LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Friday, March 31, 2006

From the Spurgeon Archive:"Compel Them to Come In" (5)

Now, I pause after having described the character, I pause to look at the herculean labour that lies before me. Well did Melanchthon say, "Old Adam was too strong for young Melanchthon." As well might a little child seek to compel a Samson, as I seek to lead a sinner to the cross of Christ. And yet my Master sends me about the errand. Lo, I see the great mountain before me of human depravity and stolid indifference, but by faith I cry, "Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain." Does my Master say, compel them to come in? Then, though the sinner be like Samson and I a child, I shall lead him with a thread. If God saith do it, if I attempt it in faith it shall be done; and if with a groaning, struggling, and weeping heart, I so seek this day to compel sinners to come to Christ, the sweet compulsions of the Holy Spirit shall go with every word, and some indeed shall be compelled to come in.
II. And now to the work —directly to the work. Unconverted, unreconciled, unregenerate men and women, I am to COMPEL YOU TO COME IN. Permit me first of all to accost you in the highways of sin and tell you over again my errand. The King of heaven this morning sends a gracious invitation to you. He says, "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but had rather that he should turn unto me and live:" "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as wool; though they be red like crimson they shall be whiter than snow." Dear brother, it makes my heart rejoice to think that I should have such good news to tell you, and yet I confess my soul is heavy because I see you do not think it good news, but turn away from it, and do not give it due regard. Permit me to tell you what the King has done for you. He knew your guilt, he foresaw that you would ruin yourself. He knew that his justice would demand your blood, and in order that this difficulty might be escaped, that his justice might have its full due, and that you might yet be saved, Jesus Christ hath died. Will you just for a moment glance at this picture. You see that man there on his knees in the garden of Gethsemane, sweating drops of blood. You see this next: you see that miserable sufferer tied to a pillar and lashed with terrible scourges, till the shoulder bones are seen like white islands in the midst of a sea of blood. Again you see this third picture; it is the same man hanging on the cross with hands extended, and with feet nailed fast, dying, groaning, bleeding; methought the picture spoke and said, "It is finished." Now all this hath Jesus Christ of Nazareth done, in order that God might consistently with his justice pardon sin; and the message to you this morning is this—"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." That is trust him, renounce thy works, and thy ways, and set thine heart alone on this man, who gave himself for sinners.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

From The Spurgeon Archive: Compel Them To Come In (4)

There is yet another class. You are halt. You are halting between two
opinions. You are sometimes seriously inclined, and at another time
worldly gaiety calls you away. What little progress you do make in
religion is but a limp. You have a little strength, but that is so little
that you make but painful progress. Ah, limping brother, to you also is the
word of this salvation sent. Though you halt between two opinions, the
Master sends me to you with this message: "How long halt ye between
two opinions? if God be God, serve him; if Baal be God, serve him."
Consider thy ways; set thine house in order, for thou shalt die and not
live. Because I will do this, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel! Halt no
longer, but decide for God and his truth.

And yet I see another class,--the blind. Yes, you that cannot see
yourselves, that think yourselves good when you are full of evil, that
put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter, darkness for light and light for
darkness; to you am I sent. You, blind souls that cannot see your lost
estate, that do not believe that sin is so exceedingly sinful as it is, and
who will not be persuaded to think that God is a just and righteous God,
to you am I sent. To you too that cannot see the Saviour, that see no
beauty in him that you should desire him; who see no excellence in
virtue, no glories in religion, no happiness in serving God, no delight in
being his children; to you, also, am I sent. Ay, to whom am I not sent if
I take my text? For it goes further than this--it not only gives a
particular description, so that each individual case may be met, but
afterwards it makes a general sweep, and says, "Go into the highways
and hedges." Here we bring in all ranks and conditions of men--my lord
upon his horse in the highway, and the woman trudging about her
business, the thief waylaying the traveller--all these are in the highway,
and they are all to be compelled to come in, and there away in the
hedges there lie some poor souls whose refuges of lies are swept away,
and who are seeking not to find some little shelter for their weary
heads, to you, also, are we sent this morning. This is the universal
command--compel them to come in.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

From the Spurgeon Archive: "Compel Them to Come In (3)

And now I see you again. You are not only poor, but you are maimed.
There was a time when you thought you could work out your own
salvation without God's help, when you could perform good works,
attend to ceremonies, and get to heaven by yourselves; but now you are
maimed, the sword of the law has cut off your hands, and now you can
work no longer; you say, with bitter sorrow--

"The best performance of my hands,
Dares not appear before thy throne."

You have lost all power now to obey the law; you feel that when you
would do good, evil is present with you. You are maimed; you have
given up, as a forlorn hope, all attempt to save yourself, because you
are maimed and your arms are gone. But you are worse off than that,
for if you could not work your way to heaven, yet you could walk your
way there along the road by faith; but you are maimed in the feet as
well as in the hands; you feel that you cannot believe, that you cannot
repent, that you cannot obey the stipulations of the gospel. You feel that
you are utterly undone, powerless in every respect to do anything that
can be pleasing to God. In fact, you are crying out--

"Oh, could I but believe,
Then all would easy be,
I would, but cannot, Lord relieve,
My help must come from thee."

To you am I sent also. Before you am I to lift up the blood-stained
banner of the cross, to you am I to preach this gospel, "Whoso calleth
upon the name of the Lord shall be saved;" and unto you am I to cry,
"Whosoever will, let him come and take of the water of life freely."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Written In The Lamb's Book Of Life - Reid Ferguson

Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture

Romans 16

In the closing to Paul's magnum opus (as many
have called it) Paul takes the time to send his
greetings to quite a number of people. In fact,
he mentions at least 34 people in this chapter.
Some are with him, some are just friends and
some are true co-laborers in some fashion. But
what calls for notice is the large number of
names of unknown people. People never
mentioned elsewhere either in Scripture nor in
Church history. Ordinary folks like you and me.
Not Apostles or Prophets. Not great teachers or
preachers of extraordinary note. Neither heroes
nor those who did great exploits. Just common,
everyday, run-of-the-mill saints. Men and
women who believed the Gospel, and lived their
lives for Christ's sake. Husbands, fathers, sons,
sisters, daughters, wives and grandmothers. No
occupations are mentioned. For the most part,
no special note of any gift or ability. People of
whom the world barely took any notice at all,
except for the fact that they were Christians.
And Christians were not especially popular
people. Just the same, Paul salutes them.
They are familiar to him and he wants to send his
regards. He doesn't care what their economic
status is, their reputation within the community
or their standing even in the Church. They are
God's people, and that is enough. The faceless
men and women who join the countless millions
over the centuries who have come to trust in
Jesus Christ as their Savior. They are his family.
His dearest ones. His beloved in Christ. He
owns them as his own. It could have been your
name in that list, or mine. And the great glory of
that would not be that "my name got into the
Bible! Aren't I special?" No, the great glory is
that our names are written in the Lamb's book
of life. And the day will come, when the
numberless millions will gather on that shore to
sing and shout and rejoice and celebrate the
Lamb who purchased their salvation at Calvary.
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus.

Blessings: Reid
Dulcius Ex Asperis

Sunday, March 26, 2006

From the Spurgeon Archive: "Compel Them to Come In" (2)

Children of God, ye who have believed, I shall have little or nothing to say to you this morning; I am going straight to my business—I am going after those that will not come—those that are in the byways and hedges, and God going with me, it is my duty now to fulfil this command, "Compel them to come in."
First, I must, find you out; secondly, I will go to work to compel you to come in.
I. First, I must FIND YOU OUT. If you read the verses that precede the text, you will find an amplification of this command: "Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind;" and then, afterwards, "Go out into the highways," bring in the vagrants, the highwaymen, "and into the hedges," bring in those that have no resting-place for their heads, and are lying under the hedges to rest, bring them in also, and "compel them to come in." Yes, I see you this morning, you that are poor. I am to compel you to come in. You are poor in circumstances, but this is no barrier to the kingdom of heaven, for God hath not exempted from his grace the man that shivers in rags, and who is destitute of bread. In fact, if there be any distinction made, the distinction is on your side, and for your benefit—"Unto you is the word of salvation sent"; "For the poor have the gospel preached unto them." But especially I must speak to you who are poor, spiritually. You have no faith, you have no virtue, you have no good work, you have no grace, and what is poverty worse still, you have no hope. Ah, my Master has sent you a gracious invitation. Come and welcome to the marriage feast of his love. "Whosoever will, let him come and take of the waters of life freely." Come, I must lay hold upon you, though you be defiled with foulest filth, and though you have nought but rags upon your back, though your own righteousness has become as filthy clouts, yet must I lay hold upon you, and invite you first, and even compel you to come in.

Spurgeon - Compel Them to Come In

A Sermon
(No. 227)
Delivered on Sabbath Morning, December 5th, 1858, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.


"Compel them to come in."—Luke 14:23.
I FEEL in such a haste to go out and obey this commandment this morning, by compelling those to come in who are now tarrying in the highways and hedges, that I cannot wait for an introduction, but must at once set about my business.
Hear then, O ye that are strangers to the truth as it is in Jesus—hear then the message that I have to bring you. Ye have fallen, fallen in your father Adam; ye have fallen also in yourselves, by your daily sin and your constant iniquity; you have provoked the anger of the Most High; and as assuredly as you have sinned, so certainly must God punish you if you persevere in your iniquity, for the Lord is a God of justice, and will by no means spare the guilty. But have you not heard, hath it not long been spoken in your ears, that God, in his infinite mercy, has devised a way whereby, without any infringement upon his honour, he can have mercy upon you, the guilty and the undeserving? To you I speak; and my voice is unto you, O sons of men; Jesus Christ, very God of very God, hath descended from heaven, and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. Begotten of the Holy Ghost, he was born of the Virgin Mary; he lived in this world a life of exemplary holiness, and of the deepest suffering, till at last he gave himself up to die for our sins, "the just for the unjust, to bring us to God." And now the plan of salvation is simply declared unto you—"Whosoever believeth in the Lord Jesus Christ shall be saved." For you who have violated all the precepts of God, and have disdained his mercy and dared his vengeance, there is yet mercy proclaimed, for "whosoever calleth upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." "For this is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief;" "whosoever cometh unto him he will in no wise cast out, for he is able also to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for us." Now all that God asks of you—and this he gives you—is that you will simply look at his bleeding dying son, and trust your souls in the hands of him whose name alone can save from death and hell. Is it not a marvelous thing, that the proclamation of this gospel does not receive the unanimous consent of men? One would think that as soon as ever this was preached, "That whosoever believeth shall have eternal life," every one of you, "casting away every man his sins and his iniquities," would lay hold on Jesus Christ, and look alone to his cross. But alas! such is the desperate evil of our nature, such the pernicious depravity of our character, that this message is despised, the invitation to the gospel feast is rejected, and there are many of you who are this day enemies of God by wicked works, enemies to the God who preaches Christ to you to-day, enemies to him who sent his Son to give his life a ransom for many. Strange I say it is that it should be so, yet nevertheless it is the fact, and hence the necessity for the command of the text,—"Compel them to come in."

Friday, March 24, 2006

Look To Christ Alone! - Reid Ferguson

Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture

Today's Readings Matt. 27:45-56;
Romans 14; Psalm 69:1-18; Deut. 27-28

The following two verses, are among the most
enigmatic in all of Scripture – Matt. 27;52 "The
tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the
saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and
coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they
went into the holy city and appeared to many."
Postulations and explanations abound. With such
remarkable events as these, we almost instinctively
grasp for ways to understand them. How we wish
for more data to examine. We come away puzzled
as to why the Bible would be so completely silent
on what is so extraordinary as to capture our
attention for certain. But is that not in and of itself
the necessary observation? The very fact that the
Scripture takes absolutely no pains whatsoever to
fill in the blanks and inform us in greater detail over
these appearances of the resurrected saints is of
great moment. The silence tells us – that even the
most extraordinary of miracles is nothing at all to
be considered or inquired into in light of the eternal
importance of Christ's death! How quick we are to
run after obscurities and curiosities in the very face
of the Death of the Son of God for sin! Christ is
crucified! What is the resurrection of a few mortals
in comparison to this? Nothing! It is to be barely
mentioned and then passed over. God's wrath has
been poured out upon His Spotless Lamb. Sin has
found its remedy in the blood of the Savior. Man
has an Intercessor, a Substitute, a Propitiator for all
who will believe. Hell and death have met their
end. Wickedness is being all undone. Forgiveness
of sins can be announced to the world as available
to all who will come. Imputed righteousness awaits
those who flee to His side for forgiveness and
grace. Eternal life may be had by all who die their
death with Him by faith. The veil has been rent.
The Son of God has entered into the Holy of
Holies for us. The way has been made for us to
enter in behind Him. He has gone on before us as
our Mighty Captain. And we would rather muse
over who the saints were, what they might have
said – and what happened after. Fools! Look to
Christ! There, and there alone, is salvation.

The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus (2) Spurgeon

reflection on 2Tim.2:8

Dear friends, the rising of Christ from the dead proved that this man was innocent of every sin. He could not be holden by the bands of death, for there was no sin to make those bands fast. Corruption could not touch His pure body, for no original sin had defiled the Holy One. Death could not keep Him a continual prisoner, because He had not actually come under sin; and though He took sin of ours, and bore it by imputation, and therefore died, yet He had no fault of His own, and must, therefore, be set free when His imputed load had been removed.

Moreover, Christ's rising from the dead proved His claim to Deity. We are told in another place that He was proved to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead. He raised himself by His own power, and though the Father and the Holy Spirit were cooperative with Him, and hence His resurrection is ascribed to them, yet it was because the Father had given Him to have life in himself, that therefore He arose from the dead. Oh, risen Savior, thy rising is the seal of thy work! We can have no doubt about thee now that thou hast left the tomb. Prophet of Nazareth, thou art indeed the Christ of God, for God has loosed the bands of death for thee! Son of David, thou art indeed the elect and precious One, for thou ever livest! Thy resurrection life has set the sign-manual of heaven to all that thou hast said and done, and for this we bless and magnify thy name.

A third bearing of His resurrection is this, and it is a very grand one,—The resurrection of our Lord, according to the Scripture, was the acceptance of His sacrifice. By the Lord Jesus Christ rising from the dead evidence was given that He had fully endured the penalty which was due to human guilt. "The soul that sinneth it shall die" (Ezek. 18:20)—that is the determination of the God of heaven. Jesus stands in the sinner's stead and dies: and when he has done that nothing more can be demanded of him, for he that is dead is free from the law. You take a man who has been guilty of a capital offense: he is condemned to be hanged, he is hanged by the neck till he is dead-what more has the law to do with him? It has done with him, for it has executed its sentence upon him; if he can be brought back to life again he is clear from the law; no writ that runs in Her Majesty's dominions can touch him-he has suffered the penalty. So when our Lord Jesus rose from the dead, after having died, He had fully paid the penalty that was due to justice for the sin of His people, and his new life was a life clear of penalty, free from liability. You and I are clear from the claims of the law because Jesus stood in our stead, and God will not exact payment both from us and from our Substitute: it were contrary to justice to sue both the Surety and those for whom He stood. And now, joy upon joy! the burden of liability which once did he upon the Substitute is removed from Him also; seeing He has by the suffering of death vindicated justice and made satisfaction to the injured law. Now both the sinner and the Surety are free.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus (1) Spurgeon reflection on 2Tim.2:8

Within the compass of this verse several facts are recorded: and, first, there is here the great truth that Jesus, the Son of the Highest, was anointed of God; the apostle calls him "Jesus Christ" that is, the anointed one, the Messiah, the sent of God. He calls him also "Jesus," which signifies a Savior, and it is a grand truth that he who was born of Mary, he who was laid in the manger at Bethlehem, he who loved and lived and died for us, is the ordained and anointed Savior of men. We have not a moment's doubt about the mission, office, and design of our Lord Jesus; in fact, we hang our soul's salvation upon his being anointed of the Lord to be the Savior of men.

This Jesus Christ was really and truly man; for Paul says he was "of the seed of David." True He was divine, and His birth was not after the ordinary manner of men, but still He was in all respects partaker of our human nature, and came of the stock of David. This also we do believe. We are not among those who spiritualize the incarnation, and suppose that God was here as a phantom, or that the whole story is but an instructive legend. Nay, in very flesh and blood did the Son of God abide among men: bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh was He in the days of His sojourn here below. We know and believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. We love the incarnate God, and in Him we fix our trust.

It is implied, too, in the text that Jesus died; for He could not be raised from the dead if He had not first gone down among the dead, and been one of them. Yes, Jesus died: the crucifixion was no delusion, the piercing of His side with a spear was most clear and evident proof that He was dead: His heart was pierced, and the blood and water flowed there from. As a dead man He was taken down from the cross and carried by gentle hands, and laid in Joseph's virgin tomb. I think I see that pale corpse, white as a lily. Mark how it is distained with the blood of His five wounds, which make Him red as the rose. See how the holy women tenderly wrap Him in fine linen with sweet spices, and leave Him to spend His Sabbath all alone in the rock-hewn sepulcher. No man in this world was ever more surely dead than He. "He made His grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death" (Isa. 53:9). As dead they laid him in the place of the dead, with napkin and grave-clothes, and habiliments fit for a grave: then they rolled the great stone at the grave's mouth and left Him, knowing that He was dead.

Then comes the grand truth, that as soon as ever the third sun commenced His shining circuit Jesus rose again. His body had not decayed, for it was not possible for that holy thing to see corruption; but still it had been dead; and by the power of God-by His own power, by the Father's power, by the power of the Spirit-for it is attributed to each of these in turn, before the sun had risen His dead body was quickened. The silent heart began again to beat, and through the stagnant canals of the veins the life-flood began to circulate. The soul of the Redeemer again took possession of the body, and it lived once more. There He was within the sepulcher, as truly living as to all parts of Him as He had ever been. He literally and truly, in a material body, came forth from the tomb to live among men till the hour of His ascension into heaven. This is the truth which is still to be taught, refine it who may, spiritualize it who dare. This is the historical fact which the apostles witnessed; this is the truth for which the confessors bled and died. This is the doctrine which is the key-stone of the arch of Christianity, and they that hold it not have cast aside the essential truth of God. How can they hope for salvation for their souls if they do not believe that "the Lord is risen indeed"?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Gospel - Spurgeon

This little piece was taken from a Spurgeon sermon entitled "The Resurection of Our Lord Jesus" delivered April 9, 1882...

"Three or four plain facts constitute the gospel, even as Paul puts it in the fifteenth chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians: “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Upon the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus our salvation hinges."

I shall share more from this sermon in the coming days.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

His Resurrrection - from Grace Gems

Consider Jesus– in the Power of His Resurrection

"That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection." –Phil. 3:10

Is there not some danger of lingering too exclusively at the cross, to the exclusion of the grave of Jesus? In other words, do we give the subject of Christ's RESURRECTION that place in our faith and meditation which we give to His Death, and which God gives it in the great scheme of our salvation? Essential and precious as the atoning Death of Jesus is, it had availed us nothing apart from His Resurrection. We needed more than death--we needed life! We needed more than the bond presented by Divine justice, and paid--we needed the seal of its acceptance on the part of God. This was given when God raised up Jesus from the dead, "who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification."

Christ's Resurrection from the grave by the power of God was the Father's attestation to the completeness of the Son's work, and His public acknowledgment of its acceptance. Thus the Resurrection of Christ is to us what a legal acknowledgment is at the hands of a creditor whose claim has been met, whose bond is cancelled. The believing soul sees in the emptied tomb of Jesus the evidence and the acknowledgment of his full discharge from all the demands of Law and all the threatenings of justice. Now, it is the power of this truth in our souls that more immediately concerns us. The Resurrection of Jesus is an accomplished fact--what we want to experience is, His Resurrection-life in our heart. This was Paul's prayer--"That I may know Christ, and the POWER of His Resurrection."

We first feel this when we realize our mystical union with Jesus. There can be no experience of the power of anything apart from a personal contact with it. Let us first settle the question, "Am I one with Christ?" Have I a vital and spiritual union with the Savior? If so, then I am risen with Him, as the apostle says--"If you be risen with Christ." O my soul, consider into what an exalted and blessed state your union with Christ places you, making you, through free and sovereign grace, a partaker of all that He was, of all that He now is, and of all that He will be when He comes with all His saints in majesty and glory.

By the power of Christ's Resurrection, we enter into a new, or resurrection-life--"Quickened together with Him." Our blessed Lord, when He rose from the dead, rose with a new-born life. Leaving in the tomb the grave-clothes--the napkin and the shroud--He came back clad with His resurrection robes--a new and wondrous life! Of this resurrection-life all are partakers who know the POWER of His Resurrection.

O my soul, fear not, then, that anything shall ever separate you from Christ. This cannot be, since your spiritual life is bound up and hidden with the Resurrection-life of Jesus.

The power of Jesus' Resurrection is experienced by us when by it we rise above earth, and "seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God." Has Jesus risen? Then we, also, must rise. As He left death and earth behind Him, so we, if we be risen with Him, "through faith of the operation of God, who raised Him from the dead," must rise superior to the deadly pomps and vanities of this poor world, and walk with God in "newness of life." Oh to feel the "power of His Resurrection," in a life dead to sin and the world, but living to holiness and God!

We wait to know yet more of the "power of Christ's Resurrection," when the trumpet of the Archangel shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall rise first. The slumber of the grave gently broken, the glorified spirit returns to its awakened dust--then both ascends into the air to meet the descending Lord. O blessed, glorious consummation of the power of Christ's Resurrection!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Look At The King In His Beauty

Look at the King in his beauty!
"Your eyes will see the King in his beauty and
view a land that stretches afar." Isaiah 33:17

(David Harsha, "Wanderings of a Pilgrim")

Contemplate your blessed Redeemer,
seated on his great white throne,
encircled with heavenly glory.

Look at the King in his beauty!

It is the sight of a glorified Savior that
will make the heaven of the believer.

Endeavor now, by the eye of faith,
to behold the Lord Jesus in all his
matchless beauty and excellence.

his glorious character;
his infinite mercy;
his unparalleled condescension,
and his boundless love.

There is enough in Jesus to employ the soul in
rapturous meditation through a vast eternity!

His excellence, his goodness, and
his love can never be fathomed!

O keep your eye fixed on this adorable Savior,
while you sojourn in this valley of tears; and
in a little while you shall see him as he is; face
to face, and ascribe to him unceasing praise!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Replacement - Doug Eaton

The Replacement

Gen 22:13 "And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son."

As Isaac watched the knife which was lifted by his father be plunged into the ram that had been caught in the thicket, what could have been going through his mind? As he watched as the altar was set ablaze to finish the burnt offering, the thought of his replacement must have astonished him.

Only moments earlier he had been bound and laying on the altar himself. Not only him but the future existence of the children of God. As Isaac watched his replacement, he watched for us all as God shows him that there is one who will come to bear our scorn.

The ram obviously being a shadow of Christ who was to come, finds us bound upon the altar of the wrath of God, bound in the sense that we loved our sin, and wanted to continue in it. As it is with all those who are under the law, the dagger of God's justice was raised above us, waiting until His sovereign and unstoppable hand plunged it down.

But while we were still sinners, fighting against His authority and grace, He began to untie us. Our hearts of stone He began to soften as we lay in defiance of Him. With the hammer of His word, He then destroyed the bonds of false philosophies and empty arguments which held us captive. And He continued His work until we, being freed, crawled off of the altar. As we stood in astonishment, God Himself in Christ crawled upon the altar freely without bonds. He lay there perfectly still, as God the Father plunged the dagger of His justice upon His only Son.

By faith the children of God, look on in amazement as we claim the merits of His blood, completely undone by the fact that all of this has been done for us. Had God left us upon the altar to strike us with His justice, He would have been perfect in His Holiness and impeccable in His goodness. But He did not do it, not because we were worthy but because He loves us as the Father loves the Son; eternally without beginning and without end.

Doug Eaton

Friday, March 17, 2006

Faith Very Simple - Spurgeon

Faith Very Simple

TO MANY, FAITH SEEMS a hard thing. The truth is, it is only hard because it is easy. Naaman thought it hard that he should have to wash in Jordan; but if it had been some great thing, he would have done it right cheerfully. People think that salvation must be the result of some act or feeling, very mysterious, and very difficult; but God's thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are his ways our ways. In order that the feeblest and the most ignorant may be saved, he has made the way of salvation as easy as the A, B, C. There is nothing about it to puzzle anyone; only, as everybody expects to be puzzled by it, many are quite bewildered when they find it to be so exceedingly simple.
The fact is, we do not believe that God means what he is saying; we act as if it could not be true.
I have heard of a Sunday-school teacher who performed an experiment which I do not think I shall ever try with children, for it might turn out to be a very expensive one. Indeed, I feel sure that the result in my case would be very different from what I now describe. This teacher had been trying to illustrate what faith was, and, as he could not get it into the minds of his boys, he took his watch, and he said, "Now, I will give you this watch, John. Will you have it?" John fell thinking what the teacher could mean, and did not seize the treasure, but made no answer. The teacher said to the next boy, "Henry, here is the watch. Will you have it?" The boy, with a very proper modesty, replied, "No, thank you, sir." The teacher tried several of the boys with the same result; till at last a youngster, who was not so wise or so thoughtful as the others, but rather more believing, said in the most natural way, "Thank you, sir," and put the watch into his pocket. Then the other boys woke up to a startling fact: their companion had received a watch which they had refused. One of the boys quickly asked of the teacher, "Is he to keep it?" "Of course he is," said the teacher, "I offered it to him, and he accepted it. I would not give a thing and take a thing: that would be very foolish. I put the watch before you, and said that I gave it to you, but none of you would have it." "Oh!" said the boy, "if I had known you meant it, I would have had it." Of course he would. He thought it was a piece of acting, and nothing more. All the other boys were in a dreadful state of mind to think that they had lost the watch. Each one cried, "Teacher, I did not know you meant it, but I thought—"No one took the gift; but every one thought. Each one had his theory, except the simple-minded boy who believed what he was told, and got the watch. Now I wish that I could always be such a simple child as literally to believe what the Lord says, and take what he puts before me, resting quite content that he is not playing with me, and that I cannot be wrong in accepting what he sets before me in the gospel. Happy should we be if we would trust, and raise no questions of any sorts. But, alas! we will get thinking and doubting. When the Lord uplifts his dear Son before a sinner, that sinner should take him without hesitation. If you take him, you have him; and none can take him from you. Out with your hand, man, and take him at once!
When inquirers accept the Bible as literally true, and see that Jesus is really given to all who trust him, all the difficulty about understanding the way of salvation vanishes like the morning's frost at the rising of the sun.
Two inquiring ones came to me in my vestry. They had been hearing the gospel from me for only a short season, but they had been deeply impressed by it. They expressed their regret that they were about to remove far away, but they added their gratitude that they had heard me at all. I was cheered by their kind thanks, but felt anxious that a more effectual work should be wrought in them, and therefore I asked them, "Have you in very deed believed in the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you saved?" One of them replied, "I have been trying hard to believe." This statement I have often heard, but I will never let it go by me unchallenged. "No," I said, "that will not do. Did you ever tell your father that you tried to believe him?" After I had dwelt a while upon the matter, they admitted that such language would have been an insult to their father. I then set the gospel very plainly before them in as simple language as I could, and I begged them to believe Jesus, who is more worthy of faith than the best of fathers. One of them replied, "I cannot realize it: I cannot realize that I am saved." Then I went on to say, "God bears testimony to his Son, that whosoever trusts in his Son is saved. Will you make him a liar now, or will you believe his word?" While I thus spoke, one of them started as if astonished, and she startled us all as she cried, "O sir, I see it all; I am saved! Oh, do bless Jesus for me; he has shown me the way, and he has saved me! I see it all." The esteemed sister who had brought these young friends to me knelt down with them while, with all our hearts, we blessed and magnified the Lord for a soul brought into light. One of the two sisters, however, could not see the gospel as the other had done, though I feel sure she will do so before long. Did it not seem strange that, both hearing the same words, one should come out into clear light, and the other should remain in the gloom? The change which comes over the heart when the understanding grasps the gospel is often reflected in the face, and shines there like the light of heaven. Such newly enlightened souls often exclaim, "Why, sir, it is so plain; how is it I have not seen it before this? I understand all I have read in the Bible now, though I could not make it out before. It has all come in a minute, and now I see what I could never understand before." The fact is, the truth was always plain, but they were looking for signs and wonders, and therefore did not see what was nigh them. Old men often look for their spectacles when they are on their foreheads; and it is commonly observed that we fail to see that which is straight before us. Christ Jesus is before our faces, and we have only to look to him, and live; but we make all manner of bewilderment of it, and so manufacture a maze out of that which is plain as a pikestaff.
The little incident about the two sisters reminds me of another. A much-esteemed friend came to me one Sabbath morning after service, to shake hands with me, "for," said she, "I was fifty years old on the same day as yourself. I am like you in that one thing, sir; but I am the very reverse of you in better things." I remarked, "Then you must be a very good woman; for in many things I wish I also could be the reverse of what I am." "No, no," she said, "I did not mean anything of that sort: I am not right at all." "What!" I cried, "are you not a believer in the Lord Jesus?" "Well," she said, with much emotion, "I, I will try to be." I laid hold of her hand, and said, "My dear soul, you are not going to tell me that you will try to believe my Lord Jesus! I cannot have such talk from you. It means blank unbelief. What has HE done that you should talk of him in that way? Would you tell me that you would try to believe me? I know you would not treat me so rudely. You think me a true man, and so you believe me at once; and surely you cannot do less with my Lord Jesus? Then with tears she exclaimed, "Oh, sir, do pray for me!" To this I replied, "I do not feel that I can do anything of the kind. What can I ask the Lord Jesus to do for one who will not trust him? I see nothing to pray about. If you will believe him, you shall be saved; and if you will not believe him, I cannot ask him to invent a new way to gratify your unbelief." Then she said again, "I will try to believe"; but I told her solemnly I would have none of her trying; for the message from the Lord did not mention "trying," but said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." I pressed upon her the great truth, that "He that believeth on him hath everlasting life"; and its terrible reverse—"He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God." I urged her to full faith in the once crucified but now ascended Lord, and the Holy Spirit there and then enabled her to trust. She most tenderly said, "Oh, sir, I have been looking to my feelings, and this has been my mistake! Now I trust my soul with Jesus, and I am saved." She found immediate peace through believing. There is no other way.
God has been pleased to make the necessities of life very simple matters. We must eat; and even a blind man can find the way to his mouth. We must drink; and even the tiniest babe knows how to do this without instruction. We have a fountain in the grounds of the Stockwell Orphanage, and when it is running in the hot weather, the boys go to it naturally. We have no class for fountain-drill. Many poor boys have come to the Orphanage, but never one who was so ignorant that he did not know how to drink. Now faith is, in spiritual things, what eating and drinking are in temporal things. By the mouth of faith we take the blessings of grace into our spiritual nature, and they are ours. O you who would believe, but think you cannot, do you not see that, as one can drink without strength, and as one can eat without strength, and gets strength by eating, so we may receive Jesus without effort, and by accepting him we receive power for all such further effort as we may be called to put forth?
Faith is so simple a matter that, whenever I try to explain it, I am very fearful lest I should becloud its simplicity. When Thomas Scott had printed his notes upon "The Pilgrim's Progress," he asked one of his parishioners whether she understood the book. "Oh yes, sir," said she, "I understand Mr. Bunyan well enough, and I am hoping that one day, by divine grace, I may understand your explanations." Should I not feel mortified if my reader should know what faith is, and then get confused by my explanation? I will, however, make one trial, and pray the Lord to make it clear.
I am told that on a certain highland road there was a disputed right of way. The owner wished to preserve his supremacy, and at the same time he did not wish to inconvenience the public: hence an arrangement which occasioned the following incident. Seeing a sweet country girl standing at the gate, a tourist went up to her, and offered her a shilling to permit him to pass. "No, no," said the child, "I must not take anything from you; but you are to say, 'Please allow me to pass,' and then you may come through and welcome." The permission was to be asked for; but it could be had for the asking. Just so, eternal life is free; and it can be had, yea, it shall be at once had, by trusting in the word of him who cannot lie. Trust Christ, and by that trust you grasp salvation and eternal life. Do not philosophize. Do not sit down, and bother your poor brain. Just believe Jesus as you would believe your father. Trust him as you trust your money with a banker, or your health with a doctor.
Faith will not long seem a difficulty to you; nor ought it to be so, for it is simple.
Faith is trusting, trusting wholly upon the person, work, merit, and power of the Son of God. Some think this trusting is a romantic business, but indeed it is the simplest thing that can possibly be. To some of us, truths which were once hard to believe are now matters of fact which we should find it hard to doubt. If one of our great grandfathers were to rise from the dead, and come into the present state of things, what a deal of trusting he would have to do! He would say tomorrow morning, "Where are the flint and steel? I want a light;" and we should give him a little box with tiny pieces of wood in it, and tell him to strike one of them on the box. He would have to trust a good deal before he would believe that fire would thus be produced. We should next say to him, "Now that you have a light, turn that tap, and light the gas." He sees nothing. How can light come through an invisible vapor? And yet it does. "Come with us, grandfather. Sit in that chair. Look at that box in front of you. You shall have your likeness directly." "No, child," he would say, "it is ridiculous. The sun take my portrait? I cannot believe it." "Yes, and you shall ride fifty miles in an hour without horses." He will not believe it till we get him into the train. "My dear sir, you shall speak to your son in New York, and he shall answer you in a few minutes." Should we not astonish the old gentleman? Would he not want all his faith? Yet these things are believed by us without effort, because experience has made us familiar with them. Faith is greatly needed by you who are strangers to spiritual things; you seem lost while we are talking about them. But oh, how simple it is to us who have the new life, and have communion with spiritual realities! We have a Father to whom we speak, and he hears us, and a blessed Savior who hears our heart's longings, and helps us in our struggles against sin. It is all plain to him that understandeth. May it now be plain to you!


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Behold The Man (3) - Mark Pierson

Reflections on John 19:1-5, part two

Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, " Behold the Man!" John 19:5

Yesterday we considered the scourging that Jesus endured, spoken about in John 19:1. Now, let us consider verses 2-3:

"And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. 3 Then they said, "" Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck Him with their hands."

I went to Israel with a church group in 1981. While in the area of what was the Temple site we were led by our tour guide into a room believed to be the very room where Jesus suffered all of this treatment at the hands of the soldiers. The tour guide then pointed to the floor. On the floor there was a long line scratched into the stone. He told us that this probably was the very line that the soldiers made Jesus walk, while blindfolded, as they played "The game of The Kings" with Him. He said that the soldiers would make a prisoner walk down this line while they bowed to Him in mock worship and adoration. They would spit on Him and punch Him as He made His way down the line. The thorns in this mock crown would be some twelve inches long. The soldiers would delight in pounding them down deeper into His head as He walked by.

Picture Jesus, wearing that purple robe, the blindfold and the crown, being made to walk that line amongst those jeering soldiers who took joy in spitting and punching Him and pounding that crown down deeper.

He did that for you and me.

The cross was just a short time ahead. While on that cross He bore our sins and the Father's wrath upon those sins.

What love is this? Just days earlier He was walking to Jerusalem,IN ORDER TO SUBJECT HIMSELF TO THESE EXPERIENCES, and the cross. While on that road He told His disciples, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem," and then He described what He, The Son of Man, would experience,"and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again." Mark 10:33-34.

What love is this? Just hours earlier He was in the garden, sweating as it were great drops of blood, and crying, "Abba, Father, not my will, but thine be done".

What love is this? For Isaiah said, " He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities...And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Is.53:5-6.

What love is this? For again Isaiah said," He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth". Is.53:7. One can picture Jesus enduring this terrible punishment without uttering a word or even a groan of pain. He offered no resistance.

It was love that drove Him in that long walk to Jerusalem, knowing full well what awaited Him there. It was to suffer these things that led Him there in the first place. All that the prophets had written was about to happen. And still, He walked on, closer and closer. The mocking, the thrashing with that horrible whip, it was all just ahead. They would pull His beard out, spit at Him and punch Him. Then the vast crowd would call for Him to be crucified. Why? He had done no wrong, only good. Ah, but sins had to be paid for. God's love for a lost race had to be revealed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Behold The Man (part 2-- repeat) - Mark Pierson

Reflections On John 19:1-5


Pilate then went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him." Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!" Jn.19:4-5

There He stood, the embodiment of God's holiness, justice and love. At this point Jesus had only just begun to pay the price for the sins of lost man. The cross was just a short time ahead.

As Jesus came forth, one wonders just what it is that the crowd saw. Let us look to Isaiah who prophecied of this event over seven hundred years earlier:

"Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men". Is.52:14

As Pilate had Jesus scourged we can only imagine what that must have been like. John MacArthur says in his commentary on John 19:1, "Scourging was a horribly cruel act in which the victim was stripped, tied to a post and beaten by several torturers, i.e. soldiers who alternated when exhausted...the prefered instrument was a short wooden handle to which several leather thongs were attached. Each leather thong had pieces of bones or metal on the end. The beatings were so savage that sometimes victims died. The body could be torn or lacerated to such an extent that muscles, veins or bones were exposed".

As it is written in prophecy by Isaiah: " I gave My back to those who struck Me, My cheeks to those who plucked out My beard; I did not hide My face from shame and spitting." Isaiah 50:6

As our substitute, Jesus received and experienced God the Father's full fury upon our sins. As we read Isaiah 53 we come to realize that it was the Father Who was behind the beatings- " Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief."

We see on display here the holiness of God and the horribleness of our sins. That same God Who told Moses to take off his shoes for he was standing on holy ground is showing the world His hatred for OUR sins-no matter how small-they must be paid for.
Do we ever stop to consider that that "little tiny" sin that we are about to commit is what put Jesus in this horrible situation in the first place? That little lust, that little white lie... " God is light and in Him is no darkness at all". 1Jn.1:5. Sin is the coming short of God's holy standards. It is the crossing over of His boundries. Since the fall of Adam this has been the plight of man - to not measure up to God's standards and to always trespass, step over His boundries.

Man, since Adam's fall, is hostile to God. He loves to rebel against his Maker. He does not understand his Maker nor does he care to do so. He loves to call evil good and good evil. Man does not want to live by every word that comes from the mouth of God. He does not want God's rule in his life. Sin is too pleasurable. Oh, that man would be cured from such blindness, such spiritual death! Oh, that man would "Behold The Man" and all that He went through because God is so Holy and can not have sin in His presence!

Look at Him, standing there beaten beyond recognition, bleeding, veins and muscles and bones exposed. The cross was just ahead...

Those of you reading this post who do not know Jesus as your only hope of salvation, I say this: There is no way that you can earn salvation! It is written,"whoever believes may in Him have eternal life." That is right, simply look to the Son of God and you will be saved.

I will continue this series in the days to come.

Mark Pierson

posted by bluecollar at 8:59 AM

Monday, March 13, 2006

Jesus Only - Spurgeon

Jesus Only

E CANNOT TOO OFTEN or too plainly tell the seeking soul that his only hope for salvation lies in the Lord Jesus Christ. It lies in him completely, only, and alone. To save both from the guilt and the power of sin, Jesus is all-sufficient. His name is called Jesus, because "he shall save his people from their sins." "The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins." He is exalted on high "to give repentance and remission of sins." It pleased God from of old to devise a method of salvation which should be all contained in his only-begotten Son. The Lord Jesus, for the working out of this salvation, became man, and being found in fashion as a man, became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. If another way of deliverance had been possible, the cup of bitterness would have passed from him. It stands to reason that the darling of heaven would not have died to save us if we could have been rescued at less expense. Infinite grace provided the great sacrifice; infinite love submitted to death for our sakes. How can we dream that there can be another way than the way which God has provided at such cost, and set forth in Holy Scripture so simply and so pressingly? Surely it is true that "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
To suppose that the Lord Jesus has only half saved, men, and that there is needed some work or feeling of their own to finish his work; is wicked. What is there of ours that could be added to his blood and righteousness? "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags." Can these be patched on to the costly fabric of his divine righteousness? Rags and fine white linen! Our dross and his pure gold! It is an insult to the Savior to dream of such a thing. We have sinned enough, without adding this to all our other offenses.
Even if we had any righteousness in which we could boast; if our fig leaves were broader than usual, and were not so utterly fading, it would be wisdom to put them away, and accept that righteousness which must be far more pleasing to God than anything of our own. The Lord must see more that is acceptable in his Son than in the best of us. The best of us! The words seem satirical, though they were not so intended. What best is there about any of us? "There is none that doeth good; no, not one." I who write these lines, would most freely confess that I have not a thread of goodness of my own. I could not make up so much as a rag, or a piece of a rag. I am utterly destitute. But if I had the fairest suit of good works which even pride can imagine, I would tear it up that I might put on nothing but the garments of salvation, which are freely given by the Lord Jesus, out of the heavenly wardrobe of his own merits.
It is most glorifying to our Lord Jesus Christ that we should hope for every good thing from him alone. This is to treat him as he deserves to be treated; for as he is and beside him there is none else we are bound to look unto him and be saved.
This is to treat him as he loves to be treated, for he bids all those who labor and are heavy laden to come to him, and he will give them rest. To imagine that he cannot save to the uttermost is to limit the Holy One of Israel, and put a slur upon his power; or else to slander the loving heart of the Friend of sinners, and cast a doubt upon his love. In either case, we should commit a cruel and wanton sin against the tenderest points of his honor, which are his ability and willingness to save all that come unto God by him.
The child, in danger of the fire, just clings to the fireman, and trusts to him alone. She raises no question about the strength of his limbs to carry her, or the zeal of his heart to rescue her; but she clings. The heat is terrible, the smoke is blinding, but she clings; and her deliverer quickly bears her to safety. In the same childlike confidence cling to Jesus, who can and will bear you out of danger from the flames of sin.
The nature of the Lord Jesus should inspire us with the fullest confidence. As he is God, he is almighty to save; as he is man, he is filled with all fullness to bless; as he is God and man in one Majestic Person, he meets man in his creatureship and God in his holiness. The ladder is long enough to reach from Jacob prostrate on the earth, to Jehovah reigning in heaven. To bring another ladder would be to suppose that he failed to bridge the distance; and this would be grievously to dishonor him. If even to add to his words is to draw a curse upon ourselves, what must it be to pretend to add to himself? Remember that he, himself, is the Way; and to suppose that we must, in some manner, add to the divine road, is to be arrogant enough to think of adding to him. Away with such a notion! Loathe it as you would blasphemy; for in essence it is the worst of blasphemy against the Lord of love.
To come to Jesus with a price in our hand, would be insufferable pride, even if we had any price that we could bring. What does he need of us? What could we bring if he did need it? Would he sell the priceless blessings of his redemption? That which he wrought out in his heart's blood, would he barter it with us for our tears, and vows, or for ceremonial observances, and feelings, and works? He is not reduced to make a market of himself: he will give freely, as beseems his royal love; but he that offereth a price to him knows not with whom he is dealing, nor how grievously he vexes his free Spirit. Empty-handed sinners may have what they will. All that they can possibly need is in Jesus, and he gives it for the asking; but we must believe that he is all in all, and we must not dare to breathe a word about completing what he has finished, or fitting ourselves for what he gives to us as undeserving sinners.
The reason why we may hope for forgiveness of sin, and life eternal, by faith in the Lord Jesus, is that God has so appointed. He has pledged himself in the gospel to save all who truly trust in the Lord Jesus, and he will never run back from his promise. He is so well pleased with his only-begotten Son, that he takes pleasure in all who lay hold upon him as their one and only hope. The great God himself has taken hold on him who has taken hold on his Son. He works salvation for all who look for that salvation to the once-slain Redeemer. For the honor of his Son, he will not suffer the man who trusts in him to be ashamed. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life;" for the ever-living God has taken him unto himself, and has given to him to be a partaker of his life. If Jesus only be your trust, you need not fear but what you shall effectually be saved, both now and in the day of his appearing.
When a man confides, there is a point of union between him and God, and that union guarantees blessing. Faith saves us because it makes us cling to Christ Jesus, and he is one with God, and thus brings us into connection with God. I am told that, years ago, above the Falls of Niagara, a boat was upset, and two men were being carried down by the current, when persons on the shore managed to float a rope out to them, which rope was seized by them both. One of them held fast to it, and was safely drawn to the bank; but the other, seeing a great log come floating by, unwisely let go the rope, and clung to the great piece of timber, for it was the bigger thing of the two, and apparently better to cling to. Alas! the timber, with the man on it, went right over the vast abyss, because there was no union between the wood and the shore. The size of the log was no benefit to him who grasped it; it needed a connection with the shore to produce safety. So, when a man trusts to his works, or to his prayers, or almsgivings, or to sacraments, or to anything of that sort, he will not be saved, because there is no junction between him and God through Christ Jesus; but faith, though it may seem to be like a slender cord, is in the hand of the great God on the shore side; infinite power pulls in the connecting line, and thus draws the man from destruction. Oh, the blessedness of faith, because it unites us to God by the Savior, whom he has appointed, even Jesus Christ! O reader, is there not common-sense in this matter? Think it over, and may there soon be a band of union between you and God, through your faith in Christ Jesus!


Friday, March 10, 2006

Look To Christ - Reid Ferguson

Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture

Today's Readings Mar. 9/06 : Matt. 24:1-14;
Romans 6:15-23; Psalm 55; Numb. 21-22

The Gospel was first preached by God Himself:
Gen. 3:15 "I will put enmity between you and the
woman, and between your offspring and her
offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall
bruise his heel." All mankind knew the promise of
God to send a Redeemer. And by God's grace, that
message was preserved by some, while others
rejected it, forgot it, or simply neglected it. To those
who believed it, and through whom it was
preserved, God continued to expand and clarify all
of what it would entail, until at last Christ was born
in Bethlehem. He lived a perfect, sinless life of
obedience; died at Calvary as the sacrificial Lamb
of God for our sins; rose again the third day; and
ascended into Heaven until His return to judge all
men in righteousness. All along, God in His mercy
and grace took pains to point people over and over
to the reality of His saving grace. And the account
in Numb. 21 of the brazen serpent and its being
provided by God to save those who would look
upon it – already bitten by the fiery serpents He
sent among them for their sin – Jesus' Himself
likens to His own death at Calvary. Indeed, it would
not be too much of a stretch to liken Numb. 21:8 to
John 3:16: 8 "And the LORD said to Moses,
"Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and
everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live."/
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his
only Son, that whoever believes in him should not
perish but have eternal life." So Calvin, likening the
setting of the brazen serpent on the pole to the
Gospel aptly writes: "that Christ should be "for an
ensign" to all nations, (Isa 11:10) which we know
to have been the case, by the spreading of the
doctrine of the Gospel through the whole world,
with which the look of faith corresponds. For, just
as no healing was conveyed from the serpent to any
who did not turn their eyes towards it, when set up
on high, so the look of faith only causes the death
of Christ to bring salvation to us. Although,
therefore, God would give relief to their actual
distress, it is still unquestionable that He even then
admonished all believers that the venomous bites of
the devil could only be cured by their directing their
minds and senses by faith on Christ. Brother, sister,
have YOU looked to Him, that YOU might be
saved? That is the question.

Blessings: Reid
Dulcius Ex Asperis

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Free From Sin's Bondage - Reid Ferguson

Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture

Today's Readings Mar. 8/06 : Matt. 23:25-39;
Romans 6:1-14; Psalm 55; Numb. 18-20

Jesus Christ died, not only to atone for sin, to make
all sin forgivable, He died to free us from sin's
bondage; from its power to control our lives and
keep us as slaves to it. One of the greatest facets of
the "Good News" is that not only HAS sin's penalty
been paid, but that Our Father intends to set each
and everyone who trusts His Son and appropriates
His death for their justification by faith - free from
being governed by that sin. Now we will not be free
from sin remaining in us until Christ comes, but we
are meant to be enjoying the conquest over its
power. As John Owen put it, sin has been dethroned
but not yet destroyed. But what I want to press
upon you today beloved is the fact that God is ever
and always on your side as you struggle against the
remainder of that sin within you. He does not leave
us to our own devices, nor has anything less in
mind for each of His children than total victory.
And "if God be for us, who can be against us?" Too
many of us have had the attitude that "that's just the
way it is" when it comes to our battle with sin. No
dear one, that's not "just the way it is." Yes, we are
intended to fight, but we are also intended to win!
God is for you. I know for many the battles have
been long and hard. Sometimes the pain of repeated
failure and succumbing to temptation over and over
in the same areas can be so disheartening as to
cause one nearly to give up. But don't you do it!
Rom. 6:4 says: "We were buried therefore with him
by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ
was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father,
we too might walk in newness of life." Don't miss
those three marvelous words in the middle of this
sentence - "in order that." This is His purpose. This
is His design for you and me. This is what He has
set in motion and sealed with the blood of His Son.
Don't be afraid to go after every last little bit and
piece. Don't be afraid that once you start the battle
in earnest, you'll find some sins too entrenched, too
long untouched, too habitual to be brought down. It
is not so. If God has buried you with Christ "in
order that" "we too might walk in newness of life,"
then rest assured, it WILL be so. He will prevail.

Blessings: Reid
Dulcius Ex Asperis

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Fullness Of His Grace

The fullness of His grace

(Octavius Winslow, "From Grace to Glory" 1864)

"From the fullness of His grace we have all
received one blessing after another." John 1:16

Will you hesitate, then, child of God to sink
your emptiness in this fullness; to drink
abundantly from this supply; to go to Jesus . . .
with every sin, the greatest;
with every temptation, the strongest;
with every need, the deepest;
with every trial, the severest;
with your mental despondency, your lowest
spiritual frame yes, exactly as you are--and
receive from Christ's boundless grace--grace
to help you in the time of need? Hesitate not!

Every drop of Christ's fullness of grace is yours!
And you have . . .
not a sin this grace cannot cancel,
not a corruption it cannot subdue,
not a trial it cannot sustain,
not a burden it cannot enable you to bear.

Yes, the Lord will give grace! He will give us grace
for every position in which His providence places us.
He will give sustaining grace under every trial He
sends us. He will give preserving grace in every
path of peril along which He leads us. He will give
comforting grace in every afflictive dispensation
by which He seeks to promote our holiness here,
and so to advance our fitness for glory hereafter.

There is no stintiness, no limit in the Triune God.
He has given you grace for past exigencies, and He
is prepared to give you more grace for present ones!

"From the fullness of His grace we have all
received one blessing after another." John 1:16

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

True Happiness

The secret of true happiness

(Harvey Newcomb, "The Young Lady's Guide to the
Harmonious Development of Christian Character" 1843)

The secret of true happiness lies in a cordial acquiescence in the will of God. It is sweet to lie passive in His hand--and know no will but His!

The doctrine of a 'particular providence' is precious to the Christian's heart. It enables him to see the hand of God in every event. Hence the sinfulness of a repining, discontented, unsubmissive temper. It is difficult to reconcile the habitual indulgence of such a sinful disposition--with the existence of grace in the heart. The first emotion of the new-born soul is submission to the will of God.

We are prone to lose sight of the 'hand of God' in the little difficulties and perplexities which are of every-day occurrence, and to look only at 'second causes'. We often do the same, in more important matters. When we are injured or insulted by others, we are disposed to murmur and complain, and give vent to our indignation against the immediate causes of our distress; forgetting that these are only the 'instruments which God employs' for the trial of our faith, or the punishment of our sins.

In this doctrine of the secret agency of divine Providence, we have the strongest motive for a hearty and cheerful resignation to all the troubles and difficulties, trials and afflictions, which come upon us in this life--whatever may be their immediate cause. We know that they are directed by our heavenly Father, whose "tender mercies are over all His works," and who "does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men."

Whatever may be our afflictions, so long as we are out of hell, we are monuments of His mercy. "Why does a living man complain--a man for the punishment of his sins?"

We are assured "that all things work together for good, to those who love God." The afflictions of this life, are the faithful corrections of a kind and tender Father. "For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and He scourges every son whom He receives." How consoling the reflection--that all our sufferings are designed to mortify and subdue our corruptions, to wean us from the world, and lead us to a more humble and constant sense of dependence upon God! How ungrateful for a child of God to repine at the dealings of such a tender and faithful Father!

God will give us all that He sees is best for us. And surely we ought to be satisfied with this; for He who sees the end from the beginning, must know much better than we--what is for our good. It is our duty to maintain a contented and cheerful spirit in every situation of life. If God directs all our ways, and has promised to give us just what He sees we need, we surely ought to rest satisfied with what we have; for we know it is just what the Lord, in His infinite wisdom and unbounded goodness--sees fit to give us.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Evil Of Sin

If God should damn you for all eternity

(John Flavel, "The Fountain of Life")

If the death of Christ was that which satisfied God
for all the sins of the elect, then certainly there is
an infinite evil in sin, since it cannot be expiated
but by an infinite satisfaction. Fools make a mock
at sin, and there are but few people who are duly
sensible of, and affected with--the evil of sin.

If God should damn you for all eternity, your
eternal sufferings could not pay for the evil that is
in one vain thought! It may be you may think this is
harsh and severe--that God should hold His creatures
under everlasting sufferings for sin. But when you have
well considered, that the One against whom you sin is
the infinite blessed God, and that sin is an infinite evil
committed against Him; and when you consider how
God dealt with the angels that fell, for one sin--you
will alter your minds about it!

O the depth of the evil of sin! If ever you will see how
dreadful and horrid an evil, sin is, you must measure it
either by the infinite holiness and excellency of God, who
is wronged by it; or by the infinite sufferings of Christ,
who died to pay its penalty; and then you will have
deeper apprehensions of the evil of sin.

Sunday, March 05, 2006



March 3, 2006

The Importance of Justification
by R.C. Sproul
In light of all the discussion lately on Arminianism vs. Calvinism, this priceless gem by R.C. is worth repeating… On a side note, R.C. Sproul is the featured speaker tonight at the Shepherds Conference being held at Grace Community Church. It may just be the highlight of the week. R.C. is considered by many, including myself, to be the finest Bible expositor in the world today. His depth of biblical knowledge in exposition, his exegetical grasp of the text, and his fathomless wealth of redemptive history all woven together to “give the sense of it to the people” is a rich blessing.


The Importance of Justification Sola Fide (by faith alone) is important not merely because the church stands or falls on it. It is important because on it we stand or fall. The place where and the time when we will either stand or fall is at the judgment seat of God.

The Doctrine
The doctrine of justification has to do with our status before the just judgment of God. That every person will ultimately be called into account before God is central to the teaching of Jesus. He warns that the secret things of our lives will be made manifest before the Father and that every idle word we have spoken will be brought into judgment. The whole world — every man, woman, and child — will come before the final divine tribunal. We will all come to that place, at that time, as either unjustified or justified sinners. Paul at Mars Hill warned: “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men every where to repent, `because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.’” (Acts 17:30-31, NKJV)

This judgment will be a righteous judgment by a righteous God. Those who will be judged are unrighteous people. The universality of sin is clearly affirmed by Paul: “For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all (italics mine) under sin. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one….” Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” (Romans 3:9-10, 19-20, NKJV)

The Dilemma
Herein is our dilemma. There will be a judgment. It will be a righteous judgment. As fallen, we are not righteous.

The ominous warning of the apostle is that “no flesh will be justified in His sight.” Fortunately this is not the whole sentence. It is not an absolute denial of justification. If there will be no justification in his sight, then all disputes about the way of justification would be vain disputes, much ado about nothing. If there is no justification, then there is no gospel — no good news, only bad news.

But this is not the entire statement. Paul does not say there will be no justification. What he does say is that no flesh will be justified in God’s sight by the deeds of the law.

Paul does not exclude justification altogether. He does exclude it by virtue of our doing deeds of the law. Justification on the ground of our works is eliminated as an option. Christians were once debtors who could not pay their debts to God. The law of God requires perfection. It is a requirement sinners do not and cannot meet. Because of the universal reality of sin, Paul comes to his “therefore.” Our sin leads to the necessary inference contained in the conclusion that by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in God’s sight.

The Demand of a Verdict
The verdict of the law on sinners was known in the Old Testament. Psalm 130 asks a question that is clearly rhetorical: “If You, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (130:3, NKJV)

The answer to the psalmist’s question is abundantly clear. “Who could stand?” - no one. Certainly not I. Certainly not you. If we are judged by the law in terms of our own righteousness, we will not stand; we are certainly fallen. If Luther rested on his own righteousness before the diet of heaven, he would have to declare: “Here I fall! I can do no other, God help me.”

Not only would Luther fall. The whole church — nay, the whole world — would fall.

The Declaration of Hope
Paul does not leave us falling without hope before the righteous law of God. He continues his teaching of the doctrine of justification with a single word that screams relief to guilty sinners: “But…” There is, to our everlasting benefit, a “however” to his declaration. This little however introduces a high and mighty exception to the dreadful conclusion that by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in God’s sight. Though justification is categorically denied by one means, it is now categorically affirmed by another means. That no flesh will be justified is not the final word. There is another word, which is the gospel itself:

“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God which is through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans 3:21-26, NKJV)

Here Paul declares a way of justification different from justification by deeds of the law. It is not a novelty, proclaimed for the first time in the New Testament. This way of justification is witnessed to by the Prophets and by the law itself. It is justification through faith in Jesus Christ. This justification is not given to everyone. It is provided to all and on all, who believe. It is based on the righteousness of God that is provided to and on the believer. It is given both freely and graciously by God through the redeeming work of Christ. This manner of justification demonstrates God himself to be both just and the justifier.

Again,the dilemma faced by the sinner summoned to the judgment seat of God is this: The sinner must appear before a divine Judge who is perfectly just. Yet the sinner is unjust. How can he possibly be unjust and justified? The answer to this question touches the eye of the Reformation tornado. For God to justify the impious (iustificatio impii) and himself remain just in the process, the sinner must somehow become actually just by a righteousness supplied him by another.

R.C. Sproul is now the distinguished visiting professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Knox Theological Seminary. R.C. Sproul is also chairman of the board at Ligonier Ministries.
Posted by Steven Camp on 03/03/2006 @ 4:40 pm

Saturday, March 04, 2006

On Vicarious Atonement-David Wells

On Vicarious Atonement - David Wells

"The moral law is simply the reflection of the character of God, and when God acts to address the outcomes to the broken moral law, he addresses these himself, himself taking the burden of his own wrath, himself absorbing in the person of Christ the judgement his righteous character cannot but demand, himself providing what no sinner can give, himself absorbing the punishment which no sinner could bear and remain in his presence. Christ gave himself "for our sins" (Gal. 1:4; I Cor. 15:3), he "bore our sins" (I Pet. 2:24). He was "put to death for our trespasses" (Rom. 4:25), he "bore our sins in his body" (I Pet. 2:24), He is the propitiation "for our sins" (I Jn. 2:2; 4:10) as God’s wrath is turned away from its proper objects and directed upon Christ so we are "now Justified by his blood" (Rom 5:9)."

-David Wells-

Thursday, March 02, 2006


The Theme of "bluecollar" blog has been from the start, Christ and Him crucified. At first I did all the posts myself. Hmmm! That could get tedious for the readers to have to put up with just my writing on the subject. Certainly there are others who could help out here; perhaps even people who have long since gone on to be with the Lord. So I started looking around the web for authors who adored the Savior. Wow! What a gold mine! Then the idea struck me that there are so many bloggers out there who write so beautifully about the Savior. Why not, with there permission, reproduce their works here. Combine my writings together with those from the past, along with other bloggers and you have the new "bluecollar" blog. I hope you are edified by the new approach. I will watch throughout blogdom for posts that inspire praise, worship and adoration of the Savior. If I like what I see I will ask your permission to reproduce your post here.

With that, here is today's guest blogger. My pastor, Reid Ferguson...

Walk in Wisdom – Gleanings from Scripture

Today's Readings Feb. #18 : Matt. 18:1-14;
Acts 25:1-12; Psalm 40; Lev. 8-10

Leviticus 8-10 records both the consecration of
Aaron & his sons to the priesthood, and also the
terrible result of his son's foolish disobedience. It
is interesting and instructive passage. 8:23 notes
they had a triple blood anointing. Blood from the
sacrifice was applied to the lobe of their right ear,
the knuckle of their right thumb, and the great toe
on their right foot. The idea probably being that
they were to hear God first, then carry out His
works with their hands by His paths. So their
innovation of "strange" fire – fire God never called
for, led them to act upon their own imaginations
and walk in ways God did not proscribe. Thus their
triple sin, violating the very three things they were
consecrated to carry out – and their untimely
deaths. Which ought then make us to think of
Christ; who could say with all honesty "As I hear, I
judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not
my own will but the will of him who sent me." John
5:30. Accordingly He did only what the Father
desired and walked where the Father took Him -
even to Calvary. For this Great High Priest, our
Great High Priest would not violate His vows for
self-innovation. And true to His consecration, all
He heard, did and pursued was colored – filtered if
you will - through the blood of redemption. For this
He came – to die for the sins of men. Nothing could
deter Him. Nothing seemed better, even for a
moment. Nothing was said or done but what fully
and perfectly fulfilled the redemptive plan of the
Father. For this purpose He was consecrated, even
with His own blood – that sinful men like you and
me might have a perfect atonement for our sins, and
have it offered by a Priest who not only knows the
feeling of our infirmities, but who has also passed
through the gates of Hell and death, and then into
the gates of heaven for us. He did not fail. And so
our salvation is secure.

Blessings: Reid

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


John Flavel, "The Fountain of Life")

Lord, the condemnation was Yours,
that the justification might be mine!

The agony was Yours, that
the victory might be mine!

The pain was Yours,
and the ease mine!

The stripes were Yours, and the
healing balm issuing from them mine!

The vinegar and gall were Yours,
that the honey and sweet might be mine!

The curse was Yours, that
the blessing might be mine!

The crown of thorns was Yours,
that the crown of glory might be mine!

The death was Yours,
the life purchased by it mine!

You paid the price, that
I might enjoy the inheritance!