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Holy, Loving, and Just

June 28, 2016

How the God of the Bible Demonstrates These Attributes Completely, Perfectly, and Harmoniously

Outline of Contents

Introduction

Knowing God

Clarification of Belief in God

The God of the Bible and History

How the Christian Knows God

God is Holy

God is Holy in His Nature

God’s Standard for Holiness

Christ’s Explanation of God’s Holy Standard

None of Us Live Up to God’s Holy Standard

God is Loving

God is Love

Who Does God Love?

Why Does God Love?

When Does God Love?

How Does God Love?

The Benefits of God’s Love

The Strength of God’s Love

The Vastness of God’s Love

The Abundance of God’s Love

The Results of God’s Love

God is Just

God Will Not Lower His Standards

The Lord Longs to be Gracious to You

The Final Judgment

All These Attributes Demonstrated in the Cross

An Apparent Dichotomy (Love vs. Holiness & Justice)

Can a Loving God Condemn People to Hell?

Can a Just God Forgive Sin?

The Cross of Christ

Conclusion

Realization

Imagination

How Can I Know God?

What is the way to know God?

What is Revelation?

What does it mean to know God?

Why do I need to know God?

Come to Christ

 

 

Introduction

A common legitimate question raised by people who don’t know the Lord is, “How can a loving God punish people in hell forever?” It is telling that they never ask an equally legitimate question, diametrically opposed to it, “How can a just God forgive sinners and welcome them into heaven?”

Many people reject the gospel because they don’t see how a loving God could condemn people for eternity. The concept of a loving God is not so difficult for most people to embrace, but understanding that God is holy and just, and what that entails, escapes them.

My hope is that you will understand the answer to both these questions since my purpose for writing this is so that you may come to know God, and know Him as holy, loving, and just, as the Bible describes Him.

Knowing God

Clarification of Belief in God

This knowledge of God is not a belief as in mental assent. The word “believe” in the Bible has a much deeper meaning. It means to rely upon, to trust in, and to depend upon. The Christian’s belief in God is not just agreement of certain facts about God, or that He exists. It is not a belief system that the Christian has formulated, come to embrace, or feel comfortable with. It is not just knowing about God, it is knowing God and His Son, Jesus Christ personally. The Christian knows God as his Father and Jesus Christ as his Lord, and trusts in Christ as his Savior, because God has revealed this to him and caused him to be born of God.

It is interesting that the one who scoffs at the Christian’s belief and considers it useless and a waste often holds a belief in luck or positive thinking, even though that kind of belief has no basis of validity at all. The perceived value of such belief is in the strength of belief by the one believing. The value of the Christian’s belief is in the Creator of the universe, the Lord God Almighty, and His faithfulness in fulfilling His promises. The scoffer’s belief depends upon his own will to “make it so”, whereas the Christian’s belief depends solely on God’s will.

The God of the Bible and History

Everything we know about God is in the Bible. We observe things in this world about God that confirm this. History also confirms what we know about God from the Bible. Anything else about God, outside of what we know from the Bible, is man’s imaginings, and is completely worthless.

It is important to understand that Christianity is based on historical facts concerning the person Jesus of Nazareth, who is the Christ, the Chosen One. Jesus was not a fictional character; the product of fables or someone’s imagination. We know a lot about Him through the eye-witness testimony of the Apostles recorded in the four gospels and the rest of the New Testament. Secular historical accounts, such those written by Josephus, speak of Jesus, as do Roman historical records. So the Christian faith is based on historical facts and events.

The birth of Christ, His Incarnation, His ministry of teaching, preaching, healing, His miracles, and His interactions with people are all confirmed, documented history, as definite as the events of the American Revolution, including the American Declaration of Independence in 1776. This includes the mock trial of Jesus, His crucifixion, His burial, His resurrection, and His ascension.

The ultimate proof and validity of the Christian faith is not our experience, it is reality in history. The gospel is based on historical facts regarding the real person, Jesus of Nazareth, proven to be the Christ.

How the Christian Knows God

The Christian knows God is, and knows God as, holy, loving, and just. He sees God’s demonstration of these attributes perfectly, completely, and harmoniously in the Bible, throughout history, and in his own life. Anyone who does not have this profound understanding and deep conviction, does not know God, and has not been born of God.

Christianity is not a religion, where one adheres to a set of beliefs. It is a relationship initiated by God whereby one has fellowship with the Father and the Son.

In subsequent sections, we will take a glimpse at these three particular attributes of God. We will then see how all of these attributes, as well as others, work together in accomplishing God’s plan of redemption. Lastly, we will see how you can know God.

God is Holy

The first attribute of God to consider is His holiness. The New Testament word “holy” means holy or sacred. It means set apart for or by God. The fundamental meaning is “different;” not for common use.

  • Psalm 99:5 – Exalt the LORD our God And worship at His footstool; Holy is He.
  • Psalm 99:9 – Exalt the LORD our God And worship at His holy hill, For holy is the LORD our God.
  • Revelation 4:8 – And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is THE LORD GOD, THE ALMIGHTY, WHO WAS AND WHO IS AND WHO IS TO COME.”  

God is Holy in His Nature

Only God is Holy

Only God is holy. He is different from any other. There is no God but Him.

  • 1 Samuel 2:2 – “There is no one holy like the LORD, Indeed, there is no one besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.”

God’s Name is Holy

God’s name encompasses all that He is and all that He does. For instance, the name “Jesus” means “God with us.” The term “Christ,” used to describe who Jesus is, means “the Chosen One.”

Jesus is the holy, perfect Lamb of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ is referred to as the “Lamb of God” often in the New Testament[1], and as a foreshadowing in the Old Testament. John the Baptist said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29), identifying Jesus to the crowds. Peter, speaking to Christians, told them they were redeemed “with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Since God is holy, His name reflects that. That’s why taking God’s name in vain is so sinful and heinous to God, and one of His Ten Commandments.

  • 1 Chronicles 29:16 – “O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours.”
  • Ezekiel 36:22 – “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went.”

The Holy One

One of God’s names in the Old Testament is “The Holy One of Israel.”

    • Isaiah 30:15 – For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing,
  • Isaiah 54:5 – “For your husband is your Maker, Whose name is the LORD of hosts; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, Who is called the God of all the earth.”

 

  • Hosea 11:12 – Ephraim surrounds Me with lies And the house of Israel with deceit; Judah is also unruly against God, Even against the Holy One who is faithful.

God’s Way is Holy

Everything God does is holy and He does everything in a holy manner; His way is holy.

  • Psalm 77:13 – Your way, O God, is holy; What god is great like our God?

God’s Standard for Holiness

God, being holy, has a standard for holiness for us to follow–the law. God gave us the law, known as the Ten Commandments found in the Bible in Exodus 20:2-17, as our standard for holiness. We must obey His law and New Testament teachings.

  1. “I am the Lord your God … You shall have no other gods before Me.”
  2. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image … you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God …”
  3. “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain …”
  4. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy …”
  5. “Honor your father and your mother …”
  6. “You shall not murder.”
  7. “You shall not commit adultery.”
  8. “You shall not steal.”
  9. “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
  10. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; … wife, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Christ’s Explanation of God’s Holy Standard

Our Lord Jesus Christ further clarified God’s standard for holiness in the Sermon on the Mount:

Regarding the Standard (the Law) – Every Part of it is Applicable Forever:

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”

Matthew 5:17-18

Regarding Murder – The Commandment Goes Beyond the Physical Act:

“You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not commit murder’ … But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.”

Matthew 5:21-22

Regarding Adultery – The Commandment Goes Beyond the Physical Act:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Matthew 5:27-28

“It was said, ‘Whoever sends his wife away, let him give her a certificate of divorce’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.”

Matthew 5:31-32

Regarding How You Treat Your Neighbor – The Commandment Goes Beyond Loving Your Neighbor:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

Matthew 5:43-44

The scribes and Pharisees believed they were righteous, because they thought they kept the law, but they were wrong. They fell short of God’s standard for holiness:

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:20

None of Us Live Up to God’s Holy Standard

The Bible shows us, in both the Old and New Testaments, we all fall short of God’s standard for holiness:

  • Isaiah 53:6 – All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.
  • Romans 3:23 – For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
  • Romans 3:10-12 – As it is written: “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.”

Do you believe you are a not sinner and not guilty before God? Then, consider your ways (Haggai 1:5-7):

  1. Have you ever neglected God, been ungrateful to Him, or irreverent towards God? Have you ever been angry with God?
  2. Have you ever put anything or anyone before God in priority or devotion?
  3. Have you ever blasphemed God?
  4. Have you ever not kept the Lord’s Day holy?
  5. Have you ever dishonored or disrespected your parents?
  6. Have you ever been angry with anyone?
  7. Have you ever looked at anyone with lust?
  8. Have you ever stolen anything?
  9. Have you ever lied?
  10. Have you ever wanted something that belonged to someone else?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you are a sinner; a transgressor of God’s law.

For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all. For He who said, “Do not commit adultery” also said, “Do not commit murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but do commit murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

James 2:10-11

I believe I can confidently state, that you have broken all of the commandments–many times! What does that make you? It makes you a godless, wicked sinner: a blasphemer, a murderer, an adulterer, a thief, a liar, and a coveter. You are not a good person, you’re a guilty one.

When we consider our ways, we see we all fall short of God’s standard of holiness–far short. We are all guilty and deserving of eternal punishment for our sins in hell. There are no exceptions.

The law shows us we are guilty and in need of being saved, but it also shows us we need a Savior, and it leads us to our Savior:

  • Romans 7:7 – … I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not covet.”
  • Galatians 3:24 – Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.

Do you think you are going to heaven? Do you think you’re a Christian? Only a true Christian is going to heaven. Our Lord Jesus Christ described the collective characteristics of a true Christian in the first part of the Sermon on the Mount in what is called “The Beatitudes” (Matthew 5:3-10):

  • The Poor in Spirit—One who is empty of self, recognizes he is a sinner and unworthy, and is completely dependent upon God; He has a complete absence of pride; self-assurance and self-reliance.
  • Those Who Mourn—One who mourns over his sins and the sins of the world, because he has an appreciation of how heinous sin is to God, yet he has joy and comfort in the forgiveness of his sins through Christ’s sacrifice.
  • The Gentle—One who is patient in the reception of injuries, and keeps his strength under control. He has supreme self-control, empowered by the Holy Spirit. He does not assert his rights and refrains from retaliation.
  • Those Who Hunger and Thirst For Righteousness—One who is right with God through faith in Christ, and has an unquenchable thirst for holiness—the righteousness of Christ.
  • The Merciful—One who is so affected by the misery and sufferings of others that he is anxious to help them by relieving their suffering.
  • The Pure in Heart—One who is without hypocrisy in the total man; single-minded towards God.
  • The Peacemakers—One who actively seeks to make peace between God and man, and between men.
  • Those Who Have Been persecuted For the Sake of Righteousness—One who is persecuted or suffers for Christ and for being like Christ; for being godly (2 Timothy 3:12).

Does our Lord’s description of a true Christian describe you?

God is Loving

The second attribute of God to consider is His love, one of His most wonderful and glorious attributes. God is loving. He has other attributes that are closely akin to His love, such as His grace, His mercy, His kindness, and compassion.

God is Love

God is loving because He personifies love; He is love.

  • 1 John 4:8 – The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
  • 1 John 4:16 – We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.
  • 2 Cor 13:11 – Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Who Does God Love?

God loves whomever He chooses. He loves His children, those He chose from the foundation of the world and gave to Christ, His Son.

  • Romans 9:15-16 – For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.” 16 So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
  • Ephesians 2:4 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us
  • John 17:24 – “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
  • 1 John 3:1 – See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

Why Does God Love?

God loves His chosen ones purely because it is His desire to do so; because He chooses to. It is amazing that He would love any sinner, yet He does love those He desires to make His own, and He pours out His love and mercy upon them.

When Does God Love?

God loved His chosen ones before He ever created us.

  • 1 John 4:19 – We love, because He first loved us.
  • Ephesians 1:4 – just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.

How Does God Love?

How does God love His chosen ones; His children? He loves us with an incomprehensible love. It is infinite, eternal, unconditional, sacrificial, sovereign, unfailing and unbreakable. His love is perfect; He could not love us any more than He does, and He will not love us any less. His love consists of the greatest compassion, the greatest kindness, the greatest patience, the greatest mercy, the greatest grace, and His continual provision, preservation, and protection. He lavishes us with His love and grace (Ephesians 1:8).

The greatest demonstration of God’s wondrous love was the giving of His Son to die in our place in order to pay the penalty for our sins and save us from the wrath we deserve.

  • Romans 5:8 – But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

The Benefits of God’s Love  

  • Ephesians 2:4-6 – But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.

The Strength of God’s Love  

  • Romans 8:35 – Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
  • Romans 8:38-39 – For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The Vastness of God’s Love

  • Eph 3:17-19 – so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

The Abundance of God’s Love

  • Romans 5:5b – because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

The Results of God’s Love

  • 2 Cor 5:14 – For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;
  • Ephesians 5:1-2 – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

God is Just

The last attribute of God to consider is His justice. Because God is just in His character, He judges all people and all matters in a just manner.

What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!

Romans 9:14

 

God has told us that He must and will punish the sinner because of his sin. Sin is rebellion against God. Sin is not only actions; it is a rebellious attitude against God. It tramples on the love and holiness of God. It is unrighteousness. It is transgression of God’s law. This is what sin is: it is hatred of God, and it would kill God, if it could.

“The wages of sin is death,” declares God. God will not, and cannot, allow sin to go unpunished. Sin requires the justice of God to unleash His wrath against it.

5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Ephesians 5:5-6

God Will Not Lower His Standards

Because God is holy, He has established His standard for holiness, and because He is just, He will not lower His standards:

  • Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Nahum 1:3 – The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished.
  • Isaiah 30:18 – For the LORD is a God of justice.
  • Psalm 25:8-10 – Good and upright is the LORD …

The holy and just God will not give anyone a pass; a Get Out of Jail Free card, and not condemn them. Why would he acquit a godless, wicked sinner: a blasphemer, a murderer, an adulterer, a thief, a liar, and a coveter? He will not:

  • The Blasphemer (Deut 5:11) – “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.”
  • The Evil Man (Proverbs 11:21) – Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished, But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.
  • The Proud in Heart (Proverbs 16:5) – Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; assuredly, he will not be unpunished.
  • The Mocker (Proverbs 17:5) – He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished.
  • The Liar (Proverbs 19:5) – A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape.

The Lord Longs to be Gracious to You

In spite of your sin, the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.

  • Jeremiah 9:24 – “but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,”
  • Jeremiah 30:11 – For I am with you,’ declares the LORD, ‘to save you; For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, Only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly And will by no means leave you unpunished.’

 The Final Judgment

As much as the Lord longs to show you mercy and grace, the Final Judgment is coming! There is coming a day when it will be too late for redemption. Certainly upon your death, it will be too late for redemption. At that time, your fate will have been sealed.

Those who God chose before the foundation of the world have their names in the book of life. Anyone whose name is not in the book of life is judged according to his deeds, rather than Christ’s, and he is thrown in the lake of fire for eternal torment.

11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds.

14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20:11-15

See also Matthew 25:31-46.

Those who are Christ’s have no fear of the day of judgment, because there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus:.

17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

1 John 4:17-18

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1

All These Attributes Demonstrated in the Cross

Now, after individually considering God’s attributes of holiness, love, and justice, we must examine how all three of these were demonstrated harmoniously in the cross of Christ.

An Apparent Dichotomy (Love vs. Holiness & Justice)

Here is an apparent dichotomy: It seems impossible that God could exercise His love in forgiving a sinner when God’s justice must be served. It seems as if God would have to “bend” His justice in order to forgive sin.

Here is the other side of this: It seems, in order to be just, God could not forgive the sins of those He has chosen. That means He would not be able to save them. God would not be able to save anyone, but this is not the teaching of the Bible.

Can a Loving God Condemn People to Hell?

Can a loving God condemn people to hell? The answer is yes. He established the law and the penalty for sin, so as a just God, He must punish sin. His holy wrath against sin must be satisfied, but how then is His love demonstrated?

Can a Just God Forgive Sin?

Can a just God forgive sin? God cannot forgive sin without His wrath being fully exercised against it. He would have to find, a way to be just and punish sin, and yet forgive the sinner. Perhaps if He found a suitable substitute; someone who could bear the sins of those God extends His love to; someone who would incur God’s holy wrath upon Himself on behalf of God’s elect; a sacrificial lamb to bear the sins of God’s people? That’s exactly what God did in His own beloved Son, the Lamb of God[2], at the cross.

The Cross of Christ

God’s standard of holiness is the Law. Man is guilty of breaking the Law (sin); God is a holy, just God who will not allow sin to go unpunished. “The wages of sin is death,” declares God. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” of sin (Hebrews 9:22). So here is the problem: On the one hand you have man guilty of sin, and a holy and just God who must punish sin. On the other hand you have a God who loves those He has chosen to be gracious to and save. How can the two be reconciled? Put another way: How can God forgive sin and be just? The answer is through the cross of Christ! Jesus died on the cross to give His life a ransom (to pay the penalty of sin) for many, because you and I and all mankind are guilty and under the condemnation of the holy God as a consequence of our sin. Jesus took our place and paid our penalty. Christ is the propitiation for our sin (1 John 4:10). This is our only hope of redemption–the grace of God, which He extends to us through the cross of Christ.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

Understand that by making the following statement, I am not saying God is limited in any manner: The only way God could redeem His chosen ones is through the Cross of Christ. Christ was the only One who could do it, and the cross was the only way it could be done. The cross was the only way God’s justice could be served, His wrath against the sinner satisfied, and His love for His children demonstrated without contradiction.

The cross is the point at which God’s holy, righteous justice and fierce wrath meet with His tender love, mercy and grace; merged together in perfect harmony to purchase our salvation.

The most important thing is that we rest completely in the grace of our God and Savior Jesus Christ for our salvation. Truly nothing else is as important as this. Rejecting Christ, we have no hope. Relying on our own good works, we fall short of the glory of God and have no hope of heaven. Resting in the grace of God, trusting in the sacrifice of His Son on the cross for us, we are redeemed and granted the gift of eternal life in the presence of our gracious God forever!

  • 1 Timothy 1:1 – Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus according to the commandment of God our Savior, and of Christ Jesus, who is our hope.
  • Titus 1:4 – … Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
  • Titus 2:13 – looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.
  • 2 Peter 1:1 – … our God and Savior, Jesus Christ
  • Jude 1:25 – to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
  • Romans 10:13 – “Whoever will call on the name of the LORD will be saved.” But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,    He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,    whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,    so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:4-7

Conclusion

Realization

When considering God’s attributes of holiness, love, and justice, and examining how God has demonstrated these attributes completely, perfectly, and harmoniously in redemption, it gives us an amazing realization of the great wisdom and knowledge of God:

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

Romans 11:33

Because God has revealed Himself and His attributes to the Christian, he responds to:

  • God’s holiness with a Sense of Awe;
  • God’s Love with a Surpassing Amazement; and
  • God’s Justice with a Serious Accountability

Imagination

This God and His plan of redemption could never have been conceived by man. Man could never have, and would never have, imagined or invented a holy, loving, and just God who exhibits all these attributes consistently.

The types of God man would imagine, or invent, are described here:

  • A God Who Does Not Love – This is a non-personal god; a force. He/it does not love anyone; has no relationship with man. The reason man conceives of this type of God is because he is not accountable to him/it in any manner.
  • A God Who is Not Holy – This type of god has no standard of holiness for man to observe. He may have the attribute of love, but it is not deep enough to care about what is right and instill this within his people. The reason man conceives of this type of god is because he may get warm feelings from his “love”, but no requirements are put upon him. Again, he has no accountability to this god. This is a god made in man’s image.
  • A God Who is Not Just – This type of god may have a standard of holiness, but he may not require man to obey, or he may not judge righteously or equitably. He may even judge unfairly. The reason man conceives of this type of god is because he can easily earn his salvation. This god will bend the rules.

These types of god, in fact, typify the false gods of all the religions of the world throughout time. We have seen the character of the true God and compared it to the false gods. It is clear, there is only value in knowing the true God, but how is this possible?

How Can I Know God?

How can I know God? He is the Creator and Sustainer of everything that exists in heaven and on earth—the entire universe. God brought all things into existence from nothing. How can we with our puny minds grasp the vastness, depth, greatness and majesty of God?

33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!

34 For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, OR WHO BECAME HIS COUNSELOR? 35 Or WHO HAS FIRST GIVEN TO HIM THAT IT MIGHT BE PAID BACK TO HIM AGAIN?

36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Romans 11:33-36

The character of God makes it impossible to know God without revelation, how much more difficult is it considering man’s sinful condition? We cannot even understand each other, or even understand ourselves; how can we possibly know God through our wisdom? 1 Corinthians 1:21 says that it is impossible, “the world through its wisdom did not come to know God.” How then can we know God?

What is the way to know God?

Man cannot know God by his own strength or intellect—it is impossible. Yet, there is a way for us to know God.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.   Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.”

Matthew 11:25-28

The only way to know God is for the Son of God to reveal Him to us. The Lord Jesus Christ tells us the only way to know God is by His revelation of Him to us. The Son of God reveals the Father to those whom He chooses (John 14:7). What our Lord says in effect is, “You cannot know God as your Father unless I reveal Him to you.”

What is Revelation?

In understanding what revelation is, let’s start with what it isn’t. Revelation is not discovery or deduction. It is not gaining understanding as a result of a process of thought. It is not the result of a quest or seeking knowledge. It is not the end of much research and study or meditation that brings one to the truth. It is not the result of our efforts at all. What is it then? Revelation is what God reveals to us. Revelation is an unveiling; something shown to us; something made clear. It is the work of God, not our work. Therefore, there is no merit that can be attributed to the one receiving revelation, but only to the One who has revealed it. Revelation then, is the act of God giving to man, or specific men, knowledge of Him and certain truths. This is seen all through the Bible.

Look at the Old Testament. It is not an account of man seeking God. Rather, it is an account of man doing wrong, going away from God, worshiping false gods, and God speaking to them through revelation in various forms to bring them to Him. God called Abraham and led him to the land of Canaan, and made his descendants a great nation. God spoke to Isaac and led him. He spoke to Jacob, who kept going his own way, sinning against God, but God brought him back and God gave him a promise. Then God gave His people judges, kings, and prophets; raised up enemies and led them on journeys—all this God initiated and accomplished to bring His people back to Himself.

We also see this in the New Testament. God “sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law” to redeem those who were under the law (Galatians 4:4). All throughout, revelation is the activity God employs to show us something, that’s why salvation comes   completely from God. It is God who reveals the way of salvation to those who are saved.

What does it mean to know God?

To know God is not just knowing about Him. It is that, but much more than that. It is a deep knowledge; an intimacy; it involves an intimate relationship. We’re really talking about a personal knowledge and understanding of God; His nature and character; His likes and dislikes.

Knowing God means that we can go to Him in trouble and distress and find Him. He meets us. We can talk to Him and know for certain He is there and hears us. Further, He speaks to us, guides us and leads us as our loving Father.

Knowing God means we receive blessings from Him as we face the difficulties and failures in life. When we sin and are condemned by our conscience and are filled with remorse and unhappiness; when the whole world is a disappointment to us and cannot please us or give us rest, then we look to God and long for that which only God can give us; that is the knowledge of God we all need.

Why do I need to know God?

Those who do not know God, are enslaved to the weak and elemental things of this world (Galatians 4:8-9). Professing to know God, their deeds deny God and they are “detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:16).

Those who do not know God will have restitution dealt to them by our Lord Jesus Christ, and “these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

This means we all need to know God. How about you? Do you know God? If you do not know God, then in this life you are a slave to sin and are worthless to God. If you do not know God, then Christ will deal restitution to you and you will pay the penalty of your sins with eternal destruction, unless you repent and put your faith in Christ.

Come to Christ

Why You Can’t Know God without Knowing Christ

It is impossible to truly know the true God without knowing Jesus Christ. The one who knows God knows the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. You cannot know the Father without knowing the Son; this is essential.

  • John 10:30 – “I and the Father are one.”
  • John 14:6 – Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
  • 1 John 2:23 – Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
  • 1 John 5:11 – And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 – He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.
  • John 6:37 – “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”
  • John 6:44 – “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”

An Invitation

The Lord Jesus gives you an invitation: Are you weary and heavy-laden? Come to Christ, and He will give you rest. Come to Christ and He will reveal the Father to you. Come to Christ and He will give you the rest that is eternal life!

“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

1 John 5:20

[1] The word “lamb” is used thirty times in reference to Christ in the book of Revelation alone.

[2] God will provide the lamb (Genesis 2:8). An offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10; Romans 8:3). The Passover Lamb (Exodus 12:11-13; 29:38-42).

The Love of God Shown by the Coming of Christ

December 23, 2014

When we think of Christmas, we consider the glorious, gracious gift of God’s Son to the world. The Bible says in John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” The sending of the Son of God into the world and the work of Christ show the love of God.

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9—10

The paragraphs which follow are excerpts from the book entitled, Life in Christ: Studies in 1 John, pages 429-439, by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It was one sermon preached as a series in the 1940’s, originally published in five volumes and re-published as one volume (in 2002 by Crossway Books.

The vital question which we must ask ourselves is this: How do we know that God is a God of love? What is the basis of our knowledge? What is my ultimate sanction for saying I believe that God is a God of love? ‘All I am interested in,’ says the average man, ‘is that God is a God of love and that He will forgive my sins.’ But how do you know that He will forgive your sins? What right have you to say that you believe that God will do that? Oh, how easy it is to use these expressions; but let us stop and ask the question quite simply: What is my authority, and how do I know?

I suggest to you that there are only two ultimate answers to that: You are either basing it upon your own or somebody else’s philosophical conception of God, or you are accepting in simplicity, and as they are, the very statements that are made in the Bible concerning God and His love. I do not think that it is at all difficult to prove that the average person, and especially the kind of person of whom I have been speaking, bases his whole idea of a God of love solely upon his own thoughts. He has no proof if he denies these facts and doctrines. He says that he believes what he says he believes, but he cannot prove it—he has nothing to substantiate it. He believes it, and he says that others have said it, and therefore it must be the case; but as to any final, ultimate proof, he has none.

Now the Bible itself actually does teach us that God has manifested Himself and His love in different ways. God has manifested His love in creation; the very act of creating the world at all must have been a manifestation of it, and this is seen in the order and arrangement which we see in the world. In the same way you can deduce the love of God from Providence. Certain things that happen are indications of it. Indeed, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ once put it like this: ‘[God] maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust’ (Matthew 5:45). The love of God, then, is something which is manifested in God’s providential care for and dealings with mankind.

But the great statement of the Bible from beginning to end, and especially the great statement of the New Testament, is that the love of God is only to be seen finally, and to be known truly, when you look at what God has done for us and in us in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. That is the great theme of the Bible. The Old Testament is a book that looks forward to the coming of Someone. It is God’s gracious promise that a deliverer, the Messiah, is going to come; and in the New Testament you have an account of how He came and what He did.

This is something which is absolutely essential. The love of God can only be finally understood and appreciated in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is what God has done in Him and through Him that ultimately reveals it all … God has manifested His love towards us in that He, there in glory, has sent from heaven, with its eternal bliss and absolute perfection, into this world His only begotten Son. We cannot fathom this—it escapes us. But can we try to imagine something of what this means. God, we are told, ‘sent’ His Son; He asked Him, His only begotten Son, to come into this world, consisting of men and women such as I have already been describing. ‘In this was manifested the love of God,’ that out of heaven He ‘sent His only begotten Son,’ the one who is in His own bosom.

Fathers and mothers, does this mean anything to you? Think of your own love to your children and multiply it by infinity, and that is God’s Father-love to God the Son; and yet He sent Him into the world. So you know nothing about the love of God unless you believe the doctrine of the Incarnation. Believe me, you cannot talk of the love of God dwelling in you unless you know that Jesus of Nazareth is the unique and only begotten Son of God. If you are uncertain about the person of Christ, you have no love of God in you—you are fooling yourself. You must not put the love of God as an opposite to the doctrine of the person of Christ. He is the God-man; all the miracles and the supernatural power, all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him bodily. Understanding the person of Christ is absolutely essential to understanding the doctrine of the love of God.

But let us pause there. From the heights let us come down again to the depths, and let us glance for a moment at what the Lord Jesus Christ has done. We have said that God has ‘sent His only begotten Son’ from heaven; but He sent Him, John says, ‘into the world.’ 0 blessed be His holy name! The Son, the only begotten Son, came into this world. We are measuring the love of God—and this is the way to measure it. Look at the world into which He came. You remember His birth and what we are told about it. This is the sort of world that the eternal Son of God, who had come from heaven, came into: There was no room for Him and for Mary and Joseph in the inn. The selfishness of mankind was such that even a woman in this condition did not get a room and had to go into a stable; so the Lord of glory was placed in a manger in a stable. That is the sort of world He came into; a selfish, grasping, self-centred world in which every man is out for himself.

You also remember the story of Herod and the massacre of the innocents—all the malice, envy, hatred, and bloodshed. And, oh, the poverty into which He came! They could not afford to give the price of the highest offering for Him; they had to offer the two turtledoves—they could not afford any more. He was born into a very poor home; he knew something of the squalor and the need that accompanies poverty. And for thirty years He lived a very ordinary life as a carpenter, mixing with ordinary people. Can you imagine what it must have meant to Him, the Lord of glory, the eternal Son of God who came out of God’s eternal bosom, to see sin firsthand? To look at the ugliness of evil and sin and see it face to face? The shame of it all and the foulness of it all! We are measuring the love of God, and that is the measure of it. How could He in all His purity and holiness ever come from heaven and live for thirty years in the kind of world in which you and I are living? How could He have done it? How could He stand or bear it?

Then watch Him in His ministry, teaching His pure, loving, holy doctrine, seeing the opposition that arose. Look at the people looking at one another, asking their questions, trying to trip Him—the cleverness they display in trying to pull Him down. Look at the scheming; look at the treachery even among His own friends; look at Him deserted by all His disciples; look at Him on trial; look at the crown of thorns they put upon His holy brow—that is the world into which He came. ‘In this was manifested the love of God . . . that God sent his only begotten Son into the world.’

But more, he sent Him, we are told, to be ‘the propitiation for our sins.’ What does this mean? Here, of course, is the great classic doctrine of the atonement, and it means that he sent Him into this world in order that He might become the sin offering for us. It means that God ‘hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’ (2 Corinthians 5:21). It means that Jesus Christ is not only the priest, but He is also the offering, the propitiation, the sacrifice offered. God sent Him into the world in order that God might punish our sins in Him. He has made His Son the sacrifice; it is a substitutionary offering for your sins and mine. That was why He was there in the Garden sweating drops of blood, because He knew what it involved—it involved a separation from the face of His Father. And that is why He cried out on the Cross, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ There we see the love of God not only in the world He came into, but in the propitiation, the sacrifice, the substitutionary death, so that you and I might be delivered. Herein was manifested the love of God, that God sent His only begotten Son to death, to the cruel shame and agony and suffering of the cross, to be made sin for us who Himself knew no sin and so was innocent.

But thank God, it did not stop at that. He raised Him again from the dead and thereby proclaimed that the sacrifice was enough, that the law was satisfied, and that everything was complete. I say again, you do not begin to know anything about the love of God until you see that if Christ had not died on the cross in that way, God could not forgive sin. I say it with reverence: that is God’s way of making forgiveness, for without the doctrine of the atonement you do not understand the love of God. Let me beseech you, never again put the love of God and doctrine as opposites. It is only in this way you understand the love of God. There is the depth again.

But let us once more rise from the depths to the heights; let us rise with Him in resurrection, and let us look at what He has meant to us as the result of that. Christ died—that is what we are told; He has been made ‘the propitiation for our sins.’ In other words, as the result of what He has done, God forgives us for our sins; by His death we are reconciled to God in Him; we have redemption through His blood. The blood is essential; never speak about it as if it were something that is legalistic. ‘In [Him] we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins’ (Colossians 1:14). In Him we are reconciled to God, pardoned, forgiven, and restored. Yes, and even more, God sent His Son into the world, that we might live through Him. We receive the gift of life; we begin to live, because He came. We are given His nature; we are given His power. He becomes One who resides in us; we live in Him, and He is in us; we live through Him. There we again rise to the height.

That is what God has done for us in His love through Christ—pardon, forgiveness, peace, reconciliation, life anew. We begin to live in a new world, and we see new possibilities. We know something of His mighty working in us and the power which operates in us. That is how the love of God is manifested, that He sent His Son, and the Son has taken hold of us and, as Paul puts it, has ‘raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus’ (Ephesians 2:6). But shall we dare to venture to rise still higher and to the highest height of all?

Finally, why has God done all this? Why has God had anything to do with such creatures as men and women, dead in trespasses and sins, rebels—hating Him, being against Him, turning His world into a living hell? Why did God ever even look on them, let alone send His only begotten Son to them, and even to the cruel death and shame of the cross, making Him a sin offering? Why has God done this? What led Him to do it? What is this love of God, and wherein does it consist? ‘Not that we loved God, but that he loved us,’ moved by nothing but His own self-generated love. Though we are what we are, ‘God is love,’ and His great heart of love, in spite of all that is in us, unmoved by anything save itself, has done it all.

I do not know what your feeling is at this moment, but I will tell you what mine is. I cannot understand the hardness of my own heart. How could any of us look at all this and believe it and not be lost in love to God? How can we contemplate these things and not be utterly broken down? How can any hatred remain in us? How can we do anything but love one another as we contemplate such amazing love? How can we look at these things and believe them and not feel utterly unworthy and ashamed of ourselves and feel that we owe all and everything to Him and that our whole lives must be given to express our gratitude, our praise, and our thanksgiving? Oh, let us resolve together to meditate more and more every day upon this amazing love. Look at it in terms of yourself, in terms of God, what God has done, what Christ has done. Go over these things; study them; read the Bible about them; examine them. Go on looking at them; contemplate them until your heart is broken and you feel the love of God possessing you wholly. ‘Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.’

An Apostolic Proclamation

September 20, 2014

1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life–2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us–3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:1-3

The first letter of John, 1 John 1:1-3, states three important principles concerning the gospel:

  1. It is a proclamation; a declaration; a manifestation; a showing (vs. 2-3).
  2. It comes to us on the authority of the Apostles (vs. 1-3).
  3. It’s message, is centered on Jesus Christ (vs. 1-3).

 

The Gospel is a Proclamation

The gospel is an announcement, a proclamation, a declaration. It is a message to be proclaimed and to be shared with others. It is to be reported. The gospel is not a speculation, a philosophy or an idea. It is not a viewpoint or an outlook. It is not the outcome of meditation or the result of man’s thoughts on life.

The position of John, and the rest of the Apostles, is that they have something important to proclaim; something so amazing they must report it. There is nothing uncertain about this message; no speculation; no theory; no hesitancy, and there is an authority behind it. John is like a man with a trumpet, calling people to listen.

 

The Gospel Has Apostolic Authority

John proclaims what they had: 1) heard; 2) seen; and touched with their hands. Peter puts it this way: “For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16). John and Peter are saying the same thing. The authority of the gospel is apostolic witness—our gospel is based on what they have said about what they observed.

In these first three verses of 1 John, John says three times that they had “seen” it, twice that they had “heard” it, and once that they had “touched” it. This message is about what the Apostles witnessed together. What they had witnessed and reported was real and true. You see, a Christian’s faith is based on facts, not fables; not an idea or some subjective experience.

 

The Gospel is Centered on Jesus Christ

What is it the Apostles witnessed that they proclaimed? It was something amazing; something extraordinary; something good—how appropriate that their message, the gospel, means “good news,” for indeed it is.

Here is the apostolic proclamation: The Word of Life became flesh and lived among us and we saw His glory, the glory of the only begotten Son of God, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14). John uses the term “Word of Life” to refer to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. By this, he is testifying that Christ’s life was manifested on earth (v. 2). He left eternity and came into time by living on this earth (The Incarnation). During His time on earth, He laid down His life to pay the penalty of our sins (The Atonement). His death on the cross was a substitutionary death by which He took our place and our penalty. After three days, He rose from the dead (The Resurrection), Afterwards, He returned to eternity (The Ascension).

In 1 John 3:8, John tells us that, “the Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil.”

John calls our Lord Jesus Christ the “Word of Life” because He is the way to life and He is the life (John 14:6). Christ came not only to reveal to us eternal life, but also to impart it to us. This is how John Calvin described it: “The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sinful sons of men might become the sons of God.”

Eternal life is not just a quantity of life (everlasting; eternal), it is a quality of life (righteous) whereby Christ gives the Christian His righteousness (Imputation). The Righteous One bore our sins so that sinners might become righteous. He took our life of sin upon Himself and suffered the penalty of it for us, so that we might live His life of

righteousness. What glorious mercy that He would participate in this exchange!

Conclusion

The gospel is an apostolic proclamation. It is the corroborated, proven eye and ear witness account of those who were closest to Jesus of Nazareth while He was on the earth, an account all of them would suffer for, and most of them would actually die for.

So you have before you this apostolic proclamation that God sent His Son to deal with sin, destroy the works of the devil, and not only show you the way to eternal life, but to impart it to you through faith in Christ! As you are confronted with these great and glorious truths, will you believe them and place your trust in Christ? If you do, He will save you and grant you eternal life.

If you reject the gospel, you reject Christ as your Savior and you have no hope. If you ignore this apostolic proclamation, the results are the same. Christ will only save you if you see yourself as a wretched sinner who needs to be saved by Him, and can only be saved by Him, you repent of your sins, and you hunger and thirst for the righteousness He promises to give. Will you trust in Him as your Savior and believe in Him as your Lord?

Look at What Christ did on the Cross

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3—“… Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures ”
  • Luke 22:19-20—“‘This cup is …My blood, which will be shed for you.’”
  • 1 Peter 2:24—“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.“
  • Colossians 1:20a—“… and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

Won’t  You Trust in Him and be Saved?

  • Romans 10:9—“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  • Romans 10:13—“for ‘whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
  • Acts 16:30-31—“and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”

Are You the Expected One …?

September 20, 2014

They asked Jesus, “Are You the Expected One*, or shall we look for someone else?”

* The long-awaited Christ; The Messiah; The Chosen One

Jesus is the Christ!

Jesus Works Miracles

(Matthew 11:2-6)

2 Now when John, while imprisoned, heard of the works of Christ, he sent word by his disciples 3 and said to Him, “Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?”

4 Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see: 5 the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM.

6 “And blessed is he who does not take offense at Me.”

John asks the most important question in life, because the answer affects our eternal destiny: Is Jesus the Messiah (Christ)? Jesus answers by reminding John that He was doing the very things which the prophets prophesied the Christ would do:

  • The Blind See (Isaiah 35:5)
  • The Lame Walk (Isaiah 35:5)
  • Lepers are Cleansed (Isaiah 53:4)
  • The Deaf Hear (Isaiah 35:5)
  • The Dead are Raised Up (Exceeded predictions of the Messiah)
  • The Gospel Preached to the Poor (Isaiah 61:1)

Jesus Judges Unrepentant Cities

(Matthew 11:20-24)

20 Then He began to denounce the cities in which most of His miracles were done, because they did not repent.

21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

22 “Nevertheless I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you.

23 “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.

24 “Nevertheless I say to you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you.”

Jesus pronounces judgment on the unrepentant people of the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum because, though He had given many signs of who He was there, they would not believe in Him. As a result, He said judgment for them would be worse than for Tyre, Sidon and Sodom.

Jesus is the Judge who judges sin yet offers the only way of escape from eternal punishment.

Jesus, the Son, Has Been Given All Authority by God His Father

(Matthew 11:25-27)

25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

The Son of God reveals the Father to whom He chooses, not on the basis of any wisdom or intelligence they possess. To those who are perishing the cross is foolishness (1 Cor 1:18).  Whoever believes in Him will have eternal life (John 3:15; 6:47).

 

Jesus Calls Us to Himself

(Matthew 11:28-30)

28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

It is true for all people of every generation; all must come to Christ for salvation, because no one else offers cleansing and

forgiveness for sin; for Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6), bearing our sins in His body on the cross, so that we would die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Peter 2:24).

The heart of the gospel, the good news, is centered on Jesus of Nazareth, who He is—the Christ and the Savior, and what He did—died on the cross to reconcile God and sinful man. He came to redeem people and give us new life, and impart His righteousness to us so that we can live a Christ-like life.

†

You can be redeemed by our gracious God, who sent His Son our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, to redeem the lost—He can save you:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”

John 3:16-17

 

 

Trust in Christ!

What Christ did on the Cross:

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3—“… Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures ”
  • Luke 22:19-20—“’This cup is …My blood, which will be shed for you.’”
  • 1 Peter 2:24—“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.“
  • Colossians 1:20a—”… and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

Won’t  you trust in Him and be saved?

  • Romans 10:9—”that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  • Romans 10:13—”for ‘whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
  • Acts 16:30-31—”and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”

The Narrow Gate

September 20, 2014

Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Matthew 7:13-14

Do you know the way?

Jesus said,

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

The  narrative about the narrow gate and the narrow way was spoken by our Lord Jesus Christ in the closing section of His great discourse, known as the Sermon on the Mount, where He applies His teaching from the previous section of His sermon.

In His closing application, He speaks of two gates, two ways, two destinations, and two groups of people (vs.13-14); two kinds of trees and two kinds of fruit (vs. 17-20); two groups at the judgment (vs. 21-23); and two kinds of builders, building on two kinds of foundations (vs. 24-28). Christ uses these examples to draw a clear line between the way that leads to life and the way that leads to death and destruction.

Two Gates

Here we are in this life, walking along, and we are suddenly confronted with two gates before us. One is to the left, the other to the right. One gate is narrow, one is wide. Both appear to be the entrance into God’s kingdom. Both are not!

The Wide Gate

This wide gate is very big and broad, and a great number of people are crowding together to enter in. Beyond the wide gate is a broad way filled with people walking along it. “This is the way to God’s kingdom!” people shout as they walk along.

The Narrow Gate

This narrow gate is very small and tight to enter; only one person can enter at a time. Few people are entering. Beyond the gate is a way that is very narrow as well. There are only a few people walking along this narrow way. Can this be the way to God’s kingdom; so few are entering in?

I hear the voice of the Lord,

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

This is the way to the kingdom of God!

What It Means

So many people have bought into the lie that all ways lead to God. That simply is not true.  If there is one true God—and there is—why would He allow someone to enter His kingdom without recognizing Him as the King? Why would He allow those who follow some other way and not His way to enter in? This would only mask who He is so  people would not know the true God, and God wants us to know Him (Phil 3:10). That’s why He sent His Son  Jesus Christ.

Christ came in the flesh to reveal the Father, but also to pay the debt of our sins. We all have sinned (Rom 3:23). God in His justice must punish sin (Rom 6:23). God in His love sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (1 John 2:2).

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

Christ is the only forgiveness for our sins, and our only way to heaven:

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Which gate will you choose?

Enter by the Narrow Gate

(An Original Song)

As I travelled on my life’s journey,

I came to two different gates with two ways.

Which way should I go; which gate to choose?

Amazed, I watch as people entered the gates.

One of the gates was narrow and small,

And very few people entered at all.

Anyone who went in, did so alone,

And carried nothing; he was all on his own.

The other gate was enormously wide.

Yet many people crowded to get inside.

They entered in with friends, and family;

They entered shouting and laughing merrily.

(Refrain)

Then I heard the Lord say,

“Enter through the narrow gate, My son;

For the gate is wide and the way

Is broad that leads to destruction,

And there are many who enter through it.

For the gate is small and the way is narrow

That leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

By grace, I chose the narrow gate.

Nothing with me did I take:

No friends, no possessions, no pride,

No worldliness, no self can go inside.

Those who entered by the wide gate,

Were blinded to their dreaded fate.

They could have chosen the way of life,

Instead, they chose death and strife.

The narrow gate is only open to the one,

Who has been cleansed by the blood of God’s Son.

Those who enter, come by His cross;

The rest are left out; forever lost.

(Repeat Refrain)

Look at what Christ did on the Cross

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3—“… Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures ”
  • Luke 22:19-20—“’This cup is …My blood, which will be shed for you.’”
  • 1 Peter 2:24—“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.“
  • Colossians 1:20a—”… and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

Won’t  you trust in Him and be saved?

  • Romans 10:9—”that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  • Romans 10:13—”for ‘whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
  • Acts 16:30-31—”and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”

How Can I Know God?

September 20, 2014

How can I know God? He is the Creator and Sustainer of everything that exists in heaven and on earth—the entire universe. God brought all things into existence from nothing. How can we with our puny  minds grasp the vastness, depth, greatness and majesty of God?

If the character of God makes it impossible to know God without revelation, how much more difficult is it considering man’s sinful condition? We cannot even understand each other and live decently toward one another, or even understand ourselves, and can we possibly know God through our wisdom? 1 Corinthians 1:21 says that is impossible, “the world through its wisdom did not come to know God.” How then can we know God?

What is the way to know God?

Man cannot know God by his own strength or intellect—it is impossible. Yet, there is a way for us to know God.

At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants.   Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.”

Matthew 11:25-28

The only way to know God is for the Son of God to reveal Him to us. The Lord Jesus Christ tells us the only way  to know God is by His revelation of Him to us. The Lord Jesus Christ reveals the Father to those whom He chooses (John 14:7). What our Lord says in effect is, “You cannot know God as your Father unless I reveal Him to you.”

What is revelation?

In understanding what revelation is, let’s start with what it isn’t. Revelation is not discovery or deduction. It is not  gaining understanding as a result of a process of thought. It is not the result of a quest or seeking knowledge. It is not the end of much research and study or meditation that brings one to the truth. It is not the result of our efforts at all. What is it then? Revelation is what God reveals to us. Revelation is an unveiling; something shown to us; something made clear. It is the work of God, not our work. Therefore, there is no merit that can be attributed to the one receiving revelation, but only to the One who has revealed it. Revelation then, is the act of God  giving to man, or specific men, knowledge of Him and certain truths. This is seen all through the Bible.

Look at the Old Testament. It is not an account of man seeking God. Rather, it is an account of man doing wrong, going away from God, worshiping false gods, and God speaking to them through revelation in various forms to bring them to Him.  God called Abraham and led him to the land of Canaan, and made  his descendants a great nation. God spoke to Isaac and led him. He spoke to Jacob, who kept going his own way, sinning against God, but God brought him back and God gave him a promise.  Then God gave His people judges, kings, and prophets; raised up enemies and led them on journeys—all this God initiated and accomplished to bring His people back to Himself.

We also see this in the New Testament. God “sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law” to redeem those who were under the law (Galatians 4:4). All throughout, revelation is the activity God employs to show us something, that’s why salvation comes   completely from God. It is God who reveals the way of salvation to those who are saved.

What does it mean to know God?

To know God is not just knowing about Him; it is that, but much more than that. It  means a deep knowledge; an intimacy; it involves an intimate relationship. We’re really talking about a personal knowledge and understanding of God; His nature and character; His likes and dislikes.

Knowing God means that we can go to Him in trouble and distress and find Him. He meets us. We can talk to Him and know for certain He is there and hears us. Further, He speaks to us, guides us and leads us as our Father.

Knowing God means we receive blessings from Him as we face the difficulties and failures in life. When we sin and are condemned by our conscience and are filled with remorse and unhappiness; when the whole world is a disappointment to us and cannot please us or give us rest, then we look to God and long for that which only God can give us; that is the knowledge of God we all need.

Why do I need to know God?

Those who do not know God, are enslaved to the weak and elemental things of this world (Galatians 4:8-9). Professing to know God, their deeds deny God  and they are “detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed” (Titus 1:16).

Those who do not know God will have restitution dealt to them by our Lord Jesus Christ, and “these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9).

This means we all need to know God. How about you? Do you know God? If you do not know God, then in this life you are a slave to sin and are worthless to God. If you do not know God, then Christ will deal restitution to you and you  will pay the penalty of your sins with eternal destruction.

Come to Christ

The Lord Jesus gives you an invitation: Are you weary and heavy-laden?  Come to Christ, and He will give you rest. Come to Christ and He will reveal the Father to you. Come to Christ and He will give you the rest that is eternal life!

“And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

1 John 5:20  

Come to Christ and be Saved!

Look at what Christ did on the Cross

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3—“… Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures ”
  • Luke 22:19-20—“‘This cup is …My blood, which will be shed for you.’”
  • 1 Peter 2:24—“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.“
  • Colossians 1:20a—“… and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

Won’t  you trust in Him and be saved?

  • Romans 10:9—“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  • Romans 10:13—“for ‘whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
  • Acts 16:30-31—“and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”

Hope and Change?

September 20, 2014
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The expression, “hope and change,” popularized a few years ago, uses carefully chosen nouns that can also be used as verbs depending on the context, without offering a definition of the substance of either word, so that a critical assessment cannot be made. As a result, the expression, “hope and change” has the tendency of evoking positive reactions from people who attribute their own meaning to the words.

It is important to understand what hope is offered to determine if it is true hope. We need to ask, “What is this hope?” The value of hope is in the one, or the thing, hoped in. For example, hoping that a broken chair will hold you is not true hope. In contrast, hoping that a strong and solid one will hold you, is.

It is equally important to understand the nature of the proposed change to determine the merits of the change. Reason demands that we ask, “Is this a good change?” One must know the current state and the future state, proposed by the change, and compare them, to determine if the change is truly good.

Why do people have a positive general impression of these words? Well, “hope” has an inherent positive connotation–nobody hopes for something bad. Change can be good or bad, but connecting it with hope gives it a positive impression.

I believe the most positive connotation of these words is found in the Bible, which clearly describes the hope we can have and defines beneficial changes that can be ours as well.

Hope

Those who are separate from Christ are in a state where they have no hope (Eph 2:12), unless they put their faith in Christ. What about the Christian; what hope does he have? The Christian has many great hopes and every spiritual blessing as a result of his hope (Eph 1:3).

First of all, the Christian’s hope is not a “hope against hope;” it is a confident assurance; a sure expectation in the fulfillment of God’s promises based on the character of God. This is the kind of hope the Christian has.

It is a hope in the eternal life (Titus 1:2; 3:7) God has promised to those who trust in Christ and His sacrifice alone. This is a hope in Christ’s deliverance (2 Cor 1:10). This is the hope of the gospel (Col 1:23); hope in the living God (1 Tim 4:10). Thus we are saved in this hope (Rom 8:24). The Christian’s hope is in heaven (Col 1:5). All this describes the hope of our Lord’s calling (Eph 1:18; 4:4).

The Christian has hope in God alone (1 Peter 1:21) and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 2:19; 1 Thes 1:3; 1 Tim 1:1). He understands that God his Father has given him hope by His grace (2 Thes 2:16), and he has the encouragement of the Scriptures so that he might have this hope (Rom 15:4).

The Christian has a living hope in the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pet 1:3), and hope in the Second Coming of Christ (Titus 2:13).

This is a hope to rejoice in (Rom 12:12)! It is a sure and steadfast hope (Heb 6:19); firm until the end (Heb 3:6; 6:11), because He who made these promises is faithful (Heb 10:23)! This is true hope; real hope; a confident assurance.

Change

This hope leads to change, but what kind of change? There are many, but I will describe the three most important ones. The Christian’s hope is for changes in the past, present, and future: “I am changed (made into a new creation); I am being changed (into the image of Christ) and I will be changed (given a new, eternal body).”

There are more changes a Christian experiences, all related to the aforementioned changes: he is given a righteous life (Gal 5:5); he receives the righteousness of Christ (Rom 3:22; 1 Cor 1:30; Phil 1:11; 3:9; 2 Pet 1:1). The Christian is rescued from the domain of darkness, and transferred into the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1:13). He is changed (transformed) by the renewing of his mind (Rom 12:12). He is being transformed into the image of our Lord (2 Cor 3:18). God will transform the body of the Christian at the resurrection (Phil 3:21).

Man’s promises of hope and change are empty, because he is powerless to deliver on them. The hope and change God offers are incomparable and eternal, a great blessing, and the only hope and change worth believing in. God promises true hope—trust Him for it. He offers real, positive change—ask Him for it.

 

Hope in the Cross: of Christ

  • 1 Corinthians 15:3—“… Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures ”
  • Luke 22:19-20—“’This cup is …My blood, which will be shed for you.’”
  • 1 Peter 2:24—“and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.“
  • Colossians 1:20a—”… and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.”

The Change of Salvation

  • Romans 10:9—”that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
  • Romans 10:13—”for ‘whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
  • Acts 16:30-31—”and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”