Thursday, July 31, 2014

Christ is All in All: Insight from a Forgotten Baptist Pastor


Thomas Wilcox (1622–1687) was the pastor of a small Baptist church in the city of London. For whatever reason, very few details of his life have been preserved for us. There’s no funeral sermon or collection of personal letters. There are no biographical references in the writings of his contemporaries. All that remains of this obscure Baptist pastor is one solitary sermon entitled A Guide to Eternal Glory. In this sermon, Wilcox encourages his readers to fix their eyes on Christ. What does he mean? We can sum up the answer in three statements.

We fix our eyes on Christ by applying his blood
“Keep the eye constantly upon Christ’s blood,” says Wilcox. Why? As he explains, the value of Christ’s blood is twofold (Heb. 9:14). First, Christ’s blood makes atonement for sin by satisfying God’s justice, appeasing God’s wrath, and securing God’s mercy. Second, Christ’s blood cleanses the conscience from dead works—that is, sin’s guilt and defilement. How? Christ’s blood removes the guilt of sin (justification) and the defilement of sin (sanctification). For this reason, Wilcox pleads with us to “not keep guilt in the conscience, but apply the blood of Christ.”

We fix our eyes on Christ by prizing his righteousness
“The more you look at Christ, the Sun of righteousness,” writes Wilcox, “the stronger and clearer the eye of faith will be.” Why? We stand to Christ in the same relation as the members of a physical body stand to their head, and Christ stands to us in the same relation as the head of a physical body stands to its members (Eph. 4:15). As a result of this “intimate conjunction,” the body has communion with the head. In other words, we share in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. We share in his names and titles. Moreover, we share in his righteousness. All those who are in Christ are righteous, because they are one with the Righteous One. As Wilcox declares, this alone is “the foundation for our hope,” adding, “Christ’s infinite satisfaction is our justification before God.”

We fix our eyes on Christ by esteeming his priesthood
“See Christ your peace leaving you peace when he went up to heaven.” In this exhortation, Wilcox is primarily thinking of the benefits of Christ’s priesthood: his oblation (sacrifice) and intercession (prayer). Significantly, these two aspects of Christ’s priesthood correspond to the high priest’s “double office” under the Mosaic Covenant, whereby he offered the blood of the sacrifice outside the holy place (oblation) and presented the blood of the sacrifice inside the holy place (intercession). Christ’s oblation is offered to make atonement by giving to God a full and adequate satisfaction for our sin. Christ’s intercession guarantees the application of all that he procured by his atonement. It’s this ministry of intercession that Wilcox has in view when he declares, “See Christ praying for you, using his interest with the Father for you.”

Conclusion
Knowing that we’re “absolutely nothing” while Christ is “all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28), Wilcox encourages us to fix our eyes upon Christ. “This alone,” says he, “is true religion: to rest everything upon the everlasting mountains of God’s love in Christ; to live continually in the sight of Christ’s infinite merit and righteousness; to see all the vileness of your sin pardoned; to see your polluted self accepted continually; to trample upon your own righteousness, efforts, and privileges as abominable; and to be found continually in the righteousness of Christ alone, rejoicing in the ruin of your own righteousness and the spoiling of your own excellencies; so that Christ alone, as Mediator, may be exalted upon his throne.”

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Husband's Prayer

The following article was first posted at http://cbmw.org/men/manhood/a-husbands-prayer/


A while back, this statement from F. F. Bruce really grabbed my attention: “It is in the closest and most familiar relationships of daily living that the reality of one’s Christian profession will normally be manifest.” Isn’t this stating the obvious? Yes it is, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the blatantly obvious. Many of us give the impression (consciously or not) that the heart-beat of the Christian faith is found in solving theological puzzles, pursuing grandiose experiences, enduring great hardships, mastering spiritual disciplines, or engaging in cutting-edge ministries. While I’m not disparaging any of those things, I want to make it clear that they don’t represent the heart-beat of the Christian faith. This place of distinction belongs to what F. F. Bruce calls “the closest and most familiar relationships of daily living.”

As a married man, what’s my closest relationship? This isn’t rocket science. The answer is obvious: my wife. For me, this reality sheds fresh light on a well-worn portion of Scripture: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Eph. 5:25). Love left a glorious crown, walked in our flesh, and took our infirmities. Love gave sight to the blind, speech to the mute, hearing to the deaf, strength to the lame, and life to the dead. Love was hungry, thirsty, and weary. Love was despised and rejected. Love had nowhere to lay his head. Love was sorrowful unto death. Love was betrayed, arrested, and condemned. Love was scourged with cords and pierced with nails. Love climbed a shameful cross. Love bore our guilt and shame. That’s how “Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”

Acutely aware of the disparity between this high calling and my utter inability, I find myself praying—a lot. That’s a good thing. Recently, I stumbled upon a prayer by George Swinnock—a seventeenth century English Puritan (of the Presbyterian variety, if that means anything to you). Now, an important caveat: I’m not endorsing everything Swinnock ever wrote about men, women, and marriage. If he were alive today, I’d take issue with him on a point or two. But, that being said, his prayer really resonated with me. I trust you’ll see why in the following extract—heavily edited for all those unfamiliar with olde engli┼┐h.

“Father, you have commanded me to love my wife as Christ loves his bridethe church. His love is purethere isn’t the least shadow of impurity in his love. His love is constant—there isn’t anything that can break the cords of his love. His love is fervent—there isn’t anything that can rival the depths of his love. His desire and delight are in his bride alone. Oh, that I might follow my Savior’s example! I pray that my love for my wife might be like Christ’s love for his bride. How diligently did Christ secure her salvation! How willingly did he shed his blood to cleanse her! How affectionately does he entreat her to be holy! How fervently does he ask his Father to make her holy! How plentifully does he bestow his Spirit upon her to produce holiness in her! He gave himself for her that he might redeem her and purify her. All of his tears and prayers are for her. His birth, his life, his death, his resurrection, and his intercession are all for her. He doesn’t consider himself complete until she is with him in glory. Father, I want my love for the one whom I call ‘my love’ to be like this. I want my heart to be knit to my wife. I want my love for her be like the sunalways shining in full strength.”

Amen. Not bad for an old Puritan! When we love our wives like this, our marriages mirror a far greater reality—namely, the relationship between Christ and his bride. That is to say, our marriages become a living picture of the gospel. An appreciation of this reality liberates marriage from its modern-day caricature as a trap, chore, or burden. It frees marriage from the selfish, self-centered, self-serving, self-gratifying convenience or inconvenience that it has become for many. It elevates marriage into the realm of the divine. And it sets marriage apart as one of the most sacred callings the world has ever known. May the reality of our Christian profession be manifest in our “closest and most familiar” relationship!

Stephen Yuille

Friday, June 27, 2014

Four Views on Christian Spirituality

This review was first published at Books at a Glace: www.booksataglance.com




The purpose of the Counterpoints series is to provide a forum for comparing different views on issues deemed important to Christians. Recognizing the recent surge of interest in the topic of spirituality, Counterpoints has produced the present volume: Four Views on Christian Spirituality.

In the introduction, Bruce Demarest sets the stage for the four views by identifying the cause of the recent rise of interest in spirituality: “dissatisfaction with materialism and consumerism” (p. 11). Increasingly, people are aware of the emptiness intrinsic to a naturalist worldview and, as a result, are looking for meaning beyond the natural realm. As Demarest explains, this trend has produced three broad “options” for seekers: Secular Spirituality—the quest for self-realization; Religious Spirituality—the pursuit of the absolute in non-Christian religions; and Christian Spirituality (pp. 12–20). He identifies four traditions within this last category: Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Progressive Protestantism, and Evangelicalism.

The book explores how these four traditions address what it means to live out a relationship with God (p. 25). Expectedly, it follows the format of other books in the Counterpoints series: one contributor presents his position while the other three respond.

The first contributor, Bradley Nassif, represents Eastern Orthodoxy. He begins by identifying three key-aspects of Orthodox spirituality: beauty, liturgy, and doxology (pp. 27–28). He proceeds to identify the heart of Orthodox spirituality as the gospel “centered on Jesus Christ in his Trinitarian relations” (p. 32). This leads to a discussion of Orthodoxy’s understanding of gospel emphases, spiritual practices, church dogmas, and—of course—deification: “the goal that integrates all Eastern Orthodox theology and spirituality” (p. 53).

The second contributor, Scott Hahn, represents Roman Catholicism. He maintains that the “foundation” of Catholic spirituality is “divine filiation,” which encompasses the “fact” of salvation: justification, sanctification, the remission of sin, the infusion of grace, and spiritual regeneration (p. 75). Hahn affirms that God is a family. Baptism is the door into this family. Mary is the mother of this family. The saints on earth and in heaven are siblings in this family. And God directs his family through the visible creation, meaning he works through the seven sacraments of the church (p. 89). These sacraments, therefore, are central to Catholic spirituality.

The third contributor, Joseph Driskell, represents Progressive Protestantism. He identifies a number of factors that have shaped this tradition’s spirituality. The first is an approach to biblical interpretation based on “form,” “source,” and “redaction” criticism (p. 119). The second is a rejection of supernatural theism; in short, God is not a person out there, but a force right here (p. 123). The third factor is a portrayal of Christ as merely an “inspired leader,” who proclaimed an ethic of love even in the face of martyrdom (p. 124). The fourth factor is a concept of the Holy Spirit as “the sense of goodwill and well-being that occurs as any community of friends and associates gathers for fellowship” (p. 133). Emptied of its supernatural emphasis, Driskell explains that Progressive Protestantism is committed to a spirituality of social justice.

The fourth contributor, Evan Howard, represents Evangelicalism. He defines its spirituality as “the manner by which we live in communion with Christ in response to the Spirit in pursuit of holiness resulting in service to others” (p. 160). He divides his discussion into two major sections. In the first, he considers the marks of Evangelical spirituality; in brief, it is protestant (distinguished from medieval Catholic scholasticism, asceticism, mysticism, etc.), orthodox (founded upon historic Nicene belief), conversion-based (committed to a radical turning to Christ), and active (involved in social engagement). In the second section, Howard surveys the practices of Evangelical spirituality such as reading, studying, meditating, preaching, singing, and praying.

Bruce Demarest concludes the volume by attempting to provide “a brief integrative exposition of Christian spirituality” (p. 205). For starters, he claims that it is “thoroughly Trinitarian,” “rigorously Christological,” and “robustly pneumatic” (p. 207). Moreover, it is “nurtured in the Christ-centered body of believers in which Scripture is taught and preached, the sacraments observed, and discipline exercised” (p. 208). Demarest is careful to note that there are basic theological differences between the four traditions (pp. 208–211). Yet, despite these differences, he concludes: “we are learning that considerable common ground exists between committed Christians in the four traditions” (p. 217).

Overall, I enjoyed reading this book. The contributors’ essays are well-researched and well-organized. They engage in a very cordial discussion while representing their respective positions. That being said, I have three significant concerns.

First, the chapter on Progressive Protestantism is out of place. I do not say this to disparage Joseph Driskell; his chapter is well-written. Nevertheless, I am confused as to why it is included in a volume on Christian spirituality. Proponents of Progressive Protestantism deny the doctrine of the Trinity along with Christ’s incarnation and resurrection. They also dismiss the doctrine of the atonement. By their own admission, they reject supernatural theism. It leaves me wondering why Progressive Protestantism is even classified as Christian. To put it another way, I fail to see how Progressive Protestants are any different from the average members of a local Rotary Club.

Second, the chapter on Orthodox spirituality is potentially misleading. Evan Howard picks up on this, claiming that Bradley Nassif “speaks with a new voice” (p. 67). In saying this, Howard means that Nassif is so deeply indebted (personally and theologically) to Evangelicalism that his presentation of Eastern Orthodoxy doesn’t really reflect the Orthodox Church. Howard comments, “What we have before us then, is a presentation of a vision of Orthodox spiritual theology” (p. 67, italics mine). The same can be said of Scott Hahn’s presentation of Catholic spirituality. Is it truly reflective of Roman Catholicism, or is it merely a vision of Catholic spirituality deeply influenced by a very specific context—American Evangelicalism?

Third, the chapter on Evangelicalism is far too broad. Evan Howard has attempted the impossible: to define the spirituality of a nebulous movement. He adopts what is widely touted as the standard definition of Evangelicalismnamely, David Bebbington’s four marks: activism, biblicism, conversionism, and crucicentrism (p. 16). But do these marks really constitute an identifiable movement?  Is it really possible to include Pietism, Puritanism, Quakerism, Methodism, Arminianism, Fundamentalism, Anglicanism, Lutheranism, Pentecostalism, Calvinism, and a host of other isms under the same umbrella? I am inclined to think the marked differences between these groups render any discussion of a common Evangelical spirituality meaningless.

I submit that—when it comes to Christian spirituality—the place to begin is with how people think God communicates with them. When we do, we discover four main views: senses, feelings, symbols, and words. In the history of Christianity, different groups have embraced one or more of these as the means by which God communicates with the soul. This conviction has, in turn, shaped their spirituality: a spirituality of senses, a spirituality of feelings, a spirituality of symbols, and a spirituality of words. What are the biblical, philosophical, and theological paradigms that underpin each of these views? How are these views formative? What groups (churches, denominations, and movements) have championed each of these views? Personally, I believe this would have been a far more profitable approach.

But that isn’t how this volume addresses the subject. That’s no surprise. At the outset, Bruce Demarest makes it clear that the goal of the book is to find “an integrated and viable spirituality” (p. 20). In other words, the book is shaped by a pre-determined objective; namely, the desire to arrive at an “ecumenical” spirituality (p. 218). Does it achieve this goal? Yes. But, in so doing, it never really addresses the main issues behind the competing (and, at times, contradictory) views of Christian spirituality. For this reason, it leaves the reader wondering to what extent ecumenical spirituality is biblical spirituality.


J. Stephen Yuille

Life in Christ

This review was first published at Books at a Glance: www.booksataglance.com




Referring to the doctrine of union with Christ, Martyn Lloyd-Jones writes, “If you have got hold of this idea you will have discovered the most glorious truth you will ever know in your life.” In Life in Christ, Jeremy Walker handles this great motif, stating that his aim is to provide a framework for understanding our “ongoing experience of the grace of God” in Christ. He achieves his aim by tracing our experience from regeneration to glorification, stopping along the way to ponder—among other things—the nature of faith, beauty of Christ, wonder of adoption, jewel of assurance, and duty of sanctification.

The book is well organized—each of its eight chapters based on a specific text of Scripture. Chapter 1 (Isa. 45:22) contains an excellent discussion of the relationship between the two essential bonds that knit Christ and His people together; Christ takes hold of us by His Spirit, and we take hold of Christ by our faith. Chapter 2 (2 Cor. 5:17) provides a timely challenge to those for whom the gospel is strictly about what Christ does for us but not in us. It emphasizes the fact that union with Christ is transformative—that is, it entails a “radical,” “thorough,” and “divinely worked” change. Chapter 3 (Eph. 3:8) demonstrates that Christ possesses everything necessary to save and satisfy us. It mines the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” focusing on His love, grace, forgiveness, wisdom, power, joy, truth, assurance, hope, and mercy. Further, it demonstrates how these unsearchable riches sparkle in the light of Christ’s true deity, true humanity, true agony, and true glory. Chapter 4 (1 Jn. 3:1) paints a beautiful picture of God’s love as “everlasting and unchangeable,” “abounding and unlimited,” “overwhelming and undeserved.” God has expressed this love by publicly acknowledging us as His children. Chapters 5 & 6 (1 Jn. 5:13) provide essential reading for both the presumptuous and the apprehensive, as it deals with the sensitive issue of assurance. It makes a pivotal distinction between “inconclusive” and “indispensable” indications of salvation. Under the latter stand faith in Christ, repentance from sin, devotion to God, growth in holiness, and love for the saints. Chapter 7 (Phil. 2:12–13) balances the indicative and imperative in Christian experience by emphasizing that we must avoid spiritual laziness and cultivate spiritual diligence as we “work out” what God is “working in” us. Chapter 8 (2 Tim. 4:6–8) demonstrates what it means to live in the hope of glory by turning to the apostle Paul as an exemplar of one who faced death confidently and expectantly.

Many of these topics are paths fraught with hazards, but Walker keeps his footing throughout, and proves himself a very safe guide. His expositions are exegetically and doctrinally sound, enriched by insights from towering Puritans such as John Owen, John Flavel, and Stephen Charnock. Equally important, Walker is pastorally grounded, meaning he writes with a very clear audience in view—God’s people. The result is an edifying and encouraging book, which will prove useful to all—whether in the pulpit or the pew.


J. Stephen Yuille

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Gospel of God (cont'd)

In my last post, I provided seven prayers based on seven truths from Romans 1:1
7. Here, I add five prayers based on five truths from Roman 1:8
17.

(1) The gospel causes thanksgiving (v. 8)

I pray we’ll see that a lack of thanksgiving is a sign that we value something more than God. It’s an indicator that we aren’t God-centered, but self-centered. I pray the mercies of God will overwhelm us. I pray we’ll grasp that His merit eclipses our guilt, and His righteousness hides our vileness. I pray we’ll grasp that salvation is a river that flows one way. It’s all mercy! I pray we’ll understand that – no matter what troubles and difficulties we face in life – we never get what we deserve.

(2) The gospel engenders love for God’s people (vv. 9–12)

I pray we’ll grasp that the church stands at the focal point of God’s eternal plan. The Father set His love upon her, and predestined her for glory. The Son became a man for her; He endured affliction and rejection for her; He wept, bled, pled, and died for her; He purchased her with His own blood. He married her, thereby becoming one flesh with her. He cherishes and cleanses her; He bestows marvelous gifts and blessings upon her; He guides and protects her. I pray we’ll see the church as Christ sees the church, and I pray it will become the arena of our love.

(3) The gospel leads to evangelism (vv. 13–15)

I pray we’ll feel Paul’s sense of obligation. Mercy experienced is mercy proclaimed. Mercy received is mercy dispensed. Mercy enjoyed is mercy shared. I pray we’ll grasp that only those who share the gospel really know the gospel. I pray the mercy of God will stir in us eagerness, earnestness, fearlessness, and willingness to proclaim the good news of salvation.

(4) The gospel is the power of God for salvation (v. 16)

I pray we’ll know God’s power in the gospel. He has liberated us from sin’s slavery, and redeemed us from sin’s penalty. He has broken the chains that bound us. He has destroyed the prison that held us. Salvation is a work of God’s limitless power from start to finish. If God is for us, who can be against us?

(5) The gospel reveals the righteousness of God (v. 17)

I pray we’ll see that by virtue of our union with Christ, we’re righteous in God’s sight. In Christ, we possess all the perfection we need to please God; we possess all the righteousness we need to stand before God; and we possess all the obedience we need to be accepted by God.
 
Here is truth to make us wise, light to guide our way, hope to calm our fears, joy to ease our sorrows, water to quench our thirst, and food to satisfy our hunger.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Gospel of God

Yesterday, I started a sermon series – at Grace Community Church – on Paul’s epistle to the Romans. I preached on seven marks of the gospel as found in 1:1–7, and I fashioned a prayer in relation to each mark. Some of you asked to see these in print; so here they are.

(1) The gospel originates with God (v. 1)

I pray we’ll be amazed by Paul’s exaltation of God as the supreme cause and ultimate purpose of all things. I pray we’ll view the gospel as the revelation of God whereby we discover Him. I pray we’ll view the knowledge of God as an end in itself – after all, what could be more practical, beneficial, and wonderful than knowing God? I pray we’ll define all things according to God’s eternal glory, not our earthly happiness.

(2) The gospel fulfills a promise (v. 2)

I pray we’ll be devastated by Paul’s exposure of our sin and guilt. I pray we’ll see that the most dangerous threat to us isn’t the sin in this world, but the sin in our hearts. I pray we’ll feel our inability to alter our condition before God. I pray we’ll realize that true joy escapes us until we come to terms with the sinfulness of our hearts. We only reach the heights of blessedness through the valleys of despair. I pray we’ll see that all our hope rests on God’s faithfulness to His promise even in the midst of willful rebellion.

(3) The gospel centers on Christ (vv. 3–4)

I pray we’ll be overwhelmed by Paul’s display of God’s grace in Christ. I pray we’ll see that God’s love goes to unfathomable lengths to save us. Christ paid for all our sin at one moment upon the cross. God cherishes us because He makes us His by redeeming us. I pray we won’t be mere spectators of God’s grace – admiring it, singing about it, and talking about it, without ever delighting in it.

(4) The gospel requires the obedience of faith (v. 5)

I pray we’ll be convinced by Paul’s argument that faith is the means by which we receive God’s gift of salvation. I pray we’ll understand that we don’t contribute anything to the gospel. I pray we’ll understand that we don’t make a deal with God. We don’t give Him faith and obedience, so that He’ll give us salvation and happiness. There’s no deal. Even our faith is God’s gift to us. I pray we’ll understand that the gospel isn’t about what we can or can’t do, but about what God has done in Christ. God changes our hearts by making Christ more and more beautiful. As we put on Christ, we put off sin. I pray we’ll understand the relationship between faith and obedience… between resting and striving. We strive to obey, because we rest in Christ.

(5) The gospel glorifies God among the nations (v. 5)

I pray we’ll be gripped by Paul’s fervor for the spread of God’s glory among the nations. “For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations”, says the LORD of hosts (Mal. 1:11).

(6) The gospel manifests God’s sovereign grace (vv. 6–7)

I pray we’ll be comforted by Paul’s assurance that God is the author of salvation from start to finish. I pray we’ll enjoy the truth that God holds on to His people with a mighty arm – even when we feel little joy and we sense little assurance. I pray we’ll enjoy the truth that God carries His people even when we limp through life barely able to see beyond our struggles. I pray we’ll be convinced that God governs every circumstance for our ultimate good.

(7) The gospel imparts grace and peace (v. 7)

I pray we’ll be strengthened by Paul’s celebration of what it means to be one with Christ. I pray we’ll see that, in Christ, we possess all the perfection we need to please God… we possess all the righteousness we need to stand before God… we possess all the obedience we need to be accepted by God. I pray we’ll see that Christ succeeded in every way we fail. He trusted, obeyed, triumphed, endured, and persevered in our place. Every grace we enjoy first belonged to Christ. He imparts this grace to us by virtue of our union with Him. I pray we’ll know the kind of peace that flows from knowing Christ.


Quotable: “There is no saying what may happen when people begin to study the letter to the Romans” (F. F. Bruce).

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Christ's Blood

The Bible contains blood. Blood circulates through every book – from Genesis to Revelation. It pumps through every chapter – large and small. And it runs through every verse – familiar and obscure. When we open the Bible, we behold a stream of blood flowing throughout. Why? The Bible’s principal theme is this: Christ makes peace by the blood of His cross (Col. 1:20).

We must grasp the significance of Christ’s blood. “On the matter of Christ’s atoning death, as the way of peace, truth is only one. If we are wrong here, we are ruined forever” (J. C. Ryle). We must make sure we understand what happens upon the cross when Christ dies. There’s no room for error.

We must also feel the significance of Christ’s blood. “Stand at the foot of the cross, and count the red drops of blood by which you have been cleansed. And if you do not lie prostrate on the ground before that cross, you have never seen it” (C. H. Spurgeon). We must take to heart why Christ’s blood is shed. There’s no room for indifference.

(1) Consider the Need for Christ’s Blood

We’ve placed ourselves where God alone deserves to be – on the throne. The Bible calls this condition sin. Sin is rebellion: against God’s sovereignty. Sin is arrogance: against God’s power. Sin is unrighteousness: against God’s justice. Sin is ignorance: against God’s wisdom. Sin is stubbornness: against God’s will. Sin is evil: against God’s goodness. Sin is transgression: against God’s law. Sin is hatred: against God’s love. Sin is murder: against God’s being. Sin is our chief problem – not poor health, not broken relationships, not financial woes, and not unfulfilled dreams. Sin make us God’s enemy, and brings us under the sentence of death.

(2) Consider the Intent of Christ’s Blood

Christ’s blood speaks of His substitutionary death. “God did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all” (Rom. 8:22). God didn’t spare His Son from what? His wrath – righteously due to us. We placed ourselves where God alone deserves to be (on the throne), and God placed Himself where we alone deserve to be (on the cross). He exchanged a crown of stars for a crown of thorns, the worship of angels for the ridicule of men, the glory of a heavenly temple for the indignity of a wooden cross.

Upon the cross, Christ doesn’t cry out with a loud voice because of what men do to Him. They reject, abuse, ridicule, betray, and desert Him. But those things never cause Him to cry with a loud voice. Christ cries out with a loud voice, because of what His Father does to Him. He bears the judgment we deserve.

(3) Consider the Effect of Christ’s Blood

“Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Heb. 9:22). Christ is punished, so that we might be pardoned. Christ is crushed, so that we might be healed. Christ is forsaken, so that we might be accepted. Christ is deserted, so that we might be welcomed. Christ is condemned, so that we might be forgiven.

Because of Christ’s blood, where there’s brokenness for sin, God promises healing . . . where there’s conviction for sin, God promises mercy . . . where there’s weariness for sin, God promises rest . . . and where there’s repentance from sin, God promises forgiveness.

     Guilty, vile, and helpless we; Spotless Lamb of God was He;
     “Full atonement!” can it be? Hallelujah! What a Savior!

     Lifted up was He to die; “It is finished!” was His cry;
     Now in Heav’n exalted high. Hallelujah! What a Savior!