Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jesus: the Only Way

John 6:67-68
So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus asks if the disciples would rather be doing something else instead - to go back to their old jobs as fishermen and tax collectors, etc., back to their families and old friends. 
Their response: “Then who would we follow? Where would we go? We believe you and have left everything in order to follow you. There is no going back.”
Friend, the same is true for you. “For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) 

Commitment to Christ means that we die with Him. We experience death to self and death to the world. 
Commitment to Christ means that we live with Him. Just as He was raised, so also are we raised. We are finally alive, free to live unto God, free to have life in the midst of a dead and dying world. "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). Our returning to the world, or to the flesh, or to Satan is just as likely as Jesus returning to the's impossible...He is God. 
Psalm 73:25-26
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 
If Jesus really is who He says He is, nothing else matters…nothing…
This life offers nothing that satisfies us, it merely points to the next life where there is eternal satisfaction. The gospel is the means to that. Once we are looking toward that which truly and finally satisfies our needs, we can have joy, real joy, even here in a fallen world. Counterintuitively, The fulfilled life is one that is emptied of self and absolutely surrendered to the Creator. 
The gospel is the means. God is the end. God came down to earth so that He might be the means and the end, the “just and the justifier” (Romans 3:26). Through Christ (means), we spend eternity with God (end). And that end is sweet.  That is the end for which human souls were designed. “In [His] presence there is fullness of joy; at [His] right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


God exists outside of space and time. This is an simple dogma to lay out but it is a complex concept to wrap a finite mind around, as it should be. Because God exists beyond space and time, there has never been a time or place that the God has not existed, i.e. He is eternal. 
Furthermore, because the empirical universe, nature as we know it, finds its existence within the parameters of time and space, there has never been a time or place when and where the universe has not existed. This does not mean that the universe is eternal, but rather that the universe was created simultaneously with the establishment of space and time. “Prior” to creation, there was not a time or space for the universe not to have existed. 
All of that goes to lay the groundwork for God’s omniscience. If God’s existence is beyond the bounds of time and space, then His knowledge must be beyond what is known from within the system. 
I labor on the previous statements partly in order to emphasize that one of the major efforts in the human experience is a striving to distance one’s self from other objects or events in order to understand them more comprehensively. 
We know this to be true in the case of physical objects; we understand the dynamics of a process by looking at the whole rather than its individual mechanisms. We distance ourselves in space; we literally step back and look at it from a farther perspective. 
Likewise, with events, in order to understand why our actions were either good or bad in a given circumstance, it often tends to make sense only after long periods of reflection. We distance ourselves in time; we literally wait for an extended amount of time in order for our perspective to reach a position in which it can analyze a situation without being as biased. 
How much greater is God’s knowledge of His creation! His knowledge cannot arise from a better perspective because it is not limited in space or time. The One who does not abide in the realm of space and time has no need to hesitate or to question. He sees the end from the beginning and the beginning from the end. 
One conclusion to be drawn is that it is impossible for God not to know. He knows the future because he is the ultimate future; at the end of the age all thing will be insofar as they are in Him. He cannot know on the basis of our decisions. It is not as though God “looked down the corridor of time” and saw decisions we would make and how things would be and then based His knowledge on those results. That would put finite men as the primary movers in the mind of an infinite God. His eternal knowledge cannot be derived from temporal creatures. Man cannot have preeminence over Deity.
As the Transcendent One who is outside the system, He sees all and knows all. As the Sovereign Ruler, He governs and ordains all infallibly because past, present, and future occur to Him as an eternal and immediate copresent. As the Righteous Lord, He directs and orders things in such a way as to result primarily in His glory and secondarily, though no less intentionally, for our good. 

Thursday, October 27, 2011


You are worthy, O Lamb, to receive praise,
For with your precious blood you clothed your Bride.
Not for mocks nor blows nor Satan’s cruel gaze,
But because on your head did Sin reside.
The sinless One, ever the Father’s delight,
Now forsaken in place of the wretched.
You died, to save the mortal and finite, 
You were nailed to a tree your arms outstretched.
What love is this that the King should forgive?
And upon the guilty should grace bestow?
For death we deserve yet He bids us “Live!”
He came to wield the ax and bear its blow.
Thanks be to God our King for costly grace. 
Now for endless years we behold His face.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Jesus was counter-cultural.

Jesus was counter-cultural. 
The religious teachers.
Selfishly ambitious in the things they did.
Publicly prideful in the things they didn’t do. 
The irreligious.
liberally licentious in the things they did.
yet zealously rebellious in the things they didn’t do. 
Jesus purposefully rebelled against the religious.
Intentionally guided the irreligious back toward Truth.
Confounded both parties.
Jesus healed on the Sabbath.
Rejected the pseudo-righteous.
Claimed deity, forgiving sins.
Jesus embraced the outcasts.
Befriended the sinners.
Ate with the tax collectors. 
The rich asked to be part of His movement.
Jesus sent them away.
They came out of aspiration for things.
The poor weren’t even looking for Him.
Jesus sought them out and invited them in.
They had nothing but faith.
The religious called Him “rabbi.”
Wanted Him to be in their club.
Wanted to use Him for their own gain.
The irreligious were curious and intrigued.
This man clearly loved others.
Not like the religious people.
Religious people wouldn’t like Jesus.
Sinners wouldn’t desire Him.
Jesus came to shatter the world of both.
Jesus was counter-cultural.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Can there be true joy in this life?

Joy cannot be true joy unless there is certainty in its eternality. If one is experiencing a feeling of joy (pleasure in happiness), but there is knowledge of its end, the joy cannot be pure. For the rational man, the fear of joy’s end is enough to tarnish it at least to some extent. I contend that true and perfect joy can only be had in the next life, when God’s elect will see Him as He is and will behold Him with the certainty of remaining with God forever. True and perfect joy can only come via the Presence of the One in which all the springs of felicity find their source. 
We see this biblically with Adam and Eve. The kind of joy that they experienced in the Garden, and there was a kind of joy for they were intimate enough with God that they knew the sound of His walking the Garden, was tainted by their lack of confidence in remaining there forever. Their fears were realized and they were cast out of the Garden, relying on grace for God to restore us to His presence again. But the joy that believers now have is greater than the joy of the first man and woman before the Fall because we have assurance that we can never be separated from the Father (see Romans 8:35). 
We even see this in human relationships. Friendship is never without fear. No matter how dedicated the friend may be, there is always uncertainty in the minds of the two individuals. I may know of my own faithfulness toward my friend, but I can never be absolutely certain about his/her commitment to me. I cannot truly know the heart of another person. Whenever the variable of human companionship is added to the equation, uncertainty is inevitable. This is the wretchedness of the human situation. We recognize relationships as good insofar as they mirror the Divine relationship. 
The type of marriage begun in this life finds its fulfillment in the next life. The sort of imperfect friendship begun in this world meets its completion in eternity. The taste of joy that some may experience on this side of Heaven is purified and perfected on the other side. Our complete, fulfilled, pure, and perfected selves will emerge when we are with God and they will be so because they will never cease or falter. 
The reason we can look forward to future joy is because Jesus came. As Ed Clowney so eloquently put it: Jesus sat amid the joy, sipping the coming sorrow, so that we could sit amid the sorrow sipping the coming joy. Jesus endured the injustice and corruption of this life, "despising [its] shame," by looking forward to the "joy that was set before Him" (see Hebrews 12:2). So also should we endure "this light momentary affliction" looking forward to "an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison" (see 2 Corinthians 4:17). 

If God, in sheer grace and mercy, commonly graces all men with sensations of pleasure and beauty, especially to fallen and condemned men on this earth, how much greater is the pleasure and beauty that God has reserved in heaven for those who are His children, and new capacities by which to enjoy them! (see 1 Corinthians 2:9)
On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
the covering that is cast over all peoples,
the veil that is spread over all nations.
He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken. 
It will be said on that day,
“Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Isaiah 25:6-9

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why Was It Dark?

Luke 23:44-45 “It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.” ESV
Why did everything grow dark? What was the significance of this? Was this symbolic of the “darkness” of sin during this event? After all, this is certainly the darkest moment in human history. But does that figurative explanation account for the tangible darkness that is recorded by three of the four gospel writers? While I do not discredit the aforementioned explanation, I believe that there is another, perhaps more meaningful, interpretation found in the Old Testament.
The Tabernacle as described in Exodus 25-30:
The Tabernacle Courtyard contained the bronze basin for ceremonial cleansing, as well as the bronze altar for general sacrifices. The courtyard was not covered by anything. It was entirely lit by sunlight. 
The Holy Place housed the golden table for the bread of the Presence (the bread symbolizing the tribes of Israel), the golden lampstand (the branches symbolizing the tree of life), and the golden altar of incense (where the blood of atonement would be offered). The Holy Place was enclosed by a thick tent-like curtain. However, it did contain the golden lampstand, which dimly lit the the Holy Place. 
The Holy Place and the Most Holy Place were separated by a large veil (reportedly four inches thick!) symbolizing the holiness and separation of God from the people.

The Most Holy Place contained only the golden Ark of the Covenant (which contained the Ten Commandments, the pot of manna, and Aaron’s staff). It was upon this Ark that the Presence of the Lord would come down. The Most Holy Place had no light source. No lamplight or sunlight. The Holy of Holies remained in utter darkness. 
First of all, it is notable that the further into the Tabernacle one goes, the more precious the artifacts are in the rooms. In the outer court, the basin and altar are made of bronze, a somewhat common metal. In the Holy Place, everything is made of gold, a much more precious metal. And in the Most Holy Place, the Ark is made of gold but contained in the golden box are the holiest and most precious objects that Israel possessed. 
The Most Holy Place is where the high priest would enter to sprinkle blood on the Ark to atone, first for his own sin, and secondly for the sin of his people. I believe that it is no coincidence that his atoning sacrifice could happen only in total darkness. 
I believe this is why “there was darkness over the whole land” during Jesus’s crucifixion. The land on which Jesus was crucified had been turned into the Holy of Holies. Atonement was still to be made in total darkness. Jesus being crucified in complete darkness is the antitype of the high priest offering his sacrifice in total darkness.
It is no coincidence that during those three hours, the veil that separated the Most Holy Place was torn in two. The old symbol had been realized; it was no longer needed. It had served its purpose.

“...the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). The Greek word here for “dwelt” is skēnoō literally means “to fix one’s tabernacle.” So, literally, "the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us." Jesus is the fulfillment of the old covenant tabernacle. 

Jesus, our Great High Priest, on the cross, made the ultimate atoning sacrifice, when He offered Himself. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Jesus had no sin of His own to atone for, so His sacrifice was entirely for the sin of His people. The sacrifices of the Old Testament were only types of Christ’s final sacrifice. The high priest’s intercession for his people is but a type of the substitution of Jesus on behalf of His people. His work on the cross was the fulfillment of all of the Old Testament types. The day of Jesus’s death was the true Day of Atonement! Jesus is our true Great High Priest!

Recommended Reading: Exodus 25-30, Leviticus 16, Luke 22-23, John 1

Friday, March 4, 2011

Salvation Accomplished!

What a beautiful picture of the Trinity is seen in my own salvation! As the Father, Son, and Spirit are three and yet one, similarly, as a type of Him who saved me, my salvation is one but three. 
I have been saved three times. 
Firstly, I was saved once, before the foundation of the world, when the Father foreknew and predestined me to be His own, inscribing my name into the Book of Life. This Divine decree cannot be thwarted. According to His grace granted to me, not because of anything I’ve done, but according to the counsel of His own will, He ordained my salvation, declaring my adoption. My salvation was accomplished here. 
Secondly, I was saved once about two thousand years ago, when Jesus Christ, the eternally begotten Son, bought me, sealed my pardon, appeased God’s wrath toward me that my sin warranted, imputing His righteousness to my account. Jesus Christ drank the full cup of God’s wrath, giving me liberty from my inherited sinful nature. It was finished! My salvation was accomplished at the cross.
Finally, I was saved when I received the Holy Spirit, that moment when I came to accept that Christ’s sacrifice applied to me. I was dead in my sin, but this Spirit made me alive in Christ, causing me to walk in the good works that the Father prepared for me. This Spirit of God sanctifies me by convicting me of sin, making me more like Christ, daily bringing me to repentance; this Spirit disciplines me, as a loving father to a rebellious child, because He loves me; this Spirit humbles me, showing me the chasm between a Holy Father and sinful men, He will not let me become an idol to myself; this Spirit conforms my will to His so that I can act according to His good pleasure; this Spirit seals me, in Christ’s blood, until the day of redemption. This Holy Spirit of God accomplished my salvation and keeps me in it.
It is evident that every part of the Trinity is at work in bringing such a fallen creature, such as I, back into proper fellowship with God. We see the Father’s decree, fulfilled in the Son, and carried out through the Spirit. 
A once-for-all salvation, yet mysteriously three-fold. Oh the delicacy in which the Godhead is revealed in His creation! 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


In the pursuit of spreading your fame, 
I faint in the awkwardness of sharing Your name.
In light of my failures, I hang my head in shame
Wondering why my reaction is always the same.
At the bottom of it all I am concerned with my own acclaim
Instead of embracing the message that Jesus Christ, the Messiah, came.
How can I live like it’s a self-exalting game?
The pride of self-preservation, a most distressing sin.
If I can’t die to self, I am to be pitied above all men.
My desire to succeed, the competitive urge to win,
Seeks to exalt myself instead of glorifying Him.
I fear that moments in my life are wasted again and again,
Instead of finding satisfaction in Christ and God’s finished work in Him, 
Conquering sin, drawing men, all for Him. 
The God-Man on the tree broke the bonds of oppression 
He is seated by God making the intercessory connection.
He ransomed us from our fallen condition
We are called to pursue holiness and regard our sin with contrition 
That’s only possible through the Holy Spirit’s conviction.
At the Cross He brought us into His family through adoption
Christ is the Bridegroom and we are His bride, divorce is not an option.
When the Gospel was expressed, I realized it was His law that I transgressed.
My heart was pounding through my chest after my soul I had assessed.  
My mind was distressed. I knew that God was not impressed.
Therefore of my sin I confessed, and found that through Christ I have been blessed. 
Eternal life I have possessed. Now with His glory I am obsessed.
I never would have guessed that my life would be best 
when His name has been professed, nothing greater can I suggest.
God created us, the one that made every constellation,
but all because of sin we failed the soul examination.
We fell and became enslaved to some weak imitation,
Rather than regarding the thrice-Holy God with humble adoration.
Our thoughts were held captive to some disproportionate imagination.
Our thoughts of self-sufficiency became idolatrous infatuation.
But God, the Final Judge brought the Divine Accusation.
You must be born-again, given a whole new foundation.
Repent, believe, and confess and there will be NO condemnation.
Glory to God! He provided a way of salvation.
Glory to God! We reside as coheirs without fear of abrogation.
How does this not dominate our every conversation?