Posts Tagged ‘ salvation ’

Thoughts from a Young Man: Suffering

Jesus suffered in the garden. He died on the cross, yes for our sins, BUT he also suffered because of our sinfulness. He suffered a pain that was not his. The act was not a single moment or a collection of moments as nails pierced his flesh. His suffering was such that we will never suffer. His suffering was a faith breaking suffering. He suffered under the silence of God. He suffered it completely. He bore pain. He cried out longingly, desperately for grace but heaven was seemed closed to his bleating. He suffered so that we could endure the the silence.

Silence of this type would break us. Andrew Peterson poetically says the silence of God

“is enough to drive a man crazy, to break a man’s faith, it’s enough to make a man wonder if he has ever been sane…when he is bowering for comfort and heavens only answer is the silence of God.”

It does drive us crazy. It drives us to question the promise of Grace. As the silence of God, the unanswered prayers, the waiting, the loneliness, goes on and on we question if we have ever heard the voice of God. We know he speaks; others around us tell us about their sweet fellowship but we feel a cold iron curtain robed around us like shell, a prison cell with no widow or door. We begin question whether we have ever come to know God. We often question whether we are God’s chosen sheep at all. Aside from the grace bought by Christ’s suffering, this suffering would break us and tear us apart.

Christ became like us so that in sharing in our suffering as we suffer he would be made perfect and by his death he would put to death, death. The lonely weeping, the prayers in the solitude of sleeping friends, the agony of the Father’s silent turning away, became the grace we need to suffer under silence. Christ suffered an unmerited silence, a coldness, a distance, a separation that would break men. Silence of this type is not a muted voice, it is a blinded eye. This silence is separation from the creator, sustainer, and source of life. It is a separation from the Light of Life. It is a silence of unfathomable depths, it is penetrating, it is consuming, it is hell.

Christ walked through this silence to purchase our help. He suffered such so that we would endure. No matter the weight of the silence there is the promise. The cross is the receipt. The character of God is the guarantee and the Spirit is the promissory note. The silence WILL be broken. The Father will come. The Father is working amidst the silence. The Son suffered so that the silence, a painful weight, would not be a rod of breaking or a stone of crushing.

Whatever you from suffer remember our savor. Remember that he breathed his last breath, he yielded up his spirit by his choice by his will. Remember his words,

“It is finished!”

Christ, then, consciously, “breathed his last breath and yielded up his Spirit.” His death did not end the suffering, it did not remove the cup of reeling from His hand, the cup of the wrath of God ran dry. Our savior suffered completely. The Father’s justice satisfied so that we would be left unbroken by the silence but that the silence would be tool of conforming, a means of developing Christ-like endurance. The silence doesn’t break our faith, it doesn’t uproot faith, it drives the roots of faith deeper into the fertile soil of Christ amidst the the barren wasteland of this life!

Let the silence drive you deeper. Let the waiting conform you. Trust the promise. Trust the Savior. Endure for the sake of the Joy set before you! Endure that you would get Christ. Endure that you would become one of those among the great crowd of witnesses from which we, who enjoy such grace now, will look to when the silence becomes deafening! If you have walked through the valley, encourage your fellow travelers. You may be be that voice they are longing to hear!


Thoughts From a Young Man: a Heavy Yoke

Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

What is heavy that we carry? What is the burden of our hearts? The heaviness is not the burden and the burden is not the weariness. The burden is sin. It gives weight to everything. It mays every aspect of our lives heavy and burdensome. Sin is this, not knowing God. Not know or wanting to know God is our plague. It is the source of of the mixture we call sin. It is the infection of our hearts which stains every aspect of lives. Longing to live a life with out the understanding of God and the good for which he has made all things it a weighty endeavour. To live life by our standards and make everything conform to our ways of thinking and understand, these standards themselves being broken with sin, when were not the designers and architects of the purposes for which all things were made is a heavy burden. Attempting to twist, bend, and compress the the things of this word to in a manner of being that would fulfil our purpose, satisfaction of the selfishness of men, the satisfaction of our ourselves, when they were not made for man but for Christ is a terrible yoke carry. It is a yoke we can not bear; a yoke for which we were not made to bear.
We have not been made to bear the burden of conforming and sustaining this world to our purposes nor even to God’s, it is Christ who makes all things new. It is christ who by his word causes all things to be held together. It is Christ who bears the weight of our sin, a weight we were not made nor but in the garden to bear, hence, it is a weight that drives us to the grave. Living life by our our fallen, broken, sin stricken counsels and purposes is a wide road that surely leads to our destruction; a road we all walk down. We walk this path in a seemingly blissful blindness unaware of the destruction that lay beyond the vast gate at the end of the path.
Here Christ calls us to take upon us the yoke he bore. That sweetly light burden-less yoke. A yoke of submission to His Father, our creator. He calls us to walk as he walked in humble lowliness of heart. He calls us to broken depend on the mandates, purposes, means, manners, tools, graces, provisions of a Holy God who has designed and created all of this. He calls us to love. To live in love. To walk in the love of the creator. He calls us to obedience. We are not responsible for figuring out what is best we are called to humble, dependent, faith that the God who created us will lead us as is best.
Our minds, like our hearts, are not to be forsaken. They were given us for the purpose of understanding. We seek grace and guidance. We prayerfully apply the word of God and his purposes to all that we face. Our minds are made for understanding and he gives great grace to understand.
It is here alone in this pursuit of wisdom for our Father that we find rest for our weary souls. Nothing in this life and world want that for us. Media companies want us longing for the next fix of gossip, mindless entertainment, or the newest product. They do not want us to be at rest. They do not want satisfied viewers. The government needs to validate it’s existence by providing for the most pressing need. They need a dependent people who see value in their existence. In deed they need to be needed. Thus, the government takes over all duties and tasks that are most basic to our lives. You school and business do not want satisfaction. Schools thrive on the need for education. Businesses don’t want happy employees they want effective employees. This takes many shapes. Western theories are moving toward being a safety net and family of the employee. Eastern companies want employees who need the monthly pay check and will do all that is needed to get it.
In all these getting is the state of the soul. Satisfaction in things, positions, stature, fame money, intelligence, attainments and the like are what this world feeds us. These things will never satisfy. We may bend and twist this world to get these in great abundance but the will never satisfy. They will never bear the burden of sin. Christ alone can bear this and make the soul glad. It is there in him that we rest and find gladness. He is the easy yoke. He is the lightness that we long for and will never find in all that we get here. We were made to long for him. We were made like all that is here for Him. In being his we fulfill our purpose. We are left to groan no more on the weight of sin. We find satisfaction in being what were made to be, his humble, lowly, bride or great price.
What a great value we are to Christ. That which is most rare in this world is not a diamond or precious metal. That which is rarest is a humble and contrite soul who longs for God. These are not found they are made and made at a great price. These are the free. Men and women such as this are free from this world. They are at rest in Christ.

Thoughts From a Young Man: “whom they pierced”

They looked on him whom they pierced

John 19:37

Man, in sin, killed Christ.

Christ died because of the sinfulness of men.

Jesus, God himself, died by the sinful deeds of men.

Jesus died baring the the weight of the sin of men.

This was no accident![1]

Indeed it was the sins of you and I that killed Him. Isaiah 53 says God poured out our sins on him, God crushed him. For what reason? That many would Go free. We killed God, the Christ, so that God the Father would be justified[2], righteous, in giving his enemies, us, a free gracious gift, ETERNAL LIFE freedom from death, His own holiness, an eternity spent in his presences. Do you realize what that sentence means? God desiring to love us, HIS CREATION, by giving us HIMSELF had to DIE to pay for our sins otherwise he would be not be a fair judge! But this was no accident. This was the plan by which he would demonstrate this glory.

This is the cross. The darkest hour in all history. That hour that moment when God uttered those glorious words, “‘IT IS FINISHED’ and yielded up his life”[3], the depth of man’s wickedness was on display as his own CREATOR hung limp and lifeless, stapled to a tree outside the “city of God”.

God died at the hands of sinners! All because of His radical love and His radical grace. His presence is as a glowing sun walking in our midst shedding its rays on every twisted surface of our wicked hearts. We cannot bare it, nor could the pharisees so they tacked God up to a tree, to die a sinner’s death, thinking they could that the light of the world would be extinguished.

hanging on the tree? Do you see your freedom rising from the grave? Do you feel guilty when looking at Christ baring sin? Do you feel anything?

Zechariah 12:10 says:

“they will look on me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping of a firstborn.

For their sin they shall weep bitterly. Their sadness and weeping will be like that of the death of their only son. WHY? Whom did they kill? …..GOD! They killed GOD! This was prophesied about 500 years before the death of Christ. God, speaking through his prophet Zechariah told the Jews that they would kill Himself. Oh what meaning does this give to Jesus’ rebuke,

“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time”[4]

God does not leave them weeping nor does he let us see our sin with no action against it. A few verses later in Zechariah we read:These men hated the love of God. He came loving the poorest of the poor. He can forgiving Sin. He came to set people free from death. They hated this! We hate this aparat from his grace. WHAT BLIND FOOLS WE ARE! Yes we are equals to them! We want nothing of God. We call Jesus a fool. A joke! A good man! A good story! A myth! This only changes when God opens our eyes, when GOD takes away our blindness so we can see HIS glory in the face of Christ.

What say you of this Christ? That is the question? What are you going to do with this Jesus? He died but as we will see he did not stay dead? How could he? He died for sins his soul never committed? He lived a life with God loving God wanting God He was God!  There was no sin found in him. He took on all the sins of all those who the father has given him so they would be free of them. As the hymn says in our place he stood condemned. He bore YOUR penalty, if you believe on Him his life HE will give YOU! So what do you say? We all must decide? Revelation says they who looked on him whom they pierced wept.[5] Do you see your sin?

In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David [those after God’s heart] and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for the cleansing of sin and impurity

God is promising those who weep at the cross that … HE … WILL … make them clean he will refine them. They very God they killed will forgive and heal them. The answer to  Jesus comes fulfilling this promise. Yes your sin is there on the Cross but your life also is hanging on that cross!

The blood and water flowing from the side of Christ is the fountain by which we are forgiven of our sins and washed clean from them. We are made holy in the sight of God and we are given the Spirit, to write the will of God on our hearts, as proof of our future Resurrection from the dead.

Jesus told Nicodemus, who will joined Joseph of Arimathea in preparing Christ’s body and laying him in the tomb, that the Son of Man shall be lifted up as the serpent in the desert.[6]

So that all who believe in Him [Christ] will have eternal life[7]

Look to Christ and be saved. This is not once at some time in the past; this is every day, in every temptation because HE is our ONLY hope and stay!

This then is the question that we, each, must answer, “Is this Christ God?”

By his life, death, and rising, which we will see next week, is HE able and willing to forgive your sins and give you new life?

Is he truthful and honest?

He said throughout his ministry that He would come to this death and he is here. As you look on him what do you think? As you see the MESSIAH whom God was pleased to CRUSH, on whom God poured out his wrath for the punishment of your sinful nature, the the God-Man who loved the poor, hurting masses who he healed and gave new life to what do you think what do you feel? On the cross Christ bought life and freedom for all his sheep. Paul tells us that Christ put to death the very power that holds us separated from Himself. He killed sin in the flesh by the cross so that we would be united with God.[8]

What then does this mean to us who are Christians? What does the Cross do for us? How do we see it in our lives?

Do you honor him in battling sin and temptation. Paul tells us that those in Christ do not fear the power of Sin for it is dead BECAUSE of the power of life in Christ.[9] Have you the magnified the the Sin killing Cross through we which Christ bought you?[10]

Paul says we not MERELY set free from sin but we receive a much greater and glorious gift: ADOPTION as Sons and Daughters of God! Therefore, our fighting of sin is not a duty it is a privilege, a right which he has given us! It is a mark of our identification as sons of God. We were not simply set free from slavery to sin we are ADOPTED by God.

if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

Romans 8:13b-17

He did not make us orphans with no master.

He made us Sons and Daughters of the LIVING GOD!

WE ARE ADOPTED into HIS FAMILY! We have all the rights and privileges and responsibilities of Christ! God has gladly given us ALL HIS KINGDOM[11].

Paul says by this act we are joined to Christ in heaven already seated there so that God’s Grace in Christ would be on full display![12] Do you rejoice in this? Do you stand on this promise? Is this your glory?

For those who are do not call themselves Christians how do you see the cross? What are you coming to him for? Do you like Herod’s troops look on Christ with mocking scorn? Do you see anything in Christ?

Are you coming to Jesus to get something? Herod wanted to see Jesus to see what he could get from him:

When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. Luke 23:8-9

Are you coming to Jesus to see some sign? You see Herod wanted to see something that would make him happy. John the baptist had already called for him to repent, that is why he killed John the Baptist. He didn’t want to hear what Jesus had to say he simply wanted to see something amazing. He wanted Jesus to please him.

What are you looking to Jesus? Are you looking because your sinfulness offends God do you see that? Herod didn’t, do you?

You see when Jesus won’t satisfy Herod’s desire he simply turned to mocking and scorning and beating him. Why? It made the other Jews happy and provided protection for his position!

Do you see the glory of Christ in the cross? Do you see your sins hanging there? Do you see the life giving flow pouring from the side of Christ for the forgiving of your sins and the giving of eternal life?

If Not pray pray that he would open your eyes to see the glory of God in the face of Christ. By beholding Christ’s glory, the glory of the only-one-like-him, you will be save, you will be made children of the most high!

[1]John 10:17-18 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.

[2]Romans 3:26 for the demonstration of of his righteousness at the present time, so that he would be JUST and the justifier of the ones who has faith in Jesus

[3]John 19:30

[4]Luke 12:56

[5]Revelation 1:7

[6]John 3:14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up:

[7]John 3:15

[8]Ephesians 2:16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.

[9]Romans 8:3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh,

[10]Romans 8:10,13 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

[11]Luke 12:32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.

[12] Ephesians 2:5-7 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.