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It was the High Priest offering up His soul to God that said, “Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.” And He uttered it with a loud voice, to show that strength still remained in Him, and that, by His own authority, He released the spirit from the lacerated and wounded body.

The curse was, “Thou shalt die;” and now it was exhausted, and sin annihilated. Now heaven and earth were reunited; God and man were at one again.

—George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 182.

Lord’s Day 20, 2018

I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints. —Jude 3 The Old Story. Come and hear the grand old story, Story of the ages past; All earth’s annals far surpassing, Story that shall ever last. Noblest, truest, Oldest, newest, Fairest, rarest, Saddest, gladdest, That this earth has ever known. Christ, the Father’s Son eternal, Once was born, a Son of man; He, who never knew beginning, Here on earth a life began. Here in David’s lowly city, Tenant of the manger-bed, Child of everlasting ages, Mary’s infant, lays his head. There he lies, in mighty weakness, David’s Lord and David’s Son; Creature and Creator meeting, Heaven and earth conjoined in one. Here at Nazareth he dwelleth, ’Mid the sin of sinful men; Sorrowful, forlorn, and hated, And yet hating none again. Here in Galilee he wanders, Through its teeming cities moves, Climbs its mountains, walks its waters, Blesses, comforts, saves, and loves. Words of truth and deeds of kindness, Miracles of grace and might, Scatter fragrance all around him, Shine with heaven’s most glorious light. In Gethsemane behold him In the agony of prayer; Kneeling, pleading, groaning, bleeding, Soul and body prostrate there. All alone lie wrestles yonder, Close beside him stands the cup, Bitterest cup that man e’er tasted; Yet for us he drinks it up. In the Roman hall behold him Stand at Pilate’s judgment-seat, Mocked and beaten, crowned and wounded; Jew and Gentile join in hate. On to Golgotha he hastens; Yonder stands his cross of woe; From his hands, and feet, and forehead, See the precious life-blood flow. Sinless, he our sin is bearing, All our sorrows on him lie, And his stripes our wounds are healing, God, for man, consents to die. It is finished! See his body Laid alone in Joseph’s tomb; ’Tis for us he lieth yonder, Prince of Light enwrapt in gloom. But in vain the grave has bound him, Death has barred its gate in vain; See, for us the Saviour rises, See, for us he bursts the chain. Hear we then the grand old story, True as God’s all-faithful word, Best of tidings to the guilty, Of a dead and risen Lord. ’Tis eternal life to know it, Light and love are shining there, While we look, and gaze, and listen, All its joy and peace we share. Hear we then the grand old story, And in listening learn the love, Flowing through it to the guilty, From our pardoning God above. Glory be to God the Father, Glory be to God the Son, Glory be to God the Spirit, Great Jehovah, Three in One. —Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, Second Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about #LordsDay from:thethirstytheo !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: O Father, Thou Whose Love

O Father, Thou Whose Love Profound O Father, Thou whose love profound a ransom for our souls hath found, before Thy throne we sinners bend; to us Thy pardoning love extend. Almighty Son, Incarnate Word, our Prophet, Priest, Redeemer, Lord, before Thy throne we sinners bend; to us Thy saving grace extend. Eternal Spirit, by whose breath the soul is raised from sin and death, before Thy throne we sinners bend; to us Thy quickening pow'r extend. Jehovah! Father, Spirit, Son, mysterious Godhead, Three in One, before Thy throne we sinners bend; grace, pardon, life, to us extend. —Hymns to the Living God (Religious Affections Ministries, 2017). Suggested tune: Rockingham The current hymnal for this series is Hymns to the Living God, recently published by Religious Affections Ministries. This is such a good hymnal that I’m pretty sure I could happily post every hymn it contains, but I’ll be limiting selections to hymns I have never posted here before, especially those unfamiliar to me (of which there are many). For more information and to purchase this hymnal, visit Religious Affections Ministries.

The Bitterness in the Cup

Too often, the physical suffering of Christ is made the center of his final sacrifice. Passion plays are enacted, films like The Passion of the Christ are produced, and viewers think they have seen an accurate presentation of his suffering. But the truth is much greater than any image can portray. The bitterest ingredient in the Lord’s cup was the soul-trouble which He experienced direct from the hand of God. There were indeed actings of His own holy nature which brought with them the deepest sorrow, as may easily be collected from the consideration that One who was inflamed with zeal for His Father’s glory, and who breathed the deepest love for holiness, could not but be affected with lively sorrow, when He discerned sin in all its deformity, and furthermore felt that though not His own personally, it belonged in a sense to Him, because it belonged as a personal property to those who were His. And if a mere sight of sin is often painful and well-nigh overwhelming to us though never called to feel its doom, what a hell it must have been to the holy nature of Jesus to see before Him and upon Him by imputation the sins of all the elect. This made Him the man of sorrows. But the most insupportable part of His sorrows was that He had to encounter the frown of an angry Judge, an agony and a desertion which constitute the ingredients of the second death. He tasted death for every one of the many sons who are to be brought to glory (Heb. ii. 9); enduring in a little space what soon overwhelms the lost with unending despair. This wrung from Him the cry in the garden already noticed, and made Him offer up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears (Heb. v. 7); pressing from Him the bloody sweat*, the preternatural character of which testified to a suffering which no other man suffered and no mere man could have borne. This desertion reached its climax on the cross: but faith was kept in lively exercise in His human soul amidst it all. During those awful hours on the cross when made a curse for us, the Lord Jesus sustained that desertion, which was just the endurance of the death of the soul, when sin separates between God and the soul, and when God hides His face from us. —George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 180–181. * Traditional explanations of hematohidrosis notwithstanding, I don’t believe Jesus sweat actual blood, as Luke 22:44 is usually interpreted, but doesn’t actually say. The expression, “His sweat became like drops of blood,” is a simile, and neither the immediate context nor any other text gives us any reason to read it otherwise. In any case, the point is the same: The mental burden wrought by the sure knowledge of impending judgment was so extreme as to manifest physically. Jesus perspired profusely, not from heat or exertion, but from pure mental agony, anticipating the pouring out of God’s wrath in consequence of our sin heaped upon him.

No Abstract Atonement

In our theology of the atonement, we use the language of substitution, and this is appropriate—Christ truly fulfilled the law and bore the penalty of sin in the place of sinners, providing a righteousness that we did not possess, and satisfying the wrath of God against sin. But substitution does not tell the whole story. It was not only for sin in a vague, abstract, indeterminate sense that He was delivered up, but in the room of the sinners given to Him, and whose place He representatively occupied. It was only in their room and stead that Jesus was placed at the bar as a criminal. And this was a real transaction before the tribunal of God, not a semblance of a trial. The sinner was there, but Jesus took his place. And only in this way can we explain either the prophetical sayings which describe Him as wounded for our transgressions (Isa. liii. 5), or those apostolic sayings which represent believers as co-crucified (Gal. ii. 20), as co-dying (Rom. vi. 8), and as suffering in the flesh (1 Peter iv. 1), when in point of fact the Lord appears to human view single and alone in the historic narrative of the evangelists. —George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 171. Therefore, believers can know not only that Jesus died specifically for us, but that we died in him, so that “I am crucified with Christ” is not a hypothetical proposition that became reality when we believed, but an historical event that actually took place on the cross. “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Yes, I was.

The Humility of Christ

British Prime Minister Clement Atlee was once described (possibly by Winston Churchill) as “a modest man who has a great deal to be modest about.” Whether or not Churchill is the originator of the quip, it is certainly true of all of us. Though we all harbor a great propensity for pride, we all have great cause for humility. Conversely, there is one in whom no reason for humility can be found, yet who embodies the virtue in everything he has done. “I seek not mine own glory” (John viii. 56). In this humility lies the foundation of Christ’s moral excellence. The humility of Jesus found expression in a constant renunciation of His own honour. It shows that He lived in another element and before another public than that of human opinion, which attaches weight only to that which is ostentatious, or comes recommended by success or marked superiority in the race of life. His public before which He acted was not human opinion, but the eye of His Father, before whose perfections all the distinctions of man, as well as all their praise and honour, are little and puny indeed. He did not wish to rise, but to abase Himself: “I am among you as one that serveth.” Though so exalted and excellent, He was more humble than any creature in the universe. —George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 164–165.

Labor Redeemed

Every aspect of human existence, however mundane, has been redeemed by Christ. He entered also, as we have every reason to conclude, into the primeval curse of labour. When we find Him designated not only the carpenter’s son, but the carpenter (Mark vi. 3), the language plainly refers to the fact, that during the course of His private life the Lord Jesus followed the occupation of a carpenter. We are constrained, both on exegetical and on dogmatic grounds, to decide for this interpretation. There seems no ground to doubt that Jesus earned His bread by the sweat of His brow, whether we look at the plain words used by the evangelist, or at the necessity devolving on the substitute of sinners of entering into every part of our curse. And He has in consequence transformed the curse of labour into a blessing, and sanctified not only manual and mental labour in every form in which it can be viewed, but also the entire earthly calling to all His followers till the end of time. —George Smeaton, Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement (Banner of Truth, 2009), 138. This should not be taken to mean that labor itself is a part of the curse. Adam was given a job to do in Eden (Genesis 2:15). Indeed, God is said to have completed and rested “from all his work which he had done” (vv. 1–3). He is working even now (Philippians 2:13), and surely, he is not subject to the curse. Work, therefore, is good. The “curse of labour” refers to the difficult and often unproductive nature of our labor in a world cursed with sin (Genesis 3:17–19).

The Baptism of the Sin-Bearer
Lord’s Day 19, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: Let Us, with a Gladsome Mind
My Opinion
According to the Order of Nature
On “Son of Man”

This Stinks
Lord’s Day 17, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: O Lord, Our Lord
Necessity of Atonement according to Jesus
Restitution Required
Atonement Assumed
No Lttle Sins

To Bear Sin
Lord’s Day 18, 2018
In Preparation for the Lord’s Day: O Praise Ye the Lord
Who Killed Jesus?
About Those “Missing Verses”
Little Old Lady Who?
Reading between the Lines


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