Tag Archives: Cross

“Strengthen Your servants to boldly declare Your name” by Columba (A.D. 521-597)

“O Lord,

Holy and true,
Who opens and none can shut,
As You have set before Your church an open door,
Strengthen Your servants to boldly enter in
And to declare Your name,
That they who oppose may yet come to worship
And may know that You love Your church.

Grant to Your people patience to keep Your Word,
And keep them from the hour of trial which is coming
Upon the whole world to try them who dwell on the earth,
And encourage all Christians in every land
To hold fast that which You have given,
That the crown of glory be not taken away,
But that having overcome, they may stand before You
As pillars in the temple of God
And bear the name of the heavenly city
And Your own new name, O Christ our God.

Father, we commend to You all who are joined to us
By natural bonds of love;
The little children dear to our hearts,
And all who for our sakes daily deny themselves.
May all our kindred,
Having Your Holy Spirit as their helper,
Be at peace and have unfeigned love among themselves.
And grant them, O Lord, not only what is sufficient to supply
The needs of this present life but also the good
And eternal gifts that are laid up for them who do Your commandments
Through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Amen.”

–Columba, as quoted in Sinclair Ferguson, Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings For Advent(Epsom, U.K.: Good Book Company, 2018), 155-156.

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“The hardest promise the Father ever made” by Sinclair Ferguson

“The cross and the empty tomb tell us something. They prove that all of God’s promises can be trusted.

For the promise that His Son would suffer in our place (Isaiah 53:4-6) was surely the hardest promise the Father ever made. And He kept it. In fact, says Paul, ‘all the promises of God find their Yes in Him (2 Corinthians 1:20)’.

What does God promise to you this Christmas and beyond?

He promises to forgive all your sins when you turn from them.

He promises always to hear you when you call to Him.

He promises only to work for your good.

He promises to walk alongside you through all the hard times, and bring you safely into His presence in heaven.

If you love Him, you will trust Him.

How? By remembering that God has already kept His hardest-to-keep promise in Christ— from His makeshift cradle to His empty grave.”

–Sinclair Ferguson, Love Came Down at Christmas: Daily Readings For Advent (Epsom, U.K.: Good Book Company, 2018), 101.

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“The Lamb has won” by Patrick Schreiner

“The goal of the kingdom achieved in Revelation is described as a city, a people, and a conquering King. From the throne of this King comes a river with water (Rev. 22:1-2; think Gen. 2:10 and Ezek. 47:1-12), and on either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit for the healing of nations.

As Genesis began with the garden and the tree of life, now Revelation closes with a garden city and a tree that heals all the nations. Genesis began with a marriage; so also Revelation finishes with the wedding feast of the Lamb.

The twelve kinds of fruit harken us back to the promise made to Abrahams offspring, that they would bring blessings to the whole world. They are the chosen people through whom God established His kingdom.

The Messiah has come to fulfill the destiny of Israel’s seed in feeding all the nations. Israels hopes were too small. The tree that bore their king transformed into a source of life for the entire world.

Streaming into the city are the kings of the earth who come to give their glory to the King of kings, who reigns over all people. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil seemed to send the kingdom plan on a downward spiral, but it was through the tree of the cross that the kingdom was fulfilled.

Now the tree of life consummates the kingdom story started so long ago. The dragon is slain; the Lamb has won; the people are free; they are home.”

–Patrick Schreiner, The Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018), 130-131.

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“The most amazing humility that ever was” by Thomas Watson

“Christ had all sin laid upon Him, but no sin lived in Him. ‘He was numbered among transgressors,’ (Isa. 53:12). He who was numbered with the persons of the Trinity, He is said ‘to bear the sins of many,’ (Heb. 9:28).

Now, this was the lowest degree of Christ’s humiliation. For Christ to be reputed as a sinner, never such a pattern of humility! That Christ, who would not endure sin in the angels, should Himself endure to have sin imputed to Him, it is the most amazing humility that ever was!”

–Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity Contained in Sermons Upon the Westminster Assembly’s Catechism (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1692/1970), 197.

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“Cross and crown” by Herman Bavinck

“Cross and crown, death and resurrection, humiliation and exaltation lie on the same line. As Jesus Himself put it after His resurrection: It was necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and so enter His glory (Luke 24:26).

The sum and substance of the original gospel, therefore, was the Christ who died and rose again. The cross was an immense offense—also for the disciples (Matt. 26:31). But for them that offense was removed by the resurrection.

Then they perceived that Jesus had to die and did die in accordance with the counsel of the Father (Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28), and that by His resurrection God had made Him a cornerstone (4:11; 1 Peter 2:6), Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36), a Leader and a Savior (5:31), the Lord of all (10:36), the Lord of glory (James 2:1), in order by Him to give repentance, forgiveness of sins, the Holy Spirit, and eternal life (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 5:31; 10:43; 1 Peter 1:3ff., 21), outside of whom there is no salvation (Acts 4:12).

Now taken up into heaven, He remains there until He comes again for judgment (1:11; 3:21), for He is the one ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead (10:42; 17:31), and then all things will be restored of which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets of old (3:21).

Similarly Paul teaches that Christ, though He was the Son of God even before His incarnation (Gal. 4:4; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:15), was designated Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead (Rom. 1:4). Then He received a spiritual, glorified body (1 Cor. 15:45; Phil. 3:21), became a life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45; 2 Cor. 3:17), the firstborn of the dead (Col. 1:18), who from then on lives to God forever (Rom. 6:10).

Precisely because of His deep humiliation, God highly exalted Him, giving Him the name that is above every other name, that is, the name ‘Lord’ (1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:11), granting Him dominion over the living and the dead (Rom. 14:9), and subjecting all things under His feet (1 Cor. 15:25, 27).

As such He is the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:8), seated at God’s right hand (Rom. 8:34; 1 Cor. 2:8), in whom the fullness of the deity dwells bodily (Col. 1:19; 2:9), who is the head of the church, prays for it, and fills it with all the fullness of God (Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:23; 3:19; 4:16).

The Letter to the Hebrews further adds to this profile the unique idea that Christ, the Son, who with the Father was the Creator of all things, was also appointed ‘the heir of all things’ (Heb. 1:2; 2:8) by the Father and designated eternal high priest (5:6; 7:17).

But for a short time, in order to attain this destiny, He had to become lower than the angels (2:7, 9), assume our flesh and blood (2:14), become like us in all respects except sin (2:17; 4:15), and learn obedience from the things He suffered (5:8).

But thereby He also sanctified, that is, perfected Himself (2:10; 5:9; 7:28), and was designated by God a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek (5:10). This, accordingly, is the sum of the things of which the Letter to the Hebrews says that we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven (1:13; 8:1; 10:12).

He who is the liturgist of the heavenly sanctuary (8:2), a high priest, therefore, who is at the same time the king whose throne is established forever (1:8), who is crowned with honor and glory (2:9), subjects all things under Him (2:8), and is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him since He always lives to make intercession for them (5:9; 7:25; 10:14).

The Apocalypse, finally, loves to picture Christ as the Lamb who purchased us and washed us by his blood (5:9; 7:14) but also as the firstborn of the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth (1:5), the King of kings and the Lord of lords, who with the Father sits on the throne, has power and honor and glory, even the keys of Hades and death (1:18; 3:21; 5:12–13; 19:16). Clothed with such power, He rules and protects His church (2:1, 18; etc.) and will one day triumph over all His enemies (19:12f.).”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Sin and Salvation in Christ, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2006), 3: 423-424.

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“Jesus held by the wood” by Mark Dever

“Delivered and delivering.

Jesus held by the wood.

Witnesses on either side.

Mary stood waiting,

quietly gazing,

with great feeling,

on her Son.

The sky dark above.

As at the beginning,

so at the end.

Jesus held by the wood,

delivered and delivering.

Jesus held by the wood.

The scene of Christmas and of Calvary.

Of the cradle and the cross.”

–Mark Dever, The Christmas Thingamabob (Leyland, England: 10Publishing, 2013), 26.

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“All of His perfections richly displayed together” by Herman Bavinck

“Scripture teaches that God does all things for His own sake (Prov. 16:4; Rom. 11:36). The final ground and ultimate purpose, also of Christ’s incarnation and satisfaction, cannot lie in a creature, in the salvation of the sinner, but has to lie in God Himself.

For His own sake, He sent His Son into the world as an expiation for our sins that His attributes and perfections might thus be manifested. And indeed, there is no fact that so powerfully brings those perfections of God to the fore as Christ’s incarnation and satisfaction.

Not just one attribute is brilliantly illumined by these events but all of them together: His wisdom, grace, love, mercy, long-suffering, righteousness, holiness, power, and so on.

Although as a rule we hear mention only of God’s grace and justice, the other attributes may not be forgotten either. Christ in His own person, word, and work is the supremely perfect, comprehensive revelation of God: His servant, His image, His Son. He has made known to us the Father.

If God wanted to reveal Himself in His consummate glory, then the creation and re-creation, Christ’s incarnation and satisfaction, were necessary. His perfections were already made manifest in creation, but they were much more richly and superbly displayed in the re-creation.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 3:371.

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