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Propitiation

(3 posts)

Christ Died for God

Thursday··2018·07·26
For whom did Christ die? If you’re a Christian, your first thought is probably “for me,” or, if you’re thinking more theologically, “for his people” (Matthew 1:21). Neither of those answers are wrong, but neither is ultimate. Viewing the cross from the perspective of God is not the usual way of thinking about it. We almost exclusively think of the cross in regard to our own lives—focusing on what it means for those who believe. “Christ died for the ungodly, we say (Rom. 5:6). “Christ died for us” (v. 8). “Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor. 15:3). He died for our salvation. He died for our eternal benefit. He died to rescue us from judgment and hell. All of those statements are absolutely true, and certainly we should celebrate what the cross means for us. But looking at the atonement from heaven’s perspective, we also need to recognize and confess that Christ died for God. And all those other truisms hinge on this fact. “[Christ] gave Himself for our sins . . . according to the will of our God and Father” (Gal. 1:4). “What the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin” (Rom. 8:3). The Father “did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (v. 32). Jesus Himself said, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). “I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (6:38). “My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father” (10:17–18). God sent Christ to earth to die. . . . Everything points to God. Again, that was Jesus’ clear perspective throughout His earthly life. On the last night before He died, He prayed to His Father, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4). He never sought anything other than the glory of the One who sent Him” (John 7:18). He said this about the Father’s will: “I always do those things that please Him” (John 8:29). “I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge, and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30). Everything Jesus ever did was for God. Including His death. . . . We tend to think too much of what the cross means to us and too little of what it meant to God. In order for the cross to mean anything to us, it must mean everything to God. The better we understand this, the more clearly we understand the cross. —John MacArthur, The Gospel according to Paul (Thomas Nelson, 2017), 154–156.

Lord’s Day 3, 2019

Sunday··2019·01·20
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? —Romans 8:33–34 Hymn VIII. The Propitiation. Thy anger, for what I have done, The gospel forbids me to fear: My sins thou hast charg’d on thy Son: Thy justice to him I refer: Be mindful of Jesus and me! My pardon he suffer’d to buy; And what he procur’d on the tree, For me he demands in the sky. —The Complete Works of Augustus Toplady: To the Holy Spirit (Sprinkle Publications, 1987). 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.

Boasting Excluded

Wednesday··2019·01·23
What do you think about the Christ, whose son is He? —Matthew 22:42 What think you then, if I tell you, that you are to be justified freely through faith in Jesus Christ, without any regard to any work or fitness foreseen in us at all? For salvation is the free gift of God, I know no fitness in man but a fitness to be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone forever. Our righteousnesses, in God’s sight, are but as filthy rags. He cannot away with them. Our holiness, if we have any, is not the cause but the effect of our justification in God’s sight. ‘We love God, because he first loved us.’ We must not come to God as the proud Pharisee did, bringing in as it were a reckoning of our services. We must come in the temper and language of the poor Publican, smiting upon our breasts and saying, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’ For Jesus Christ justifies us whilst we are ungodly. He came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. The poor in spirit only, they who are willing to go out of themselves and rely wholly on the righteousness of another, are so blessed as to be members of his kingdom. The righteousness, the whole righteousness of Jesus Christ, is to be imputed to us, instead of our own, ‘for we are not under the law but under grace. And to as many as walk after this rule, peace be on them’ for they and they only are the true Israel of God. In the great work of man’s redemption, boasting is entirely excluded. Which could not be, if only one of our works was to be joined with the merits of Christ. Our salvation is all of God, from the beginning to the end. It is not of works, lest any man should boast. Man has no hand in it. It is Christ who is to be made to us of God the Father, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and eternal redemption. His active as well as his passive obedience, is to be applied to poor sinners. He has fulfilled all righteousness in our stead, that we might become the righteousness of God in him. . . . And the very moment we do apprehend it by a lively faith, that very moment we may be assured, that the blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed us from all sin. ‘For the promise is to us and to our children and to as many as the Lord our God shall call.’ . . . For the righteousness of Jesus Christ is an everlasting, as well as a perfect righteousness. It is as effectual to all who believe in him now, as formerly. And so it will be, till time shall be no more. —George Whitefield, “What Think Ye of Christ?” in Lee Gatiss (Ed.), The Sermons of George Whitefield (Crossway, 2012), 1:409–410.

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