It’s Now or Never: Love Your Enemies

Jesus said, “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). He clearly loved his enemies: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). And God loved his: “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10).

But in the age to come there will be no enemies to love. They will have all become friends (Luke 16:9), or they will have been cast into outer darkness (Matthew 8:12). Neither we, nor Christ, nor God the Father, nor the Holy Spirit, nor the angels will love our enemies any more.

To the degree that we are aware of those in hell, the view will not be one of love, but of abhorrence (Isaiah 66:24).

Today is the day God has appointed to love our enemies. Either we will do it in this life, or we will never do it. But Jesus commands it to be done. It is a revelation of his glory in this world. Loving our enemies is one of the good deeds people see and give glory to God (Matthew 5:16). It is an echo of his cross (Ephesians 4:32). This is the only world where this demonstration of God’s glory can happen.

And it will be remembered forever. “Their deeds follow them” (Revelation 14:13). Jesus’ enemy love will be sung forever—the song of the Lamb (Revelation 15:3). And the echo of it, in our love, will resound through eternity in the stories of our sacrifices.

Don’t waste your life. It’s a gift from God. He gave it so that you could join him in displaying his glory. Some of those displays can only happen now. Now or never. Love your enemies.

—John Piper
It’s Now or Never: Love Your Enemies

Via: Desiring God Blog

That Is How Jesus Died

Shredded flesh against unforgiving wood, iron stakes pounded through bone and wracked nerves, joints wrenched out of socked by the sheer dead weight of the body, public humiliation before the eyes of family, friends, and the world – that was death on the cross, ‘the infamous stake’ as the Romans called it, ‘the barren wood, ’ the maxima mala crux. Or as the Greeks spat it out, the stauros. No wonder no one talked about it. No wonder parents hid their children’s eyes from it. The stauros was a loathsome thing, and the one who dies on it was loathsome too, a vile criminal whose only use was to hang there as a putrid decaying warning to anyone else who might follow his example.

That is how Jesus died.

—Greg Gilbert
The Gospel: God’s Self-Substitution for Sinners

Via: Of First Importance

Why We Should Believe in Jesus

The reason Jesus is essential to believe in is because there is a holy God who is infinitely just and infinitely loving. And in his justice he is angry at us because we have sinned against him. We have rejected him, we haven’t trusted him, we haven’t loved him as we ought, we have broken his commandments. All we have to do is list out, “Thou shall not steal, thou shall not lie, thou shall not lust or covet and shall love him only above all things,” and we’ve broken those and so wrath rests upon us. Jesus is the son of God sent into the world as the atonement, the sacrifice that bears our sins and that provides our righteousness. So that if there were no Christ we would only have guilt and judgment and condemnation and Hell from God.

But because Christ came and God sent him, in his love we can look away from ourselves. This is what faith means: we look away from ourselves, we cast ourselves on Christ for his mercy and we trust his death to be our punishment.

And we trust his righteousness to be imputed to us so that now in Christ, that is in relation to Christ, by faith, God looks upon us as having fulfilled his whole law, as having all of our sins forgiven, and being acceptable in the beloved Jesus Christ. So that now we have eternal joy, eternal glory.

So the practical answer, “Why believe in Jesus” is because it’s the only way to escape Hell, to know God, to have everlasting joy in the presence of God. And we believe it because it’s true.

—John Piper

Via: Desiring God Blog

I Lay My Sins on Jesus

I lay my sins on Jesus, the spotless Lamb of God;
He bears them all, and frees us from the accursed load;
I bring my guilt to Jesus, to wash my crimson stains;
White in His blood most precious, till not a stain remains.

I lay my wants on Jesus; all fullness dwells in Him;
He heals all my diseases, He doth my soul redeem;
I lay my griefs on Jesus, my burdens and my cares;
He from them all releases, He all my sorrows shares.

I rest my soul on Jesus, this weary soul of mine;
His right hand me embraces, I on His breast recline.
I love the Name of Jesus, Immanuel, Christ, the Lord;
Like fragrance on the breezes, His Name abroad is poured.

I long to be like Jesus, strong, loving, lowly, mild;
I long to be like Jesus, the Father’s holy Child;
I long to be with Jesus, amid the heavenly throng,
To sing with saints His praises, to learn the angels’ song.

—Horatius Bonar

Via: Trevin Wax

Bethlehem and Golgotha

The opening words from John Donne’s Christmas sermon delivered on December 25, 1626:

The whole life of Christ was a continual Passion; others die Martyrs, but Christ was born a Martyr. … His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas-day and his Good Friday, are but the evening and morning of one and the same day.

Via: Tony Reinke

The Word Became Flesh

God became human,
the invisible became visible,
the untouchable became touchable,
eternal life experienced temporal death,
the transcendent one descended and drew near,
the unlimited became limited,
the infinite became finite,
the immutable became mutable,
the unbreakable became fragile,
spirit became matter,
eternity entered time,
the independent became dependent,
the almighty became weak,
the loved became the hated,
the exalted was humbled,
glory was subjected to shame,
fame turned into obscurity,
from inexpressible joy to tears of unimaginable grief,
from a throne to a cross,
from ruler to being ruled,
from power to weakness.

—Sam Storms

Via: Trevin Wax

Embracing Our Mission

A church that cares not for truth is a community that rejects its very mission. The person who says, “I’m not interested in doctrine or theology,” is not “of the truth.” He or she has missed the voice of Jesus.

For the church to be the church, she must bow before her King and embrace the mission He has given to her. Yes, we desire a cultural reformation and a restoration of public morality. But that is secondary to and dependent on our mission to bear witness to the truth. Doctrine is important because its central concern is for an understanding of truth, without which there can be no godliness. It is the truth that sets us free, reforms our behavior, and defines us as disciples of Christ.

The world does not see or understand the city of God. It is a hidden city, a concealed kingdom. It is veiled by falsehood, by he who seeks to obscure the truth. The truth is that at this moment Jesus is the King of kings. This world is under His dominion. We are citizens in His realm. We must not negotiate or retreat from that affirmation. The kingdom of God comprises those people who believe what God says and obey when God commands.

Coram Deo: Are you part of God’s kingdom? Do you believe what God says and obey when He commands?

Matthew 28:18–20: “Then Jesus came and spoke to them saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.'”

Luke 9:60: “Jesus said to him, ‘ . . . you go and preach the kingdom of God.'”

—Dr. R.C. Sproul

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog

This Rock will Stand Forever

Christ’s righteousness is infinitely perfect, equal to the highest demands of the divine law – and therefore a firm, immovable ground of trust. We may safely venture the weight of our eternal all upon this rock. It will stand forever, without giving way under the heaviest pressure; without being broken by the most violent shock. Let thousands, let millions, with all the mountainous weight of guilt upon them, build upon this foundation, and they shall never be moved.

The firm foundations, the stately columns, the majestic buildings of Nineveh, Babylon and Persia, and all the magnificent structures of antiquity, though formed of the most durable stone, and promising immortality – are now shattered into ten thousand fragments, or lying in ruinous heaps.

But here in Christ is a foundation for immortal souls – a foundation that will remain the same to all eternity. His righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, His strength an everlasting strength, and Himself the everlasting Father. He ever lives forever to make intercession for His people, and therefore he is able to save to the uttermost, to the uttermost point of duration, all who come unto God by Him.

—Samuel Davies
Jesus Christ, the Only Foundation

Via: Of First Importance

Let Us Fix Our Eyes On Jesus

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus! (Hebrews 12:2)

For every look at self – take ten looks at Christ! Live near to Jesus – and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities.

How many millions of dazzling pearls and gems are at this moment hidden in the deep recesses of the ocean caves. Likewise, unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for you. Dive and dive again – you will never come to the bottom of these depths!

—Robert Murray McCheyne (1813-1843)

Via: Erik Raymond

He Atoned for Your Sins on the Cross

One of the sweetest statements from the lips of Jesus is this: ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world’ (Matthew 25:34b). There is a plan of God designed for your salvation. It is not an afterthought or an attempt to correct a mistake. Rather, from all eternity, God determined that He would redeem for Himself a people, and that which He determined to do was, in fact, accomplished in the work of Jesus Christ, His atonement on the cross. Your salvation has been accomplished by a Savior, One who did for you what the Father determined He should do. He is your Surety, your Mediator, your Substitute, your Redeemer. He atoned for your sins on the cross.

—R.C. Sproul
The Truth of the Cross

Via: Of First Importance