Tag Archives: Gospel

“Put the advance of the gospel at the center of your aspirations” by D.A. Carson

“Put the advance of the gospel at the center of your aspirations. Our own comfort, our bruised feelings, our reputations, our misunderstood motives—all of these are insignificant in comparison with the advance and splendor of the gospel. As Christians, we are called upon to put the advance of the gospel at the very center of our aspirations.

What are your aspirations? To make money? To get married? To travel? To see your grandchildren grow up? To find a new job? To retire early? None of these is inadmissible; none is to be despised. The question is whether these aspirations become so devouring that the Christian’s central aspiration is squeezed to the periphery or choked out of existence entirely.

I recall a Christian some years ago who always gave the same response when he was asked the numbing vocational question ‘What do you do?’ Invariably he would reply, ‘I’m a Christian.’

‘Yes, but I didn’t ask your religion; I asked what you do.’

‘I’m a Christian.’

‘Do you mean that you are in vocational ministry?’

‘No, I’m not in vocational ministry. But I’m a Christian, full time.’

‘But what do you do vocationally?’

‘Oh, vocationally. Well, I’m a Christian full time, but I pack pork to pay expenses.’

At one level, of course, his standard response was slightly perverse. Moreover, in God’s universe all morally good and useful work is honorable and not to be dismissed as of marginal importance.

Whether it’s packing pork or writing computer programs or baking a pie or changing a diaper, we are to offer our work up to God. We are His, and all we say and do, including our work, must be offered up for His glory and His people’s good.

But having insisted on that point, there are some elements of what we do that are more directly tied to the gospel than are others. Some things we do, and only some things, have direct eternal significance. As the apostle preserves gospel priorities in his prayers, so he preserves them in his aspirations. We must do the same… We are not more than a generation away from denying the gospel.

It may be that God has called you to be a homemaker or an engineer or a chemist or a ditch digger. It may be that you will take some significant role in, say, the rising field of bioethics.

But although the gospel directly affects how you will discharge your duties in each case, none of these should displace the gospel that is central to every thoughtful Christian. You will put the gospel first in your aspirations.

Then you will be able to endure affliction and persecution and even misunderstanding and misrepresentation from other Christians. You will say with Paul, ‘I want you to know… that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel’ (1:12).”

–D.A. Carson, Basics For Believers: An Exposition of Philippians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 25-28.

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“The work of redemption is the face of His wisdom” by Stephen Charnock

“The wisdom of God doth wonderfully appear in redemption. His wisdom in creature ravisheth the eye and understanding. His wisdom in government doth no less affect a curious observer of the links and concatenation of the means.

But His wisdom in redemption mounts the mind to a greater astonishment. The works of creation are the footsteps of His wisdom; the work of redemption is the face of His wisdom.

In Christ, in the dispensation by Him, as well as His person, were ‘hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge’ (Col. 2:3). Some doles of wisdom were given out in creation, but the treasures of it opened in redemption, the highest degrees of it that ever God did exert in the world.

Christ is therefore called the ‘wisdom of God,’ as well as the ‘power of God’ (1 Cor. 1:24); and the gospel is called the ‘wisdom of God.’

Christ is the wisdom of God principally, and the gospel instrumentally, as it is the power of God instrumentally to subdue the heart to Himself. This is wrapped up in the appointing Christ as Redeemer, and opened to us in the revelation of it by the gospel.”

–Stephen Charnock, The Existence and Attributes of God, vol. 1, (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1682/2000), 552-553.

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“Christ gives more than sin stole” by Herman Bavinck

“When the kingdom has fully come, Christ will hand it over to God the Father. The original order will be restored.

But not naturally, as if nothing had ever happened, as if sin had never existed and the revelation of God’s grace in Christ had never occurred. Christ gives more than sin stole; grace was made much more to abound.

He does not simply restore us to the status integritatis [state of righteousness] of Adam; he makes us, by faith, participants of the non posse peccare [being unable to sin] (1 John 3:9) and of the non posse mori [being unable to die] (John 11:25).

Adam does not again receive the place which he lost by sin. The first man was of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. Just as we have born the image of the earthy, so too after the resurrection shall we bear the image of the heavenly man (1 Cor. 15:45-49).

A new song will be sung in heaven (Rev. 5:9, 10), but the original order of creation will remain, at least to the extent that all distinctions of nature and grace will once and for all be done away with.

Dualism will cease. Grace does not remain outside or above or beside nature but rather permeates and wholly renews it. And thus nature, reborn by grace, will be brought to its highest revelation.

That situation will again return in which we serve God freely and happily, without compulsion or fear, simply out of love.”

–Herman Bavinck, “Common Grace,” trans. Ray VanLeeuwen, Calvin Theological Journal 24 (1988): 59-60.

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“In Thee we see everything fulfilled” by Charles Spurgeon

“What meant the Saviour, then, by this—’It is finished?’ He meant, first of all, that all the types, promises, and prophecies were now fully accomplished in Him.

Those who are acquainted with the original will find that the words—’It is finished,’ occur twice within three verses. In the 28th verse, we have the word in the Greek; it is translated in our version ‘accomplished,’ but there it stands—’After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now finished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.’

And then He afterwards said, ‘It is finished.’ This leads us to see His meaning very clearly, that all the Scripture was now fulfilled, that when He said, ‘It is finished,’ the whole book, from the first to the last, in both the law and the prophets, was finished in Him.

There is not a single jewel of promise, from that first emerald which fell on the threshold of Eden, to that last sapphire-stone of Malachi, which was not set in the breast-plate of the true High Priest.

Nay, there is not a type, from the red heifer downward to the turtle-dove, from the hyssop upwards to Solomon’s temple itself, which was not fulfilled in Him; and not a prophecy, whether spoken on Chebar’s bank, or on the shores of Jordan; not a dream of wise men, whether they had received it in Babylon, or in Samaria, or in Judea, which was not now fully wrought out in Christ Jesus.

And, brethren, what a wonderful thing it is, that a mass of promises, and prophecies, and types, apparently so heterogeneous, should all be accomplished in one person! Take away Christ for one moment, and I will give the Old Testament to any wise man living, and say to him:

‘Take this; this is a problem; go home and construct in your imagination an ideal character who shall exactly fit all that which is herein foreshadowed; remember, he must be a prophet like unto Moses, and yet a champion like to Joshua; he must be an Aaron and a Melchizedek; he must be both David and Solomon, Noah and Jonah, Judah and Joseph. Nay, he must not only be the lamb that was slain, and the scape-goat that was not slain, the turtle-dove that was dipped in blood, and the priest who slew the bird, but he must be the altar, the tabernacle, the mercy-seat, and the shewbread.’

Nay, to puzzle this wise man further, we remind him of prophecies so apparently contradictory, that one would think they never could meet in one man. Such as these, ‘All kings shall fall down before Him, and all nations shall serve Him;’ and yet, ‘He is despised and rejected of men.’

He must begin by showing a man born of a virgin mother—’A virgin shall conceive and bear a son.’ He must be a man without spot or blemish, but yet one upon whom the Lord doth cause to meet the iniquities of us all. He must be a glorious one, a Son of David, but yet a root out of a dry ground.

Now, I say it boldly, if all the greatest intellects of all the ages could set themselves to work out this problem, to invent another key to the types and prophecies, they could not do it. I see you, ye wise men, ye are poring over these hieroglyphs; one suggests one key, and it opens two or three of the figures, but you cannot proceed, for the next one puts you at a nonplus.

Another learned man suggests another clue, but that fails most where it is most needed, and another, and another, and thus these wondrous hieroglyphs traced of old by Moses in the wilderness, must be left unexplained, till one comes forward and proclaims, ‘The cross of Christ and the Son of God incarnate,’ then the whole is clear, so that he that runs may read, and a child may understand.

Blessed Saviour! In Thee we see everything fulfilled, which God spoke of old by the prophets; in Thee we discover everything carried out in substance, which God had set forth us in the dim mist of sacrificial smoke.

Glory be unto Thy name! ‘It is finished’—everything is summed up in Thee.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, ‘It Is Finished,’ in Majesty in Misery, Volume 3: Calvary’s Mournful Mountain (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2005), 218-220. (MTPS, 7: 586-587)

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“This shout of triumph” by Charles Spurgeon

“The Son of God has been made man. He has lived a life of perfect virtue and of total self-denial. He has been all that life long despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.

His enemies have been legion; His friends have been few, and those few faithless. He is at last delivered over into the hands of them that hate Him.

He is arrested while in the act of prayer; He is arraigned before both the spiritual and temporal courts. He is robed in mockery, and then unrobed in shame. He is set upon his throne in scorn, and then tied to the pillar in cruelty.

He is declared innocent, and yet He is delivered up by the judge who ought to have preserved Him from His persecutors. He is dragged through the streets of that Jerusalem which had killed the prophets, and would now crimson itself with the blood of the prophets’ Master.

He is brought to the cross; He is nailed fast to the cruel wood. The sun burns him. His cruel wounds increase the fever. God forsakes Him.

‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ contains the concentrated anguish of the world. While He hangs there in mortal conflict with sin and Satan, His heart is broken, His limbs are dislocated.

Heaven fails Him, for the sun is veiled in darkness. Earth forsakes Him, for ‘His disciples forsook Him and fled.’ He looks everywhere, and there is none to help; He casts His eye around, and there is no man that can share His toil.

He treads the winepress alone; and of the people there is none with Him. On, on, He goes, steadily determined to drink the last dreg of that cup which must not pass from Him if His Father’s will be done.

At last He cries—’It is finished,’ and He gives up the ghost.

Hear it, Christians, hear this shout of triumph as it rings today with all the freshness and force which it had eighteen hundred years ago! Hear it from the Sacred Word, and from the Saviour’s lips, and may the Spirit of God open your ears that you may hear as the learned, and understand what you hear!”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, ‘It Is Finished,’ in Majesty in Misery, Volume 3: Calvary’s Mournful Mountain (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2005), 217-218. (MTPS, 7: 586)

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“The Saviour’s joy” by Charles Spurgeon

“Remember you have given Jesus great joy in His saving you. He was forever with the Father, eternally happy, infinitely glorious, as God over all.

Yet out of boundless love, He came, took upon Himself our nature, and suffered in our stead to bring us back to holiness and God.

‘He layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.’ That day the shepherd knew but one joy. He had found his sheep, and the very pressure of it upon his shoulders made his heart light, for he knew by that sign that the object of his care was safe beyond all question.

Now he goes home with it, and this joy of his was then so great that it filled his soul to overflowing. The parable speaks nothing as to his joy in getting home again, nor a word concerning the joy of being saluted by his friends and neighbours.

No, the joy of having found his sheep eclipsed all other gladness of heart, and dimmed the light of home and friendship. He turns round to friends and neighbours and entreats them to help him to bear the weight of his happiness.

He cries, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.’ One sinner had repented, and all heaven must make holiday concerning it.

Oh, brethren, there is enough joy in the heart of Christ over His saved ones to flood all heaven with delight!

The streets of Paradise run knee-deep with the heavenly waters of the Saviour’s joy. They flow out of the very soul of Christ, and angels and glorified spirits bathe in the mighty stream.

Let us do the same.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Parable of the Lost Sheep,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Volume 30 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1884), 30: 526.

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“Why am I such a stranger to the poor of my native town?” by Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“March 3.—Accompanied A. B. in one of his rounds through some of the most miserable habitations I ever beheld. Such scenes I never before dreamed of.

Ah! Why am I such a stranger to the poor of my native town? I have passed their doors thousands of times. I have admired the huge black piles of building, with their lofty chimneys breaking the sun’s rays.

Why have I never ventured within? How dwelleth the love of God in me? How cordial is the welcome even of the poorest and most loathsome to the voice of Christian sympathy!

What imbedded masses of human beings are huddled together, unvisited by friend or minister! ‘No man careth for our souls’ is written over every forehead.

Awake, my soul! Why should I give hours and days any longer to the vain world, when there is such a world of misery at my very door?

Lord, put Thine own strength in me. Confirm every good resolution. Forgive my past long life of uselessness and folly.”

–Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Memoir and Remains of the Rev. Robert Murray M’Cheyne, Ed. Andrew A. Bonar (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1844/1966), 34.

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