The Infinite has Become an Infant!

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(Charles Spurgeon, “Christ’s Incarnation, the Foundation of Christianity”)

“Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to death–even death on a cross!” Philippians 2:8

How surprised the angels must have been when they were first informed that Jesus Christ, the Prince of Life, intended to shroud Himself in clay, and become a human babe, and live and die upon the earth! We don’t know how the information was first communicated to the angels; but when the rumor began to circulate among the shining hosts–we may imagine what strange astonishment there was in their lofty minds!

What! was it true that He whose crown was all bejeweled with stars, would lay that crown aside? What! was it certain that He, about whose shoulders was cast the purple robe of universal sovereignty–would become a man, dressed in a peasant’s garment? Could it be true that He who was eternal and immortal, would one day be nailed to a cruel cross!

How their wonderment must have increased as the details of the Savior’s earthly life and death were made known to them. Well might they desire to “look into” these things, which were so surprising and mysterious to them.

And when He descended from on high they looked upon Him in rapturous amazement–wondering how it could be that He “who was rich–for our sakes became poor.”

Do you see Him as, on that day of Heaven’s eclipse, He did, as it were, ungird Himself of His majesty? Can you conceive the increasing wonder of the heavenly hosts when the great deed was actually done–when they saw His priceless tiara taken off, when they watched Him unbind His belt of stars, and cast away His sandals of gold?

Can you conceive what must have been the astonishment of the angels when He said to them, “I do not disdain the womb of the virgin; I am going down to earth to become a man!”

O angels, be lost in astonishment, as you see that the Infinite has become an infant!

He, upon whose shoulders the universe hangs–hangs at His mother’s bosom!

He, who created all things by the word of His power, and who bears up the pillars of all creation–has now become so weak that He must be carried in the arms of a woman!

Wonder, you angels who knew Him in His riches–while you behold Him in His poverty!

Is He not just the Savior that we need? God and yet man in one adorable person!
He is able to sympathize because He is man–and He is able to save because He is God!

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What did Jesus Mean When He said, ‘I Am the Way and the Truth and the Life’ (John 14:6)?

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“I am the way and the truth and the life” is one of the seven “I Am” statements of Jesus. On the last night before His betrayal and death, Jesus was preparing His disciples for the days ahead. For over three years, these men had been following Jesus and learning from His teaching and example. They had placed their hopes in Him as the Messiah, the promised deliverer, yet they still didn’t understand how He was going to accomplish that deliverance. After the Last Supper, Jesus began speaking about His departure, which led to questions from His disciples.

In John 13:33, Jesus said, “My children, I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and just as I told the Jews, so I tell you now: Where I am going, you cannot come.” This prompted Peter to ask where He was going (verse 36). Peter and the others did not understand that Jesus was speaking of His death and ascension to heaven. Jesus’ response was, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.” Peter was still misunderstanding and declared that he would follow Jesus anywhere and even lay down His life if necessary. As Jesus patiently continued to teach His disciples, He began speaking more plainly about heaven, describing the place He was going to prepare for them (John 14:2–3). Then Jesus said, “You know the way to the place where I am going” (verse 4). Speaking for the others, Thomas said they did not know where He was going, so how could they know how to follow Him there? It was in answer to this question that Jesus uttered one of the seven famous “I am” statements.

I am – In the Greek language, “I am” is a very intense way of referring to oneself. It would be comparable to saying, “I myself, and only I, am.” Several other times in the Gospels we find Jesus using these words. In Matthew 22:32 Jesus quotes Exodus 3:6, where God uses the same intensive form to say, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” In John 8:58, Jesus said, “Truly, truly I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am.” The Jews clearly understood Jesus to be calling Himself God because they took up stones to stone Him for committing blasphemy in equating Himself with God. In Matthew 28:20, as Jesus gave the Great Commission, He gave it emphasis by saying, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” When the soldiers came seeking Jesus in the garden the night before His crucifixion, He told them, “I am he,” and His words were so powerful that the soldiers fell to the ground (John 18:4–6). These words reflect the very name of God in Hebrew, Yahweh, which means “to be” or “the self-existing one.” It is the name of power and authority, and Jesus claimed it as His own.

The way – Jesus used the definite article to distinguish Himself as “the only way.” A way is a path or route, and the disciples had expressed their confusion about where He was going and how they could follow. As He had told them from the beginning, Jesus was again telling them (and us) “follow me.” There is no other path to heaven, no other way to the Father. Peter reiterated this same truth years later to the rulers in Jerusalem, saying about Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). The exclusive nature of the only path to salvation is expressed in the words “I am the way.”

The truth – Again Jesus used the definite article to emphasize Himself as “the only truth.” Psalm 119:142 says, “Your law is the truth.” In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminded His listeners of several points of the Law, then said, “But I say unto you . . .” (Matthew 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44), thereby equating Himself with the Law of God as the authoritative standard of righteousness. In fact, Jesus said that He came to fulfill the Law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). Jesus, as the incarnate Word of God (John 1:1) is the source of all truth.

The life – Jesus had just been telling His disciples about His impending death, and now He was claiming to be the source of all life. In John 10:17–18, Jesus declared that He was going to lay down His life for His sheep, and then take it back again. He spoke of His authority over life and death as being granted to Him by the Father. In John 14:19, He gave the promise that “because I live, you also will live.” The deliverance He was about to provide was not a political or social deliverance (which most of the Jews were seeking), but a true deliverance from a life of bondage to sin and death to a life of freedom in eternity.

In these words, Jesus was declaring Himself the great “I Am,” the only path to heaven, the only true measure of righteousness, and the source of both physical and spiritual life. He was staking His claim as the very God of Creation, the Lord who blessed Abraham, and the Holy One who inhabits eternity. He did this so the disciples would be able to face the dark days ahead and carry on the mission of declaring the gospel to the world. Of course, we know from Scripture that they still didn’t understand, and it took several visits from their risen Lord to shake them out of their disbelief. Once they understood the truth of His words, they became changed people, and the world has never been the same.

So how do we follow Him today? The same way the disciples did long ago. They heard the words of Jesus and believed them. They took His words and obeyed them. They confessed their sins to Jesus as their Lord and God. They believed that He died to take the punishment of their sins and rose from the dead to give them new life. They followed His example and command to tell others the truth about sin, righteousness, and judgment. When we follow Him in “the way,” we can be assured of following Him all the way to heaven.

Looking At the World Through the Beauty of the Cross

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“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

Jesus could accomplish man’s redemption in no other way than by crucifixion. He must die–and die the death of the cruel cross.

What light and glory beam around the cross!

Of what prodigies of grace, is it the instrument,
of what glorious truths, is it the symbol,
of what mighty transforming power, is it the source!

Around the cross gathers all the light of the Old Testament economy:
it explains every symbol,
it substantiates every shadow,
it solves every mystery,
it fulfills every type,
it confirms every prophecy,
of that dispensation which had eternally remained unmeaning and inexplicable, but for the death of the Son of God upon the cross.

Not the past only–but all future splendor gathers around the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. It assures us of the ultimate reign of the Savior, and tells of the reward which shall spring from His sufferings. And while its one arm points to the divine counsels of eternity past–with the other it points to the future triumph and glory of Christ’s kingdom in the eternity to come! Such is the lowly yet sublime, the weak yet mighty instrument, by which the sinner is saved and God eternally glorified.

The cross of Christ is . . .
the grand consummation of all preceding dispensations of God to men;
the meritorious procuring cause of all spiritual blessings to our fallen race;
the scene of Christ’s splendid victories over all His enemies and ours;
the most powerful incentive to all evangelical holiness;
the instrument which is to subjugate the world to the supremacy of Jesus;
the source of all true peace, joy and hope;
the tree beneath whose shadow all sin expires, all grace lives.

The cross of our Lord Jesus Christ!
What a holy thrill these words produce in the heart of those who love the Savior!
How significant is their meaning, how precious is their influence!

Marvelous and irresistible, is the power of the cross! The cross of Christ has . . .
subdued many a rebellious will;
broken many a marble heart;
laid low many a vaunting foe;
overcome and triumphed, when all other instruments have failed;
transformed the lion like heart of man, into the lamb like heart of Christ!

When lifted up in its own bare simplicity and inimitable grandeur–the cross of Christ has won and attracted millions to its faith, admiration, and love!

What a marvelous power does this cross of Jesus possess! It changes the Christian’s entire judgment of the world.Looking at the world through the cross–his opinion is totally revolutionized.
He sees the world as it really is–a sinful, empty, vain thing.
He learns its iniquity, in that it crucified the Lord of life and glory.
His expectations from the world, and his love to the world, are transformed.
He has found another object of love–the Savior whom the world cast out and slew.
His love to the world is destroyed by that power which alone could destroy it–the crucifying power of the cross.

It is the cross which eclipses, in the view of the true believer, the glory and attraction of every other object.

What is the weapon by which faith combats with, and overcomes the world? What but the cross of Jesus!

Just as the natural eye, gazing for a while upon the sun, is blinded for the moment to all other objects by its overpowering effulgence; so to the believer, concentrating his mind upon the glory of the crucified Savior, studying closely the wonders ofgrace and love and truth meeting in the cross–the world with all its attraction fades into the full darkness of an eclipse.

Christ and His cross infinitely better than the world and its trinkets!

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

Holy Thoughts

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“Holy thoughts breed holy words and holy actions, and are hopeful evidences of a renewed heart. Who would not have them? To keep chaff out of a bushel, one sure plan is to fill it full of wheat, and to keep out vain thoughts, it is wise and prudent to have the mind stored with choice subjects for meditation: these are easy to find, and we should never be without them. May we able able to say with David, ‘In the multitude of my thoughts within me, Thy comforts delight my soul.”  –Charles Spurgeon “Spurgeon’s Practical Wisdom” p. 48

https://stilltheyspeak.wordpress.com/2018/07/17/holy-thoughts/

An Inconvenient Truth

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(Matthew Mead, “Falling into the Hands of the Living God!” 1629-1699)

“It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!”
Hebrews 10:31

It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God, because, as He is the all-knowing and Almighty God–so He is the just and righteous God; and will be so forever, for He is the living God. His righteousness and justice are everlasting–and this makes Hell so dreadful.

As it is the great comfort of believers to have such a Mediator and Surety, such a high priest to live forever to make intercession for them–so this is the great misery of lost sinners: to fall into the hands of that God, who ever lives to avenge Himself on their unbelief and rebellion. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God . . .
who knows all their sins,
who is so holy–that He must punish them,
who is so powerful–that He can punish them,
who is so just–that He does punish all impenitent sinners forever!

Christ Uses Garbage!

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(Charles Spurgeon, “The Meek and Lowly One”)

Jewelers can only prepare and polish the choicest diamonds.
But Jesus Christ polishes a common pebble, and makes a jewel of it!

Jewelers make their precious treasures, out of precious materials.
Christ makes His precious things, out of dross!

He always begins with bad material. Christ takes . . .
the despicable,
the vilest,
the scum,
the off-scouring,
the filth,
the garbage of the world,
and out of such stuff and matter as that, He builds up a holy temple, and gathers to Himself trophies for His honor and praise!

“Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
And that is what some of you were! But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

The Eternal Duration of Hell’s Torments!

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(Matthew Mead, “The Eternal Duration of Hell’s Torments” 1629-1699)

“It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God!” Hebrews 10:31

How can it be consistent with the justice and righteousness of God . . .
to punish temporal sinning, with everlasting suffering;
to inflict eternal vengeance, for momentary offences;
to cast a sinner into unending misery, for committing a few sins here which quickly have an end?

This has made some conclude against the eternal duration of Hell’s torments–as if God were so merciful that He would not let the unrepentant lie under His wrath forever. But I answer this with the Apostle, “Is God unjust in bringing His wrath on us? Certainly not!” (Romans 3:5-6). God is holy, just, and righteous–even when He punishes momentary offences with everlasting torments. And this will appear, by considering the following:

It is necessary for the governing of the world, that the penalty should be so stated. It is necessary for the preserving the authority of God’s law in its full force and vigor, and to render it more solemn and dreadful. The design of God is to have the punishment so great as to check all the temptations to sin which a man can have. There is in man since the fall, such a propensity to sensual things, that, without this fear of Hell, nothing is able to keep it down. Fleshly lusts are so pleasing to corrupt nature, that they need to be checked with the severest threatenings. Therefore, God has told us beforehand, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient!” Ephesians 5:6

God wisely balances the sinner’s delights with the fear of punishment, that by setting eternal pains against momentary pleasures, we may the better escape temptation. The pleasures of sin, which are but for a season–entail on us torments which are eternal!

God has wisely left to our own choice whether we will have the passing pleasures of sin here on earth–or those eternal pleasures which come hereafter. Things at hand will far more prevail than things to come, if those eternal things are not considerably greater. Here on earth the pain is short, and so is the pleasure–but in the eternal world both the pain and the pleasure are eternal. In the wisdom of God, those who work out their salvation with fear and trembling here, should have pleasures at the right hand of God for evermore–and those who will have their sinful pleasures here, should have everlasting misery in the eternal world.


You may want to read the whole of Matthew Mead’s outstanding 5 page article, “The Eternal Duration of Hell’s Torments“.

Christ, Who Is Our Life

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(Charles Spurgeon)

“When Christ, who is our life, appears–then you also will appear with Him in glory!” Colossians 3:4

Paul’s marvelously rich expression indicates that Christ is the source of our life. “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins!” Ephesians 2:1. That same voice which brought Lazarus out of the tomb, raised us to newness of life.

Christ is now the substance of our spiritual life. It is by His life that we live. He is in us, the hope glory, the spring of our actions, the central thought which moves every other thought.

Christ is the sustenance of our life. What can the Christian feed upon but Jesus? O wayworn pilgrims in this wilderness of sin–you never get a morsel to satisfy the hunger of your spirits, unless you find it in Him!

Christ is the solace of our life. All our true joys come from Him. In times of trouble, His presence is our consolation. There is nothing worth living for but Him. His loving-kindness is better than life!

Christ is the object of our life. As speeds the ship towards the port–so the believer hastens towards the haven of his Savior’s bosom. As the arrow flies to its goal–so the Christian flies towards fellowship with Christ Jesus.

Christ is the exemplar of our life. If we live in near fellowship with the Lord Jesus, then we shall grow like Him. We shall set Him before us as our Divine copy, and we shall seek to tread in His footsteps. “Whoever claims to live in Him, must walk as Jesus did.” 1 John 2:6

Oh! how safe, how honored, how happy is the Christian–since Christ is our life!

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain!” Philippians 1:21

Why did God allow Solomon to have 1,000 wives and concubines?

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First Kings 11:3 states that Solomon “had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines.” Obviously, God “allowed” Solomon to have these wives, but allowance is not the same as approval. Solomon’s marital decisions were in direct violation of God’s Law, and there were consequences.

Solomon started out well early in his life, listening to the counsel of his father, David, as recorded in 1 Kings 2:2-3, “Be strong, show yourself a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in his ways, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and requirements, as written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” Solomon’s early humility is shown in 1 Kings 3:5-9 when he requests wisdom from the Lord. Wisdom is applied knowledge; it helps us make decisions that honor the Lord and agree with the Scriptures. Solomon’s book of Proverbs is filled with practical counsel on how to follow the Lord. Solomon also wrote the Song of Solomon, which presents a beautiful picture of what God intends marriage to be. So, King Solomon knew what was right, even if he didn’t always follow the right path.

Over time, Solomon forgot his own counsel and the wisdom of Scripture. God had given clear instructions for anyone who would be king: no amassing of horses, no multiplying of wives, and no accumulating of silver and gold (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). These commands were designed to prevent the king from trusting in military might, following foreign gods, and relying on wealth instead of on God. Any survey of Solomon’s life will show that he broke all three of these divine prohibitions!

Thus, Solomon’s taking of many wives and concubines was in direct violation of God’s Word. Just as God had predicted, “As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the LORD his God” (1 Kings 11:4). To please his wives, Solomon even got involved in sacrificing to Milcom (or Molech), a god that required “detestable” acts to be performed (1 Kings 11:7-8).

God allowed Solomon to make the choice to disobey, but Solomon’s choice brought inevitable consequences. “So the Lord said to Solomon, ‘Since this is your attitude and you have not kept my covenant and my decrees, which I commanded you, I will most certainly tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your subordinates’” (1 Kings 11:11). God showed mercy to Solomon for David’s sake (verse 12), but Solomon’s kingdom was eventually divided. Another chastisement upon Solomon was war with the Edomites and Aramians (verses 14-25).

Solomon was not a puppet king. God did not force him to do what was right. Rather, God laid out His will, blessed Solomon with wisdom, and expected the king to obey. In his later years, Solomon chose to disobey, and he was held accountable for his decisions.

It is instructive that, toward the end of Solomon’s life, God used him to write one more book, which we find in the Bible. The book of Ecclesiastes gives us “the rest of the story.” Solomon throughout the book tells us everything he tried in order to find fulfillment apart from God in this world, or “under the sun.” This is his own testimony: “I amassed silver and gold for myself, and the treasure of kings and provinces. I acquired . . . a harem as well–the delights of the heart of man” (Ecclesiastes 2:8). But his harem did not bring happiness. Instead, “Everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun” (verse 11). At the conclusion of Ecclesiastes, we find wise counsel: “Here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole [duty] of man” (12:13).”

It is never God’s will that anyone sin, but He does allow us to make our own choices. The story of Solomon is a powerful lesson for us that it does not pay to disobey. It is not enough to start well; we must seek God’s grace to finish well, too. Life without God is a dead-end street. Solomon thought that having 1,000 wives and concubines would provide happiness, but whatever pleasure he derived was not worth the price he paid. As a wiser Solomon said, “God will bring every deed into judgment” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

https://www.gotquestions.org/

This God!

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This God is our God forever and ever! He will be our Guide even unto death!” Psalm 48:14

Those who have fled for refuge to the hope set before them in the gospel, all who are living a life of faith–are privileged to say of the Lord, “This God is our God forever and ever!”

Believers are privileged to say that the God who has all power in Heaven and earth, whose understanding is infinite, who is good, and who does good continually: “This God is our God forever and ever!”

Believers are privileged to say the God of holiness, righteousness, and justice; the God of mercy, truth, and grace; the “just God and the Savior”: “This God is our God forever and ever!”

Believers are privileged to say the God whose name and whose nature is love, and who has manifested His love toward us in sending His only begotten Son into the world that we might live through Him: “This God is our God forever and ever!”

Believers are privileged to say the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ; the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort; the Refuge of the oppressed, the Helper of the helpless, the Hope of the hopeless, and the Savior of the lost:“This God is our God forever and ever!”

Believers are privileged to say the Source of every good and perfect gift; the promise-keeping God: “This God is our God”–and always will be; for He never leaves nor forsakes His redeemed people. “He will be our Guide even unto death,” and our portion forever and ever!

“This God is the God we adore;
Our faithful, unchangeable Friend;
Whose love is as great as His power.
And knows neither measure nor end!