March 25, 2017

The Great Exchange: From Death to Life

In and of ourselves, we are nothing. In fact, we are worse than nothing... we are like dirty pigs wallowing in our own filth, thinking we're the richest most enviable creatures on earth. But as any one who's seen at a pigsty can tell you, pigs are clearly neither rich nor enviable. We're not much better. We are like dumb animals, too enamored with our best efforts to notice how poor we really are. In fact, Isaiah says all our best works are no better than filthy rags -- like the kind you would use to wipe up pig slop. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh… Humans are selfish, depraved creatures full of death and sin. We have no hope for redemption in and [...Read More]


The Greatest Love: Before Our Story Began

Even before our story began, He knew how it would end. When He created the earth in perfect beauty, He knew it would decay under sin's curse. When He created mankind from the dust of the ground, He knew that creation would utterly reject his Creator. When He breathed life into man's body, He knew man would use that breath to curse and deny His love. When He promised an offspring who would bruise the tempter's head, He knew that offspring would be part of His very being, God Himself. When He flooded the world because of man's wickedness, He knew mankind would survive to become even more wicked. When He promised a son to Abraham, He set in motion a chain of events that [...Read More]


The Power of the Cross: an Easter Meditation

His robes for mine: O wonderful exchange! Clothed in my sin, Christ suffered ‘neath God’s rage. Draped in His righteousness, I’m justified. In Christ I live, for in my place He died. See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown? Oh, to see the pain written on His face, Bearing the awesome weight of sin. Every bitter thought, every evil deed, Crowning His blood-stained brow. THIS THE POWER OF THE CROSS: Christ became sin for us, Took the blame, bore the wrath; We stand forgiven at the cross!   His robes for mine: such anguish none can know. Christ, God’s beloved, [...Read More]


Book Review: Captivated

When was the last time you were captivated by the cross? Or enraptured with Christ's resurrection? And why does it matter, anyway? Consider this thought from Thabiti Anyabwile's newest book, Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection (emphasis added):* "The truth of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection is a daily reality for those who believe in Him. Yet from time to time, that daily reality requires extended contemplation and reflection, and we should ponder its meaning so that it does not become daily neglected. Christians need deeper glimpses into the mystery of God and His salvation. We need times of slow, contemplative consideration of the wonder of Christ's [...Read More]


Captivated with the Cross

How long has it been since you've gazed at the cross? Not just glanced, in the middle of singing a hymn; or simply acknowledged, in the middle of conversation -- but really, truly GAZED? How long since you've wept over the total abandonment shoved upon the holy Messiah? Or ached for the betrayal He willingly accepted? Or been crushed by the weight of sin that sentenced Him to death? Jesus died for you. And sadly, we get used to hearing that. It doesn't take long after the moment of salvation for that to become "old news." We've heard it so many times that we can recite the story in our sleep, as it were. We fail to remember just how marvelous, how wonderful, is our Savior's [...Read More]


Book Review: Christ Our Mediator

You've heard the term "incarnation" before. You know that Jesus Christ became fully human in order to die on Calvary. You know that He was also fully God at the same time. But have you ever thought about how His humanity and divinity affected His death on the cross? Have you ever tried seeing the gospel from God's point of view?   In Christ Our Mediator, C. J. Mahaney urges us to consider Calvary from God's perspective. It's a short book -- less than 100 pages -- and could easily be read in one sitting. However, it is certainly not a light read; there's a lot of truth packed into its pages. Additionally, Mahaney ends each chapter with a prayer of reflection and surrender, which [...Read More]


If even the centurion was forgiven…

God's forgiveness is SO amazing, so beyond our human understanding. Consider this: when Jesus Christ died on the cross, He prayed forgiveness for the men who crucified Him. But He wasn't just saying words. The forgiveness He asked for actually came to fruition, right then and there. How do we know? When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, 'Truly this was the Son of God!' Matthew 27:54 The centurion was the top guy, the Roman officer in charge of the crucifixions. A gruesome task, to be sure - but he was probably hardened to the sight of blood and death. His ears were [...Read More]


The Wondrous Cross

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you ... that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1,4). When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride. Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (Philippians [...Read More]


Five Minute Friday: Hard Love

Five Minute Friday's prompt for today: Hard Love With it being Good Friday today, my thoughts turn toward the ultimate outpouring of the greatest love ever, our Savior's death on the cross. The purest, most complete love that ever existed. And yet, how hard is it for us to lay aside our foolish, preconceived ideas, and simply accept that love for what it is? How hard it is to let go of our own so-called righteousness, and take the pure robe of white that He offers freely, and wear His righteousness? Why do we find it so hard to let go of our own ways? John tells us that we love Him because He first loved us. And that no greater love than this, that a man give his life for his friends. [...Read More]


His Robes for Mine

When was the last time you found wonder in your salvation? When was the last time you marveled at the magnitude of what took place in order to free you from sin's wrath and eternal damnation? When was the last time you gave thanks to God for His wonderful sacrifice of becoming man and dying on the cross so that you might have life? He took on our sins so that we could take on His righteousness. He lived a life that was "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" so that we might find salvation through His obedience and eternal life through His death. He took our penalty, bore God's wrath that was directed toward us, so that we might find full forgiveness and true freedom. He allowed [...Read More]