Archives For glory

Jesus died for our sins.

Yes. Absolutely yes.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures.
1 Corinthians 15:3

This is the Sunday morning message, the message every sinner needs to hear. That the penalty of their sin was paid for by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. That he who knew no sin became sin on our behalf. This truth has set me free from the penalty and p0wer of sin and reconciled me to my God.

But is this the only reason?

Jesus prayed in John 16, “I glorified you (the Father) on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.”

Everything Jesus does, is in accordance with the will of the Father. The Son is the Word, that spoke all things into being. He is also Emmanuel, God with us. God Himself condescended to this planet, was born in the flesh, and lived among his creation. This was the Father’s plan all along. From Abraham, to Moses, to David, and the prophets, God was orchestrating events to lead up to the first advent of his Son.

Why? Because man was sinful, separated from him, and the only way reconciliation was possible was if God himself took matters into his own hands, and won the victory for them.

And yet, while Jesus hung lifeless on the cross, another victory was accomplished.

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Romans 3:23-26

The first part of this passage declares what I’ve already explained. All people are sinners because they are descended from the first man, Adam, and his sin is transferred to every person born. Jesus died to justify (declare sinners righteous), and this salvation is a gift that is received by faith. Jesus removed God’s wrath from us and gave us grace.

But this passage also describes Jesus as being put forward (displayed publicly) for all to see. His death was to be public because one other declaration had to be made known. That God is just and holy.

In God’s divine forbearance (patience), he allowed mankind to live despite their sin. The wages of sin is death, so any life after sin is a gift of grace from God. He had set up a sacrificial system called the Law of Moses which covered sin, but as we know, never was able to forgive them.

If Jesus had never died on the cross for our sins, we would still be in them, and God would be unjust and unholy. His justice demands punishment for sin, unrighteousness, and godlessness. But throughout the Old Testament, God simply passed over sin, never punishing it as it deserved.

The Jews in Ezra’s time realized this as they mourned over their disobedience to God’s Word.

And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great guilt, seeing that you, our God, have punished us less than our iniquities deserved-”
 Ezra 9:13

The wrath of God continued to increase throughout the generations of men who lived in sin and rebellion. But on the cross, the entire cup of wrath was poured out on the Father’s beloved Son. His justice was served in it’s entirety upon the one righteous man that ever walked the earth.

And for all to see, God was seen as he truly is: holy, just, and righteous. We can worship him for God is never changing. And although for years, he looked unfaithful to his promises and justice, his plan was sure. That justice would be served, but not in the way anybody would have expected.

Now we can be declared righteous simply by placing our faith in the person and work of Jesus with full assurance that our God is righteous and faithful.

So, may we be careful in singing lyrics such as, “He took the fall, and thought of me, above all.”

I will argue that Jesus died for his Father’s glory and honor above all.

handicapsignI am a medical mystery.

I’ve recently consulted numerous doctors. For years I’ve suffered from a heat intolerance that often erupts into hives. Although it only lasts for about ten minutes at a time, it’s excruciating. I was told it’s called Urticaria but a cure has never been found. The only advice they could give was for me to take an antihistamine every day. My wife and I jokingly called it my “thorn in the flesh.”

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
II Corinthians 12:7

But I wonder how close to the truth it is. I stumbled across a verse today that I couldn’t stop thinking about. A verse that emphasizes the fragility of mankind and the sovereignty of the Lord.

Then the LORD said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Exodus 4:11

The Lord spoke to Moses from a burning bush, commanding him to go to Egypt and rescue his people from the hands of Pharaoh. Moses offered advice to the Lord and said that somebody else should go. He was not eloquent enough in speech. Then the Lord spoke verse 11. God continues and tells Moses that He will speak through him if he would simply obey.

But that verse soared off the page at me. Did I read it right? God makes people deaf. God makes people blind. It was God’s choice to create people unable to speak. If mankind had never sinned, all would be born perfect. But since that factor has been thrown into the equation, now God creates people with these ailments.

I always excused handicaps as simply the result of living in a depraved world. But in doing so, my theology fell far short. In John 9, Jesus and his disciples came upon a man who had been born blind. According to Exodus 4:11, God had purposefully created this man with eyes that didn’t function. The disciples inquired as to why the man was blind.

Did his parents sin? Was it because of this man’s sin? Jesus denied those as reasons and simply stated this: ““It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

Now, having read about Paul’s thorn in the flesh and this man’s blindness, I could see a common theme. God wanted glory in Paul’s life so he kept Paul from being conceited. God wanted glory in the other man’s life so he created him blind (Jesus would later miraculously heal the blind man).

In both, God created them in certain ways to bring himself glory.

This gives my ailment a whole new meaning. A completely brilliant purpose. The blind man called out for a cure, and it was given after years of suffering. Paul cried out for relief on three separate occasions, and yet was given none. He went on to say this about the Lord’s response.

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Now, my plight isn’t near the severity of the blind, deaf, or mute. But its still difficult. God has revealed through Scripture reasons for our physical difficulties. Jesus’ full concentration was not on this life, but his kingdom. He wasn’t satisfied with just making people comfortable, happy, and content. But driven with his mission to relieve the world from sin and its destructive consequences forever, He was always looking forward to eternity. This life is short, and the physical limitations that weigh us down every day, will only torment us for a little while.

Jesus pointed to the time when sickness, pain, and death are no longer a factor. But until that time, God uses handicaps, illnesses, and limitations to make us holy. Consider it joy, all you reading this, when you face trials because the testing of your faith will bring maturity. And when we mature in our faith, God is magnified.

Allow your struggles to make you better, not bitter. In your imperfect condition, give God glory, not grief. God created and formed you exactly how you are knowing full well the struggles you’d face because of it. These struggles cause us to rely on Him more. Relying on Him more reminds us how weak we are. But when we are weak, through Christ, we are strong.