The Infinite Glory of the Cross

We want the fact of substitution to strike us, and then the cross will grow sublimely great. In vision I behold it! Its two arms are extended right and left till they touch the east and west and overshadow all races of men; the foot of it descends lower than the grave, till it goes down even to the gates of hell; while upward the cross mounts with a halo round about it of unutterable glory, till it rises above the stars, and sheds its light upon the throne of the Most High.

Atonement is a divine business; its sacrifice is infinite, even as the God who conceived it. Glory be to his name for ever! It is all that I can say. It was nothing less than a stretch of divine love for Jesus to give himself for our sins. It was gracious for the Infinite to conceive of such a thing; but for him to carry it out was glorious beyond all.

—Charles Spurgeon

Via: Of First Importance

Make Much of Christ’s Death

We can never attach too much importance to the atoning death of Christ: it is the leading fact in the Word of God, on which the eyes of our soul ought to be ever fixed. Without the shedding of His blood, there is no remission of sin. It is the cardinal truth on which the whole system of Christianity hinges.

Without it the Gospel is an arch without a keystone, a fair building without a foundation, a solar system without a sun. Let us make much of our Lord’s incarnation and example, His miracles and His parables, His works and His words, but above all let us make much of His death.

—J.C. Ryle
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew

Via: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Accomplished and Applied

The Apostles’ Creed has three articles, one for each person of the Trinity.

The first article, on God the Father Almighty, is very short. He created heaven and earth. Much more could be said, but it isn’t said.

The second article is the longest, because it tells the story of Jesus: conceived by the Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, crucified, died, buried, descended into hell, ascended into heaven, will return to judge.

The third article is the oddest of the three. It curtly says, “I believe in the Holy Spirit,” and then sounds something like a laundry list of assorted other things we believe: the holy, catholic church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and life everlasting.

Some Reformation commentators on the creed point out that the final three items on that list have a structural relationship to the last items in the second article. That is, they follow from the second article as applications of it to us.

Why do I believe in the forgiveness of sins (3rd Article)? Because I believe that Jesus was crucified (2nd Article).

Why do I believe in the resurrection of the body (3rd Article)? Because I believe that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day (2nd Article).

Why do I believe in life everlasting (3rd Article)? Because I believe that Jesus ascended into heaven (2nd Article).

The second article tells of how our salvation was accomplished in Christ, and the third article tells how it is applied to us by the Spirit. The second article is the story of how this redemption is worked out in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ himself; the third article tells how it is worked out by the Holy Spirit, in the church, in us.

I think that correspondence is really there in the creed. Calvin and later Reformed commentators, including the authors of the Heidelberg Catechism, expanded greatly on this correlation. Redemption is accomplished by God the Father in Christ, and applied to the church by God the Father in the Holy Spirit.

—Fred Sanders

Via: The Scriptorium Daily

God’s Justice & Mercy Manifested in Christ

We believe that God, who is perfectly merciful and just, sent His Son to assume that nature in which the disobedience was committed, to make satisfaction in the same, and to bear the punishment of sin by His most bitter passion and death. God therefore manifested His justice against His Son when He laid our iniquities upon Him, and poured forth His mercy and goodness on us, who were guilty and worthy of damnation, out of mere and perfect love, giving His Son unto death for us, and raising Him for our justification, that through Him we might obtain immortality and life eternal.

—The Belgic Confession of Faith, Article XX

Via: Of First Importance

The Everlasting Righteousness

If God is willing that Christ should represent us, who are we, that we should refuse to be represented by Him? If God is willing to deal with us on the footing of Christ’s obedience, and to reckon that obedience to us as if it had been our own, who are we, that we should reject such a method of blessing, and call it unjust and impossible?

—Horatius Bonar
The Everlasting Righteousness

What Can be a Greater Honor Than This

How great an honor will it be to a person to have God at the day of judgment owning a person, declaring before all men, angels and devils that that person is before his all-seeing eyes and that he stands innocent and perfect in his sight, clothed with perfect righteousness and entitled to everlasting glory and blessedness. How honorable will this render them in the eyes of all that vast assembly that will be together at the day of judgment. That will be an infinitely greater honor than any man or any angel declaring that they judge him upright and sincere and that eternal life belongs to him. What can be a greater honor than this — to be owned by the great King and Lord of all things?

—Jonathan Edwards
The Glory and Honor of God

Via: The Gospel Coalition Blog

The Best Defense Against False Doctrine

What is the best safeguard against false doctrine?  I answer in one word,‘The Bible: the Bible regularly read, regularly prayed over, regularly studied.’ If we want a weapon to wield against the devices of Satan, there is nothing like ‘the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.’ But to wield it successfully, we must read it habitually, diligently, intelligently, and prayerfully. This is the point on which, I fear, many fail.

—J.C. Ryle
Warnings to the Churches

Via: J.C. Ryle Quotes

The Covenant of Grace

As a narrow vessel cannot contain the ocean, so neither can the finite creature comprehend the infinite good: but no measure shall be set to the enjoyment, but what ariseth from the capacity of the creature. So that, although there be degrees of glory, yet all shall be filled. . . God will be all in all to the saints: He will be their life, health, riches, honour, peace, and all good things. He will communicate Himself freely to them. . . There will be no veil between God and them, to be drawn aside; but His fulness shall ever stand open to them.

—Thomas Boston

Via: Reformation Theology

Beware of the Little Sins

Nothing darkens the eyes of the mind so much, and deadens the conscience so surely, as an allowed sin. It may be a little one, but it is not the less dangerous for all that. A small leak will sink a great ship, and a small spark will kindle a great fire, and a little allowed sin in like manner will ruin an immortal soul. Take my advice, and never spare a little sin.

—J.C. Ryle
Thoughts For Young Men

Via: J.C. Ryle Quotes