October 30, 2009

Who is He that saves to the uttermost?

Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25.

uttermost: Greek - pantelēs (pan-tel-ace') full ended, that is, entire.

Matthew Henry's Commentary -

Here observe,

(1.) Our case, as sinners, needed a high priest to make satisfaction and intercession for us.

(2.) No priest could be suitable or sufficient for our reconciliation to God but one who was perfectly righteous in his own person; he must be righteous in himself, or he could not be a propitiation for our sin, or our advocate with the Father.


(3.) The Lord Jesus was exactly such a high priest as we wanted, for he has a personal holiness, absolutely perfect.


Observe the description we have of the personal holiness of Christ expressed in various terms, all of which some learned divines consider as relating to his perfect purity.

[1.] He is holy, perfectly free from all the habits or principles of sin, not having the least disposition to it in his nature; no sin dwells in him, though it does in the best of Christians, not the least sinful inclination.


[2.] He is harmless, perfectly free from all actual transgression, has done no violence, nor is there any deceit in his mouth, never did the least wrong to God or man.


[3.] He is undefiled, he was never accessory to other men's sins. It is a difficult thing to keep ourselves pure, so as not to partake in the guilt of other men's sins, by contributing in some way towards them, or not doing what we ought to prevent them. Christ was undefiled; though he took upon him the guilt of our sins, yet he never involved himself in the fact and fault of them.


[4.] He is separate from sinners, not only in his present state (having entered as our high priest into the holiest of all, into which nothing defiled can enter), but in his personal purity: he has no such union with sinners, either natural or federal, as can devolve upon him original sin. This comes upon us by virtue of our natural and federal union with the first Adam, we descending from him in the ordinary way. But Christ was, by his ineffable conception in the virgin, separate from sinners; though he took a true human nature, yet the miraculous way in which it was conceived set him upon a separate footing from all the rest of mankind.


[5.] He is made higher than the heavens. Most expositors understand this concerning his state of exaltation in heaven, at the right hand of God, to perfect the design of his priesthood.



John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost,....Because he continues ever, and has an unchangeable priesthood. This is to be understood not of temporal salvation, nor of providential favours, but of spiritual and eternal salvation; and includes a deliverance from all evil, here and hereafter, and an enjoyment of all good in this world, and in that to come: Christ was called to this work by his Father; he was promised by him to do it, and was sent by him to effect it, and has accomplished it; and this is the reason of his name Jesus, and was the end of his coming into this world, and which the Gospel always represents as such: this work required ability; here was a law to be fulfilled; justice to be satisfied; sin to be bore, removed, and atoned for; many enemies to engage with, and a cursed death to undergo: it was a work no creature, angels, or men, were able to undertake and perform; the priests under the law could not; men cannot save themselves, nor can any creature work out salvation for them: but Christ is able; as appears from the help his Father laid on him, who knew him to be mighty; from his own undertaking it, being mighty to save; and from his having completely effected it; and he must needs be able to do it, since he is the mighty God: and he is able to save to the uttermost; "to the utmost perfection", as the Arabic version renders it; so as nothing can be wanting in the salvation he is the author of, nor anything added to it; or "for ever", as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Ethiopic versions render it; to the utmost of time, even to eternity, as well as to the utmost of men's wants: the persons he is able to save, are such

that come to God by him; Christ is able to save all the world, were it his will; but not his absolute power is designed by his ability, but that power which by his will is put into act; and reaches not to all men, for all are not saved; and those that are, are described by special characters, as here; they are such who come to God, not essentially considered, but personally, or in the person of the Father; and not as an absolute God, but as in Christ; not as on a throne of justice, but as on a throne of grace and mercy; not only as Christ's Father, but as theirs; and not only as the God of nature and providence, but as the God of grace: and this act of coming to him is a fruit of his everlasting love; an effect of Christ's death; is peculiar to regenerate persons; takes in the whole service of God, especially prayer; is not local but spiritual, it is by faith; and supposes spiritual life, and implies a sense of need, and of God's ability and willingness to help: the medium, or mean, by which such come to God, is Christ. Man had access to God in his state of innocence, but sinning, was not admitted; there is no approaching now unto him without a middle person; Christ is the Mediator, who having made peace, atoned for sin, satisfied justice, and brought in an everlasting righteousness, introduces his people into God's presence; in whom their persons and services are accepted, and through whom all blessings are communicated to them:

seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them; Christ ever lives as God, he is the living God; and though he died as man, he is risen from the dead, and will not die again, but live for evermore; and he lives as Mediator and Redeemer, and particularly as a priest; one branch of whose office it is to intercede for his people: this he does now in heaven; not by vocal prayer and supplication, at least not as in the days of his flesh; or as if he was supplicating an angry Judge; nor as controverting, or litigating, a point the court of heaven; but by the appearance of his person for them; by the presentation of his sacrifice, blood, and righteousness; by declaring his will, that such and such blessings be bestowed on such and such persons; and by recommending the prayers of his people, and removing the charges and accusations of Satan: the things he intercedes for are, the conversion of his that are in a state of nature; the consolation of distressed ones; fresh discoveries of pardoning grace to fallen believers; renewed strength to oppose sin, exercise grace, discharge duty, and bear up under temptations, and deliverance out of them; perseverance in faith and holiness, and eternal glorification; and he intercedes for these things; not for all the world, but for all the elect, even though transgressors; and he is very fit for this work, as the following verse shows; he is the one and only Mediator; and he is a very prevalent intercessor, he always succeeds; and he does this work readily, willingly, cheerfully, and freely; and all this proves him to be able to save; for though the impetration of salvation is by his death, the application of it is owing to his interceding life; had he died and not lived again, he could not have saved to the uttermost; his life is the security of his people's, and he lives for them, and as their representative; the blessed, effects of which they constantly enjoy.


Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

October 23, 2009

I will declare mine iniquity

For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. Psalm 38:18.


Charles Spurgeon, The Treasury of David.
"To be sorry for sin is no atonement for it, but it is the right spirit in which to repair to Jesus, who is the reconciliation and the Saviour. A man is near to the end of his trouble when he comes to an end with his sins."


Matthew Henry's Commentary
Note, If we be truly penitent for sin, that will make us patient under affliction, and particularly under unjust censures. Two things are required in repentance: -

(1.) Confession of sin: "I will declare my iniquity; I will not only in general own myself a sinner, but I will make a particular acknowledgment of what I have done amiss." We must declare our sins before God freely and fully, and with their aggravating circumstances, that we may give glory to God and take shame to ourselves.

(2.) Contrition for sin: I will be sorry for it. Sin will have sorrow; every true penitent grieves for the dishonour he has done to God and the wrong he has done to himself. "I will be in care or fear about my sin" (so some), "in fear lest it ruin me and in care to get it pardoned."


Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

October 22, 2009

Columbian pastor martyred by guerillas

Pastor Manuel was shot and killed by Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas in San Jose del Guaviare, Colombia on September 21....Read more"


When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. Revelation 6:9.

Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary.

"Persecutors can only kill the body; after that there is no more they can do; the soul lives. God has provided a good place in the better world, for those who are faithful unto death. It is not their own death, but the sacrifice of Christ, that gives them entrance into heaven. The cause in which they suffered, was for the word of God; the best any man can lay down his life for; faith in God's word, and the unshaken confession of that faith. They commit their cause to Him to whom vengeance belongs. The Lord is the comforter of his afflicted servants, and precious is their blood in his sight. As the measure of the sin of persecutors is filling up, so is the number of the persecuted, martyred servants of Christ. When this is fulfilled, God will send tribulation to those who trouble them, and unbroken happiness and rest to those that are troubled."

October 9, 2009

Today's Promise from the Bible

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9, KJV.


Reflection
We are saved through the grace of God and only the grace of God. There is no other way for us to get to heaven. If we think the good we do will earn us a hope in heaven, then we shall be deeply dismayed when Jesus says, "Depart from me, I never knew you." Let us not take pride in ourselves in thinking that our works will get us into heaven. Let us rather praise the Lord for His marvelous grace!

http://promises.blueletterbible.org/

"Able to keep you from falling." — Jude 1:24

In some sense the path to heaven is very safe, but in other respects there is no road so dangerous. It is beset with difficulties. One false step (and how easy it is to take that if grace be absent), and down we go. What a slippery path is that which some of us have to tread! How many times have we to exclaim with the Psalmist, "My feet were almost gone, my steps had well nigh slipped." If we were strong, sure-footed mountaineers, this would not matter so much; but in ourselves, how weak we are! In the best roads we soon falter, in the smoothest paths we quickly stumble. These feeble knees of ours can scarcely support our tottering weight. A straw may throw us, and a pebble can wound us; we are mere children tremblingly taking our first steps in the walk of faith, our heavenly Father holds us by the arms or we should soon be down. Oh, if we are kept from falling, how must we bless the patient power which watches over us day by day! Think, how prone we are to sin, how apt to choose danger, how strong our tendency to cast ourselves down, and these reflections will make us sing more sweetly than we have ever done, "Glory be to Him, who is able to keep us from falling." We have many foes who try to push us down. The road is rough and we are weak, but in addition to this, enemies lurk in ambush, who rush out when we least expect them, and labour to trip us up, or hurl us down the nearest precipice. Only an Almighty arm can preserve us from these unseen foes, who are seeking to destroy us. Such an arm is engaged for our defence. He is faithful that hath promised, and He is able to keep us from falling, so that with a deep sense of our utter weakness, we may cherish a firm belief in our perfect safety, and say, with joyful confidence,

Against me earth and hell combine,
But on my side is power divine;
Jesus is all, and He is mine!

October 9th morning devotional reading written by Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

October 5, 2009

An Open Letter to Pastors

Dear Man of God,

You’ve been given a great and fearful job by Almighty God. As I sit before you week after week, I hunger for spiritual meat. I can no longer stand a cotton candy diet. Teach me the deep things of God. I want the truth about myself: I am a sinner and all of my “good-deeds” are but filthy rags before the Lord. My efforts are nothing and will never be enough to take me to heaven. I need you to explain what you have spent so long studying. Tell me how to please Him, how to obey Him, how to honor Him. I don’t want to hear a single word about how to secure a good life. If I need motivating, I will turn to my husband.

Stop talking to me about God’s love exclusively. I know He loves me. Jesus’ death on the cross proves that. I need to know that He is holy and a consuming fire. I need to know that He demands holiness from His followers. To explain only His love is to make Him sound like Santa Claus. He isn’t. He is amazingly powerful and all-together beautiful God Who sacrificed His only Son for me! Tell me that. Tell me what I must now do to honor that sacrifice. Don’t be afraid to step on toes–Jesus never was afraid to do so. As loving and kind as He was, Jesus was also very confrontational when the need arose. He never once told someone that they needed to think more of themselves or strive to be happier. He told them that they were sinners who were defiling God’s laws. When He saw faith, He commended it and He gave His followers everything that they needed in order to grow spiritually; however, when He saw disbelief, He wasn’t ever shy about saying so.

Many in the church live in practical disbelief. We say we are followers of Christ, but we act as if we are living for ourselves. For the true follower of Christ, life will not be easy. We must die daily. We must take up our cross daily. We must die to self, to sin and to the world. The world, Jesus said, will hate us. Have you taught me how to live so that I will be hated? Have you taught me to obey God even when it hurts me? Have you taught me that His holiness is His first attribute and the one through which all of His other attributes must be seen and understood? Don’t comfort me or pretend that everything is okay. It isn’t okay. People are dying everyday without Jesus. That’s true in the world, of course, but it’s also true in the church. Too many of our churches have become nothing more than a social club pandering to the lifestyle of comfort and ease that we Americans seem to expect. People are sitting in your pews every Sunday who believe with all of their heart that they have been saved and that they have a “ticket” to heaven. After all, they said a prayer or they accepted Jesus into their hearts. You told them that was what they had to do. Did you also tell them that it had to be accompanied by repentance? Did you tell them that Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey Him? Did you tell them that followers of the Way will be hated and persecuted and that if life isn’t harder for them in someway? That if someone doesn’t hate them for who they are and what they represent–it may mean that there isn’t enough of a difference between them and the world to measure so no one feels threatened by them? If we aren’t reminding folks of Jesus, can it be said that we truly belong to Him?

Don’t be afraid to teach that we must separate from the world, that we will have different motivations when we belong to God. Don’t be afraid to tell us ladies that we must return to dressing modestly if we are going to please God. Tell us what we are doing to our brothers in Christ when we show up at church in halter tops and mini-skirts. Tell us what it does to our witness when we go out into the world dressed in a way that draws attention to our bodies rather than our character. Teach us the boldness that it takes to stand alone for and with God. Teach me how to obey God out of a heart of love rather than by following a legalist formula. Teach me that claiming “Christian liberty” and talking about God’s grace doesn’t mean that I have a right to live anyway I want to. “Shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid.” That was Paul’s answer. It is still the answer today.

If we are not here to obey God, why are we here? Tell me, please. Remind me that we are here to obey God and grow in Christ-likeness, to edify the believers and to reach the lost. Help me to remember that amid the rush of my daily life. Help me to have my priorities straight so that I might be pleasing to Jesus in all that I do. Teach me to focus on heaven so that my life here on earth might make sense. Help me to know that I am made for another, better World. Help me to love God enough to want to live and die for Him. Tell me the truth about hell: a place prepared for the devil and his followers also awaits those who do not bow before an Almighty and Holy God in repentance and obedience. Help me to live in such a way that I might be prepared for heaven and may never hear those awful words, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

Preacher, you’ve been called by God to preach His Word. Now is the time to start really doing just that. As you do so, my everlasting thankfulness and my prayers will go with you.


God bless you,
Anna Wood


Soli Deo Gloria
The Cross Is All at http://annawood.wordpress.com

October 1, 2009

Even though he forsakes God

"To him who is afflicted, kindess should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty." Job 6:14.

If there is any place where kindness should be shown, it is when a man is sinking under accumulated sorrows to the grave (Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible).

The greatest kindness the Christian can show to another who is in a hospital and afflicted physically or spiritually, is to visit them (Matthew 25:36) and bring to them, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Our lives should be an example of the compassion of Christ when we visit them, hoping their hearts would no longer continue to be hardened toward God's great mercy and everlasting love, because of Christ's death on the cross.

Like the Samaritan man who showed compassion for the one who was beaten and robbed on the road to Jericho, we too should show the same compassion for others who are afflicted.

As Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), so too should we, even if they have forsaken the Almight yesterday, maybe they won't today.

The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. Psalm 145:8.


Reference

Meyers, R. (2006). e-Sword. The sword of the Lord with an electronic edge (Verson 7.8) [Computer software].

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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