With Easter upon us my thoughts have turned to the crucifixion and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ. My finite mind still finds it hard to grasp the truth of this amazing good news, that Jesus gave His life for mine, that He credits His righteousness to my spiritually bankrupt account and provides right standing before God the Father!
A.W. Pink's comments on the death of Christ are fitting;
"The supernatural phenomena that attended Christ's death clearly distinguish it from all other deaths. The darkening of the sun at midday without any natural cause, the earthquake that clove asunder the rocks and laid open the graves, and the rending of the veil of the temple from top to bottom proclaimed that He who was hanging on the cross was no ordinary sufferer."
The very Son of God, hanging between Heaven and Earth. Paying a debt that you and I could never have paid, no matter how long we were given to do so. James A. Haidane says:
"The atonement made by the Son of God is the beginning of the ransomed sinners hope and will be the theme of his exultation, when he shall cast his crown before the throne, singing the song of Moses and the Lamb."
The death and resurrection of Jesus should be our persistent cry and proclamation. Especially in the time that we live in (I even feel old in saying that!) where the proclamation of the gospel seems to be drowned out by a thousand other voices. I personally need to preach the gospel to myself everyday, from the time my eyes open in the morning, until they close in sleep at night. I always come back to the wise words of Jerry Bridges here;
"To preach the gospel to yourself, then means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God, that He is your propitiation, and that God's holy wrath is no longer directed toward you. To preach the gospel to yourself means that you take at face value the precious words of Romans 4:7-8 "Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sin the Lord will never count against him."
It also means that we truly believe as Romans 8:1 states so clear, there is now no condemnation for those who are 'in Christ Jesus' that is the key, we are all so far from good, in fact the Bible says that before Christ, we were enemies of God, we were God haters. Even our attempts at good works are tainted through and through with sinful ideas and motives, if you don't think so just ask yourself what you're hoping to gain out of doing something good. Not that we abstain from doing good works as an outflow of what the gospel and God's very Spirit are working out inside of us. My point here is, God is by no means impressed with our attempts at being 'good' He knows us better than anyone. God is riveted by His Son's righteousness and holiness, and that's why our gaze must be solely on Jesus and not on our performance.
This Easter season, splurge a little and get some great books that focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Here are a couple of recommendations to get you started.
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges; Chapter 3 in particular
The Cross by D. Martin Lloyd Jones
What is The Gospel? by Greg Gilbert
Salvation by Crucifixion by Phillip Graham Ryken ( which I talked about yesterday)
These can all be found online at the usual places or check out www.wtsbooks.com