Power Only In The Cross

One moment’s believing, close contact with the cross will do more to break the heart for sin, deepen the conviction of its exceeding sinfulness, and disenthrall the soul from all its bondage and its fears, bringing it into a sense of pardon and acceptance and assured hope, than a lifetime of the most rigid legal duties that ever riveted their iron chain upon the soul.

—Octavius Winslow
The Foot of the Cross

Via: Of First Importance

Never Hesitate To Stand Alone

Never hesitate to stand alone when the truth is to be confessed. Never be overawed by sacerdotalism, or daunted by rage, or swayed by multitudes. Unpopular truth is, nevertheless, eternal, and that doctrine which is scouted and cast out as evil today shall bring immortal honor to the man who dares to stand by its side and share its humiliation…. Through flood or flame, in loneliness, in shame, in obloquy, in reproach, follow him! If it be without the camp, follow him! if every step shall cost you abuse and scorn, follow still; yea, to prison and to death still follow him, for as surely as he sitteth at the right hand of power so shall those who love him and have been faithful to his truth sit down upon his throne with him. His overcoming and enthronement are the pledges of the victory both of the truth and of those who courageously espouse it.

—Charles Haddon Spurgeon
From a sermon entitled Nevertheless. Hereafter.

Via: The Daily Spurgeon

Jesus Is Gathering His Sheep

Jesus Christ is hard at work gathering the rest of his sheep that he “bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28) and that are “scattered abroad” (John 11:52). This is the main thing that is happening in the world. All the great geopolitical shifts in the world are connected to this mission. The world doesn’t know it.

But the church on earth, the sheep that are in the fold already, must remember this. It’s what history is all about and it’s why they are still here. It’s why God installs and removes rulers. It’s why economies surge and crash. It’s why church planting and missionary doors open and close. It’s why gospel awakening breaks out in one place and persecution breaks out in another.

We can be at peace despite major cultural shifts, political upheaval, war, natural disasters, disease, and persecutions (Romans 8:35) because we know that “we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37) to the point of death on a cross (Philippians 2:8). And we know that all these things “must take place” (Matthew 24:6) and that the “gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

God wants us to stir up our minds by way of reminder (2 Peter 3:1) so that we don’t lose sight of the gospel and the real purpose of history. Remembering is what keeps us from losing heart and hope and retreating into our private escapes.

Jesus must bring in all his sheep and they will listen to his voice. It is so hopeful to remember that this is what all of human history is all about.

—Jon Bloom

Via: Desiring God Blog

Such A Great Savior

If my heart is genuinely filled with the message of Jesus Christ, crucified for my sins and raised for my justification, how can I lightly continue in my sins? How can I pretend that my pride is not important if it necessitated no less a remedy than the death of the Son of God? How can I easily contemplate giving myself over to lust, or gossip, or coveting, if Christ bore the Father’s curse for these sins of mine? Equally, a focus on the gospel fills my heart with hope and compassion for the lost. They are no worse sinners than I; they are merely those who have not yet had their eyes opened by God to behold the beauty of his grace. No one is sunk so low as to be beyond the reach of such good news. No sinner is too lost to be rescued by such a great Savior!

—Iain Duguid

Via: Tim Phillips

Looking Unto Jesus

It is ever the Holy Spirit’s work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan’s work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ.

He insinuates, “Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of His children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus.”

All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within. But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that “Christ is all in all.”

—Charles Spurgeon
Morning and Evening

Via: Of First Importance

Amen, Amen

Let every creature rise and bring
their grateful praises to our King.
Angels descend with songs again
and Earth repeats a loud Amen.

Amen, Amen
Amen, Amen
I found my life
I found my life in Him
Amen, Amen

Peace like a river from His throne
will flow to nations yet unknown.
His word a light where all hope is dim
and all tribes unite to cry Amen.

Amen, Amen
Amen, Amen
I found my life
I found my life in Him
Amen, Amen

And in this Child we’ll find our rest
and all the meek and lowly blessed.
An infant tongue could sing the hymn
of Hallelujah and Amen.

Amen, Amen
Amen, Amen
I found my life
I found my life in Him
Amen, Amen

—Neil and Kate Robins
on Advent Songs by Sojourn Music

Christ is a Complete Saviour

Christ is a Saviour. He did not come on earth to be a conqueror, or a philosopher, or a mere teacher of morality. He came to save sinners. He came to do that which man could never do for himself – to do that which money and learning can never obtain – to do that which is essential to man’s real happiness – He came to ‘take away sin.’

Christ is a complete Saviour. He ‘taketh away sin.’ He did not merely make vague proclamations of pardon, mercy, and forgiveness. He ‘took’ our sins upon Himself, and carried them away. He allowed them to be laid upon Himself, and ‘bore them in His own body on the tree.’ (1 Peter 2:24.) The sins of every one that believes on Jesus are made as though they had never been sinned at all. The Lamb of God has taken them clean away.

Christ is an almighty Saviour, and a Saviour for all mankind. He ‘taketh away the sin of the world.’ He did not die for the Jews only, but for the Gentile as well as the Jew. He did not suffer for a few persons only, but for all mankind.

The payment that He made on the cross was more than enough to make satisfaction for the debts of all. The blood that He shed was precious enough to wash away the sins of all. His atonement on the cross was sufficient for all mankind, though efficient only to them that believe. The sin that He took up and bore on the cross was the sin of the whole world.

—J.C. Ryle
Expository Thoughts on John, Vol. 1

Via: Tolle Lege

Christ Must Be All

Another wonderful quote about Christ from the The Octavius Winslow Archive.

We cannot keep our eye too exclusively or too intently fixed on Jesus. All salvation is in Him. All salvation proceedsfrom Him. All salvation leads to Him. And for the assurance and comfort of our salvation, we are to repose believingly and entirely on Him. Christ must be all! Christ the beginning — Christ the center — and Christ the end.

Oh sweet truth to you who are sensible of your poverty, vileness, and insufficiency, and of the ten thousand flaws and failures of which, perhaps, no one is cognizant but God and your own soul! Oh, to turn and rest in Christ — a full Christ — a loving Christ — a tender Christ, whose heart’s love never chills, from whose eye darts no reproof, from whose lips breathes no sentence of condemnation!

Christ must be all!

—Octavius Winslow
Christs Sympathy To Weary Pilgrims

Via: Octavius Winslow

Jesus: The Only Savior

I cannot imagine an affirmation that would meet with more resistance from contemporary Westerners than the one Paul makes in 1 Timothy 2:5: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”This declaration is narrow and downright un-American. We have been inundated with the viewpoint that there are many roads that lead to heaven, and that God is not so narrow that He requires a strict allegiance to one way of salvation. If anything strikes at the root of the tree of pluralism and relativism, it is a claim of exclusivity to any one religion. A statement such as Paul makes in his first letter to Timothy is seen as bigoted and hateful.

Paul, of course, is not expressing bigotry or hatefulness at all. He is simply expressing the truth of God, the same truth Jesus taught when He said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Paul is affirming the uniqueness of Christ, specifically in His role as Mediator. A mediator is a go-between, someone who stands between two parties that are estranged or involved in some kind of dispute. Paul declares that Christ is the only Mediator between two parties at odds with one another — God and men.

We encounter mediators throughout the Bible. Moses, for example, was the mediator of the old covenant. He represented the people of Israel in his discussions with God, and he was God’s spokesman to the people. The prophets in the Old Testament had a mediatorial function, serving as the spokesmen for God to the people. Also, the high priest of Israel functioned as a mediator; he spoke to God on behalf of the people. Even the king of Israel was a kind of mediator; he was seen as God’s representative to the people, so God held him accountable to rule in righteousness according to the law of the Old Testament.

Why, then, does Paul say there is only one mediator between God and man? I believe we have to understand the uniqueness of Christ’s mediation in terms of the uniqueness of His person. He is the God-man, that is, God incarnate. In order to bring about reconciliation between God and humanity, the second person of the Trinity united to Himself a human nature. Thus, Jesus has the qualifications to bring about reconciliation — He represents both sides perfectly.

People ask me, “Why is God so narrow that He provided only one Savior?” I do not think that is the question we ought to ask. Instead, we should ask, “Why did God give us any way at all to be saved?” In other words, why did He not just condemn us all? Why did God, in His grace, give to us a Mediator to stand in our place, to receive the judgment we deserve, and to give to us the righteousness we desperately need? The astonishing thing is not that He did not do it in multiple ways, but that He did it in even one way.

Notice that Paul, in declaring the uniqueness of Christ, also affirms the uniqueness of God: “There is one God.” This divine uniqueness was declared throughout the Old Testament; the very first commandment was a commandment of exclusivity: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).

So Paul brings all these strands together. There is only one God, and God has only one Son, and the Son is the sole Mediator between God and mankind. As I said above, that is very difficult for people who have been immersed in pluralism to accept, but they have to quarrel with Christ and His Apostles on this point. The Bible offers no hope that sincere worshipers of other religions will be saved without personal faith in Jesus Christ. As Paul said in Athens, “The times of ignorance God has overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). There is a universal requirement for people to profess faith in Christ.

Perhaps you are concerned to hear me talk in such narrow terms of the exclusivity of Christ and of the Christian faith. If so, let me ask you to think through the ramifications of putting leaders of other religions on the same level as Christ. In one sense, there is no greater insult to Christ than to mention Him in the same breath as Muhammad, for example. If Christ is who He claims to be, no one else can be a way to God. Furthermore, if it is true that there are many ways to God, Christ is not one of them, because there is no reason one of many ways to God would declare to the world that He is the only way to God.

As we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ this month, it is good for us to remember the uniqueness of Christ. May we never suggest that God has not done enough for us, considering what He has done for us in Christ Jesus.

—Dr. R.C. Sproul
TableTalk, April 2012

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog