Saturday, October 30, 2010



"Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." Hebrews 2:17

What heart can conceive or tongue express the infinite depths of the Redeemer's condescension in thus being made like unto his brethren--that the Son of God should assume a finite nature, subject to the sinless infirmities necessarily connected with a time-state and a dwelling on earth; that he should leave the bosom of his Father in which he had lain before all worlds, and should consent to become a denizen of this world of tears; to breathe earthly air; to be an eye-witness of, and himself share in human sorrows; to have before his eyes the daily spectacle of human sins; to be banished so long from his native home; to endure hunger, weariness, and thirst; to be subject to the persecutions of men, the flight of all his disciples, and the treachery of one among them whose hand had been with him on the table; not to hide his face from shame and spitting, but to be mocked, struck, buffeted, and scourged, and at last to die an agonizing death
between two malefactors, amid scorn and infamy, and covered, as men thought, with everlasting confusion and disgrace!

O what infinite condescension and mercy are displayed in these sufferings and sorrows of an incarnate God! The Lord give us faith to look to him as suffering them for our sake!

Saturday, October 16, 2010



All of us should be deeply disturbed that we hear so little direct preaching upon the cross of Christ. Let us here remember Fanny Crosby's lines:"Near the cross! O Lamb of God, Bring its scenes before me." And those of Isaac Watts in his "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." These words must grip our hearts in awe and amazement. These, and similar, Christian hymns, cause us to ask ourselves, Have we ever truly "viewed" the cross in all its glory? Indeed, "Did e'er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?" And, "Help me walk from day to day, With its shadows o'er me."

Aramaic words often appear in Scripture, such as "Jegar-Sahadutha" ("heap of witness," Genesis 31:47), and "Golgotha" ("place of a skull," Matthew 27:33). The Latin word "
Calvary" is found only one time (Luke 23:33), the Greek word being Kranion (Skull). What strange words these are: "Golgotha," "Calvary," "Skull." Such words "witness" to us plainly that when the Mediator gave His life, something took place that day that no one can fully explain. Murderous men in hatred crucified Jesus of Nazareth, but those men did not realize they were fulfilling Old Testament prophecies (Matthew 27:35). And further, in the fury of Jehovah's holy wrath, Christ died a criminal's death (capital punishment) for crimes He did not even commit. Who can understand such substitution? No wonder we need "its scenes" brought before us! No wonder we absolutely must "survey the wondrous cross."

"Him, being delivered [given up] by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23). What more strange words! Who can fathom this? "Delivered by God's counsel and decree." "Taken by wicked hands and crucified." What mystery here! God ruled over the event, but men acted out of their own choice. Men hated Christ, and they cried out, "Crucify Him," though He was the only perfect Man who ever lived. How could that be? Solely because it was the will of Almighty God. That's how Peter described the event, preaching to multitudes on the day of Pentecost. We need not doubt it, for the whole Book of God testifies that it was so (such as Genesis 22:14, I Peter 1:20, Revelation 13:8).

But still we ask, Why did it have to be? A sovereign hatred of sin is the answer, God manifesting His holiness, righteousness, and justice. "The just for the unjust." Pure grace on display. There is no other possible answer to the mission of the Lord Jesus Christ to the earth. "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost"
(Luke 19:10). It had to be the way of the cross, for there was no other way! And there, all glory to God, "Love and mercy found me." We could not find God, being depraved and deprived. But Jesus "came down" from heaven that many of the sons of earth might be rescued (John 6:38-40). And the great glory of the cross is that Christ perfectly "finished the work" He was sent to do (John 17:4). His holy mission was accomplished. He did not fail. He could not fail. Christ saved all of "His people" there at Calvary! "It is finished." God then raised Him from the dead!

By faith, let us camp now around Jerusalem's Skull Place. May the
Spirit of God melt us to tears of contrition as we "Behold the Lamb" and "Behold the Man." Roman soldiers "watched Him there," "feared greatly" at "those things that were done," and confessed, "Truly this was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54). May we too "fear greatly" as we view the God-Man dying at Calvary! What "scenes" come before us, and what "beams" shed around us! And with Edward Denny let us sing,

To Calvary, Lord, in spirit now, Our grateful souls repair,
To dwell upon Thy dying love, And taste its sweetness there.

Monday, October 4, 2010



All who know me realize I love the Puritans. The original British ones, and their heirs such as Spurgeon, Lloyd-Jones, and some other modern preachers and writers. The Puritans studied the scriptures, preached the scriptures, and wrote books on the scriptures. The objective of most of them was to purify the church, including the ministry. Some of the Puritans I like better than others, but almost all had something to contribute to Bible study. In this case we want to look at a short clip of Richard Baxter. The Puritans were mostly very wordy, but little nuggets stand out in all their writings. Here, Baxter hits the nail on the head regarding sins of the ministry in the 1600s. He even hits the mark on the sins of the ministry in the 2000s. Read and ponder.

"Too many who have undertaken the work of the ministry do so obstinately proceed in self-seeking, negligence, pride, and other sins, that it is become our necessary duty to admonish them. If we saw that such would reform without reproof, we would gladly forbear the publishing of their faults. But when reproofs themselves prove so ineffectual, that they are more offended at the reproof than at the sin, and had rather that we should cease reproving than that themselves should cease sinning, I think it is time to sharpen the remedy. For what else should we do? To give up our brethren as incurable were cruelty, as long as there are further means to be used. We must not hate them, but plainly rebuke them, and not suffer sin upon them. To bear with the vices of the ministry is to promote the ruin of the Church; for what speedier way is there for the depraving and undoing of the people, than the depravity of their guides?"

From The Reformed Pastor-- Richard Baxter