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our neglect, our ingratitude, and our backslidings might have prevailed, He [CHRIST] has never entirely and forever withdrawn.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

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!

JESUS

THE CLEANSING AGENT

FATHER, the actual cleansing agent for my sin is the blood of JESUS.  “The blood and suffering of Christ, applied and relied on by faith, justify the sinner, silence Satan the accuser, purge the conscience from dead works, and open a way into the holiest of all….The death of Christ puts the sin to death, but delivers the sinner from it” Nathanael Vincent (ref#225, March 21st).

“The shed blood proves that a death has occurred, an appropriate sacrifice has indeed been made and confirms that the terms of God’s covenant have been met”(ref#166, p134). “Where He sees the pure heart’s blood of His own Son—so precious to Him—sprinkled on the broken, penitent heart of a poor sinner, He will pass him over in the great outpouring of His wrath” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 19th).

You know, O LORD, there has been much preaching and songs written about the “blood”.  But now I understand “blood” is not the actual cleansing agent.  The term “blood” is a metonymy—it includes many elements yet we use the word “blood” to include a host of elements.

“Here are the elements of the cleansing process represented by the metonymy “blood”: faith is required—faith in what God has promised and pronounced. God has promised to credit righteousness (cleansing) to anyone who believes.  But God cannot keep that promise without making provision for the removal of sin.  He can’t remove sin by simply waving His hand as if it never occurred.  The Laws of justice which emanate from God Himself cannot be set aside and disregarded.  Justicerequires that every sin receive its due consequence.  The penaltyfor sin is death…the tiniest amount of contamination ruins everything.  But God, whose unchangeable nature is also love, cannot contradict Himself and must find a way to penalize sin without destroying His beloved creation. Somehow love and justice must work together undiminished to find a way for salvation.  And so God gave birth to the sacrificial system by which sin is transferred to a substitute whodies in the place of the guilty party. And that death must be demonstrated through the shedding of blood….the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) is precious, but the power is not in the blood as if blood is a miracle cleansing agent.  The power is ultimately in the word of God and all the things God did to make His word conform to His nature of justice and love” Doug Newton (ref#166, p135).

“The actual cleansing agent has been and always will be, just as the only agent of performing God’s will has been and always will be, the word of God—the word of God proclaimed and the Word of God incarnate” Doug Newton (ref#166, p136).

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).

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).

 

 

ASSURANCES

TEST OF RELATIONSHIP

“…prayer!  If there is a single exercise of the soul that places the fact of its regeneration beyond a doubt, it is this” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 3rd).

“…Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child?  And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance”(Gal 4:4-7 MSG).

“…the thing the saint wants to know above everything else is that all is well between his soul and the Father….He likes to maintain the contact and communion, to assure his heart before God and in the presence of God….that the contact is unbroken…” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 1st).

“…we are in communion with Christ, we have proof sufficiently clear and strong that we are written in the Book of Life….he admitted us to sure communion with himself, when, by the preaching of the gospel, he declared that he was given us by the Father, to be ours with all his blessings (Rom 8:32)” John Calvin (ref#113, p641).

Prayer is going to You, FATHER often to test the relationship.  It’s vital to make sure of Your willingness and readiness to help.  I am doomed if the relationship is severed.

ASSURANCES

SIN MORE REPULSIVE–CHRIST MORE ATTRACTIVE

Another assurance of salvation is sin becoming more repulsive and CHRIST more attractive.

“What a comfort it is to know that God’s forgiveness is deep enough to cover all sin and terrible times of backsliding!  Praise God for this forgiveness and for its purpose: to make sin more repulsive and Christ more attractive” (ref#164, March 4th).

FATHER, instill within me:

“In the worst frame that can affect a true child of God, there is always some indication that the divine life in the soul is not quite extinguished” (ref#135, July 28th).

FATHER, instill within me:

“Those low views of yourself—the brokenness, inward mourning, secret confession, and the longing for more spirituality, more grace, more devotedness, more love—only prove the existence of real growth in God’s work within you” (ref#135, May 18th).