Weekly Spurgeon

Sorry for its absence in the past two weeks.  This week, the quote is quite short, but it is long on conviction.

If any of you should ask me for an epitome of the Christian religion, I should say that it is in one word–prayer. Live and die without prayer, and you will pray long enough when you get to hell.


Unintentional Sins and Atonement

Leviticus 4 is about unintentional sins, or as the KJV would say, “sins of ignorance.”  There are sacrifices for unintentional sins that come from private individuals, the whole congregation of Israel, leaders, and common people.  Four times, God says this phrase after a sacrifice is made: “And the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven” (vv. 20, 26, 31, 25).  Israel was full of ignorant sins, they were hidden from their minds, hearts, and spiritual eyes.  Unfortunately, we are in the same boat. 

Our hearts should be that we trust in the Holy Spirit to reveal these secret sins to us.  We should have the desire of David when he prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” and “Who can discern his errors? Declare me innocent from hidden faults” (Ps. 139:23-24; 19:12).  We should be broken over our ignorance simple unwillingness to examine our true selves by facing the ugliness of sin face-to-face.

Yet, there is a Priest who atones for our secret sins.  First John 2:1-2 says, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”  More than that he is the atonement for our sin that he had to offer one time.  Hebrews 7:27 says, “He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.”

At the cross of Jesus, everyone who calls on his name finds grace, mercy, peace, compassion, and forgiveness (Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:13). There is no partiality with God, for here we see rich and poor, slave and free, leader and follower, male and female, old and young, and Jew and Gentile all come into the presence of God because of Jesus’ sacrifice (Rom. 10:12; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11). Perhaps, even while Jesus was on the cross there was an allusion to this sacrifice for unintentional sins when he prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” 

How perfect are the Scriptures, that every page, even the Old Testament, tells the glory of God and the preeminence of Christ!

Life Theology

Easter Sunday Meditation

Paul’s declaration in 1 Corinthians 15:19 seem to be the most significant and profound words ever written about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  He writes, “If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”

I asked a non-Christian person last week if I was crazy for believing that Jesus died, rose, and ascended into heaven and that I am living my life according to his word.  This person did not believe Jesus really rose from the dead.  He looked at me and answered, “No.”  (Honestly, I think he just didn’t want to offend me.)  I replied back with something to the affect of, “If Jesus didn’t rise, then I’m crazy for believing a hoax.  You don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead.  Therefore, you think I believe a lie and/or a hoax and furthermore, I must be crazy if I believe it.” 

He refused to concede.  It makes perfect sense though, doesn’t it?  As the great C.S. Lewis said, you either must make Jesus your Lord or not–for he did not leave us any other options.  Jesus really did die on a cross.  Jesus really did rise from the dead.  Jesus really did appear to more than 500 people at one time.  Jesus really does reign in heaven right now and in the hearts of those who confess him.  He’s either your Lord or something else is.

At the end of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul sums up his 57 verse treatise of the resurrection with one simple application: “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (v. 58).  Paul’s words are clear: Jesus is risen, so you can be unwavering in your faith in him, which should result in continued, quality work for him.  It is not in vain, because he is risen.  It is not in vain, because he reigns on high.  It is not in vain, because one day we will be raised to new life with him. 

May we remind ourselves this Easter that Jesus is still alive and our work, no matter the cost, will never be in vain. 

Life Theology

Maundy Thursday Meditation

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also he took the cup, after supper saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

– 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

When Passover was instituted in Exodus 12, God told Moses and Aaron to observe the day as a memorial “throughout your generations as a statute forever.” It was to be observed until the new covenant promise of a different kind of Passover. The new covenant Passover, when Jesus passed over the sins of many, brought about the celebration of his death, burial, and resurrection. It brought about the triumph of mere old covenant shadows in favor of the great, eternal, unseen things to come.

Passover reminds us that Jesus is the spotless lamb whose limbs were not broken, but that he was more than a yearly sacrifice that needed to keep being slain. Rather, he died once for all, so that whoever believes in him will be passed over by the wrath of God that is due us because of our sin.

Jesus said in Matthew 26:28, “For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” That night with his disciples he was saying, “You do not need to celebrate Passover anymore. I am the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This is the new covenant. From now on, when you eat together, remember my sacrifice for you. Remember the torture, the mocking, the flogging, the spitting, and the death that I endured. It is for you.”

So, today, as we reflect on the last few hours of Jesus’ life on earth, may we remember that he is the spotless Lamb of God, who was led to the slaughter for our sins. And when we come to commune together with the bread and wine, may we proclaim Christ crucified as the sacrifice that made, and will make, perfect all those who trust in his name.


Pie in the Sky?

During this Lenten season, I’ve been reading meditations by C.S. Lewis from various writings of his in a booklet called A Clean Heart Create in Me. Over the past two days, I’ve been in an e-mail debate with a student over the existence of God, the reliability of Scripture, and things of that nature. It’s sad to see someone who is so violent against the reality that a powerful God reigns over this world. In today’s meditation from Lewis, the reason for this student’s disbelief became clear.

We are afraid of the jeer about ‘”pie in the sky,” and of being told that we are trying to “escape” from the duty of making a happy world here and now into dreams of a happy world elsewhere. But either there is a ‘pie in the sky’ or there is not. If there is not, then Christianity is false, for this doctrine is woven into its whole fabric. If there is, then this truth, like any other, must be faced, whether it is useful at political meetings or no. Again, we are afraid that Heaven is a bribe, and that if we make it our goal we shall no longer be disinterested. It is not so. Heaven offers nothing that the mercenary soul can desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in heart want to.

May we see that Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:8 are so true, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” Truly only the ones whom God has given mercy to in order to be pure want to see God. Why would a godless, wicked person want to meet God? That would be foolish! In fact, in Luke 12:20, Jesus told the story of a man who did not fear God and who stored up his treasures on earth and when he died, he met God and God said, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” Those are words I never want to hear out of God’s mouth.

There are godless people all over the world–as close as across the street. So, let us pray fervently and with perseverance that God will put people in our lives who are not pure, so that he can use us as instruments of righteousness to lead them to the table where we eat and drink from.