If you’ve been a Christian long enough, you’ve probably memorised verses about Jesus being our ransom. You’ll willingly die in defense of penal substitution. You might even know what propitiation means.
Yet if your honest you probably haven’t understood how these doctrines affect you.
In one of the best recent books on the cross, Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears tackle these issues in an immensely practical way. The writers take a topic of the cross (i.e. propitation, expiation, Christus Victor) and apply it to a real life situation. This makes it eminently readable and immensely practical.
If you wanted to read about the cross, but you’ve been put off by weighty doctrine, this is the book for you. It’ll explain the doctrines simply and apply them powerfully.
A few days ago we considered God’s Passion for His Glory. Now lets consider some applications of this passage.
Seek God’s Glory
If you aren’t a Christian you should be extremely interested in the Glory of God. God saw it worthy to send his own people into exile so that everyone may see him clearly. Mustn’t he be worth seeing?
Join us on this blog as we look at Christ’s glories. Get a Bible. Talk to a Christian friend. See the God whose very nature is worth that price.
Live for God’s Glory
If you’re a Christian God sees good conduct as essential to his people’s witness. We must live lives that proclaim him faithfully.
Consider your actions around unbelievers. When you laugh at that joke, talk about that friend, tell that little lie are you really showing the people around you what a great God you have?
Repent for God’s Glory
It is essential that non-Christians not only know when you get it right but also when you get it wrong.
God felt it necessary to proclaim widely the sins of his people we should too. When we get it wrong we must confess. Our sins could be doing God a great injustice.
Revelation of God’s Glory
However, we also must remember this: Christ is the true Israel. He shows the glory of the Father better than any other. He never had to repent of sin. Let’s thank God he gave us such clariy in Christ.
(Picture by prakhar under the Creative Commons Licence)
The Great Sin
God’s greatest revelation is in the Gospel. For me not to live with this at the centre of my life is a massive sin.
Consider Paul’s letters to the Corinthians and Galatians. The Corinthians had gone insane. There was drunkeness at the Lord’s supper, Christians suing each other and even incest. Yet Paul still had time to pray a prayer of thanksgiving.
With the Galatians, however, Paul (and of course the Spirit) was all guns blazing. He launches into a full scale attack. Why? Because they turned to another Gospel. This could not be tolerated.
In our lives there are sins we think are worse than all others and these demonstrate our idols. Is the worst sin intolerance? Is it homosexuality? Both are sins but neither are the greatest.
It challenged me to think to myself that though if I committed sexual immorality I would be absolutely devastated, yet I can let days go by with legalism, immorality or sheer forgetfulness of the Gospel.
It’s time I go Galatians on my soul and it’s time you did too. To neglect the Gospel is the worst thing I can possibly do. This doesn’t mean I can be sexually immoral. It should appal me just as much as it does. Yet neglect of the Gospel should be a massive concern.
Every day I must make it my greatest work to never let go of the Gospel. This is the greatest aim my life can have.
(Picture by hirotomo under the Creative Commons Licence)
This morning a visiting preacher (whose name escapes me) came to Hardwick and preached on this passage:
When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.
John 19:26-27 (ESV)
The preacher noted that Jesus, whilst facing the unmeasurable pain of separation from his Father, was still caring for his mother.
We often complain we are too busy to care for those in the Church, even our families. Yet this is not a Christian attitude. John would have had plenty to do (being an apostle) without caring for an elderly woman. Yet “from that hour” he cared for her.
Do we assume we’re too busy doing “spiritual” things to care for our families and the Church? We’ve got it wrong. Jesus was paying the price for our sins, yet still found time to care.
We need to find it too.
So today take that time to talk to the lonely member of the church, invite the new person for dinner or send that encouraging email. We must always have time to love other people.
Yet also how great is Christ that he never was too busy to care. And he will not be too busy now if you need him to help you, especially to help you with your greatest need, separation from God.
(Picture by nicdalic under the Creative Commons Licence)
With so many errors from believers, false believers and unbelievers debate is unfortunately an essential part of being a Christian.
Debate for Christ
Debate was also essential for Jesus. Pharisees constantly tried to undermine his ministry with references to the law.
Consider Mark 2:23-28. Jesus is criticised for letting his disciples pluck grain on the Sabbath. Jesus defended from Scripture his decision to allow this and proved the Pharisees didn’t understand the law correctly.
Christ’s Aim in Debate
Yet Jesus didn’t lose his focus in such debates. He always brought his hearers back to himself. In this argument he demonstrates his authority over the Sabbath and his graciousness in handling the law, doing what is best for man.
This convicted me in my discussions to keep this Christ-centred focus. Often I lay out a stellar argument, yet leave don’t draw back to Christ.
Let me exemplify. I will often want to argue for male headship in the home and in the Church. I know the texts on this issue back to front and inside out. Yet I often fail to convey some very important points:
- Marriage is an illustration of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Egalitarianism obscures the Gospel.
- Male headship should be like Christ’s headship, caring and sacrificial.
- Christ laid down this requirement because it’s for our benefit. Male headship is for the good of both men and women.
Keep me accountable and watch your own hearts. Never let debating move off Christ’s centre.
(Picture by WhatCouldGoWrong under the Creative Commons Licence)