Thy Righteousness is in Heaven

One day as I was passing into the field, this sentence fell upon my soul: ‘Thy righteousness is in heaven.’ And with the eyes of my soul I saw Jesus at the Father’s right hand. ‘There,’ I said, ‘is my righteousness!’ So that wherever I was or whatever I was doing, God could not say to me, ‘Where is your righteousness?’ For it is always right before him.

I saw that it is not my good frame of heart that made my righteousness better, nor yet my bad frame that made my righteousness worse, for my righteousness IS Christ. Now my chains fell off indeed. My temptations fled away, and I lived sweetly at peace with God.

Now I could look from myself to him and could reckon that all my character was like the coins a rich man carries in his pocket when all his gold is safe in a trunk at home. Oh I saw that my gold was indeed in a trunk at home, in Christ my Lord. Now Christ was all: my righteousness, sanctification, redemption.

—John Bunyan
Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners

Via: Of First Importance

What Is The Church?

The Greek, New Testament word translated , “church” is ekklesia (from which English words such as “ecclesiastical” come). It is a compound term composed of ek = “out of” and kaleo = “to call.” That means the church is a body of “called out persons.”

But what does that mean?

The word goes back to the Greek city states which were composed of three sorts of persons: citizens; freedmen; slaves. The slaves and freedmen made up the bulk of the population. These cities were little democracies each having its own constitutions, rules, etc. They were true democracies, rather than representative bodies. That means that every citizen could vote on every issue that arose. When a city meeting was called for, the citizens gathered, heard speeches, and then dropped a stone into a pitcher indicating their votes (black stones = “no”; white stones = “yes”). Only citizens could vote.

Whenever a vote was imminent, the “herald” would go about the city shouting the fact that a vote was to be taken. In that way, out of the mass of people in the city, the citizens were called out and from the general populace to gather and cast their vote.

So, the picture of the herald, going forth to call out from the world those who would believe the Gospel lays behind the idea of the church as composed of the “called out ones” who are called out to transact God’s business. As people believe the Gospel preached by Christ’s heralds (preachers), they become part of those whose “citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20), the church.

Have you heard the call to faith in Jesus Christ? Are you a citizen of heaven?

—Jay Adams
Institute for Nouthetic Studies Blog

The original article can be found here.

Via: Tim Phillips

We Have More For Us than Against Us

The victory lies not with us, but with Christ, who has taken on him both to conquer for us and to conquer in us. The victory lies neither in our own strength to get it, nor in our enemies’ strength to defeat it. If it lay with us, we might justly fear. But Christ will maintain his own government in us and take our part against our corruptions. They are his enemies as well as ours.

Let us therefore be ‘strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might’ (Ephesians 6:10). Let us not look so much at who our enemies are as at who our judge and captain is, nor at what they threaten, but at what he promises. We have more for us than against us. What coward would not fight when he is sure of victory?

—Richard Sibbes
The Bruised Reed

Via: Of First Importance

How are You Righteous Before God?

Question 60: How are you righteous before God?

Answer: Only by true faith in Jesus Christ. Although my conscience accuses me that I have grievously sinned against all God’s commandments, have never kept any of them, and am still inclined to all evil, yet God, without any merit of my own, out of mere grace, imputes to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ. He grants these to me as if I had never had nor committed any sin, and as if I myself had accomplished all the obedience which Christ has rendered for me, if only I accept this gift with a believing heart.

—The Heidelberg Catechism

Via: Of First Importance

All Authority

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Hope

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)