In Luke chapter 15, the prodigal son, having wasted his substance on riotous living, found himself in a pigpen, eating
pig-food. What was it that caused him to come to his senses, return home, and repent of his ways? Was it the sorrow that providence brought? Was it the starvation that he was experiencing? Was it the guilt of his rebellious actions? These may have been contributing factors, but it was the consideration of his father’s love and the gracious benefits of his father’s home that in the end sent him on his way home. Truly it is the goodness of God that leads men and women to repentance. (Rom. 2:4)
DEAD TO SIN
How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
There is a death TO sin. I’m not talking about death to the power of sin. I’m talking about death to the guilt of sin. I’m referring to a death to the condemning power of sin. In Christ I am dead to sin’s charge against me. I am dead to sin’s condemnation of me. I am dead to sin’s judgment against me. Please understand me. I’m not saying that I am not dead to the influence of sin. I’m not dead to the temptation of sin. But the curse of sin has been removed from me. The claim sin had on me is now gone. My sin has been crucified with Christ.
If a man commits a horrendous crime and is sentenced to life in prison, and he dies before he begins to serve his sentence, can that man still serve his time? No! He is dead! He is dead to the charge, verdict, judgment and the condemnation of his crime. Being dead, the law can no longer extract justice from him. That’s what every believing child of God who trusts in Christ alone has become. They have become DEAD TO SIN; they cannot live any longer therein.
“He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.”
God detests and finds abominable (loathsome) any who would justify (clear, vindicate, excuse) the sin of the wicked. God equally detests and abhors any who would condemn one who is innocent of sin and evil doing. Let me tell you why that is so important to understand. God does not just flippantly forgive His people’s sin. “The Lord God will by no means clear the guilty.” (Exodus 34:6-7) He can’t do so and remain just. “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:20) The guilty soul must die because a “Just God” cannot clear the guilty soul without compromising His justice.
This is what makes “substitution” so beautiful in the eyes of a believing sinner. The sin of the elect has been put on Christ. He (the Lord Jesus) who knew no sin was MADE (to be) SIN for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Christ who was perfectly righteous and perfectly holy in God’s sight was made to be sin for us, and God punished Christ for that sin that was found on Him. God did not just sweep our sin under a rug and pretend it did not exist. God’s justice extracted full payment for all the sin of all God’s elect throughout all time. The holy wrath, judgment, and justice of God was exhausted on the Lord Jesus Christ and payment IN FULL was made to the justice of God. God didn’t “justify the wicked.” To do so would be an abomination. Christ became guilty with the sin of those that the Father gave Him to redeem before the foundation of the world. The sin of the elect was paid for, put away and done away with. It does not exist. (Ephesians 1:4)
At the same time, God didn’t unjustly condemn Christ the “Just One.” He really was made guilty by the taking of His people’s sin upon Himself. Our Lord was condemned because Christ truly was guilty. Therefore God was “just and righteous” in punishing Christ for sin. The sin of God’s chosen was really put upon Him, and is no longer found on the elect sinner. God is not unjust in sparing the chosen sinner. Why? They have no sin. Christ took it and in return made His people the righteousness of God in Him. Because of that God is both “Just and Justifier” of them which believe in Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:26) God is both a “just God and a Savior.” (Isaiah 45:21) Truly in Christ, God did for His people what they could not do for themselves. That is why Christ and Him crucified is our Gospel message!
BUT THIS MAN
But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins
for ever, sat down on the right hand of God
I want to tell you about a man who was no ordinary man. This man was the world’s greatest carpenter, a true Masterbuilder, yet He never owned a home nor had a place to lay His head. This man was the greatest Teacher ever born of woman; yet He had no earthly, man-made degree. He taught perfectly from the heart, for His heart was perfect. This man was the most successful Advocate that ever represented the guilty. He endured the penalty of the Law for the guilty ones whom He represented and never lost a case. His clients are always justified. (Titus 3:7) This man was the greatest Physician to ever live. He cured all who came to Him, never requiring insurance or payment but always providing assurance and relief for His patients.
Obviously this man was no ordinary man, He was the God-man, and being such, He was the ONLY MAN who could put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Hebrews 9:26) All men deserve God’s wrath and eternal condemnation, for that is “the due reward for our deeds, BUT THIS MAN hath done nothing amiss.” (Luke 23:41) No man can sacrifice or offer God anything that will take away their sin, BUT THIS MAN, the God-man, “by one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14) “BUT THIS MAN, after He had offered ONE sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” I thank God for this man, for this man was God!
APPROVED and ENTRUSTED WITH THE GOSPEL
What A Privilege
There is one verse of scripture that I often read before praying, studying and preaching. Paul said in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 2, verse 4, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” It is always very sobering to me as a preacher of the gospel, to know that the glorious “Gospel of Christ” has been “allowed” (approved) of God to be put in trust with me.” Preaching the Gospel is the greatest honor and privilege that could be bestowed upon a man. Hearing the Gospel is equally such a “PRIVILEGE.” To be “put in trust with the gospel” (entrusted) with the Word of God, is a wonderful honor and a privilege, a gift given unto us by God.
Recently someone who knows me well asked me to do something one evening and then upon quickly realizing that it was Wednesday said, “O I forgot that you HAVE to go to church tonight.” I replied, “No, I don’t have to go. I GET to go, for it is a great privilege to go.” The word “privilege” is defined as a “specific right and freedom granted only to a specific, particular person or group of people.” A privilege is “something regarded as a rare opportunity of bringing a particular pleasure.” Surely preaching and hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified are all those things. Do you count hearing the Gospel a glorious privilege that God has approved and entrusted you with? Or can you take it or leave it? Your answer will reveal a great deal concerning your heart!
His Work, His Ministry
1 Corinthians 3:7
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
I recently read that C. H. Spurgeon often worked 18 hours a day. Famous explorer and missionary David Livingstone once asked him, “How do you manage to do two men’s work in a single day?” Spurgeon replied, “You have forgotten that there are two of us.”
A man's ministry only becomes “a true ministry” when he sees that it is God's work and not his.
You Can’t Wash Yourself Clean
When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
Pilate seemed noble enough when he washed his hands and claimed to Christ’s accusers that he found no fault in Him. However such sin as his is not easily removed. There is an “idiom” (a saying), which is commonly used today that goes, “I am washing my hands of such and such a person.” That simply means that one is claiming to end their association with another, that they will stop being involved with them. “I am washing my hands of the situation,” means, “I will relieve myself of all responsibility in the matters which concern them.” I can assure you that this did not work for Pilate. His “washing” was ineffective. Men and women cannot wash themselves clean of their guilt and shame in sin. Pilate’s confession was, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person.” Men and women cannot claim or declare themselves to be innocent of the shedding of Christ’s blood. God is the Eternal Judge, and He declares that we are all guilty of that charge! Pilate washed his own hands with water. Pilate confessed Christ’s innocence with his own mouth, yet his actions proved both his washing and his confession to be false!
Notice carefully his words. “I am innocent of the blood of this just person, SEE YE TO IT.” In other words, “I won’t condemn and kill Him, but you can!” Pilate played a major role in the judgment, condemnation and death of Jesus Christ the Righteous. He should have acted the part of an upright judge, not hastening or yielding to the unrighteous and evil request of the people. He should have let Christ go free, instead of turning Him over into the hands of those who hated Him without a cause.
His washing and his profession meant nothing! Sinner, neither will yours! We too are guilty of crucifying the Savior. Though the Lord Jesus Christ was delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, the scriptures declare that, “YE have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.” (Acts 2:23) I have, you have, we all have, in our wicked hearts have taken, crucified and slain the Lord of glory over and over again.
Has God caused you to feel the guilt and the same of it? If He has, you cannot declare yourself to be innocent. God must declare you so in Christ! You cannot wash yourself clean with water (baptism). Christ must wash you clean with His own blood. Will men and women ever learn that salvation is the work of God alone, by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone? They won't unless God be their teacher.
The Jesus Men Do Not Hate
When Christ walked upon this earth, men hated Him. Does not the cross speak loudly of how men hated the Christ? But there is a Jesus men do not hate. It is the Jesus that men believe they can control. The one whose will can be thwarted by our will. The one whom men can accept or reject. The one who cannot save unless we of our own free will allow Him to save us. Nobody hates a Jesus they can control. The problem is - that Jesus is an idol invented by men to take the place of the Lord Jesus Christ that they hate. He is the One who has sovereign control over all. The One over whom men have no control. The Lord Jesus Christ, in whose hand all men are. The One who can accept or reject us. This Jesus men hate because they see no safety in salvation being in His hands. But in reality, the only place of safety is in the hands of the sovereign Christ.
Pastor Todd Nibert
Todd's Road Grace Church
He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with
him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
In these few words we see the power and sovereignty of God. When men with sincere hearts call upon the Almighty, God says, “I will answer him.” Oh how precious are those two little words, “I will.” What makes them so precious is “who” it is that says them.
That leper who came to Christ, beseeching Him, falling on his face and worshipping Him said, “Lord if you will, you can make me clean.” Oh how that dying man must have rejoiced when he heard those wonderful words of life that fell from the gracious Savior’s lips that said, “I will, be thou clean.” The Holy Spirit inspired these words, spoken by our great God, to be written by the Psalmist, to instill complete assurance and confidence in the child of God! When we call upon Him in need, HE WILL ANSWER US. When we are in trouble, HE WILL BE WITH US. Not only will He be with us, HE WILL DELIVER US. I suppose the most precious part of this verse is where our God promises to “honour us.” May we never forget that God honors elect sinners only in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. What a glorious thought. Christ has made me, the chief of sinners, honorable!
In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being
predestinated according to the purpose of him who
worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
God is not trying or attempting to save everybody that will let Him! God Almighty, in sovereign grace, saves whom He wills on PURPOSE. God does not make salvation “possible.” God makes salvation “certain.” Redemption in Christ has never been a thing of “possibility.” Redemption in Christ has always been “according to the purpose of him, who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”