depth…In the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, He says, ‘You do not have to commit sin; just to look with lust in your eyes is sufficient’ (Matt 5:28)” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p67).

FATHER, this proves to me that committing acts of sin are only symptoms; the disease is my depraved nature .  This is not a fact I figure out on my own.  In the words of Scripture delivered by JESUS I find the Truth.

“Jesus…said, ‘I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind’”(John 9:39 MSG).

“He has established…once and for ever, that the only life worthy to be called life is one which is lived in utter, absolute conformity to the commands of the holy God; in His life He denies the lie of the devil” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p67).  “This was his victory.  The devil could gain no hold on him and was obligated to concede defeat” John Stott (ref#258, p62).

“…the blessed hope that faces us as Christian people is that He will destroy these works of the devil utterly, completely and finally; evil and sin will be finally destroyed out of existence, burnt, destroyed for ever” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#211, p69).

FATHER, I desire to contemplate this sinless life of CHRIST knowing that it is thoroughly He that restores my life.  Though through His death on the cross I am no more a captive of sin, still sin entangles me.  Therefore I need CHRIST to cloth me in His righteousness lest I die before You, Holy FATHER.

JESUS

FOLLOWING GOD’S WILL

Man killed Him, yes, but JESUS allowed it.  JESUS Himself sealed His own fate; He arranged for His own crucifixion.

Mark tells it so well: “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death; and they were not finding any” (Mark 14:55 NASB).

JESUS broke His silence when the high priest, for a second time, gave Him the opportunity to speak: “…Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the BlessedOne?’ And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.’” (Mark 14:61-62 NASB).  “And tearing his clothes, the high priest said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses?  ‘You have heard the blasphemy…And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death” (Mark 14:63-64 NASB).

FATHER, Your Son’s obedience to Your request inspires me.  Will You ever ask me to condemn myself to death?  Probably not, but everyday You give situations where I have opportunity to condemn my self-will to death and to preform Your will.

A few verses back You conveyed to Mark the procedure You took Your SON through to make Him strong enough to follow Your will.  It is the procedure I desire You take me through every day.  It’s asking to get out of doing Your will, then submitting to it, then allowing You to strengthen me enough to walk through it.

“…He knelt down and beganto pray, saying, ‘Father, if Thou art willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Thine be done.’  Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him” (Luke 22:42-43 NASB).

As the SON of Man, JESUS could not follow Your commands without Your help.  I cannot either.  James Burton Coffman in his commentary gives an example of before and after Your strengthening.

“In John, the Lord’s majestic appearance prostrated a whole company of soldiers on their faces [John 18:6]; in the synoptics, [Gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke] he appears in utter weakness, agony, and even fear. This verse harmonizes both pictures of our Lord, the synoptics giving his state BEFORE the strengthening of the angel, and John giving it AFTER the angel’s mission was completed” (James Burton Coffman Commentaries, Luke 22:43, brackets mine).

FATHER, provide the strength I need when I commit myself to Your will.

JESUS

DIETY HUMBLED

“…He appeared in visible form and became Man…”(1 John 3:5 AMPC)

 “In the life which Christ led upon earth, obedience was a solemn reality.  The dark and awful power that led man to revolt from his God, came upon Him too, to tempt Him.  To Him as man its offers of self-gratification were not matters of indifference; to refuse them, He had to fast and pray.  He suffered, being tempted.  He spoke very distinctly of notseeking to do His own will, as a surrender He had continually to make.  He made the keeping of the Father’s commandments the distinct object of His life, and so abode in His love” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p155).

FATHER, Your Son in His magnificence dwelt with You before time began but then emptied Himself of His godly essence to become human (Phil 2:7).  He identified with me as He spent a few years on earth.  But CHRIST is now glorified in my nature at Your right hand (ref#241, p208-209).

“The union of the divine and the human in Immanuel is the reunion of God with fallen man through the second Adam….God in my nature: my God, my brother, my friend, my counselor, my guide, my redeemer, my pattern, my all!  God in my nature: my wisdom, my righteousness, my sanctification, my redemption!…He takes my nature that He may descend to me, and He gives me His nature that I may ascend to Him.  He stoops because I could not rise” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 25th)!

“If the Deity of Jesus is precious, so is His humanity; the one is of no avail in the work of redemption apart from the other…It was pure humanity, bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh, which He took up into intimate and indissoluble union with His Deity….Our Lord attached Himself to the woes of our nature;…It was necessary that our Lord, in order to sympathize fully with His people, should not only identify Himself with their nature, but also in some degree with their peculiar circumstances….He never instructs them to walk in a path that His own feet have not trod first and left their impressions” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 31st).

“His humanity lost none of the tender sympathies of our nature which clung to him so closely when on earth.  The same compassionate nature, the same loving heart, the same deep sympathy with all our sorrows, and the same outstretched hand to relieve them distinguish the glorified state of the precious Son of God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Aug 27th).

“The human nature of Christ…still continues, and will continue to all eternity, to be both God and man” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p20).

JESUS

THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD

FATHER, in the Old Covenant for a sin to be forgiven the Israelite had to place his hand on the head of a spotless young lamb that he provided and kill it.  An innocent lamb appeased Your wrath; the lamb’s blood covered the sin.

“What…the blood of the lamb was to the children of Israel, is what the atoning blood of Christ is to the believing soul” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 24th).  “In the Old Testament the Israelites transferred their guilt to a lamb, and then the lamb was killed….God took your sins and mine, and He put them on the head of His own Son, and then…He killed Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 3rd).  “…the believing though trembling penitent sees all his sins cancelled and all his transgressions pardoned through the precious blood of Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 19th).

“For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life”(Lev 17:11 NIV). “…the Bible reiterates in numerous scriptures that cleansing occurs through, and only through, the shedding of blood” Doug Newton (ref#166, p133).

“The atoning blood of Christ possesses the power to pardon.  Through this blood, God, the holy God against whom you have sinned…can pardon all your sins, blot out all your transgressions, and take from you the terror of a guilty conscience” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 22nd).

“’One lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even.’  The devout Israelite was thus taught to close the day as he began it: with a sacrifice for sin….How much in the transactions of a single day may there be that needs the evening’s confession with faith’s hand upon the evening Lamb” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, page vii)!

FATHER, since I don’t have the advantage of the Israelite of old and physically required to slaughter an innocent lamb, I am prone to forget my sins require blood to be blotted out.  CHRIST’s blood flows for me everyday—every minute canceling and pardoning my sin.  GOD, I need to thank You more!