The Cup Which Christ Drank

10:05AM, Wednesday, February 20, 2008

To contrast with Bell’s teaching, I commend to you here true teaching about Christ’s prayer that night in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Thanks go to my friend Ben for sharing this video with me that I might share it with you.

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Suffering? Have Some Mercy and Grace.

5:12PM, Thursday, September 20, 2007

This post is a response to something my friend wrote on his blog. Rather than take up a considerable amount of space in his comments, I have decided to post my thoughts here.

After some of the things I’ve wrestled through in the past few months, I’d have to say that the question of why God allows suffering gets things backwards. I think it assumes in the first place that we are not all worthy of suffering greatly for our sins.

I think rather than asking why God allows suffering or asking why we allow suffering we ought to be asking “Why does God allow us to live in spite of our sinfulness?”

You see friend, this world we live in is dying, and it’s all because of sin. The universe is decaying because sin entered in by way of Adam and Eve. It’s moving day after day, hour after hour, moment by moment toward its ultimate destruction. Apart from Christ, the men and women of this world, including you and I, stand already condemned and worthy of death before a holy God. And the fact that God does not send us straight to just judgment in hell the moment we sin is an act of Grace!

And how is God even able to offer us this Grace without contradicting His divine demand of justice for sin? The Cross of Jesus Christ provides the answer to this much better question. The mercy and grace that we are offered at the Cross is there because the wrath of God for sin was on Christ! Because the justice poured out at the Cross was infinite for the infinite offense of sin against a holy God, God is therefore free to offer Grace and Mercy as He so wills.

That we are still living and breathing, that we are not as bad as we could be (even Joseph Stalin didn’t murder his own mother) is a sovereign act of God moving in His Grace. That does not mean that all people have all of God’s Grace. God sovereignly chooses those upon whom He will bestow His Grace and Mercy. “I will have mercy upon whom I will have mercy.” declares the Lord.

As an aside, if you want some more Scriptural background on the things I’m talking about, I’d suggest reading up a bit on the Doctrines of Grace.

So does the fact that God doesn’t magically eliminate all suffering mean that we don’t help the poor or care for the sick? By no means! We ought to do these things because we love them. And we ought to love them because God has demonstrated His love to us by giving us Christ’s Cross. But the elimination of suffering in this fallen world is not the goal of these actions.

Folks like Rob Bell will tell you that that is the goal because we’re supposed to bring some sort of physical kingdom of God here to earth. That’s not at all the goal, and that’s a completely unscriptural motive. The goal in showing love and mercy to the suffering is to be merciful because God is merciful to us, and if that person is unsaved, the ultimate goal is to show them the way to repentance and faith in Christ.

Suffering isn’t at all the question, is it? God gives to us all varying degrees of mercy and grace as He sovereignly chooses. I’m not sure that any of us is really in a position to question the one giving mercy as to how much mercy we or others “deserve” are you? I know that on the surface that might seem like a cop out, but it really isn’t. None of us deserve God’s Mercy or Grace, and that, my friend, is precisely why God’s Mercy and Grace are so grand!


Simply Amazed

10:23AM, Sunday, September 2, 2007

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.

The joy can never be spoken, above all joys beside,
When in Thy body broken I thus with safety hide.
O Lord of Life, desiring Thy glory now to see,
Beside Thy cross expiring, I’d breathe my soul to Thee.

I am enamored with the Cross of Christ: its justice and its mercy; its unmerited favor and its infinite mercy; the infinite love of God on display and the hope of salvation it offers.

My lips tremble and tears flow as I contemplate His death and my utter unworthiness of His grace. I am sinful man. He is the thrice holy God. On no merit of my own did God choose me and know me before the establishment of the universe. The defining miracle of my life is that God’s sovereign grace overcame my rebellious and sinful core and brought to me even the desire to submit to Him. Forever I am a debtor to God’s grace.

When I do Thy will, my Father, ’tis not as though I deserve payment. ‘Tis only what I ought do, for I am an unworthy servant and Thou my gracious Master. Lord have mercy on me, I plead. Cleanse me of all that does not glorify Thee. Assist me to walk humbly in Thy grace and confidently in Thy strength.


Precious Death, Blessed Hope

11:59PM, Sunday, August 5, 2007

Precious in the sight of the LORD Is the death of His godly ones.
— Psalm 116:5

A beloved sister passed into eternity Saturday morning. Our sovereign God saw fit to welcome our friend into the fullness of His presence. We do not necessarily understand why, and it hurts to see our friend go, but we do not mourn as the world mourns; for the world mourns without hope. We have our eyes firmly fixed on the hope of heaven because God has made Himself known to us through Jesus Christ and we have surrendered our hearts and minds to Him. The sting of death has been abolished by Christ’s resurrection.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
–Titus 2:11-14

My friend knew and loved Jesus. Her life and words proclaimed to me an immense love for God and for others. There is no doubt in my mind with regard to her current residence. She is present with her savior and King.

Thank you Father for the time you did give me to get to know my friend, worshiping You with music together. God, it grieves me to lose such a dearly beloved sister, but I thank You for the hope of reunion and the assurance of heaven You offer through Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for the comfort You promise and are faithful to provide. You are exceedingly good and holy God. You are sovereign above all. Blessed is Your name.