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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « How the Doctrine of the Trinity Shapes the Christian Mission | Main | Monergism Books End-of-2007 Clearance »

    Images of the Savior (Conclusion)

    Now then, Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and so that, believing, you might have life in his name. – John 20:30-31

    Dear reader, we have spent many hours walking through the gospel accounts of the only Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We have seen him in his divine majesty, whose birth was announced by the most glorious angels, who was worshiped in his manger bed by the kings of the earth, and who appeared in radiant light with Moses and Elijah. We have seen him in his meekness and humility, walking as a despised and rejected man, full of sorrows, often weary and full of the most human emotions. We have seen much of his mercy, and have marveled at his signs of grace and forgiveness, his healing of all, his casting out demons, his calm control over winds and waves. We have seen the foretastes of his coming terrible wrath against arrogant sinners, as he fearlessly denounced the Pharisees and hypocrites, and spoke of his future judgment of the entire world. And we have seen him in the grand and culminative display of these various attributes as he was lifted up on the cross for the sins of the world, at one and the same time showing forth the infinite depths of his obedient humility and accomplishing the mightiest and most resounding victory of the ages, putting all the forces of darkness to open shame, and winning an eternal Kingdom of grace, and the Name which is above all names.

    Let us pause now to consider what we will do with the many glorious truths we have encountered. For it is a certain and fearful reality that not all who have seen the Savior, and who have supposed that they know him, belong to him indeed. Many will there be in the final judgment who will cry out, “Lord, did we not do many and mighty things in your name?” – and his wrathful answer will fall down upon their heads in the most terrible sentence of judgment that could ever be uttered, “I never knew you: depart from me, you who work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23). Oh, reader, let us be sure that we will not be among these, the most cursed of all people!

    To do that, we must approach these accounts humbly. If there is one thing that we have seen displayed in this man Jesus in many and marvelous ways, it is that he opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (see I Peter 5:5). If we cry out to him for mercy, admitting our helpless condition, he will save us indeed; but if we suppose that we may serve him with our great gifts and talents, not considering that he made the heavens and the earth, and that all good things flow from him, and nothing can be added to him, we make a mockery of the sufficiency of his work, and refuse from the hand of his bounty our desperately needed salvation (see Acts 17:24-25).

    Second, we must approach these accounts unreservedly. Ah, how many unfortunate sinners were refused a place in the Kingdom because they were willing to find their joy and place their hope in their own riches, or their own works, rather than applying for all to the only Redeemer? With what great difficulty shall the rich enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19:23-24)? How hardly shall they who suppose that they have fulfilled the righteous law of God from their youth come to Jesus for grace (Matthew 19:20-22)? O reader, if you would save your soul, then be ready to lose it, ready to cast from you the hindrances of religion and pride and social status and family, and even your own life, and take up your cross to follow your Savior – for only those who lose their lives for the sake of the gospel will find them in the end (Mark 8:34-38).

    Third, we must approach these accounts prayerfully, recognizing that in our natural understanding we will not be sufficient to uncover and exult in their rich and life-giving truths (I Corinthians 2:14). Let us pray the Father to give us the Spirit, who delights to testify of Christ (John 15:26)! If even we, being wicked, know to give good gifts to our children, how much more will our heavenly Father give his Spirit to them who persistently ask (Luke 11:11-13)?

    Finally, let us approach these accounts constantly. Man in his weakness needs daily bread, or he will soon grow weak and faint in the way. And ah, how much more is this true of the inward man, whose bread is the Word of God (Matthew 4:4)? We must live every day at the foot of the cross, drawing our continual nourishment from those blessed wounds in which is our life. Oh, how quickly the sins of self-reliance and doubtful forgetfulness creep in to trip us up when we do not meditate daily on the life of our Savior! If we would know God, if we would glorify him, if we would live according to his precepts, there is no substitute for a constant remembrance of Golgotha. There is no way that we may glorify God, apart from rejoicing in his last and greatest self-revelation in the person of Jesus (Hebrews 1:1-3), who delivered himself up for us on the cross. And there is no way that we may eternally rejoice apart from beholding God's glory, which is the most mightily displayed in the cross of Jesus Christ. If we dare to pass the whole of one single day without remembering the body and blood of Jesus our Savior, then no matter what great things we may suppose that we have accomplished for the Kingdom, we are losing the battle, and in peril of losing our very souls!

    Oh, Father, lead us to the foot of the cross of your dear Son, fill us with your Spirit to marvel and rejoice at the glory there displayed, draw out from our parched and obstinate lips the true praises of gratitude, that are pleasing in your sight! Show us our Savior, and it suffices us!

    True Son of God, true Son of Man,
    Both terrible and fair,
    What various attributes you span!
    Perfections ah! how rare,
    How vast are in your person blent,
    And all diversely excellent.

    You only are the sovereign King,
    And you the Servant mild;
    Artificer of everything,
    And made a human child;
    You held the world up in your hand,
    Even while you walked its sinful land.

    You judge the world in holy fire,
    Avenge the merest vice:
    And you became what you require –
    The bloody sacrifice!
    O wonder! that you hate all sin,
    Yet spread your arms to take it in.

    And ah, the wonder does appear
    Most glorious on the cross:
    I see you, Savior, hanging there,
    And in your deepest loss,
    The greatest victory and gain
    That ever flowed from God to man.

    The mighty wrath of God there meets
    Redemptive love his own;
    There God the desperate sinner greets,
    Who there forsook his Son;
    Your God-like wrath, your mercy free
    Clasp hands, Redeemer, on that tree.

    My God! you are surpassing great:
    Trembling, I bow in fear;
    My Savior! you are wondrous sweet,
    And gently draw me near.
    I find no joy but in your name,
    Jesus! the Lion and the Lamb.

    Posted by Nathan on December 25, 2007 03:44 PM

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