Christ Is The Delight of All Believers

The saints’ delight is in Christ: He is their joy, their crown, their rejoicing, their life, food, health, strength, desire, righteousness, salvation, blessedness: without Him they have nothing; in Him they shall find all things. ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Galatians 6:14). He has, from the foundation of the world, been the hope, expectation, desire, and delight of all believers.

—John Owen
Communion with the Triune God

Via: Tolle Lege

The Victim Was The Victor

What looks like (and indeed was) the defeat of Goodness by evil is also, and more certainly, the defeat of evil by Goodness. Overcome there, he was himself overcoming. Crushed by the ruthless power of Rome, he was himself crushing the serpent’s head (Gn 3:15). The victim was the victor, and the cross is still the throne from which he rules the world.

—John Stott
The Cross of Christ

Via: Of First Importance

Holiness

The Holy Spirit communicates the great, permanent, positive effect of holiness to the souls of believers and he guides and assists them in all acts works and duties of holiness…Herein, consists the image of God whereunto our natures are repaired by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby we are made conformable unto God, firmly, steadfastly adhering to him through faith and love.

—John Owen

Via: A Puritan At Heart

The Plan of the Cross

People seem to forget that all Christ’s sufferings on the cross were fore-ordained. They did not come on Him by chance or accident—they were all planned, counseled, and determined from all eternity. The cross was foreseen in all the provisions of the everlasting Trinity for the salvation of sinners. In the purposes of God the cross was set up from everlasting. Not one throb of pain did Jesus feel, not one precious drop of blood did Jesus shed, which had not been appointed long ago. Infinite wisdom planned that redemption should be by the cross. Infinite wisdom brought Jesus to the cross in due time. He was crucified “by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” (Acts 2:23)

—J.C. Ryle
Old Paths: The Cross of Christ

Via: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Faith and Works

If justification is by faith alone, how can we apply James 2:24, which says a person is justified by what he does, not his faith alone?

That question is not critical only today, but it was in the eye of the storm we call the Protestant Reformation that swept through and divided the Christian church in the sixteenth century. Martin Luther declared his position: Justification is by faith alone, our works add nothing to our justification whatsoever, and we have no merit to offer God that in any way enhances our justification. This created the worst schism in the history of Christendom.

In refusing to accept Luther’s view, the Roman Catholic Church excommunicated him, then responded to the outbreak of the Protestant movement with a major church council, the Council of Trent, which was part of the so-called Counter-Reformation and took place in the middle of the sixteenth century. The sixth session of Trent, at which the canons and decrees on justification and faith were spelled out, specifically appealed to James 2:24 to rebuke the Protestants who said that they were justified by faith alone: “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” How could James say it any more clearly? It would seem that that text would blow Luther out of the water forever.

Of course, Martin Luther was very much aware that this verse was in the book of James. Luther was reading Romans, where Paul makes it very clear that it’s not through the works of the law that any man is justified and that we are justified by faith and only through faith. What do we have here? Some scholars say we have an irreconcilable conflict between Paul and James, that James was written after Paul, and James tried to correct Paul. Others say that Paul wrote Romans after James and he was trying to correct James.

I’m convinced that we don’t really have a conflict here. What James is saying is this: If a person says he has faith, but he gives no outward evidence of that faith through righteous works, his faith will not justify him. Martin Luther, John Calvin, or John Knox would absolutely agree with James. We are not saved by a profession of faith or by a claim to faith. That faith has to be genuine before the merit of Christ will be imputed to anybody. You can’t just say you have faith. True faith will absolutely and necessarily yield the fruits of obedience and the works of righteousness. Luther was saying that those works don’t add to that person’s justification at the judgment seat of God. But they do justify his claim to faith before the eyes of man. James is saying, not that a man is justified before God by his works, but that his claim to faith is shown to be genuine as he demonstrates the evidence of that claim of faith through his works.

—Dr. R.C. Sproul

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog

The Religious Skeptic

My reader, are you a religious skeptic? do you disbelieve the truth of Christ’s resurrection from the grave? Ponder, I beseech you, honestly, calmly, this, one fact – the willingness of the apostles to suffer loss, persecution, and death for their belief of this truth. Who was it that supported these apostles in the fiery furnace which they endured for their faith in this doctrine? It was by no natural, no human power and courage that they were sustained. They were suffering for Christ, and they were fortified, strengthened, and upheld by Christ. Do you think that God would become a party to a lie? That Christ would lend Himself to the propagation of a fiction? That the Holy Spirit would impart might, energy, and fortitude to men who were seeking to palm a falsehood upon the world? And yet to this monstrous, this awful conclusion you must come, if you deny the cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith – the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

—Octavius Winslow
The Tree of Life

Via: Octavius Winslow

Lord Jesus Think On Me

I have really enjoyed listening to the new CD by Gregory D. Wilbur entitled My Cry Ascends: New Parish Psalms which was published by Ligonier Ministries. I like all the songs but my favorite is “Lord Jesus Think On Me.” It is a beautiful prayer that was written by Synesius of Cyrene (c. 375-430 AD) and as the liner notes states “begins every stanza with an invocation for the aid and attention of Christ that moves from the confession of sin to the glorious hope of eternal life.”

Lord Jesus, think on me
And purge away my sin;
From earth-born passions set me free
And make me pure within.

Lord Jesus, think on me
With care and woe opprest;
Let me Thy loving servant be
And taste Thy promised rest.

Lord Jesus, think on me
Amid the battle’s strife;
In all my pain and misery
Be Thou my Health and Life.

Lord Jesus, think on me
Nor let me go astray;
Through darkness and perplexity
Point Thou the heavenly way.

Lord Jesus, think on me
That, when the flood is past,
I may the eternal brightness see
And share Thy joy at last.

Lord Jesus, think on me
That I may sing above
To Father, Spirit, and to Thee
The strains of praise and love.

—Synesius of Cyrene (Lyrics) and Gregory D. Wilbur (Music)
©2010 Ligonier Ministries

Related: You can read more about this CD, view the liner notes (PDF), and listen to samples of the tracks at Ligonier’s website.

He Atoned for Your Sins on the Cross

One of the sweetest statements from the lips of Jesus is this: ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ (Matthew 25:34b). There is a plan of God designed for your salvation. It is not an afterthought or an attempt to correct a mistake. Rather, from all eternity, God determined that He would redeem for Himself a people, and that which He determined to do was, in fact, accomplished in the work of Jesus Christ, His atonement on the cross. Your salvation has been accomplished by a Savior, One who did for you what the Father determined He should do. He is your Surety, your Mediator, your Substitute, your Redeemer. He atoned for your sins on the cross.

—R.C. Sproul
The Truth of the Cross

Via: Of First Importance