Monday, January 26, 2009

The Excellency Of Christ - Part 2 of 3 by Johnathan Edwards

The Excellency Of Christ - Part 2 of 3

II. To show how this admirable conjunction of excellencies appears in Christ’s acts.

First, it appears in what Christ did in taking on him our nature. In this act, his infinite condescension wonderfully appeared, that he who was God should become man, that the word should be made flesh, and should take on him a nature infinitely below his original nature! And it appears yet more remarkably in the low circumstances of his incarnation: he was conceived in the womb of a poor young woman, whose poverty appeared in this, when she came to offer sacrifices of her purification, she brought what was allowed of in the law only in case of poverty, as Luke 2:24, “According to what is said in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons.” This was allowed only in case the person was so poor that she was not able to offer a lamb. Lev. 12:8.

And though his infinite condescension thus appeared in the manner of his incarnation, yet his divine dignity also appeared in it. For though he was conceived in the womb of a poor virgin, yet he was conceived there by the power of the Holy Ghost. And his divine dignity also appeared in the holiness of his conception and birth. Though he was conceived in the womb of one of the corrupt race of mankind, yet he was conceived and born without sin, as the angel said to the blessed Virgin, Luke 1:35, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee, therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.”

His infinite condescension marvelously appeared in the manner of his birth. He was brought forth in a stable because there was no room for them in the inn. The inn was taken up by others, that were looked upon as persons of greater account. The blessed Virgin, being poor and despised, was turned or shut out. Though she was in such necessitous circumstances, yet those that counted themselves her betters would not give place to her. Therefore, in the time of her travail, she was forced to betake herself to a stable, and when the child was born, it was wrapped in swaddling-clothes, and laid in a manger. There Christ lay a little infant, and there he eminently appeared as a lamb. But yet this feeble infant, born thus in a stable, and laid in a manger, was born to conquer and triumph over Satan, that roaring lion. He came to subdue the mighty powers of darkness, and make a show of them openly: so to restore peace on earth, to manifest God’s goodwill towards men, and to bring glory to God in the highest. According[ly] the end of his birth was declared by the joyful songs of the glorious hosts of angels, who appeared to the shepherds at the same time that the infant lay in the manger, whereby his divine dignity was manifested.

Second, this admirable conjunction of excellencies appears in the acts and various passages of Christ’s life. Though Christ dwelt in mean outward circumstances, whereby his condescension and humility especially appeared, and his majesty was veiled, yet his divine divinity and glory did in many of his acts shine through the veil, and it illustriously appeared, that he was not only the Son of man, but the great God.

Thus, in the circumstances of his infancy, his outward meanness appeared, Yet there was something then to show forth his divine dignity, in the wise men’s being stirred up to come from the east to give honor to him, their being led by a miraculous star, and coming and falling down and worshipping him, and presenting him with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. His humility and meekness wonderfully appeared in his subjection to his mother and reputed father when he was a child. Herein he appeared as a lamb. But his divine glory broke forth and shone when, at twelve years old, he disputed with doctors in the temple. In that he appeared, in some measure, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

And so, after he entered on his public ministry, his marvelous humility and meekness was manifested in his choosing to appear in such mean outward circumstances; and in being contented in them, when he was so poor that he had not where to lay his head, and depended on the charity of some of his followers for his subsistence, as appears by Luke 8 at the beginning. How meek, condescending, and familiar his treatment of his disciples. His discourses with them, treating them as a father his children, yea, as friends and companions. How patient, bearing such affliction and reproach, and so many injuries from the scribes and Pharisees, and others. In these things he appeared as a Lamb. And yet he at the same time did in many ways show forth his divine majesty and glory, particularly in the miracles he wrought, which were evidently divine works, and manifested omnipotent power, and so declared him to be the Lion of the tribe of Judah. His wonderful and miraculous works plainly showed him to be the God of nature, in that it appeared by them that he had all nature in his hands, and could lay an arrest upon it, and stop and change its course as he pleased. In healing the sick, and opening the eyes of the blind, and unstopping the ears of the deaf, and healing the lame, he showed that he was the God that framed the eye, and created the ear, and was the author of the frame of man’s body. By the dead’s rising at his command, it appeared that he was the author and fountain of life, and that “God the Lord, to whom belong the issues from death.” By his walking on the sea in a storm, when the waves were raised, he showed himself to be that God spoken of in Job 9:8, “That treadeth on the waves of the sea.” By his stilling the storm, and calming the rage of the sea, by his powerful command, saying, “Peace, be still,” he showed that he has the command of the universe, and that he is that God who brings things to pass by the word of his power, who speaks and it is done, who commands and it stands fast; Psa. 65:7, “Who stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves.” And Psa. 107:29, “That maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” And Psa. 89:8, 9, “O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee, or to thy faithfulness round about thee? Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” Christ, by casting out devils, remarkably appeared as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and showed that he was stronger than the roaring lion, that seeks whom he may devour. He commanded them to come out, and they were forced to obey. They were terribly afraid of him: they fall down before him, and beseech him not to torment them. He forces a whole legion of them to forsake their hold, by his powerful word, and they could not so much as enter into the swine without his leave. He showed the glory of his omniscience, by telling the thoughts of men, as we have often an account. Herein he appeared to be that God spoken of, Amos 4:13, “That declareth unto man what is his thought.” Thus, in the midst of his meanness and humiliation, his divine glory appeared in his miracles, John 2:11, “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory.”

And though Christ ordinarily appeared without outward glory, and in great obscurity, yet at a certain time he threw off the veil, and appeared in his divine majesty, so far as it could be outwardly manifested to men in this frail state, when he was transfigured in the mount. The apostle Peter (2 Pet. 1:16, 17) was an “eye-witness of his majesty, when he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; which voice that came from heaven they heard, when they were with him in the holy mount.”

And at the same time that Christ was wont to appear in such meekness, condescension, and humility, in his familiar discourses with his disciples, appearing therein as the Lamb of God, he was also wont to appear as The Lion of the tribe of Judah, with divine authority and majesty, in his so sharply rebuking the scribes and Pharisees and other hypocrites.

Third, this admirable conjunction of excellencies remarkably appears in his offering up himself a sacrifice for sinners in his last sufferings. As this was the greatest thing in all the works of redemption, the greatest act of Christ in that work, so in this act especially does there appear that admirable conjunction of excellencies that has been spoken of. Christ never so much appeared as a lamb, as when he was slain: “He came like a lamb to the slaughter,” Isa. 53:7. Then he was offered up to God as a lamb without blemish, and without spot: then especially did he appear to be the anti-type of the lamb of the passover: 1 Cor 5:7, “Christ our Passover sacrificed for us.” And yet in that act he did in an especial manner appear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Yea, in this above all other acts, in many respects, as may appear in the following things.

1. Then was Christ in the greatest degree of his humiliation, and yet by that, above all other things, his divine glory appears. Christ’s humiliation was great, in being born in such a low condition, of a poor virgin, and in a stable. His humiliation was great, in being subject to Joseph the carpenter, and Mary his mother, and afterwards living in poverty, so as not to have where to lay his head, and in suffering such manifold and bitter reproaches as he suffered, while he went about preaching and working miracles. But his humiliation was never so great as it was, in his last sufferings, beginning with his agony in the garden, till he expired on the cross. Never was he subject to such ignominy as then, never did he suffer so much pain in his body, or so much sorrow in his soul. Never was he in so great an exercise of his condescension, humility, meekness, and patience, as he was in these last sufferings. Never was his divine glory and majesty covered with so thick and dark a veil. Never did he so empty himself and make himself of no reputation, as at this time. And yet, never was his divine glory so manifested, by any act of his, as in yielding himself up to these sufferings. When the fruit of it came to appear, and the mystery and ends of it to be unfolded in its issue, then did the glory of it appear, [and] then did it appear as the most glorious act of Christ that ever he exercised towards the creature. This act of his is celebrated by the angels and hosts of heaven with peculiar praises, as that which is above all others glorious, as you may see in the context (Rev. 5:9-12) “And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the beasts, and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing.”

2. He never in any act gave so great a manifestation of love to God, and yet never so manifested his love to those that were enemies to God, as in that act. Christ never did anything whereby his love to the Father was so eminently manifested, as in his laying down his life, under such inexpressible sufferings, in obedience to his command, and for the vindication of the honor of his authority and majesty; nor did ever any mere creature give such a testimony of love to God as that was. And yet this was the greatest expression of his love to sinful men who were enemies to God, Rom. 5:10, “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God, by the death of his Son.” The greatness of Christ’s love to such, appears in nothing so much as in its being dying love. That blood of Christ which fell in great drops to the ground, in his agony, was shed from love to God’s enemies, and his own. That shame and spitting, that torment of body, and that exceeding sorrow, even unto death, which he endured in his soul, was what he underwent from love to rebels against God to save them from hell, and to purchase for them eternal glory. Never did Christ so eminently show his regard to God’s honor, as in offering up himself a victim to justice. And yet in this above all, he manifested his love to them who dishonored God, so as to bring such guilt on themselves, that nothing less than his blood could atone for it.

3. Christ never so eminently appeared for divine justice, and yet never suffered so much from divine justice, as when he offered up himself a sacrifice for our sins. In Christ’s great sufferings, did his infinite regard to the honor of God’s justice distinguishingly appear, for it was from regard to that that he thus humbled himself. And yet in these sufferings, Christ was the mark of the vindictive expressions of that very justice of God. Revenging justice then spent all its force upon him, on account of our guilt, which made him sweat blood, and cry out upon the cross, and probably rent his vitals — broke his heart, the fountain of blood, or some other blood vessels — and by the violent fermentation turned his blood to water. For the blood and water that issued out of his side, when pierced by the spear, seems to have been extravasated blood, and so there might be a kind of literal fulfillment of Psa. 22:14, “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax, it is melted in the midst of my bowels.” And this was the way and means by which Christ stood up for the honor of God’s justice, namely, by thus suffering its terrible executions. For when he had undertaken for sinners, and had substituted himself in their room, divine justice could have its due honor no other way than by his suffering its revenges. — In this the diverse excellencies that met in the person of Christ appeared, viz. his infinite regard to God’s justice, and such love to those that have exposed themselves to it, as induced him thus to yield himself a sacrifice to it.

4. Christ’s holiness never so illustriously shone forth as it did in his last sufferings, and yet he never was to such a degree treated as guilty. Christ’s holiness never had such a trial as it had then, and therefore never had so great a manifestation. When it was tried in this furnace, it came forth as gold, or as silver purified seven times. His holiness then above all appeared in his steadfast pursuit of the honor of God, and in his obedience to him. For his yielding himself unto death was transcendently the greatest act of obedience that ever was paid to God by anyone since the foundation of the world.

And yet then Christ was in the greatest degree treated as a wicked person would have been. He was apprehended and bound as a malefactor. His accusers represented him as a most wicked wretch. In his sufferings before his crucifixion, he was treated as if he had been the worst and vilest of mankind. Then he was put to a kind of death, that none but the worst sort of malefactors were wont to suffer, those that were most abject in their persons, and guilty of the blackest crimes. And he suffered as though guilty from God himself, by reason of our guilt imputed to him. For he who knew no sin, was made sin for us. He was made subject to wrath, as if he had been sinful himself. He was made a curse for us.

Christ never so greatly manifested his hatred of sin, as against God, as in his dying to take away the dishonor that sin had done to God. Yet never was he to such a degree subject to the terrible effects of God’s hatred of sin, and wrath against it, as he was then. In this appears those diverse excellencies meeting in Christ, viz. love to God, and grace to sinners.

5. He never was so dealt with, as unworthy, as in his last sufferings, and yet it is chiefly on account of them that he is accounted worthy. He was therein dealt with as if he had not been worthy to live: they cry out, “Away with him! away with him! Crucify him.” John 19:15. And they prefer Barabbas before him. And he suffered from the Father, as one whose demerits were infinite, by reason of our demerits that were laid upon him. And yet it was especially by that act of his subjecting himself to those sufferings, that he merited, and on the account of which chiefly he was accounted worthy of the glory of his exaltation. Phil. 2:8, 9, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death; wherefore God hath highly exalted him.” And we see that it is on this account chiefly, that he is extolled as worthy by saints and angels in the context: “Worthy,” say they, “is the Lamb that was slain.” This shows an admirable conjunction in him of infinite dignity, and infinite condescension and love to the infinitely unworthy.

6. Christ in his last sufferings suffered most extremely from those towards whom he was then manifesting his greatest act of love. He never suffered so much from his Father (though not from any hatred to him, but from hatred to our sins), for he then forsook him, or took away the comforts of his presence. Then “it pleased the Lord to bruise him, and put him to grief.” as Isa. 53:10. And yet he never gave so great a manifestation of love to God as then, as has been already observed. So Christ never suffered so much from the hands of men as he did then, and yet never was in so high an exercise of love to men. He never was so ill-treated by his disciples, who were so unconcerned about his sufferings that they would not watch with him one hour in his agony. And when he was apprehended, all forsook him and fled, except Peter, who denied him with oaths and curses. And yet then he was suffering, shedding his blood, and pouring out his soul unto death for them. Yea, he probably was then shedding his blood for some of them that shed his blood, for whom he prayed while they were crucifying him; and who were probably afterwards brought home to Christ by Peter’s preaching. (Compare Luke 23:34; Acts 2:23, 36, 37, 41, and chap. 3:17. and chap. 4:4.) This shows an admirable meeting of justice and grace in the redemption of Christ.

7. It was in Christ’s last sufferings, above all, that he was delivered up to the power of his enemies, and yet by these, above all, he obtained victory over his enemies. Christ never was so in his enemies’ hands, as in the time of his last sufferings. They sought his life before, but from time to time they were restrained, and Christ escaped out of their hands. This reason is given for it: that his time was not yet come. But now they were suffered to work their will upon him, he was in a great degree delivered up to the malice and cruelty of both wicked men and devils. And therefore when Christ’s enemies came to apprehend him, he says to them, Luke 22:53, “When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hand against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

And yet it was principally by means of those sufferings that he conquered and overthrew his enemies. Christ never so effectually bruised Satan’s head, as when Satan bruised his heel. The weapon with which Christ warred against the devil, and obtained a most complete victory and glorious triumph over him, was the cross, the instrument and weapon with which he thought he had overthrown Christ, and brought on him shameful destruction. Col. 2:14, 15, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances, — nailing it to his cross: and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.” In his last sufferings, Christ sapped the very foundations of Satan’s kingdom. He conquered his enemies in their own territories, and beat them with their own weapons; as David cut off Goliath’s head with his own sword. The devil had, as it were, swallowed up Christ, as the whale did Jonah. But it was deadly poison to him: he gave him a mortal wound in his own bowels. He was soon sick of his morsel, and was forced to do by him as the whale did by Jonah. To this day he is heart-sick of what he then swallowed as his prey. In those sufferings of Christ was laid the foundation of all that glorious victory he has already obtained over Satan, in the overthrow of his heathenish kingdom in the Roman empire, and all the success the gospel has had since, and also of all his future and still more glorious victory that is to be obtained in the earth. Thus Samson’s riddle is most eminently fulfilled, Jdg. 14:14, “Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness.” And thus the true Samson does more towards the destruction of his enemies at his death than in his life, in yielding up himself to death, he pulls down the temple of Dagon, and destroys many thousands of his enemies, even while they are making themselves sport in his sufferings. So he whose type was the ark, pulls down Dagon, and breaks off his head and hands in his own temple, even while he is brought in there as Dagon’s captive. (1 Sam. 5:1-4)

Thus Christ appeared at the same time, and in the same act, as both a lion and a lamb. He appeared as a lamb in the hands of his cruel enemies, as a lamb in the paws and between the devouring jaws of a roaring lion. Yea, he was a lamb actually slain by this lion: and yet at the same time, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, he conquers and triumphs over Satan, destroying his own devourer, as Samson did the lion that roared upon him, when he rent him as he would a kid. And in nothing has Christ appeared so much as a lion, in glorious strength destroying his enemies, as when he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter. In his greatest weakness he was most strong; and when he suffered most from his enemies, he brought the greatest confusion on his enemies. — Thus this admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies was manifest in Christ, in his offering up himself to God in his last sufferings.

Fourth, it is still manifest in his acts, in his present state of exaltation in heaven. Indeed, in his exalted state, he most eminently appears in manifestation of those excellencies, on the account of which he is compared to a lion; but still he appears as a lamb; Rev. 14:1, “And I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on mount Sion;” as in his state of humiliation he chiefly appeared as a lamb, and yet did not appear without manifestation of his divine majesty and power, as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Though Christ be now at the right-hand of God, exalted as King of heaven, and Lord of the universe, yet as he still is in the human nature, he still excels in humility. Though the man Christ Jesus be the highest of all creatures in heaven, yet he as much excels them all in humility as he does in glory and dignity, for none sees so much of the distance between God and him as he does. And though he now appears in such glorious majesty and dominion in heaven, yet he appears as a lamb in his condescending, mild, and sweet treatment of his saints there. For he is a Lamb still, even amidst the throne of his exaltation, and he that is the Shepherd of the whole flock is himself a Lamb, and goes before them in heaven as such. Rev. 7:17, “For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” Though in heaven every knee bows to him, and though the angels fall down before him adoring him, yet he treats his saints with infinite condescension, mildness, and endearment. And in his acts towards the saints on earth, he still appears as a lamb, manifesting exceeding love and tenderness in his intercession for them, as one that has had experience of affliction and temptation. He has not forgot what these things are, nor has he forgot how to pity those that are subject to them. And he still manifests his lamb-like excellencies, in his dealings with his saints on earth, in admirable forbearance, love, gentleness, and compassion. Behold him instructing, supplying, supporting, and comforting them, often coming to them and manifesting himself to them by his Spirit, that he may sup with them, and they with him. Behold him admitting them to sweet communion, enabling them with boldness and confidence to come to him, and solacing their hearts. And in heaven Christ still appears, as it were, with the marks of his wounds upon him, and so appears as a Lamb as it had been slain. [This is] as he was represented in vision to St. John, in the text, when he appeared to open the book sealed with seven seals, which is part of the glory of his exaltation.

Fifth, and lastly, this admirable conjunction of excellencies will be manifest in Christ’s acts at the last judgment. He then, above all other times, will appear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah in infinite greatness and majesty, when he shall come in the glory of his Father, with all the holy angels, and the earth shall tremble before him, and the hills shall melt. This is he (Rev. 20:11) “that shall sit on a great white throne, before whose face the earth and heaven shall flee away.” He will then appear in the most dreadful and amazing manner to the wicked. The devils tremble at the thought of that appearance, and when it shall be, the kings, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bond-man, and every free-man, shall hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains. [They] shall cry to the mountains and rocks to fall on them, to hide them from the face and wrath of the Lamb. And none can declare or conceive of the amazing manifestations of wrath in which he will then appear towards these, or the trembling and astonishment, the shrieking and gnashing of teeth, with which they shall stand before his judgment-seat, and receive the terrible sentence of his wrath.

And yet he will at the same time appear as a Lamb to his saints. He will receive them as friends and brethren, treating them with infinite mildness and love. There shall be nothing in him terrible to them, but towards them he will clothe himself wholly with sweetness and endearment. The church shall be then admitted to him as his bride: that shall be her wedding-day. The saints shall all be sweetly invited to come with him to inherit the kingdom, and reign in it with him to all eternity.

The Healing of Godly Grief

Bob D (16 Jan 2009)
"The Healing of Godly Grief"


The Healing of Godly Grief

I really did not want to write an article about this subject but the Holy Spirit kept tugging inside of me explaining that there are many people needing to hear this message, including myself. In other words people are hurting on the inside and they do not really know what to do with their pain.

Did you ever just look at a relationship or the world and get so vexed in your heart at what you see? If it hits our sour spot we can really start to take it personal. Deep down it is just not in us to accept what we our looking at or experiencing because it goes against who we are (what we stand for).

Then comes the enduring process as we grieve,usually a loss of some kind. The development of grief does not have to be a death in the family. It could be looking at the world or maybe some kind of rejection or betrayal. We could be witnessing an injustice being done to someone else. Perhaps a sickness but people respond different based on their personalities. I would like to talk about the root, not the symptom.

There are different degrees of hurt but we can grieve in a Godly constructive way. This is a privilege that very few people ever have the luxury of going through. Worldly grief leads to misery. Godly grief leads to healing. Emotions such as fear,anxiety,preoccupation and stress most of the time are a cover up for where God wants to bring us in our hearts....a place of healing through His Son Jesus Christ.

I am going to convey some points to you and I am confident that God is going to touch your heart. I have to confess that as I was growing up I had nothing but misconceptions about grief. Not all of this was my fault because the world barraged me with a lot of ideas that were not of God.

Let me just say some things about Godly grief that may shed some light on the subject. I think there is a sense of repentance in Godly grief, whether we did wrong or an injustice was done to us.

We cannot really go into this spiritual realm of Godly grief ourselves. God has to bring us to this point,usually through our willingness to go. Sometimes Godly grief just comes upon us and our will. In this case we do not have a whole lot to do with the process.

I think the worldly process keeps us from Godly grief because it is so superficial. The real us (the hurt inside of us that God desires to bring out) will usually be suppressed.The world places an emphasis on the outside.Many people are hurting on the inside.

When we are wronged in one way or another, usually we become very shortsighted and emphasize our hurt.Some people will say, "That time is the greatest healer" but I believe that is more of a cliché than a biblical truth.Time may blunt some of the hurt in us but always remember the Holy Spirit is the greatest healer. John 14:16 says "I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter,that He may abide with you forever."

God created time. The Holy Spirit heals,comforts and reassures us through Jesus Christ. At this point sometimes in our hurt we will look for somebody to rescue us but that role and title belongs to Jesus Christ.Is.61:1,2. This verse says, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me: because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn." This verse is talking about Jesus Christ.

When He rescues us,He comforts us in our mourning. We cannot rescue somebody in their hurt nor can a person save us. We can love,empathize,counsel and offer a helping hand but Jesus Christ rescues people through salvation in Him because He will be the one getting the glory forever and ever, not us.John 3:16,Dan.7:14,Rev.15:4. Ultimately, only God can reach someone's heart (hurt).

Remember through this whole process of broken emotions God is building something special into our lives even through our pain. Maybe I should say especially through our hurt.

As children of God, just because we don't feel this process does not mean it is not happening. "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." Phil 1:6.

I will even go one step further. God is going to be building something special into our hearts for all eternity. Joy unspeakable and full of glory will be in heaven. Jesus Christ will heal our painful emotions. Everybody will treat everyone in a proper manner and we will be at peace.

If we get frustrated enough with our deep seated hurts, sometimes we will sweep the dirt under the rug.

Our anxiety and fear will cover up emotions against the core of who we really are in Jesus Christ. Letting the Holy Spirit deal with our pain in His way and His time will give us supernatural and Godly peace which surpasses all understanding.(6) "Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil 4:6-7.

If we decide to go to the person or group that hurt us (if this is even possible) realize that he, she or the group may have a cold heart and will not be able to sympathize or emphasize with our pain. If no empathy is given, internal frustration will usually set inside.

God wants us to turn to Him in our pain. Remember Hebrews 4:14-16 says we can come boldly unto the throne of grace because Jesus can relate to our struggles in life. If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior the Holy Spirit came to live inside of us. When we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, our hurt will be absorbed in the person of Jesus Christ. Worrying is counterproductive. This emotion will get us nowhere.

There is a proverb that says a point comes when the heart is so broken that it is beyond repair. As Christians we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us. God heals us in the midst of our broken and damaged lives. I almost want to say this is what God does best but the truth of the matter is God is perfect in everything. God works everything out for good for all those that love Him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.

I believe this is the most important principle that I am about to mention. I hear this all the time. Someone will say to somebody else, "You have to change." Here is the problem with that premise, especially in the midst of our hurts. We cannot change. We can only submit (to good or bad). God changes us through His Son Jesus Christ. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2nd Cor.5:17. This verse describes God changing an individual through His Son Jesus Christ. If we submit to God through His Son Jesus Christ He will change us, but only God can do this.

The presence of the Holy Spirit comforts us in our Savior Jesus Christ. Be patient in this changing process through our submission to God. I suppose it can happen overnight but not very often. Salvation in Jesus Christ takes place at the moment an individual comes to the foot of the cross and accepts the Savior for the remission of his or her sins who is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ heals through the power of the Holy Spirit. We were made for closure with God, ourselves and other people.


For those of you that are going through a trial, sometimes just when one episode ends, another one starts. God desires to grant us a release through Jesus Christ. If you have read any of my articles, you know my position on how close we are to the rapture of the Church. As I sit here writing this paper I can almost feel the joy of the resurrection now!

One person said the drudgery of our trials will be gone but the experience of our trials will still be present in heaven. In my opinion this is something to think about. We are going to have the privilege of grieving over love ones,missed opportunities and other issues that Jesus is going to bring to our mind and heart.

What is happening on the inside is far more important than what is taking place on the outside. I know the human part of us becomes overwhelmed; however,God desires that quality of rest for our souls through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. I personally believe asking God to take us to this righteous grieving process is good because the supernatural peace of God will abide in us.

In 1st Peter 1:6-8 the Holy Spirit is talking about intense trials,sufferings and temptations and then Peter says, "Ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." As Christians, regardless as to what we are going through, we are destined for "Joy unspeakable and full of glory." 1st Peter 1:8.

The Bible says in John 11:35 "Jesus wept." That tells me something. Our Savior knows how to grieve. Many people see Jesus Christ as distant and cold but the Bible says, "He that loveth not knoweth not God; God is love." 1st John 4:8.

Jesus said "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matt 5:3. The principle here is that God is Holy and we are sinful. He is all and we are nothing (yet God makes us feel special in His Son Jesus Christ). I would think a contrite spirit always wanting the grace of God is what Jesus is trying to convey. The second beatitude is "Blessed are they that mourn for they shall be comforted."Matt 5:4.

I believe the primary reason we are to mourn or grieve is because of the first beatitude.... being poor in spirit. Grief over being poor in spirit will lead to God's comfort.

People need a sense of closure in the midst of their pain and this will not happen apart from God. We are certainly not going to find it in the world. Jesus Christ gives us closure in Him.

There is a verse in the last book of the Bible. "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death,neither sorrow,nor crying,neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Rev 21:4. The context of this verse is at the end of the one thousand year reign of Jesus Christ.

It is in the character of God to comfort His people. He is a merciful God. 2nd These 2:16 says, "Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself,and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace." This is His nature. He is ... "The Father of mercies,and the God of all comfort." 2nd Cor 1:3.

In heaven we will be able to meet redeemed saints throughout history that went through the same overwhelming situations that we experienced. The circumstances will disappear but the relationship with Jesus Christ will last forever.

It is good to accept the Lord Jesus Christ into your heart as your personal Savior if you have not already made this all important eternal decision.To properly grieve through a problem takes the God of all comfort working through us. Otherwise it is just an exercise in futility.

For a person to try and deal with this on their own without God will lead to misery. Choose healing in Jesus Christ as we seek the God of all comfort until Jesus Christ calls us home in the rapture. That will be soon. Perhaps today/tonight!

Love in Christ,
Bob D

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Excelency of Christ by Johnathan Edwards 1736

The Excellency Of Christ - Part 1 of 3

Dated August 1736. Three sermons.

Revelation 5:5-6
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne, and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain. —


Subject: There is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ.

INTRODUCTION

THE visions and revelations the apostle John had of the future events of God’s providence, are here introduced with a vision of the book of God’s decrees, by which those events were fore-ordained. This is represented in verse1 as a book in the right hand of him who sat on the throne, “written within and on the back side, and sealed with seven seals.” Books, in the form in which they were wont of old to be made, were broad leaves of parchment or paper, or something of that nature, joined together at one edge, and so rolled up together, and then sealed, or some way fastened together, to prevent their unfolding and opening. Hence we read of the roll of a book Jer. 36:2. It seems to have been such a book that John had a vision of here, and therefore it is said to be “written within and on the back side,” i. e. on the inside pages, and also on one of the outside pages, viz. that which it was rolled in, in rolling the book up together. And it is said to be “sealed with seven seals,” to signify that what was written in it was perfectly hidden and secret, or that God’s decrees of future events are sealed, and shut up from all possibility of being discovered by creatures, till God is pleased to make them known. We find that seven is often used in Scripture as the number of perfection, to signify the superlative or most perfect degree of anything, which probably arose from this, that on the seventh day God beheld the works of creation finished, and rested and rejoiced in them, as being complete and perfect.

When John saw this book, he tells us, he “saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?’ And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.” And that he wept much, because “no man was found worthy to open and read the book, neither to look thereon.” (Rev. 5:2-4) And then tells us how his tears were dried up, namely, that “one of the elders said unto him, “Weep not, Behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed” etc. as in the text. Though no man nor angel, nor any mere creature, was found either able to loose the seals, or worthy to be admitted to the privilege of reading the book, yet this was declared, for the comfort of this beloved disciple, that Christ was found both able and worthy. And we have an account in the succeeding chapters how he actually did it, opening the seals in order, first one and then another, revealing what God had decreed should come to pass hereafter. And we have an account in this chapter, of his coming and taking the book out of the right hand of him that sat on the throne, and of the joyful praises that were sung to him in heaven and earth on that occasion.

Many things might be observed in the words of the text, but it is to my present purpose only to take notice of the two distinct appellations here given to Christ.

1.He is called a Lion. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He seems to be called the Lion of the tribe of Judah, in allusion to what Jacob said in his blessing of the tribe on his death-bed, who when he came to bless Judah, compares him to a lion, Gen. 49:9, “Judah is a lion’s whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?” And also to the standard of the camp of Judah in the wilderness, on which was displayed a lion, according to the ancient tradition of the Jews. It is much on account of the valiant acts of David that the tribe of Judah, of which David was, is in Jacob’s prophetical blessing compared to a lion, but more especially with an eye to Jesus Christ, who also was of that tribe, and was descended of David, and is in our text called “the Root of David.” Therefore Christ is here called “the Lion of the tribe of Judah.”

2. He is called a Lamb. John was told of a Lion that had prevailed to open the book, and probably expected to see a lion in his vision. But while he is expecting, behold a Lamb appears to open the book, an exceeding diverse kind of creature from a lion. A lion is a devourer, one that is wont to make terrible slaughter of others, and no creature more easily falls a prey to him than a lamb. And Christ is here represented not only as a Lamb, a creature very liable to be slain, but a “Lamb as it had been slain,” that is, with the marks of its deadly wounds appearing on it.

That which I would observe from the words, for the subject of my present discourse, is this, viz.

“There is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ.”

The lion and the lamb, though very diverse kinds of creatures, yet have each their peculiar excellencies. The lion excels in strength, and in the majesty of his appearance and voice: the lamb excels in meekness and patience, besides the excellent nature of the creature as good for food, and yielding that which is fit for our clothing and being suitable to be offered in sacrifice to God. But we see that Christ is in the text compared to both, because the diverse excellencies of both wonderfully meet in him, — In handling this subject I would

I. Show wherein there is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Christ.

II. How this admirable conjunction of excellencies appear in Christ’s acts.

And then make application.

I. I would show wherein there is an admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies in Jesus Christ. Which appears in three things:

First, there is a conjunction of such excellencies in Christ, as in our manner of conceiving, are very diverse one from another.

Second, there is in him a conjunction of such really diverse excellencies, as otherwise would have seemed to us utterly incompatible in the same subject.

Third, such diverse excellencies are exercised in him towards men that otherwise would have seemed impossible to be exercised towards the same object.

First, there is a conjunction of such excellencies in Christ, as, in our manner of conceiving, are very diverse one from another. Such are the various divine perfections and excellencies that Christ is possessed of. Christ is a divine person; and therefore has all the attributes of God. The difference between these is chiefly relative, and in our manner of conceiving them. And those which, in this sense, are most diverse, meet in the person of Christ. I shall mention two instances.

1. There do meet in Jesus Christ infinite highness and infinite condescension. Christ, as he is God, is infinitely great and high above all. He is higher than the kings of the earth, for he is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than the highest angels of heaven. So great is he, that all men, all kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before him. All nations are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance, yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before him. He is so high, that he is infinitely above any need of us, above our reach that we cannot be profitable to him, and above our conceptions that we cannot comprehend him. Pro. 30:4 “What is his name, and what is his Son’s name, if thou canst tell?” Our understandings, if we stretch them never so far, cannot reach up to his divine glory. Job 11:8 “It is high as heaven, what canst thou do?” Christ is the Creator and great Possessor of heaven and earth. He is sovereign Lord of all. He rules over the whole universe, and does whatsoever pleaseth him. His knowledge is without bound. His wisdom is perfect, and what none can circumvent. His power is infinite, and none can resist him. His riches are immense and inexhaustible. His majesty is infinitely awful.

And yet he is one of infinite condescension. None are so low or inferior, but Christ’s condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of them. He condescends not only to the angels, humbling himself to behold the things that are done in heaven, but he also condescends to such poor creatures as men, and that not only so as to take notice of princes and great men, but of those that are of meanest rank and degree, “the poor of the world,” Jam. 2:5. Such as are commonly despised by their fellow creatures, Christ does not despise. 1 Cor. 1:28 “Base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen.” Christ condescends to take notice of beggars (Luke 16:22) and people of the most despised nations. In Christ Jesus is neither “Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free” Col. 3:11. He that is thus high condescends to take a gracious notice of little children, Mat. 19:14, “Suffer little children to come unto me.” Yea, which is more, his condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of the most unworthy, sinful creatures, those that have no good deservings, and those that have infinite ill-deservings.

Yea, so great is his condescension, that it is not only sufficient to take some gracious notice of such as these, but sufficient for everything that is an act of condescension. His condescension is great enough to become their friend, to become their companion, to unite their souls to him in spiritual marriage. It is enough to take their nature upon him, to become one of them, that he may be one with them. Yea, it is great enough to abase himself yet lower for them, even to expose himself to shame and spitting; yea, to yield up himself to an ignominious death for them. And what act of condescension can be conceived of greater? Yet such an act as this, has his condescension yielded to, for those that are so low and mean, despicable and unworthy!

Such a conjunction of infinite highness and low condescension, in the same person, is admirable. We see, by manifold instances, what a tendency a high station has in men, to make them to be of a quite contrary disposition. If one worm be a little exalted above another, by having more dust, or a bigger dunghill, how much does he make of himself! What a distance does he keep from those that are below him! And a little condescension is what he expects should be made much of, and greatly acknowledged. Christ condescends to wash our feet, but how would great men (or rather the bigger worms), account themselves debased by acts of far less condescension!

2. There meet in Jesus Christ, infinite justice and infinite grace. As Christ is a divine person, he is infinitely holy and just, hating sin, and disposed to execute condign punishment for sin. He is the Judge of the world, and the infinitely just Judge of it, and will not at all acquit the wicked, or by any means clear the guilty.

And yet he is infinitely gracious and merciful. Though his justice be so strict with respect to all sin, and every breach of the law, yet he has grace sufficient for every sinner, and even the chief of sinners. And it is not only sufficient for the most unworthy to show them mercy, and bestow some good upon them, but to bestow the greatest good. Yea, it is sufficient to bestow all good upon them, and to do all things for them. There is no benefit or blessing that they can receive, so great but the grace of Christ is sufficient to bestow it on the greatest sinner that ever lived. And not only so, but so great is his grace, that nothing is too much as the means of this good. It is sufficient not only to do great things, but also to suffer in order to do it, and not only to suffer, but to suffer most extremely even unto death, the most terrible of natural evils, and not only death, but the most ignominious and tormenting, and every way the most terrible that men could inflict; yea, and greater sufferings than men could inflict, who could only torment the body. He had sufferings in his soul, that were the more immediate fruits of the wrath of God against the sins of those he undertakes for.

Second, there do meet in the person of Christ such really diverse excellencies, which otherwise would have been thought utterly incompatible in the same subject: such as are conjoined in no other person whatever, either divine, human, or angelical; and such as neither men nor angels would ever have imagined could have met together in the same person, had it not been seen in the person of Christ. I would give some instances.

1. In the person of Christ do meet together infinite glory and lowest humility. Infinite glory, and the virtue of humility, meet in no other person but Christ. They meet in no created person, for no created person has infinite glory, and they meet in no other divine person but Christ. For though the divine nature be infinitely abhorrent to pride, yet humility is not properly predicable of God the Father, and the Holy Ghost, that exists only in the divine nature, because it is a proper excellency only of a created nature. For it consists radically in a sense of a comparative lowness and littleness before God, or the great distance between God and the subject of this virtue. But it would be a contradiction to suppose any such thing in God.

But in Jesus Christ, who is both God and man, those two diverse excellencies are sweetly united. He is a person infinitely exalted in glory and dignity. Phil. 2:6, “Being in the form of God, he thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” There is equal honor due to him with the Father. John 5:23. — “That all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father.” God himself says to him, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,” Heb. 1:8. And there is the same supreme respect and divine worship paid to him by the angels of heaven, as to God the Father, verse 6, “Let all the angels of God worship him.”

But however he is thus above all, yet he is lowest of all in humility. There never was so great an instance of this virtue among either men or angels, as Jesus. None ever was so sensible of the distance between God and him, or had a heart so lowly before God, as the man Christ Jesus. Mat. 11:29. What a wonderful spirit of humility appeared in him, when he was here upon earth, in all his behavior! In his contentment in his mean outward condition, contentedly living in the family of Joseph the carpenter and Mary his mother for thirty years together, and afterwards choosing outward meanness, poverty, and contempt, rather than earthly greatness: in his washing his disciples’ feet, in all his speeches and deportment towards them, in his cheerfully sustaining the form of a servant through his whole life, and submitting to such immense humiliation at death!

2. In the person of Christ do meet together infinite majesty and transcendent meekness. These again are two qualifications that meet together in no other person but Christ. Meekness, properly so called, is a virtue proper only to the creature. We scarcely ever find meekness mentioned as a divine attribute in Scripture, at least not in the New Testament. For thereby seems to be signified, a calmness and quietness of spirit, arising from humility in mutable beings that are naturally liable to be put into a ruffle by the assaults of a tempestuous and injurious world. But Christ, being both God and man, has both infinite majesty and superlative meekness.

Christ was a person of infinite majesty. It is he that is spoken of, Psa. 45:3, “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.” It is he that is mighty, that rideth on the heavens, and his excellency on the sky. It is he that is terrible out of his holy places, who is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea; before whom a fire goeth and burneth up his enemies round about; at whose presence the earth quakes and the hills melt; who sitteth on the circle of the earth and all the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; who rebukes the sea and maketh it dry and drieth up the rivers; whose eyes are as a flame of fire; from whose presence, and from the glory of whose power, the wicked shall be punished with everlasting destruction; who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who has heaven for his throne and the earth for his footstool and is the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity; whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and of whose dominion there is no end.

And yet he was the most marvelous instance of meekness, and humble quietness of spirit, that ever was, agreeable to the prophecies of him, Mat. 21:4, 5, “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.” And, agreeable to what Christ declares of himself, Mat. 11:29, “I am meek and lowly in heart.” And agreeable to what was manifest in his behavior, for there never was such an instance seen on earth of a meek behavior, under injuries and reproaches, and towards enemies, who when he was reviled, reviled not again. He had a wonderful spirit of forgiveness, was ready to forgive his worst enemies, and prayed for them with fervent and effectual prayers. With what meekness did he appear in the ring of soldiers that were contemning and mocking him. He was silent, and opened not his mouth, but went as a lamb to the slaughter. Thus is Christ a Lion in majesty and a Lamb in meekness.

3. There meet in the person of Christ the deepest reverence towards God and equality with God. Christ, when on earth, appeared full of holy reverence towards the Father. He paid the most reverential worship to him, praying to him with postures of reverence. Thus we read of his “kneeling down and praying,” Luke 22:41. This became Christ, as one who had taken on him the human nature, but at the same time he existed in the divine nature, whereby his person was in all respects equal to the person of the Father. God the Father has no attribute or perfection that the Son has not, in equal degree, and equal glory. These things meet in no other person but Jesus Christ.

4. There are conjoined in the person of Christ infinite worthiness of good, and the greatest patience under sufferings of evil. He was perfectly innocent, and deserved no suffering. He deserved nothing from God by any guilt of his own, and he deserved no ill from men. Yea, he was not only harmless and undeserving of suffering, but he was infinitely worthy — worthy of the infinite love of the Father, worthy of infinite and eternal happiness, and infinitely worthy of all possible esteem, love, and service from all men. And yet he was perfectly patient under the greatest sufferings that ever were endured in this world. Heb. 12:2, “He endured the cross, despising the shame.” He suffered not from his Father for his faults, but ours. He suffered from men not for his faults, but for those things on account of which he was infinitely worthy of their love and honor, which made his patience the more wonderful and the more glorious. 1 Pet. 2:20, etc. “For what glory is it, if when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently, but if when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently; this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who when he was reviled, reviled not again, when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” There is no such conjunction of innocence, worthiness, and patience under sufferings, as in the person of Christ.

5. In the person of Christ are conjoined an exceeding spirit of obedience, with supreme dominion over heaven and earth. Christ is the Lord of all things in two respects: he is so as God-man and Mediator, and thus his dominion is appointed, and given him of the Father. Having it by delegation from God, he is as it were the Father’s vicegerent. But he is Lord of all things in another respect, viz. as he is (by his original nature) God. So he is by natural right the Lord of all, and supreme over all as much as the Father. Thus, he has dominion over the world, not by delegation, but in his own right. He is not an under God, as the Arians suppose, but to all intents and purposes, supreme God.

And yet in the same person is found the greatest spirit of obedience to the commands and laws of God that ever was in the universe, which was manifest in his obedience here in this world. John 14:31 “As the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.” John 15:10, “Even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.” The greatness of his obedience appears in its perfection, and in his obeying commands of such exceeding difficulty. Never anyone received commands from God of such difficulty, and that were so great a trial of obedience, as Jesus Christ. One of God’s commands to him was, that he should yield himself to those dreadful sufferings that he underwent. See John 10:18, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.” — “This commandment received I of my Father.” And Christ was thoroughly obedient to this command of God. Heb. 5:8, “Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things that he suffered.” Phil. 2:8, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Never was there such an instance of obedience in man or angel as this, though he was at the same time supreme Lord of both angels and men.

6. In the person of Christ are conjoined absolute sovereignty and perfect resignation. This is another unparalleled conjunction. Christ, as he is God, is the absolute sovereign of the world, the sovereign disposer of all events. The decrees of God are all his sovereign decrees, and the work of creation, and all God’s works of providence, are his sovereign works. It is he that worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will. Col. 1:16, 17, “By him, and through him, and to him, are all things.” John 5:17, “The Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Mat. 8:3, “I will, be thou clean.”

But yet Christ was the most wonderful instance of resignation that ever appeared in the world. He was absolutely and perfectly resigned when he had a near and immediate prospect of his terrible sufferings, and the dreadful cup that he was to drink. The idea and expectation of this made his soul exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, and put him into such an agony that his sweat was as it were great drops or clots of blood, falling down to the ground. But in such circumstances he was wholly resigned to the will of God. Mat. 26:39, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” verse 42, “O my Father, if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.”

7. In Christ do meet together self-sufficiency, and an entire trust and reliance on God, which is another conjunction peculiar to the person of Christ. As he is a divine person, he is self-sufficient, standing in need of nothing. All creatures are dependent on him, but he is dependent on none, but is absolutely independent. His proceeding from the Father, in his eternal generation or filiation, argues no proper dependence on the will of the Father. For that proceeding was natural and necessary, and not arbitrary. But yet Christ entirely trusted in God: his enemies say that of him, “He trusted in God that he would deliver him,” Mat. 27:43. And the apostle testifies, 1 Pet. 2:23, “That he committed himself God.”

Third, such diverse excellencies are expressed in him towards men, that otherwise would have seemed impossible to be exercised towards the same object, as particularly these three, justice, mercy, and truth. The same that are mentioned in Psa. 85:10, “Mercy and truth are met together, righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” The strict justice of God, and even his revenging justice, and that against the sins of men, never was so gloriously manifested as in Christ. He manifested an infinite regard to the attribute of God’s justice, in that when he had a mind to save sinners, he was willing to undergo such extreme sufferings, rather than that their salvation should be to the injury of the honor of that attribute. And as he is the Judge of the world, he does himself exercise strict justice, he will not clear the guilty, nor at all acquit the wicked in judgment. Yet how wonderfully is infinite mercy towards sinners displayed in him! And what glorious and ineffable grace and love have been and are exercised by him, towards sinful men! Though he be the just Judge of a sinful world, yet he is also the Savior of the world. Though he be a consuming fire to sin, yet he is the light and life of sinners. Rom. 3:25, 26, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation, through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness, that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

So the immutable truth of God, in the threatenings of his law against the sins of men, was never so manifested as it is in Jesus Christ. For there never was any other so great a trial of the unalterableness of the truth of God in those threatenings, as when sin came to be imputed to his own Son. And then in Christ has been seen already an actual complete accomplishment of those threatenings, which never has been nor will be seen in any other instance, because the eternity that will be taken up in fulfilling those threatenings on others, never will be finished. Christ manifested an infinite regard to this truth of God in his sufferings. And in his judging the world, he makes the covenant of works, that contains those dreadful threatenings, his rule of judgment. He will see to it, that it is not infringed in the least jot or tittle. He will do nothing contrary to the threatenings of the law, and their complete fulfillment. And yet in him we have many great and precious promises, promises of perfect deliverance from the penalty of the law. And this is the promise that he has promised us, even eternal life. And in him are all the promises of God, yea, and Amen.

Having thus shown wherein there is an admirable conjunction of excellencies in Jesus Christ, I now proceed,

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Hospitable Nature of Jesus Christ



Dear reader, when you are around a sincerely hospitable person, do you feel a
sense of warmth and comfort? The reason why I am writing this article is to
encourage, uplift and share Jesus Christ with other people. I have noticed
that when people have this good quality about themselves, they do not really
want to compete with anyone.Their desire to cooperate and serve others speaks
a warm message of love.

A hospitable nature has an underling tone that can stabilize even the most
treacherous unsettled soul because we were made to serve one another and
just be available in so many different capacities.This is often very difficult for
me to understand; however, I find it interesting that as I look back on my life
I remember people with this quality. I especially remember the Godly
men and women that gave me generous and cordial welcome without resistance
because I saw the person of Jesus Christ working through them.

As I point to some obvious and obscure examples in our Savior Jesus Christ,
it should be reassuring to know that He has this attribute about Himself
because Jesus Christ is giving by nature.

Hospitality is within the family of giving.There are different forms of
generosity but hospitably concentrates on cordial welcome. Even an
unbeliever in Jesus Christ is attractive in his or her spirit when this
becoming trait is exercised with the right motive.

If we can grasp this truth of His love, I believe we will just want to take
a walk with our Savior Jesus Christ and find out more about Him. After all,
when Jesus Christ exercised this quality on earth, people wanted to obey
Him,learn from Him and follow His example.

I realize the number one characteristic of Jesus Christ is His Holy nature.
This is mentioned more times in the Bible in reference to God than any other
attribute ascribed to the Trinity. Love is mentioned many times too,but I
want to take a specific look at the hospitable nature of Jesus Christ.To
the best of my knowledge, almost nobody talks about this special quality of
Jesus Christ.

Let me just make a general observation. People wanted to be around
Jesus Christ on earth. When we look at heavenly scenes in the book of
Revelation, created creatures (both the Redeemed and the Angels) desire to
be around Him for worship. I believe there is something so compelling about
Jesus Christ that when we even see one aspect of Him, we are drawn to our
Savior.The question is, are we looking?

Jesus was not just hospitable in service but a person could talk to Him.
People wanted to ask Jesus Christ questions. People were not afraid to
approach Him and Jesus always gave an answer in one way or another.

The reason Jesus never had to drum up a crowd is because people were
naturally drawn to Him. The rich,poor, powerful and weak wanted to touch
Jesus Christ in one way or another. He may not have given them the answer
they wanted to hear, but that is beside the point.

The Pharisees, although they hated Jesus Christ kept coming back to Him.
I wonder in the midst of their distain if they were actually attracted to Jesus and
His hospitable nature.I believe the answer is yes.In the midst of their hate they
wanted to be around Him. Even a cold heart can recognize the love of God. How
much more a godly person in pursuit of Jesus Christ?

Of course one of the most obvious examples would be the feeding of the five
thousand in John chapter 6. Remember the five thousand were just men
according to verse ten. With women and children it might have been more than
15,000.He saw they were hungry and wanted to feed them.

When Jesus makes something He does it perfect. Not only was His desire that
the people in the crowd be full but they were eating the best fish and bread.
I call this pre-fall food. Before Adam and Eve fell in the garden they were eating
perfect food.

Jesus made sure the men,women and children were full and there
was plenty of food left over.Think about what I just said. When God shows us
His love, there is plenty more where that came from because Jesus Christ our
Father is overflowing with hospitability for us.His desire is to show us His love and
for us to love Him in return. That is why we were created in the first place.

This is why it is good to repent of our sins if we committed a transgression because
God wants to show us His forgiving love through His Son Jesus Christ. This is
why it is good to give God our problems or ask Him to help us with them because
the Holy Spirit desires to work through us and be apart of our life.

God wants us to draw near to Him because He wants to be close to us.This is the
nature of God. Many of the people just live their life on their own. How this must break
the heart of Jesus Christ.

Peter, who is one of my favorite characters in the Bible could not say
anything right for the most part but Jesus always managed to be open enough
to teach Him through his failures.I think I would have been scared of Peter
and just ran away but Jesus saw right through him and wanted to be with
Peter.Our Lord was so effective with Peter that every time he addressed
Jesus, Peter called Him Master.

Jesus not only desired to teach His disciples several lessons by walking on
water but He also was very relaxed and comfortable when He performed this
miracle. Divine authority with Godly warmth.

Peter asked Jesus if he could walk to Him and our Lord welcomed Him with
open arms.

At the end of Jesus' life He was truthful with Peter, telling him that
he would betray Him three times. Peter fulfilled the prophecy probably
because he was scared that he would be crucified. Jesus was even open with Peter
on his failures so as a result he was open with Jesus. He said never Lord
not me. Jesus knew,Peter did not.

This caused Peter to think about his relationship with Jesus Christ after
he denied Him three times. As a result Peter drew closer to Jesus Christ
all because his Savior was open with him.

If one were to compare Peter to Judas, there was a difference. Peter chose to repent
and embrace the love of Jesus Christ. After Judas betrayed Jesus he was so overwhelmed
with guilt that he hung himself. If only Judas would have understood, that if he had repented
Jesus would have forgiven him. He has that much love for people. This was the sin of unbelief.

Judas rejected the love and forgiveness of our Savior and as a result I believe he went to hell.
If only more people today would recognize the love of Jesus Christ, repent of their sins and
get saved. I often wonder how it must break the heart of God to see so many people rejecting Him.

Peter had the right response. He understood Jesus Christ loved him very much and that he
would be forgiving upon repentance. This love that Jesus had for Peter was so great that after he
repented, in John chapter 21 when Jesus Christ rose from the dead, both Peter and Jesus had a
conversation about love.

After the Resurrection in John chapter 21 the disciples were fishing. Jesus took
them right where they were and helped them catch an overabundance of fish by
asking them to put the net on the right hand side of the boat.

Jesus cooked them breakfast and gave Peter a memorable lesson on loving Him in a very
unique warm way. Then He went into telling Peter the way that he would
die...a crucifixion. First Peter betrays Jesus three times because he is
scared of that possibility. Then Jesus tells him it is going to happen and
at that point Peter does not seem to object.

I believe not only was Peter convicted, but after being under the
hospitable nature of Jesus Christ he became relaxed enough to accept his
fate. Do we understand that Jesus Christ is hospitable and open toward us as
His children?

The Holy Spirit speaks in a gentle way toward His children."What
I tell you in darkness,that speak ye in light : and what ye hear in the ear, that preach
ye upon the housetops." If somebody speaks in our ear, he or she whispers.

The Holy Spirit is a perfect gentlemen. I believe if we understand this truth we will be more
accepting of bad things that happen to us and drawn toward Jesus Christ.It is hard to
accept the evil that comes into our lives. By understanding how loving Jesus
Christ is toward us we can go through our trials. "I can do all things through Jesus Christ
which strengthens me." Philippians 4:13. His love is greater than our circumstances.
We cannot really handle the bad things that come into our life apart from Jesus Christ.
If we think we can, a deception is taking place in our lives.

Before Jesus casted out a legion of demons from the Gadarene demoniac they (the demons)
begged Jesus to send them into the swine.I was perplexed when the Holy Spirit brought me
to this passage because I am still scratching my head on this one. All I will simply say is
Jesus did grant their request. I think at the very least this is worth thinking about.
Remember, demons show no mercy.

Zacchaeus climbed a tree to see Jesus, then they got together and had
lunch. When it came to healings I don't remember Jesus ever saying no.
Matthew was a tax collector. At that point in history they took
way too much money. Jesus came by, looked at him and said two words to
him.... "Follow Me."Then Matthew got up and left everything to follow
Jesus. There must have been something really appealing about Jesus Christ
for Matthew to have left everything to follow the Savior of mankind after
only two words.

How could Jesus hold a conversion so long with the Samaritan women and be so
permanently effective with her if His Spirit was not open and hospitable?

Thomas did not believe in the Resurrection until he saw with his own two
eyes the nail marks in Jesus' wrists.After Thomas saw the evidence he
probably felt convicted in the midst of his doubt; however, I would like to
point out that Jesus still welcomed him, understanding that Thomas was
struggling with his faith.

If one does not know Jesus Christ,take a good look at Him. Look at how
loving, open and hospitable Jesus Christ really is toward you."Jesus Christ
the same yesterday,and today,and for ever." Hebrews 13:8. The same
principles that I just showed you from the Bible apply for us today.

Jesus Christ desires people to accept Him into their hearts. As far as the
rapture is concerned, all I can say is that we are really close to His coming.
It is going to happen very soon and you do not want to miss this glorious event.
Things are happening very fast at this point.I would be ready at any moment.

After the Rapture, I am so convinced that Jesus is going to welcome His body
of Believers with such hospitable arms that we will know this could only be the
grace of God.He will be overjoyed to see us, and I know we will feel the same.

Love in Christ
Bob D.

Monday, January 12, 2009

SATAN'S MEETING: (Read even if you're busy)

Satan called a worldwide convention of demons.

In his opening address he said, "We can't keep Christians from going to church."

"We can't keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth."

"We can't even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their Savior."

"Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken."

"So let them go to their churches; let them have their covered dish dinners, BUT steal their time, so they don't have time to develop a relationship with Jesus Christ.."

"This is what I want you to do," said the devil:

"Distract them from gaining hold of their Savior and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!"

"How shall we do this?" his demons shouted.

"Keep them busy in the non-essentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds," he answered.

"Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow."

"Persuade the wives to go to work for long hours and the husbands to work 6-7 days each week, 10-12 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles."

"Keep them from spending time with their children."

"As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!"

"Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that still, small voice."

"Entice them to play the radio or cassette player whenever they drive." To keep the TV, VCR, CDs and their PCs going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world plays non-biblical music constantly.."

"This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ."

"Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers."

"Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day."

"Invade their driving moments with billboards."

"Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.."

"Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what's important, and they'll become dissatisfied with their wives. "

"Keep the wives too tired to love their husbands at night."

"Give them headaches too! "

"If they don't give their husbands the love they need, they will begin to look elsewhere."

"That will fragment their families quickly!"

"Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas."

"Give them an Easter bunny so they won't talk about His resurrection and power over sin and death."

"Even in their recreation, let them be excessive."

"Have them return from their recreation exhausted."

"Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God's creation. Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead."

"Keep them busy, busy, busy!"

"And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, involve them in gossip and small talk so that they leave with troubled consciences. "

"Crowd their lives with so many good causes they have no time to seek power from Jesus."

"Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause."

"It will work!"

"It will work!"

It was quite a plan!

The demons went eagerly to their assignments causing Christians everywhere to get busier and more rushed, going here and there.

Having little time for their God or their families.

Having no time to tell others about the power of Jesus to change lives..

I guess the question is, has the devil been successful in his schemes?

You be the judge!!!!!

Does "BUSY" mean: B-eing U-nder S-atan's Y-oke?

Please pass this on, if you aren't too BUSY!

IF YOU LOVE JESUS, you know what to do...
[Taken from author unknown]

Posted by Craig

Thursday, January 08, 2009

More GREAT QUOTES
-(Mostly) Sermonindex.net

"Many have an idyllic and sweet idea of revival. And they pray to
this end. But our prayer should be to expose sin and lies, first in
our own hearts and then in the churches. To pray for a great
conviction of sin and that man would crumble and surrender at the
terrifying presence of a Holy God. Then they would find the sweet,
rapturous joy of being at peace with their God!... Do you still want
revival? We must pray and PREACH to this end. If we are silent,
or silenced, many in the churches will perish." - Jeri Woods.

“To the church, a revival means humiliation, a bitter knowledge of
unworthiness and an open and humiliating confession of sin on
the part of her ministers and people. It is not the easy and glorious
thing many think it to be, who imagine it fills pews and reinstates
the church in power and authority.... It comes to scorch before it
heals; it comes to condemn ministers and people for their unfaithful
witness, for their selfish living, for their neglect of the cross, and
to call them to daily renunciation, to an evangelical poverty and to
a deep and daily consecration….Because it says nothing to them
of power such as they have learned to love, or of ease, or of
success; it accuses them of sin, it tells them they are dead, it
calls them to awake, to renounce the world and to follow Christ.”
- James Burns in his 1909 book 'Revival, Their Laws and Leaders'.

"Some people become tired at the end of ten minutes or half an
hour of prayer. What will they do when they have to spend Eternity
in the presence of God? We must begin the habit here and
become used to being with God." - Sundar Singh

"Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all
that is seen and temporal. Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm
the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even
ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God."
- Andrew Murray

"Continuing instant in prayer (Rom. 12:12). The Greek is a
metaphor taken from hunting dogs that never give over the game
till they have their prey." - Thomas Brooks

"There is no power like that of prevailing prayer, of Abraham
pleading for Sodom, Jacob wrestling in the stillness of the night,
Moses standing in the breach, Hannah intoxicated with sorrow,
David heartbroken with remorse and grief, Jesus in sweat of blood.
Add to this list from the records of the church your personal
observation and experience, and always there is the cost of
passion unto blood. Such prayer prevails. It turns ordinary mortals
into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It
brings life. It brings God." - Samuel Chadwick

"To strive in prayer means to struggle through those hindrances
which would restrain or even prevent us entirely from continuing in
persevering prayer. It means to be so watchful at all times that we
can notice when we become slothful in prayer and that we go to
the Spirit of prayer to have this remedied. In this struggle, too, the
decisive factor is the Spirit of prayer." - O. Hallesby

"How hard is it sometimes to get leave of hearts to seek God!
Jesus Christ went more willingly to the cross than we do to the
throne of grace." - Thomas Watson

"Oh brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer;
rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast,
dinner, tea, and supper - and sleep too - than not pray. And we
must not talk about prayer, we must pray in right earnest. The
Lord is near. He comes softly while the virgins slumber."
- Andrew A. Bonar

"No erudition, no purity of diction, no width of mental outlook, no
flowers of eloquence, no grace of person can atone for lack of fire.
Prayer ascends by fire. Flame gives prayer access as well as
wings, acceptance as well as energy. There is no incense without
fire; no prayer without flame." - E. M. Bounds

"A man can not lead others where he is not willing to go himself.
Therefore, beware of the prayerless church leader who no longer
readily admits his own need for more of the person and power of
Jesus Christ. Only a seeking, praying heart can truly encourage
spiritual HUNGER in others!" – David Smithers

"I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach."
- J. H. Jowett