a case for penal substitution

The cross work of Christ is not just a payment for the wages of sin, but it is man’s means for cleansing from and victory over sin and death. In essence, that is the doctrine of penal substitution. The doctrine of penal substitution is one of the glorious truth’s of the Bible.

First, the doctrine of penal substitution is biblical.

From beginning to end penal substitution is central to the message of the Bible [cf. Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:24; Leviticus 1:4; 17:11; Isaiah 53:5-6; Hebrews 9:22]. The truth that Jesus Christ satisfied the justice of God and took upon Himself the wrath due sin.

Second, penal substitution is necessary for real forgiveness.

God cannot waive the wrath due sin. It is out of line with His character to do so. He cannot sweep sin under the rug. Justice demands a consequence. Sin robs the bank of God’s justice [Psalm 97:2; Proverbs 17:15]. The only remedy is to seek forgiveness, but forgiveness always has a cost. Injustice must be made right. For my sin the cost was the death of Jesus Christ. My cost is that without Christ I cannot escape death. He made up what I owed. I sinned, but Jesus suffered for it so I would not have to suffer the hellish consequences of my sin.

Third, the fame of God’s name is at stake.

An injustice against God unpunished with would make the nature untrue. If it were not true He would be a liar. His name would be tarnished. In my place condemned Jesus hung pun the cross to demonstrate the justice of God. Therefore my response is to put faith in my Merciful Justifier Jesus Christ [Romans 3:25-26].

Fourth, God cannot be untrue to His Word.

God has said that the the soul that sins must die [Genesis 2:17; Ezekiel 18:20]. Since He declared it, it is decreed. Therefore, from the beginning of man’s sin God has provided a sacrifice. For Adam God sacrificed an animal to cloth his shame. For Cain and Abe;, God honored the righteous sacrifice. For Abraham God provided a substitute sacrifice in the place of his son [Genesis 22]. For the sins of Israel God atoned through the blood of animals. For my sin and yours God sent the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, to the cross as my sins sacrifice.

Glory to God for the gift of penal substitution. May it humble us to the core and motivate us to serve Him for life.

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limits, sleep, gospel song

Limits

It is okay for me to have limits–God doesn’t. It is okay to get a good nights sleep–God doesn’t sleep. It is okay for me to rest–God doesn’t need to. We don’t know a lot about what heaven looks like, but this much we know: God is not pacing the throne room anxious and depressed because of the condition of the world. He knows, He is not surprised, and He is sovereign. It is okay for me to have limits. He is able. – Richard A. Swenson, The Overload Syndrome, p.37

Humility

Humility, rightly understood, shouldn’t be a fabric softener on our aspirations. When we become too humble to act, we’ve ceased being biblically humble. True humility doesn’t kill our dreams; it provides a guardrail for them, ensuring that they remain on God’s road and move in the direction of His glory. – Dave Harvey, Rescuing Ambition, 14

Cross

Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to be saying to us, “I am here because of you. It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.” Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross. – John Stott, The Message of Galatians, 179.

Sleep

Your sleep tonight will be a small but real fact of faith. You’ll lay your full weight on a bed, trusting this structure to support you. You can fully relax, because no effort at supporting yourself is required; something else is holding you up. And in the same way, throughout the night sleep, Someone else is sustaining you. This is a picture of what it’s like to belong to Christ. – C.J. Mahaney, Humility: True Greatness, 85.

Gospel Song

spiritual vitality, cross and tongue, peace of mind

spiritual vitality

When people lose their global vision, they begin to lose their spiritual vitality. And of course all this affects their values. – Tom Julien, Antioch Revisited, 23.

cross and tongue

When the message of the Cross captures our hearts and captivates our imaginations, our tongues, stammering, halting, insulting, awkward, sarcastic, imperfect as they may be, won’t be far behind. As Jesus said, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” [Matthew 12:34] – Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church, 144.

what’s to come

Christianity is not finally about anesthetizing us to life’s pain, or even about waking us up to it and teaching us to live with it. it is about teaching us to live with a transforming longing, with a growing faith, with a sure and certain hope of what’s to come. – Mark Dever, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, 35.

The gospel, you see, is not simply an additive that comes to make our already good lives better. No! The gospel is a message of wonderful good news that comes to those who realize their just desperation before God. – Mark Dever, The Gospel and Personal Evangelism, 40.

peace of mind

sacrifice, balance beam, cross, and urgency

sacrifice

“Where are the young men and women of this generation who will hold their lives cheap and be faithful even unto death? Where are those who will lose their lives for Christ’s sake — flinging them away for love of him? Where are those who will live dangerously and be reckless in his service? Where are his lovers — those who love him and the souls of men more than their own reputations or comfort or very life?

Where are the men who say ‘no’ to self, who take up Christ’s cross to bear it after him, who are willing to be nailed to it in college or office, home or mission field, who are willing, if need be, to bleed, to suffer and to die on it?

Where are the adventurers, the explorers, the buccaneers for God, who count one human soul of far greater value than the rise or fall of an empire? Where are the men who are willing to pay the price of vision? Where are the men of prayer? Where are God’s men in this day of God’s power?” – Howard Guinness, Sacrifice [59-60]

the cross exposes

“The cross exposes the holy sovereign Lord whose authority we have defied and whose glory we have deflected to unworthy rivals was willing to endure judgment that his own impeccable justice pronounced upon us. The cross declares that we are loved with an intensity that defies our capacity to comprehend, not because we are intrinsically lovable but because God is intrinsically love.” Elyse Fitzpatrick, Counsel from the Cross [12]

Urgent Missiology

“Amid the many facets of the American dream that contradict the core of the gospel, one ideal Americans have embraced coincides subtly with the words of Christ. As James Adams was coining the phrase “American Dream,” Franklin Roosevelt was emphasizing how Americans will postpone immediate gradificatio and even endure hard sacrifices if they are convinced their future will be better than their past. Americans are willing to take great risks, he said, if they believe it will accomplish great reward.

In similar words Jesus said to His followers, “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Jesus clearly acknowledged that following Him leads to a radical reward that this following Him involves risking the safety, security, and satisfaction we have found in this world. But in the end, Jesus said, following Him leads to a radical reward that this world can never offer. This begs a question from each of us: do we believe the reward found in Jesus is worth the risk of following Him?” – David Platt, Radical [161-162]

Are you needing a call to live radically for Christ? Check out An Unadjusted Gospel in an Unreached World: Connecting Gospel Theology with Urgent Missiology

balance beam

Francis Chan is one for stories and illustrations that pack a punch. I particularly appreciate this one passed along by a good friend, Sur John. Stop holding on and walk with Christ!

sin is more than

I gathered at the Communion Table like never seen before. On Sunday, I was faced with the reality of my sin as Pastor Kenny preached on the reality of the cross from the perspective of our sin and the wrath of God.  For a majority of the service I was confronted by my darkness that once separated me from the Light. It is my sin that nailed Christ to the cross, but it is also the cross of Christ that frees me from the bondage of sin. The Gospel is so good! By the end of the service, I had my head in my hands praising a God of grace.

I went home that night and wrote a poem reflecting the passage below:

“And you who were dead in your sins…God made alive together with Him, having forgiven all our sins, but canceling the certificate of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This He set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14 

 

sin is more than blood and gore
more than neglecting the poor
more than sleeping with a whore
more than being wicked to the core

sin is more than a binge on gin and rum
more than forsaking the lowly bum
more than pretending to be blind, deaf or dumb
more than being compassionately numb

sin is more than committing a vile crime
more than stealing a nickel or dime
more than a mind filled with grime
more than wasting away valuable time

sin is more than one night before the ring
more than an extra-marital fling
more than putting an enemy in a sling
more than having no offering to bring

Sin is slapping a Holy God in the face
defaming the name of His glory and grace
facing a judgement without a case
separating all from His eternal place

 

Sin is recorded on a certificate of debt,
punishable by death; an infinite loss
but Christ has taken the the dirty note
and nailed it to the splintered cross

 

T4G

I just got back from the Together 4 the Gospel 2008 Conference in Louisville, KY. Wow, it was a lot different than I had expected. It was great to see all the guys from my seminary classes and ol’ college buddies. I also took home enough reading material to last me a few years or until T4G 2010. They gave away more free books than all the other conferences I have been to combined.

Lesson Learned: Preach on the cross of Christ. Do not be ashamed. Do not water it down to be relevant, do not fear the responses to it grossness and primitiveness. Preach the cross. That is where the power of the gospel rests.

Check out www.t4g.org, all the sessions are available to listen FREE. I recommend R.C. Sproul’s “The Curse Motif in the Atonement,” and John Piper’s “How the Supremacy of Christ Creates Radical Christian Sacrifice.” 

The Gift of Worship

Worship
Worship s a huge thing.
We look forward to worship every week.
When the music includes one of our favorites, we say, “The worship was great!”
When the music stinks, we yawn and wonder why the worship wasn’t very good.
We leave churches because of the “worship style”.
Worship s a huge thing. 
 
Have you ever wondered if we’re more concerned with what worship does FOR us
And less concerned with the Object of our worship?
It seems like it’s more about what we GET not what we GIVE.
It would be like taking a gift to a friend’s birthday party, but keeping it for ourselves.
 
Worship is all about GIVING our lives (again) to God. 
Worship is not about the feeling we receive when we sing.
Worship is not about convincing God to bless us.
Worship is not about whether or not the guitar is too loud.
Worship is not about what’s happening on the stage.
Worship is not about entertainment, lighting or sound.
 
Worship is not about us at all.
IT’S NOT ABOUT US.
It’s about Him.
And we enter through the gateway of the cross.
At the cross, we surrender, love, cry, dream, give up, shut up, kneel, confess.
We look to God, and place Him about all else
Because He is worth it! 
 
Live gets crazy and painful.
No one can deny that.
Job stress, divorce, death, addictions, parenting, loneliness.
No one is asking you to pretend that those things aren’t affecting you.
DON’T PRETEND.
You’re just being invited to bring that stuff to the cross, and to simply gaze at Jesus.
And as you look at Him, allow your response to be
Worship 
 
-unknown
 
 

the stable, the cross, and your soul

WHAT THE STABLE AND THE CROSS HAVE IN COMMON?     

 

THE STABLE…IS WHERE JESUS LAID WHEN BORN. Jesus Christ was born in a humble manger to common parents. While the birth of a child would normally be cause for great rejoicing, the joy this birth would bring is to be short lived. For you see, this child was born to die!

 

I can see this little Baby, lying “Away in A Manger”. I can almost hear Him coo; I can almost see Him jerk His arms, and feel His soft baby skin. Here He lays, “Immanuel” – God with us. Here He lays — God’s great gift to mankind. Here He lays — the perfect Sacrificial Lamb.

 

“Why must was this baby born to die?” The answer — OUR SINS. (1 Cor.15:3 “Christ died for our sins…”)             

 

And in the midst of the sin of the world is plunged a perfect Baby called Jesus! A star shone brightly on the night of Christ’s birth, but if we look closely, we can see a Cross looming in the shadows!

 

THE CROSS…IS WHERE JESUS HUNG WHEN HE DIED. Jesus was born with the shadow of the cross upon Him. With the shadow of the Cross upon His heart He learned to walk, He learned to talk, He learned to work.The shadow of the Cross was upon: When laid in Bethlehem with swaddling clothes; When He was working at the Nazareth carpenter shop; When He was praying in Gethsemane’s garden before being arrested; When Judas betrayed Him with a kiss; When Caiaphas condemned Him; When Herod mocked Him; When Pilate sentenced Him; When the Roman scourger whipped Him; When the Roman soldier crucified Him

 

The Cross is where Jesus died.  The Cross is where He died for your sins. “There is an empty cradle, an empty cross and if you do not know Jesus you have an empty soul.”

 

WHAT THE STABLE AND YOUR HEART HAVE IN COMMON?BOTH ARE PLACES GOD HAS CHOSEN FOR HIS SON TO ENTER. God made the choice of where Jesus was to be born before the foundation of he world (Gal.4:4-5; Eph.1:4). The Prophet Micah (5:2) had foretold the place of his birth 700 years prior. God has chosen your heart to dwell in (Jn.15:16; Acts 9:15; Eph.3:17)

 

BOTH ARE PLACES THAT ARE UNWORTHY OF DIVINE ROYALTY. Stables and Hearts are Dirty, Dark and Defiled places,(Jer.17:9; Isa.64:6; I Tim.1:15). Remember, the Prophet, Priest and King (and God) chose you (I Cor.1:27-28) There is no place on earth worthy of His presence (Rm.3:23) 

 

The birth of Christ means little or nothing to us if he has not been born in our heart”

Q: Do you believe in the Jesus’ message of the Stable and the Cross?Q: Have you invited Jesus into your soul?

 

What does the stable, cross and your soul has in common? They are empty without God.