Grace Infinite and Everlasting

We often feel as if grace had done its utmost when it has carried us safely through the desert, and set us down at the gate of the kingdom. We feel as if, when grace has landed us there, it has done all for us that we are to expect.

But God’s thoughts are not our thoughts. He does exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think. It is just when we reach the threshold of the prepared heavenly city, that grace meets us in new and more abundant measures, presenting us with the recompense of the reward.

The love that shall meet us then to bid us welcome to the many mansions, shall be love beyond what we were here able to comprehend; for then shall we fully realize, as if for the first time, the meaning of these words, ‘The love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord;’ and then shall we have that prayer of Christ fulfilled in us, ‘That the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.’

It was grace which on earth said to us, ‘Come unto Me, and I will give you rest;’ and it will be grace, in all its exceeding riches, that will hereafter say to us, ‘Come, you who are blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’

—Horatius Bonar
The God of Grace

Via: Of First Importance

More Blessings Than Sand

Another great post from The Blazing Center:

Thou Eternal God,
Thine is surpassing greatness, unspeakable goodness; super-abundant grace
I can as soon count the sands of ocean’s lip
as number thy favours towards me;
I know but a part, but that part exceeds all praise

—Divine Mercies
Valley of Vision

When was the last time you pressed the “pause” button of life and took stock of God’s mercies toward you? It’s so easy for us to become fixated on the one thing that’s “wrong” in our lives that we miss the staggering heaps of divine blessing strewn about us.

Try to make a list of God’s blessings toward you. Don’t forget to include:

  • Your salvation. If this was the only thing on my list I would have reason to spend my entire life singing.
  • Your health. Walking, breathing unaided, playing sports – all grace. Why can I do these things and others can’t?
  • Your family. I get to spend every day with my best friend, my wife Jen. I have a daughter that’s cuter than a bucket of puppies.
  • Your house. Every day I enjoy hot showers, warm covers, and three square meals.
  • Your job. I’m not rich by American standards, but I make more money in a day than most of the world makes in a year.
  • Your church. I can worship without fear of government assassination. I own at least five Bibles. My church meets in a building, not under a tree in the African plains.

The list could keep going for pages. I didn’t even mention friends, times my life has been saved, my pastor, my parents, my computer, my spiritual resources, the correction of the Holy Spirit, and ten-thousand other things. God has been kind, hasn’t he? I don’t want to stumble past mountains by staring at a grain of sand.

So what’s on your list?

Via: The Blazing Center

Psalm 2: Return of the King

Christ, the Anointed Son, sits on a throne. His rule stretches to the corners of creation. Every trickle of authority in heaven and on earth is now under his rule. No one–no pharaoh, no king, no president, is outside his reign. The Sovereign authority of the Son encompasses all people—from every racial origin, from all the continents of the globe. All have been created to serve and worship and glorify Him, and to enjoy the rich blessings of an eternal kingdom.

The Anointed has cast his rope of authority over all men.

But man rages against God, thrusting knives at the ropes of authority—as if the chords were an ambush, like a net contracted around a trapped animal, hanging helplessly in the air for its hunter.

Man forms alliances to build strength against the Anointed.

The Lord in heaven laughs at man’s rage.

No less a rebel is the man who ignores God. He refuses to pursue God. The fool says in his heart that God is nothing, a phantom, an impotent and imagined delusion. God is to him an unnecessary distraction from the banquet of selfish desires (Ps. 10:4, 14:1-3, Rom. 3:11). The fool has become His enemy by intentional ignorance.

The Lord in heaven laughs at man’s delusions.

The kings of the world conspire together to murder the Anointed Son. False accusations, slander, violence, spit, lashes, nails–all reveal the hatred. Cold death descends with the darkness. But Christ’s murder breaks a pathway down into the ground that opens upward to enthroned exaltation. The throne is a reward for His death.

The Lord in heaven laughs at man’s wisdom.

The kings of the earth rage against the gospel, persecute believers, threaten violence, destroy families, kill, disband churches, imprison leaders, refuse the distribution of bibles, silence preachers.

The Lord laughs. The church grows. Convictions strengthen. The gospel spreads (Acts 4:19-31).

The Lord laughs because the Anointed is returning. Soon Christ will end the mutiny. He will step down from his throne with an iron scepter in his fist to shatter his enemies like glassware (Rev. 2:27). He will step back into this world to tread his enemies with the sole of His feet, thrusting down on his enemies the winepress of his wrath, crimson blood soaking the bottom of his white robe (Isa. 63:3).

This is the Jesus we never knew—or the Jesus many would like to forget. But this is the real Jesus, the anointed King who will return to fulfill thousands of years of expectations and anticipations of God’s people. He will fix every injustice, dry every tear, and remove the handcuffs of evil from his people and his world.

But before the Son returns with His scepter in his fist, He stretches out mercy in his hand. The Anointed bids sinners to come, to kiss the ring of His Lordship, to find refuge from the wrath.

The King’s heart throbs with love towards sinners. The Anointed takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather hopes that sinners turn and live.

Captured in Psalm 2 are life-shaping realities:

The only refuge from the wrath of the King is to find refuge in the King.

The day of wrath upon His enemies is also the day of deliverance for His people.

His return is meaningless for none.

Perhaps you kick violently against God’s authority, thrusting knives at the bonds of His authority. Perhaps you plug your ears, unwilling to pursue Him. Perhaps you find your heart somewhere in the middle. It matters little. The King’s return is imminent.

Kiss His hand. Bow under His rightful authority. Humbly and joyfully take up His yoke. And find in Him a place of refuge where sinners are given forgiveness in His blood, safety, justice, salvation, spiritual riches and eternal joy. Blessed are all who take refuge in Him.

Via: Tony Reinke

Dust of the Middle East to the Glory of Heaven

Dr. Sproul was recently approached by Dr. Michael Youssef about participating on a satellite network broadcasting into the Arabic speaking world. Al Malakoot Sat (Kingdom Sat) will officially launch on March 2, 2009.

Ligonier along with several other ministries are sending video material to be translated and sub-titled into Arabic and we will be broadcasting several times a day, Lord willing. The broadcast footprint is astounding: 72 countries with a potential coverage of 121 million homes. We will begin by airing our well known “Dust to Glory” series, an overview of the Bible, with other of RC’s popular teaching series to follow later in the year.

There is a wonderful team of translators and administrators that have been assembled to undertake this mission work. Maged Atalla, Al Malakoot’s Executive Director, is a former producer for Trans World Radio, is fluent in 4 languages and has extensive knowledge of the classical Arabic language.

Response to the daily broadcast of “Dust to Glory” will be handled by phone centers in Paris, Amman, Minia (Egpyt) as well as with coordinators in Casablanca and Algiers. We will be providing additional resources, audio and Ligonier literature in Arabic to continue the theological education of those who call in from around the Middle East.

Websites have been set up here and here for Arabic, English, and French languages. They will contain more daily information as the launch date arrives.

The potential for this new effort is exciting and overwhelming. We are privileged to be a part of spreading of the Gospel into this area of the world that so desperately needs Truth. As this is not an inexpensive undertaking, we are grateful for those who support us financially.

Renewing Your Mind on Kingdom Sat throughout the Middle East … until the whole world hears the message of God’s great salvation.

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog

The Ruin of Satan and the Glory of Christ

Hereon depends the ruin of Satan and his kingdom. His sin, so far as we can conceive, consisted of two parts:

  1. His pride against the person of the Son of God, by whom he was created. “For by him were all things created that are” (or were when first created) “in heaven, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or power,” Col. 1.16. Against him he lifted up himself; – which was the beginning of his transgression.
  2. Envy against mankind, made in the image of God, of the Son of God the first born. This completed his sin; nothing was now left whereon to act his pride and malice.

Unto his eternal confusion and ruin, God, in infinite wisdom, unites both the natures he had sinned against in the one person of the Son; who was the first object of his pride and malice. Hereby his destruction is attended with everlasting shame in the discovery of his folly, wherein he would have contended with infinite wisdom, as well as misery, by the powers of the two natures united in one person.

—John Owen
The Glory of Christ

Via: Erik Raymond

In Christ Alone – The Video

Simply reading the lyrics does not do this song justice so please take a few minutes to watch this video by Keith and Kristyn Getty. I promise you will be uplifted.

I love all the verses in this song, but the third and fourth verses are particularly powerful and encouraging.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

—Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

The complete lyrics can be found here and at the Getty’s official website.

How Sweet and Aweful Is the Place

How sweet and aweful is the place
With Christ within the doors
While everlasting love displays
The choicest of her stores

While all our hearts and all our songs
Join to admire the feast
Each of us cry with thankful tongues
“Lord, why was I a guest?”

“Why was I made to hear Thy voice
And enter while there’s room
When thousands make a wretched choice
And rather starve than come?”

’Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly drew us in
Else we had still refused to taste
And perished in our sin

Pity the nations, O our God
Constrain the earth to come
Send Thy victorious Word abroad
And bring the strangers home

We long to see Thy churches full
That all the chosen race
May with one voice and heart and soul
Sing Thy redeeming grace

—Words by Isaac Watts
Music, ancient Irish Melody

In Christ Alone

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

—Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

Echoes of Babel: Our New National Sin

Amen. This is a powerful and thought-provoking post written by Trevin Wax on the Kingdom People blog…

My children will not grow up in a country where race is considered a barrier to the presidency.

That fact by itself made me glad as I watched Barack Obama sworn in as the 44th president of the United States yesterday. It gave me a great sense of satisfaction to think about how far our country has come from the days of separate water fountains and lynch mobs.

But the thrill of seeing an era of sinful racism put behind us has faded quickly, for me at least. I hate to be the one to pop the balloon of our collective national pride in this historic moment, but I sense that we as Americans are facing the rise of a new national sin – one that is more subtle and even deadlier than the sins of our past – one that is common to all other empires that have risen and fallen throughout the ages:

A smug sense of self-righteous superiority that usurps the rightful throne of God.

Watching the news over the past few days has been almost sickening. No, it’s not the average citizens fawning over Obama as if he were the Messiah. Or the over-hyped statements from reporters trying in some way to capture the “historic nature” of the events and speeches taking place. Annoying as the now blatantly subjective news coverage has been, that is not what has bothered me the most.

Instead, the truly troubling aspect of the new era we have just inaugurated is the underlying assumption among so many in our country that now, finally, we have truly arrived. A new age has dawned!

We are now above racism in our land. We have put behind us the terrible sins of our past and we are moving forward into a new world of hope and peace. We have recaptured the moral high ground in our world. We are unstoppable, unbeatable, unassailable!

We deceive ourselves. Our rhetoric reveals an imperalistic mindset grounded in smug self-righteousness and a false sense of superiority.

World, look at us now! We are the biggest. We are the best. And we are nice now. We are above racism. We are above the sins of our forefathers. We are above the notion of sin itself.

We are so enlightened that the writers of our newsweeklies can thumb their noses at six thousand years of human history (and almost every other civilization in the world today) and decide that same-sex marriage should be legalized.

We are so enlightened that we can eliminate whatever might stand in the way of our sexual exploits or prosperity-seeking, even if that means the sacrifice of another 50 million unborn children.

We are so enlightened that we can restore Science back in its proper place (meaning that it’s okay to create human life in order to destroy it, as long as we, the powerful, can benefit somehow).

We are the enlightened ones who bring justice and freedom and peace to the world.

You could hear it in Bush’s audacious speech after 9/11, in which he claimed that “we will eliminate evil from the world.”

You could hear it in John McCain’s claim at one of the 2008 debates that the “United States of America is the greatest force for good in the world.”

You can hear it even now in the speeches of Barack Obama: We are the world-changers.

Behind the clamor of the adoring media and the sight of swooning fans in Washington, D.C. – we can see that what truly unites us as a nation is a sense of superiority over the rest of the world, a belief in America as our savior, a naïve assumption that our cause is always right.

The Tower of Babel is going up right before our eyes.

But how many leaders have to come and go before we realize the truth that only Jesus Christ is Lord?

How many examples of government injustice have to take place before we realize that Christ’s Church is still the greatest force for good in the world?

How many towers have to fall before we realize the truth that his kingdom is the one that will never fail?

We live in a day when hope has dawned, yes. But not because we have elected a new president. Let the Church never forget:

Peace has broken out because of the cross – God’s resolution to our war against him. Hope has dawned because the tomb of a certain first-century Jew has been emptied of its contents. Justice will reign because of the Church who anticipates his return and dominion.

Nations rise and fall, but the Word of the Lord stands firm forever.

Via: Trevin Wax