Christ, Our Messiah

And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he said, Behold the Lamb of God!”

~ John 1:36

The Jews had long sought the coming Messiah. And a “lamb” in the Jewish culture had a deep, rich and symbolic meaning that symbolized the one who would come as their Deliverer. The promised Messiah would be likened to one who is “like a lamb that is led to slaughter” (Is. 53:6-7). When John the Baptist declares to the world “Behold the Lamb of God”, those there that day understood that John was saying here’s our Messiah, here’s our Deliverer, here’s the one who has been promised to save and deliver us, Jesus – the Messiah – the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

Like the blood of the lamb that was used during Passover as a covering on the lintel and doorposts over the homes of the Hebrews in Egypt to protect them from God’s vengeance, so the blood of Christ, our Passover (1 Cor. 5:7), the Lamb of God, is the sinner’s covering from God’s just indignation against our sin. God sees us, not in ourselves, not in our own righteousness, nor according to our good deeds (as if there were any), but rather God looks at the faithful through the sacrificial blood of the Lamb, through Christ our Messiah.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Jesus, thank You for offering Yourself as my Passover. Though I deserve the punishment for my sins, by Your grace I am passed over and enjoy the blessings of knowing You as my Covering. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Manifest Thyself!

“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

~ John 14:21

Prayer Life Pause: Lord Jesus, help me to abide in You and keep Your commands. May my love for You be displayed in my words and actions that I might live in Your and the Father’s manifest love for me. In Jesus; name, amen.

Be Free

“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

~ John 8:36

I love music, but I never learned to play an instrument. Yet, one of my favorite pastimes is listening to music. And though I never personally learned to play a guitar, the drums, a saxophone or piano, I can certainly appreciate the amazing talent, commitment, hard work and devotion that goes into mastering one of these or many other instruments.

Though I love music, I am not free to make music on my own. At least, not through instrumentation. Those who first train on those instruments, and take lesson after lesson for years, are the ones who are free to produce the wonderful sounds of rhythm and harmony who others, like myself, are not free to make on our own. In other words, it is only through the confining discipline of submitting oneself to the rigors of apprehending the musical instrument that one is truly free to play whatever they choose.

Likewise, it is only through submitting yourself to the Lord Jesus Christ that one becomes spiritually free. Until then, we are in bondage, in bondage to sin and confined to the limitations of our own sinful nature. Limited in our freedom to spiritually enjoy the richness of Christ. It is by discipline, apprehending, and submitting oneself to God that one truly tastes freedom.

The world will try to offer you it’s version of freedom. But it is a false freedom. It will seek to entice you with freedom from discipline, from responsibility, and from accountability to God and others. But this is not real freedom. Like the concert pianists who only through years and years of disciplined training is he free to play whatever he chooses, it is only through discipleship to Jesus that spiritual freedom ever comes. Freedom to love, serve and honor the Savior. But, once Christ sets you free, be assured dear friend, you are free indeed.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Father, help me to experience the freedom and joy that comes from turning from worldliness and living and serving my Lord Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Full of Grace & Truth

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 

That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

~ John 1:1-14

Prayer Life Pause: Father, help me to receive and embrace Christ as my Light that He might shine through me. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Light Brings Life

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men”.

~ John 1:4

Light brings life. As each new day dawns, so does the vibrant moving, growing, bustling, and stirring of life everywhere. In many ways, it is the bright warmth of light that grants us the motivation, desire and inspiration to carry on with our day. The same is true of our spiritual life. In Christ is life, because He is the light of the His people which spurs us on towards greater faith and good works. Jesus is the source of all true, noble, righteous and principled deeds born in the Christian life. To the Light goes all the glory (Jn 8:12). Have you placed your faith and hope in the One who brought light into this dark world? Have you come out of darkness into Light? Does your life reflect the light of Jesus? Remember, it is light that brings life.

~ apl

Christ, The Double Cure

“God loved us… and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins”

~ 1 John 4:10 (NKJV)

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

~ John 1:29 (NKJV)

In the beautiful drama of redemption, Christ acts as the twofold Cure for the sins of His people. Biblically, there are two essential and distinct (but not separate) aspects to the redeeming characteristic and efficacy in the salvation of sinners through the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Theologically, these two aspects of salvation are known as propitiation and expiation.

In 1 John 4:10, the Bible says God’s Son, Jesus, was sent to be the propitiation of our sins. What is John telling us here? The idea behind the word propitiation means to satisfy an obligation and to turn away the wrath of a righteous God who demands that His justice be satisfied. Sin incurs the anger or wrath of God. Sin offends God’s perfect sense of right or justice. Sin needs to be propitiated that the sinner might come out from under God’s holy wrath. Jesus is our propitiation. He who knew no sin became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ bore the wrath of the Father for His people (Is. 53:4-6). Jesus propitiated our sins; that is He met the perfect requirement of justice and turned the holy wrath of God from us and took it upon Himself on the Cross.

In John 1:29 we find the second vitally important characteristic to divine mercy – the expiation of our sins. John tells us there in verse 29 of chapter 1 Jesus is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This is expiation – it is to remove the guilt, the burden and the stain of sin from the life of the sinner. Under the Old Covenant, the sins of Israel were symbolically placed on the scapegoat and then the scapegoat was sent outside the camp, out from the presence of God and His people. There was expiation of their sins (Lev. 16:20-22). Jesus was led away outside the walls of Jerusalem, outside the camp of Israel to a place called Golgotha (Jn. 19:17) where He took and bore the sins of His people on the Cross. Jesus removed the guilt and stain of our sin.

Augustus Toplady (1740-1778) understood the Scriptural significance of both the doctrine of propitiation and expiation. When he penned his well-known hymn Rock of Ages, he was sure to include a beautiful reference to both:

                                                                                        Rock of Ages, cleft for me; Let me hide myself in Thee;
                                                                            Let the water and the blood; From Thy wounded side which flowed,
                                                     Be of sin, the double cure, save from wrath (propitiation) and make me pure (expiation).

Finally, we find in the Psalms another wonderful place in God’s Word where both propitiation and expiation are magnificently portrayed in the glorious and gracious work of salvation. In Psalm 103, verses 8-12, we read;

The LORD is merciful and gracious, Slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, Nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities (in Christ’s propitiation of sin). For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us (in Christ’s expiation of sin).

Amen

The Spirit’s Design

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

~ John 14:26 (NKJV)

The role or purpose of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian is to teach us all things related to the one true Faith and to continually point us back, to bring into our hearts and minds, the person, work and words of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of Truth for it is His design to illuminate the life of the believer in the glorious truth of God and the Lord Jesus. It is the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit that empowers us to know, love and serve the Lord. He draws us, leads us and moves us continually to Christ.

~ apl