Peace & Confidence

“Our peace and confidence are to be found not in our empirical holiness, not in our progress toward perfection, but in the alien righteousness of Jesus Christ that covers our sinfulness and alone makes us acceptable before a holy God.”

~ Donald Bloesch

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for covering me with the perfect righteousness of Your Son, Jesus Christ. For His perfection alone is what makes sinners acceptable before a holy God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

To The Glory & Praise of God

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God”.

~ Philippians 1:9-11

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, may my love for You and my fellow man deepen everyday, may I seek those things which You deem most excellent, and may my faith be sincere and without offense so that the fruits of Thy righteousness would be manifest in me to the glory and praise of God. In Jesus’ name, amen.

The Gospel Demands

“For the gospel does not expressly demand works of our own by which we become righteous and are saved; indeed it condemns such works.  Rather the gospel demands faith in Christ: that He has overcome for us sin, death, and hell, and thus gives us righteousness, life, and salvation not through our works, but through His own works, death, and suffering, in order that we may avail ourselves of His death and victory as though we has done it ourselves.”

~ Martin Luther

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, thank you for accepting this sinner on behalf of Your Son. It is by His righteousness alone any lost soul has hope, redemption and forgiveness. Pour out His victory upon us all! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Of Pure Grace

“[T]here is nothing in us or done by us at any stage of our earthly development because of which we are acceptable to God. We must always be accepted for Christ’s sake or we cannot ever be accepted at all. This is not true of us only “when we believe,” it is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live… It is always, on His “blood and righteousness” alone that we can rest. There is never anything that we are or have or do that can take His place or that take a place along with Him. We are always unworthy, and all that we have or do of good is always of pure grace.”

~ B.B. Warfield

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, thank You for accepting this humble sinner for Christ’s sake. His love and sacrifice are the only sufficient grounds for my salvation. Help me to always cling to Christ. In Jesus name, amen.

Justified From All Things

“I was a sinner, less perfect than God. By conviction of the Holy Spirit I learned that my condition would incur the eternal condemnation of God if I did not submit to His grace. I acknowledged myself a sinner and threw myself on His mercy and grace, recognizing that He had brought salvation to earth through His Son Jesus Christ. After God the Father put God the Son to death on the cross, He could proclaim grace and pardon to all who would submit to Him. I came to the cross, believed His promise about His Son, and God declared me righteous even while I was ungodly and gave me authority to become His child. I ceased to be a child of wrath and became a child of God, justified from all things.”

~ Donald Grey Barnhouse

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, You sent Your blessed Son down from heaven to be our Savior, Redeemer and Friend. May You open the eyes of faith to those who need the Gospel that they might come to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Walking In His Ways

“Who is wise? Let him understand these things. Who is prudent? Let him know them. For the ways of the LORD are right; The righteous walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.”

~ Hosea 14:9

The Christian is called to be wise in the ways of the Lord. We are to exercise understanding – that is – we are to possess a working knowledge of God’s ways as presented in the Scriptures. Likewise, Believers ought to exhibit prudence in life and character. What is prudence? It’s living in the present with an eye toward showing consideration and thought for the future. The sinful lack this care and concern. Sadly, many wander aimlessly with little to no true purpose or plan. The transgressor stumbles in the ways of the Lord. To them, God’s ways are a hinderance not a help. But the righteous, those to desire to be in and follow God’s will, shall walk in the wisdom and prudence of the Lord.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, show me the paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Help me to live in Your wisdom, looking ahead in my life with full assurance of Your presence and control. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Only Sin To Give

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

When I was a young boy, I loved trading baseball cards. My friends and I couldn’t wait to ride our bicycles down to the local convenient store, head over to the candy and snack isle, find just the right pack of cards, buy them, only to rip them open, toss the rectangle piece of gum in our mouth, and start swapping those magical cardboard treasures. I can recall the happiness and satisfaction many of my childhood days brought trading simple baseball cards.

This passage in 2 Corinthians 5 speaks to another kind of trade, a swapping of sorts; to what theologians call double imputation. In the drama of redemption, Jesus doesn’t merely take upon Himself our sin, He gives us His righteousness. In other words, our sins are imputed (meaning they are accounted towards) to Christ, while His goodness, His righteous is imputed, or accounted, to us. We trade our sin for His goodness. This is the gracious trade-off in salvation.

Now when I traded those baseball cards as a youngster, I was always trying to get a good deal. I wanted to trade up. Each one of us, as we sat in those circles of intense negotiations, desired to trade our cards for better ones. But when Jesus Christ traded His righteousness for our sin, He certainly got a raw deal. While we get His goodness, He inherited, through imputation, our sin. Because of His great love, Jesus willingly traded with those who only have our sin to give.

And this alone should give all those who are trusting in Christ for our salvation pause. Here is the foundation of our reconciliation to God! Here is the sum and substance of Christ’s redeeming work on our behalf! He took our sin and traded that for His own righteousness. This should stir our hearts as nothing else. It should move the sinner to love, worship, and praise Him who traded everything glorious with those who had only sin to give Him in return.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Dear Jesus, thank you for trading Your righteousness for my sin. Nothing but divine love and heavenly grace would allow You do such a wonderful thing for me. May I live faithfully in Your righteousness all my days. In Jesus name, amen.

Teach My Heart

“Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name. I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And I will glorify Your name forevermore.”

~ Psalm 86:11-12

There are many spiritual benefits to growing in grace. Here the Psalmist petitions Jehovah in this prayer to teach him in the way of the Lord. The Psalm’s author desires to learn, to grow, and be fed from the bounty of his Master’s table in the ways of God. The benefits and blessings of learning the Lord’s ways are manifold in these verses.

In this passage, the word “teach” in the original literally means “to point or shoot” in a particular direction. The Psalmist aspires to be nudged or even pushed in the direction of the ways of the Lord that he might walk, or live, in God’s truth. He is seeking the blessings of the narrow path of God’s righteous ways that his words and deeds might align with that of his Lord’s will.

More in particular, David longs for a uniting or joining of his heart with the Lord that he might revere God’s name; that his heart would be inclined to worship, honor and obey the Lord. Through the Lord’s teaching of David, springs forth praise for God and ultimately the glorifying of the name of David’s covenant-keeping God.

Believers should not see their Christian education as merely a way to gain head-knowledge. God’s instruction to us is always moral in nature. It is intended to “push” the believer towards holy living, in being more Christ-like. David understood his prayer for God to teach him His ways as a means to an end. The end being to glorify God’s name forevermore.

~ apl

Prayer Life Pause: Heavenly Father, may my growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ cause me to forever break out in worship and praise of His glorious name. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Covered in His Garment

“Who are you?” he asked. “I am your servant Ruth,” she said. “Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a `kinsmen-redeemer of our family.”

~ Ruth 3:9

Boaz was Ruth’s kinsmen redeemer. Under the Old Covenant, the male next of kin was responsible to provide for, take care of and protect a relative in need. In the Book of Ruth, it is Boaz who comes in and provides for his relative Ruth in the most personal and loving manner – by taking her as his bride. In doing this, Boaz showed himself faithful to his duty as a kinsmen by redeeming Ruth as his wife. As a result, and many years later, Ruth would become the great-grand mother to Israel’s King David.

As Boaz spread his garment over Ruth as symbol of his love and care for her, so the Lord Christ covers his bride in the robes of His righteousness (Is. 61:10). We are no longer exposed to God’s judgment because of our sins and transgressions. Rather, Jesus takes us in, and washes us clean by the Holy Spirit (Tit 3:5) and claims us for Himself (1 Cor. 6:20). Like Ruth, do you confess to be Christ’s servant? Have you asked Him to cover you in His love, mercy and grace? If so, rejoice! For Jesus has become your kinsmen-redeemer!

~ apl