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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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CHRIST ALONE

James Montgomery BoiceJames Montgomery Boice:

The church of the Middle Ages spoke about Christ. A church that failed to do that could hardly claim to be Christian. But the medieval church had added many human achievements to Christ’s work, so that it was no longer possible to say that salvation was entirely by Christ and his atonement. This was the most basic of all heresies, as the Reformers rightly perceived. It was the work of God plus our own righteousness. The Reformation motto solus Christus was formed to repudiate this error. It affirmed that salvation has been accomplished once for all by the mediatorial work of the historical Jesus Christ alone. His sinless life and substitutionary atonement alone are sufficient for our justification, and any ‘gospel’ that fails to acknowledge that or denies it is a false gospel that will save no one. (“The Five Solas of the Reformation”)

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MEETING THE REQUIREMENTS OF GOD’S HOLINESS

R.C. SproulR. C. Sproul:

God is called holy not only because of what He does, but also because of who He is. Originally the term referred more to God’s being than His action or behavior.

For us to be called saints (“holy ones”), we must have a catharsis. We must be made clean. No unclean thing can stand before the presence of a holy God. That which is unclean is profane in His eyes. For us to be holy to God, our unclean, unholy moral imperfection must be purged and our sin removed from us. That is why the absolutely necessary condition for redemption is atonement. Without atonement we would remain always and forever unclean and unholy before His penetrating gaze.

No human is holy in himself. Holiness is foreign to us. It is alien. That is why we require the righteousness of another to cover our moral nakedness. The Holy One has given us the holiness we need in the cloak of Christ’s righteousness. Therefore we pray: “God is great, God is good. And we thank Him for the food . . . that has come down from heaven for us.”

 

The mission, passion and purpose of Ligonier Ministries and Dr. R.C. Sproul is to help people grow in their knowledge of God and His holiness. For more information, please visit http://www.ligonier.org or call them at 800-435-4343. © R.C. Sproul. All rights reserved.

THE WALL OF SEPARATION CAST DOWN

mediatorJonathan Edwards:

He [Jesus Christ] hath by his blood made atonement for sin, so that our guilt need not stand in the way, as a separating wall between God and us, and that our sins might not be a cloud through which our prayers cannot pass. By his atonement he hath made the way to the throne of grace open. God would have been infinitely gracious if there had been no Mediator, but the way to the mercy-seat would have been blocked up. But Christ hath removed whatever stood in the way. The veil which was before the mercy-seat “is rent from the top to the bottom” by the death of Christ. If it had not been for this, our guilt would have remained as a wall of brass to hinder our approach. But all is removed by his blood, Heb. 10:17, etc.

DISCERNING WHAT IS TRUE AND FALSE

Bishop J. C. RyleJ.C. Ryle:

“Myriads of professing Christians nowadays seem utterly unable to distinguish things that differ. Like people afflicted with colour-blindness, they are incapable of discerning what is true and what is false, what is sound and what is unsound. If a preacher of religion is only clever and eloquent and earnest, they appear to think he is all right, however strange and heterogeneous his sermons may be. They are destitute of spiritual sense, apparently, and cannot detect error. Popery or Protestantism, an atonement or no atonement, a personal Holy Ghost or no Holy Ghost, future punishment or no future punishment, ‘high church’ or ‘low church’ or ‘broad church,’ Trinitarianism, Arianism, or Unitarianism—nothing comes amiss to them; they can swallow it all, even if they cannot digest it! Carried away by a fancied liberality and charity, they seem to think everybody is right and nobody is wrong, every clergyman is sound and none are unsound, everybody is going to be saved and nobody going to be lost. Their religion is made of negatives; and the only positive thing about them is that they dislike distinctness and think all extreme and decided and positive views are very naughty and very wrong!” (Holiness:Its Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties, and Roots)

THE MEANING OF THE CROSS

Samuel A CainFor the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18 ESV)

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

When you look at the Cross, what do you see? The Cross is the center of the history of man. The Cross is irrefutable proof of God’s love for us. Sinclair Ferguson writes, “When Paul preached ‘the cross’ he preached a message which explained that this instrument of rejection had been used by God as His instrument of reconciliation. Man’s means of bringing death to Jesus was God’s means to bring life to the world. Man’s symbol of rejecting Christ was God’s symbol of forgiveness for man. This is why Paul boasted about the Cross!”

On the cross, Christ suffered the punitive judgment of God that should have been ours to endure. Jesus Christ made an all-sufficient, redemptive sacrifice for his people’s sins. He appeased God’s wrath by recompensing those sins to remove them from God’s sight. By the cross of Christ, atonement was made for our sin and righteousness was imputed to the sinner. Continue reading

The Love and Justice of God

systematic theologyWayne Grudem:

What was the ultimate cause that led to Christ’s coming to earth and dying for our sins? To find this we must trace the question back to something in the character of God himself. And here Scripture points to two things: the love and justice of God.

The love of God as a cause of the atonement is seen in the most familiar passage in the Bible: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). But the justice of God also required that God find a way that the penalty due to us for our sins would be paid (for he could not accept us into fellowship with himself unless the penalty was paid).

Paul explains that this was why God sent Christ to be a “propitiation” (Rom. 3:25 NASB) (that is, a sacrifice that bears God’s wrath so that God becomes “propitious” or favorably disposed toward us): it was “to show God’s righteousness, Continue reading

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