“And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning Himself.” Luke 24:27
“These are the Scriptures that testify about Me!” John 5:39
Take this Book and distill it into one word–and that one word will be JESUS! The Bible itself, is but the body of Christ, and we may look upon all its pages as the swaddling bands of the infant Savior–for if we unroll the Scripture, we come upon Jesus Christ Himself.
Where is Christ in your theological system? He Himself is . . .
the Doctor and Doctrine,
the Revealer and Revelation,
the Illuminator and the Light of men.
He is exalted in every word of truth, because He is its sum and substance.
He sits above the gospel, like a prince on His own throne.
Doctrine is most precious, when we see it distilling from His lips and embodied in His person.
Sermons are only valuable, in proportion as they speak of Him and point to Him!
(Thomas Boston, 1676-1732, “Death“)
“You sweep men away in the sleep of death; they are like the new grass of the morning–though in the morning it springs up new, by evening it is dry and withered.” Psalm 90:5-6
“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” Psalm 103:15-16
“All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass.” Isaiah 40:6-7
People are like grass and flowers!
“All people,” even the strongest and most healthy people, are like the grass that dies away. Their beauty fades as quickly as the beauty of flowers in a field.
The grass is flourishing in the morning; but, being cut down by the mowers, in the evening it is withered. Likewise, man sometimes is walking up and down at ease in the morning–and in the evening is lying as a corpse, being struck down by a sudden blow, with one or another of death’s weapons.
The flower, at best, is but a weak and tender thing, of short continuance wherever it grows. But observe, man is not compared to the flower of the ‘garden’; but to the “flower in the field”–which the foot of every beast may tread down at any time.
Thus is our life liable to a thousand accidents every day, any of which may cut us off. But though we should escape all these–yet at length the LORD sweeps them away, and they are gone!
“Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow!” Psalm 144:4
“You turn men back to dust, saying: Return to dust, O sons of men.” Psalm 90:3
“So teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12
A sight of Christ on the cross will cause us to hate our sins.
If you ever, by the eye of faith, see Jesus Christ dying for you–sin will never be sweet to you again.
What was it that slew our blessed Lord? It was our sin!
When we discover that our iniquities put our dearest and best Friend to death, we vow revenge against our iniquities, and henceforth hate them with a perfect hatred.
Let me illustrate this very simply:
Here is a knife with a richly carved ivory handle–a knife of excellent workmanship. Yonder woman, we will suppose, has had a dear child murdered by a cruel enemy. This knife is hers, she is pleased with it, and prizes it much. How can I make her throw that knife away? I can do it easily, for that is the knife with which her child was murdered! Look at it–there is blood still upon the handle! She drops it as though it were a scorpion–she cannot bear it. “Put it away,” says she, “it killed my child! Oh, hateful thing!”
Now, sin is such a hateful thing. We play with it until we are told that it was sin which killed the Lord Jesus, who died out of love to us–pure, self-sacrificing love. Then we say, “Hateful thing–be gone! How can I endure you!”
See there the wounds of the Son of God;
behold the crimson stains on His blessed body;
mark the thorn-crown;
gaze upon those pierced hands;
weep over the nailed feet;
see the deep gash which the lance made in His side!
Sin did this cruel work–this bloody deed!
Down with our sins!
Drag them to the cross!
Slay them at Calvary!
Let not one of them escape, for they are the murderers of Christ!
“It was you, my sins, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were;
Each of my crimes became a nail,
And unbelief the spear!”
The Bible records God speaking audibly to people many times (Exodus 3:14; Joshua 1:1; Judges 6:18; 1 Samuel 3:11; 2 Samuel 2:1; Job 40:1; Isaiah 7:3; Jeremiah 1:7; Acts 8:26; 9:15—this is just a small sampling). There is no biblical reason why God could not speak to a person audibly today. With the hundreds of times the Bible records God speaking, we have to remember that they occur over the course of 4,000 years of human history. God speaking audibly is the exception, not the rule. Even in the biblically recorded instances of God speaking, it is not always clear whether it was an audible voice, an inner voice, or a mental impression.
God does speak to people today. First, God speaks to us through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Isaiah 55:11 tells us, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” The Bible is God’s Word, everything we need to know in order to be saved and live the Christian life. Second Peter 1:3 declares, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”
God can also “speak” to us through events—i.e., He can guide us through arranging our circumstances. And God helps us to discern right from wrong through our consciences (1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 3:16). God is in the process of conforming our minds to think His thoughts (Romans 12:2). God allows events to occur in our lives to direct us, change us, and help us to grow spiritually (James 1:2–5; Hebrews 12:5–11). First Peter 1:6–7 reminds us, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
God may sometimes speak audibly to people. It is highly doubtful, though, that this occurs as often as some people claim it does. Again, even in the Bible, God speaking audibly is the exception, not the ordinary. If anyone claims that God has spoken to him or her, always compare what is said with what the Bible says. If God were to speak today, His words would be in full agreement with what He has said in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16–17). God does not contradict Himself.
“A Christian can look forward to tomorrow with joy. Tomorrow is a happy thing. It is one stage nearer glory, one step nearer heaven, one more mile sailed across life’s dangerous sea, one mile closer to home. …Tomorrow, or perhaps before then, this head will wear the crown (James 1:12). This arm will wave the palm (Rev. 7:9). This lip will sing the song (Rev. 5:13). This foot will walk the golden streets (Rev. 21:18). Tomorrow, this heart will be full of immortal, everlasting, eternal bliss (Rev. 21:4). Be of good cheer, fellow Christian, tomorrow can have nothing negative for you. ‘Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth’ (Prov. 27:1); rather, comfort yourself with tomorrow. You have a right to do that. You cannot have a bad tomorrow. It may be the best day of your life, for it may be…
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(Thomas Charles, “Conformity to the Image of God” 1838)
“We considered Him stricken by God, smitten by Him, and afflicted.
He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities.
The punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:4-5
God is as glorious in punishing sin–as He is in pardoning sin.
Never did God appear more glorious, than when He was pouring out His wrath on the Son of His love, for our sins. Justice and mercy, holiness and love–there shone with united and transcendent splendor.
The same glory of God which shines in punishing sin in Hell–appeared in His punishing it on the cross!
Does not God deserve to be loved for the one, as well as for the other? Does He not deserve to be loved wherever and in whatever manner He causes His glorious justice to appear?
That man never had true grace–who does not love God for punishing sin, as well as for pardoning it.
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.” Galatians 3:13
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree” 1 Peter 2:24