Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Pilgrim’s Progress – Christiana Comes to the Cross

In the second part of Pilgrim’s Progress, which follows the pilgrimage of Christian’s wife and children, we see Christiana (the wife) come to the Cross. First we have Great-heart giving a discourse on how Christ’s righteousness has been laid on us, but here we see how the way in which our pardon has been received can bring us great joy:

“Great-heart. Yes; it was the belief of this that cut off those strings [of the burden which Christian carried], that could not be cut by other means; and it was to give him a proof of the virtue of this, that he was suffered to carry his burden to the cross.

“Christiana. I thought so; for though my heart was lightsome and joyous before, yet it is ten times more lightsome and joyous now. And I am persuaded by what I have felt, (though I have felt but little as yet,) that if the most burdened man in the world was here, and did see and believe as I now do, it would make his heart the more merry and blithe.”

The joy of knowing the pardon gained for us by the Blood of Christ is such that it should deeply and profoundly affect us. To know that this pardon was bought at such great cost, even the immense suffering upon the Cross, should bring us into deep affection towards our Lord and Saviour that to cease thanking Him and praising Him should be beyond our thoughts.

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The Glory of the Lamb – Revelation 5

In my previous post I looked at Revelation 4 and the wonderful picture of the glory of God contained therein. It is truly an amazing passage and speaks of the glory of and the worship of God.

In Revelation 5 the message of glory and worship continues, but in this chapter the focus is the Lamb. (The Lamb is Jesus Christ, and, besides showing how gloriously worthy He is, Revelation 4 also shows the error of those who deny that Jesus is God the Son.) I share the passage below so you can read and be filled with wonder yourself.

The Glory of God

Revelation 5 – (NKJV)

And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a scroll written inside and on the back, sealed with seven seals. Then I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and to loose its seals?” And no one in heaven or on the earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll, or to look at it.

So I wept much, because no one was found worthy to open and read the scroll, or to look at it. But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.”

And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,
And to open its seals;
For You were slain,
And have redeemed us to God by Your blood
Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,
10 And have made us kings and priests to our God;
And we shall reign on the earth.”

11 Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice:

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

13 And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying:

“Blessing and honor and glory and power
Be to Him who sits on the throne,
And to the Lamb, forever and ever!”

14 Then the four living creatures said, “Amen!” And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.

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The Incarnation – A Christmas Message

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 5:2-11 (NASB)

Birth of JesusThe Incarnation gives us such a wonderfully glorious insight into the nature of God. It is often said in Reformed circles that God’s highest desire is to be glorified. Whilst this may be true – God is working in order to bring glory to Himself, for it is He who is to be exalted above the highest heavens – it is equally true that God is working all things for the good of His saints, and it is also very true that God is not a proud tyrant seeking fame, but is of a humble heart. We see this in the Incarnation.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God and God the Son, “emptied Himself.” He didn’t stop being God. No, that would have required Him to deny who He is, but what He did do was willingly leave the glory and unimaginable splendour of His heavenly home and come to be born as a babe, to average parents (for it was commonly supposed that Joseph was the father), in a strange town, in a place reserved for animals. Jesus took upon Himself all the frailties of humanity, yet was without sin.

As God, He could have called out to His Father at any time and have been immediately whisked back to heaven. Yet He did not do that. He remained on earth, first as a totally helpless baby, then as a child and then as an adult, until the time for His ministry had come. Then He taught, showed example and performed the miracles which showed He was, indeed, the Christ. Then, out of humble obedience, He suffered and died upon the Cross.

It is this humility of God the Son, who never sought glory for Himself but rather the glory of His Father, which we would do so well to learn from, as Philippians 2:5 directs us to do. How often we seek to gain some honour for ourselves! O how we want to shout out our rights and point out the faults of others. But this was not the way of Jesus. He sought not for His rights but the glory of God the Father and the good of His people. So, may we be like-minded this day in which we mark the Incarnation and throughout the year to come.

May God bless you all this Christmas!

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Humility, not Pride, Is Needed

Human nature tends to be selfish. Our focus tends to be on ourselves, our wants and needs. We tend to think that our view, our opinion, is not only right but that it is our duty to win converts for our view. No, not everyone by any means thinks that people are longing to be corrected out of their “error” –  some are indeed self-less and wonderfully blessed to not be made to stumble in these ways – yet many others who do not fall at the first point are so happy in their own error that they will not seek to convert anyone and will immediately shut down any conversation that could see them being challenged themselves. I am not immune from both of these faults myself.

The Way of Love and Sacrifice

The "Humbling Door" at the Church of the Nativity. Humility is a much needed virtue. Image courtesy of Backpack Foodie/Flickr

The “Humbling Door” at the Church of the Nativity. Humility is a much needed virtue. Image courtesy of Backpack Foodie/Flickr

Jesus, on the other hand, shows a far greater way: the way of love and sacrifice. The Apostle Paul in Philippians outlines the way of Jesus and how we too should follow in this pattern:

Therefore if  there  is  any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any  affection and mercy,  fulfil my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let  nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. – Philippians 2:1-8

We must be ruled by Christ as our King, and He (having through the Holy Spirit inspired all Scripture), is our shining example – we should walk in love, and love is not proud or arrogant, but rather seeks the good of others before the good of itself.

In walking in humility we must acknowledge our own faults, sins and failings. We should not boast in any good deed but only boast in the Cross of Christ. We must esteem others better than ourselves. We must act and have the attitude that everyone else is due respect before us – and we must respect them and honour them as Christ would. (That does not mean we should shy away from discussing matters where we have knowledge, but we should not do so from a position of arrogance or disrespect, but be always bearing in mind that we are not yet perfected.)

Now some may say that “my sins are not as serious as his or hers!” Yet do you not know that it is only by the grace of God that you have not committed the wickedness which you so despise in another? The old saying goes “but for the grace of God go I.” The real issue that all have is not the particular expression of sin, but our sinfulness itself. It is our sinfulness that lies at the root of our problems with individual sins – and our sinfulness needs to be put to death – O how wonderful that Christ died to put to death our sinfulness! So? Can you boast of how little you’ve let sin impact on your life? Even if you’ve never murdered, committed adultery or robbed, unless you know the crucified and risen Christ then your heart is blackened with sinfulness just as severely as the murderer.

So, perhaps we could boast in our good deeds? Yet, without Christ, our good deeds are worthless and not really good at all. And if we have Christ, then it is His work in us, and not our own righteousness.

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away. – Isaiah 64:6

Christ the Leveller

Jesus Christ is the great leveller of human relations. God is no respecter of persons: whether you have riches, status, position, power, ability or any other thing which man regards as a measure of success – God does not look upon such things as being deserving of favour. God shows mercy to whom He will – we can claim no credit ourselves but if we would come to Christ without regard for our position of success or lack of success then He will welcome us and receive us.

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. – John 1:12-13

Will you receive Christ as your Lord and Saviour? If you already know Christ, would you be willing to seek God – His Kingdom and His righteousness – rather than your own purposes and will?

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