Tag Archives: The Gospel

“The whole God is found in Him” by John Calvin

“When Paul says that the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Christ, he means simply that the whole God is found in Him, so that he who is not satisfied with Christ alone, desires something better and more excellent than God. The sum is that God has manifested Himself to us fully and perfectly in Christ.”

–John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistles of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, trans. T.H.L. Parker (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965), 330. Calvin is commenting on Colossians 2:9.

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“The punishment of our iniquity is accomplished” by Charles Spurgeon

“The punishment of our iniquity is accomplished. Remember that sin must be punished. Any theology which offers the pardon of sin without a punishment, ignores the major part of the character of God.

God is love, but God is also just—as severely just as if He had no love, and yet as intensely loving as if He had no justice. To gain a just view of the character of God you must perceive all His attributes as infinitely developed.

Justice must have its infinity acknowledged as much as mercy. Sin must be punished. This is the voice which thunders from the midst of the smoke and the fire of Sinai:

‘The soul that sinneth it shall die;’ ‘Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.’

‘Sin must be punished’ is written on the base of the eternal throne in letters of fire. And, as the damned in hell behold it, their hopes are burned to ashes.

Sin must be punished, or God must cease to be. The testimony of the Gospel is not that the punishment has been mitigated or foregone, or that justice has had a sop given it to close its mouth.

The consolation is far more sure and effectual. Say ye unto the daughter of Zion that ‘the punishment of her iniquity is accomplished.’ Christ hath for His people borne all the punishment which they deserved.

And now every soul for whom Christ died may read with exultation—’The punishment of thine iniquity is accomplished.’ God is satisfied, and asks no more.

Sin deserved God’s wrath; that wrath has spent itself on Christ. The black and gathering clouds had all been summoned to the tempest, and manhood stood beneath the dark canopy waiting till the clouds of vengeance should empty out their floods.

‘Stand thou aside!’ said Jesus—’Stand thou aside, My spouse, My Church, and I will suffer in thy stead.’

Down dashed the drops of fire; the burning sleet swept terribly over His head, and beat upon His poor defenceless person, until the clouds had emptied out their awful burden, and not a drop was left.

Beloved, it was not that the cloud swept by the wind into another region where it tarries until it be again called forth, but it was annihilated, it spent itself entirely upon Christ. There is no more punishment for the believer, since Christ hath died for him.

In His dying, our Lord has satisfied the divine vengeance even to the full. Then this, too, must satisfy our conscience.

The enlightened conscience of a man is almost as inexorable as the justice of God, for an awakened conscience, if you give it a false hope, will not rest upon it, but crieth out for something more.

Like the horse-leech it saith—’Give, give, give.’ Until you can offer to God a full satisfaction, you cannot give the conscience a quietus.

But now, O daughter of Zion, let thy conscience be at rest. Justice is satisfied; the law is not despised: it is honoured; it is established.

God can now be just, severely so, and yet, seeing that thy punishment is accomplished, thou mayest come with boldness unto Him, for no guilt doth lie on thee.

Thou art accepted in the Beloved; thy guilt was laid on Him of old, and thou art now safe.

‘In thy Surety thou art free,
His dear hands were pierced for thee;
With His spotless vesture on,
Holy as the Holy One.’

Come thou boldly unto God, and rejoice thou in Him. Lest, however, while God is reconciled and conscience is quieted, our fears should even for an instant arise, let us repair to Gethsemane and Calvary, and see there this great sight, how the punishment of our iniquity is accomplished.

There is the God of heaven and of earth wrapped in human form. In the midst of those olives yonder I see Him in an agony of prayer. He sweats, not as one who labours for the bread of earth, but as one who toils for heaven.

He sweats ‘as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ It is not the sweat of His brow only, but ‘All His head, His hair, His garments, bloody be.’

God is smiting Him, and laying upon Him the punishment of our iniquities. He rises, with His heart exceeding sorrowful even unto death. They hurry Him to Pilate’s judgment-seat.

The God of heaven and earth stands in human form to be blasphemed, and falsely accused before the tribunal of His recreant creature. He is taken by the soldiery to Gabbatha.

They strip Him, they scourge Him; clots of gore are on the whip as it is lifted from His back. They buffet Him, and bruise Him with their blows; as if His robe of blood were not enough, they throw about His shoulders an old cloak, and make Him a mimic king.

Little knew they that He was the King of kings. He gives His back to the smiters, and His cheeks to them that pluck off the hair; He hides not His face from shame and spitting.

Oh! what shall be said of Thee, thou Son of man? In what words shall we describe Thy grief? All ye that pass by behold and see if there was ever any sorrow like unto His sorrow that was done unto Him!

Oh God, thou hast broken Him with a rod of iron; all Thy waves and Thy billows have gone over Him. He looks, and there is none to help; He turns His eye around, and there is none to comfort Him. But see, through the streets of Jerusalem He is hastened to His death.

They nail Him to the transverse wood; they dash it into the ground; they dislocate His bones; He is poured out like water; all His bones are out of joint; He is brought into the dust of death; agonies are piled on agonies.

So now that man may reach to heaven, misery is piled on misery, what if I say hell on hell! But Jesus bears the dreadful load.

At last He reaches the climax of anguish, grief could go no higher. ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me!’ was the sum total of all human misery.

The gathering up of all the wrath of God, and all the sorrow of man into one sentence. And thus He dies! Say ye unto the daughter of Zion that her punishment is accomplished.

‘It is finished!’ Let the angels sing it; hymn it in the plains of glory; tell it here on earth, and once again say ye unto the daughter of Zion that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins!

This, then, is the joyous note we have to sound this morning.”

–Charles H. Spurgeon, “A Message From God for Thee” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 8 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1862), 638–640. This is from a sermon on Lamentations 4:22, preached on November 16, 1862, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London.

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“Look to Jesus” by Jonathan Edwards

“In all your way let your eye be to Jesus who is gone to heaven as your Forerunner.

Look to Him; behold His glory there in heaven to stir you up the more earnestly to be there.

Look to Him, and observe His example. Consider how by patient continuance in well-doing, and in patient enduring of great sufferings, He went before to heaven.

Look to Him, and trust in His mediation, in His blood, with which He has entered into the holiest of all, as the price of heaven.

Trust to His intercession in heaven before God.

Trust to His strength by His Spirit sent from heaven to enable you to press on and surmount the difficulties which are in the way to heaven.

Trust in His promises of heaven to those who love and follow Him, whom He has confirmed by entering into heaven Himself as your Head and Representative and Forerunner.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, in Ethical Writings, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8, Ed. Paul Ramsey (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1749/1989), 395.

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“Heaven is a world of love” by Jonathan Edwards

“The God of love dwells in heaven. Heaven is the palace, or presence-chamber, of the Supreme Being who is both the cause and source of all holy love.

God, indeed, with respect to His essence is everywhere. He fills heaven and earth. But yet He is said on some accounts more especially to be in some places rather than others.

He was said of old to dwell in the land of Israel above all other lands, and in Jerusalem above all other cities in that land, and in the temple above all other houses in that city, and in the holy of holies above all other apartments in that temple, and on the mercy seat over the ark above all other places in the holy of holies.

But heaven is His dwelling place above all other places in the universe.

Those places in which He was said to dwell of old were all but types of this. Heaven is a part of the creation which God has built for this end, to be the place of His glorious presence.

And it is His abode forever. Here He will dwell and gloriously manifest Himself to eternity.

And this renders heaven a world of love; for God is the fountain of love, as the sun is the fountain of light.

And therefore the glorious presence of God in heaven fills heaven with love, as the sun placed in the midst of the hemisphere in a clear day fills the world with light.

The Apostle tells us that God is love, 1 John 4:8. And therefore seeing He is an infinite Being, it follows that He is an infinite fountain of love.

Seeing He is an all-sufficient Being, it follows that He is a full and overflowing and an inexhaustible fountain of love.

Seeing He is an unchangeable and eternal Being, He is an unchangeable and eternal source of love.

There even in heaven dwells that God from whom every stream of holy love, yea, every drop that is or ever was proceeds.

There dwells God the Father, and so the Son, who are united in infinitely dear and incomprehensible mutual love.

There dwells God the Father, who is the Father of mercies, and so the Father of love, who so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life [John 3:16].

There dwells Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, the Prince of peace and love, who so loved the world that He shed His blood, and poured out His soul unto death for it.

There dwells the Mediator, by whom all God’s love is expressed to the saints, by whom the fruits of it have been purchased, and through whom they are communicated, and through whom love is imparted to the hearts of all the church.

There Christ dwells in both His natures, His human and divine, sitting with the Father in the same throne.

There is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of divine love, in whom the very essence of God, as it were, all flows out or is breathed forth in love, and by whose immediate influence all holy love is shed abroad in the hearts of all the church [cf. Romans 5:5].

There in heaven this fountain of love, this eternal three in one, is set open without any obstacle to hinder access to it.

There this glorious God is manifested and shines forth in full glory, in beams of love.

There the fountain overflows in streams and rivers of love and delight, enough for all to drink at, and to swim in, yea, so as to overflow the world as it were with a deluge of love.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, in Ethical Writings, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8, Ed. Paul Ramsey (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1749/1989), 369-370.

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“The gospel and envy” by Jonathan Edwards

“The gospel scheme, all of it from beginning to end, tends to the contrary of this spirit of envy. The Christian form of doctrine doth abundantly hold forth those things which militate against a spirit of envy.

The things which they teach us of God are exceedingly contrary to it.

For there we are taught how far God was from grudging us the most exceeding honor and blessedness, and how He has grudged us nothing as too much to be done for us, and nothing as too great and too good to be given us.

He hath not grudged us His only begotten Son, that which was most precious and most dear of all to Himself.

For what was dearer to God than His only begotten, dearly beloved Son? He hath not grudged us the highest honor and blessedness in union with Him.

The doctrines of the gospel teach us how far Jesus Christ was from grudging us anything which He could do for or give to us.

He did not grudge us a life spent in labor and suffering.

He did not grudge us His own precious blood.

He hath not grudged us a sitting with Him on His throne in heaven, and being partakers with Him of that heavenly kingdom and glory which the Father hath given Him, and sitting with Him on thrones judging the world, though we deserve to be had in infinite contempt and abhorrence by Him.

The Christian scheme of doctrine teaches us how Christ came into the world to deliver us from the fruits of Satan’s envy towards us.

The devil being miserable himself envied mankind that happiness which they had, and could not bear to see our first parents in their happy state in Eden, and therefore exerted himself to the utmost to ruin them, and accomplished it.

The gospel teaches how Christ came into the world to destroy the works of the devil, and deliver us from that misery into which his envy has brought us.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, in Ethical Writings, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8, Ed. Paul Ramsey (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1749/1989), 224.

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“The wonderful love of God” by Jonathan Edwards

“The work of redemption, which the gospel declares unto us, above all things affords motives to love. For that work was the most glorious and wonderful work of love ever seen or thought of. Love is the principal thing which the gospel reveals in God and Christ.

The gospel brings to light the love between the Father and the Son, and declares how that love has been manifested in mercy and how that Christ is God’s beloved Son in whom He is well pleased.

And there we have the effects of God’s love to His Son set before us in appointing Him to the honor of a mediatorial kingdom, in appointing Him to be the Lord and Judge of the world, in appointing that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.

There is revealed the love which Christ has to the Father, and the wonderful fruits of that love, as particularly His doing such great things, and suffering such great things in obedience to the Father, and for the honor of the Father’s justice, authority and law.

There it is revealed how the Father and the Son are one in love, that we might be induced in like manner to be one with them, and with one another, agreeable to Christ’s prayer, John 17:21–23:

‘That they all may be one; as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.’

The gospel teaches us the doctrine of the eternal electing love of God, and reveals how God loved those that are redeemed by Christ before the foundation of the world, and how He then gave them to the Son, and the Son loved them as His own.

The gospel reveals the wonderful love of God the Father to poor sinful, miserable men, in giving Christ not only to love them while in the world, but to love them to the end.

And all this love is spoken of as bestowed on us while we were wanderers, outcasts, worthless, guilty, and even enemies. The gospel reveals such love as nothing else reveals. John 15:13, ‘Greater love hath no man than this.’

Romans 5:7–8, ‘Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’

God and Christ in the gospel revelation appear as clothed with love, as being as it were on a throne of mercy and grace, a seat of love encompassed about with pleasant beams of love. Love is the light and glory which are about the throne on which God sits.”

–Jonathan Edwards, Charity and Its Fruits, in Ethical Writings, The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 8, Ed. Paul Ramsey (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1749/1989), 143-145.

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“How are you righteous before God?” — The Heidelberg Catechism

60. Q. How are you righteous before God?

A. Only by true faith in Jesus Christ.[1]

Even though my conscience accuses me of having grievously sinned against all God’s commandments, of never having kept any of them,[2] and of still being inclined toward all evil,[3] nevertheless, without any merit of my own,[4] out of sheer grace,[5] God grants and credits to me the perfect satisfaction, righteousness, and holiness of Christ,[6] as if I had never sinned nor been a sinner, and as if I had been as perfectly obedient as Christ was obedient for me. [7]

All I need to do is accept this gift with a believing heart.[8]

[1] Rom. 3:21-28; Gal. 2:16; Eph. 2:8, 9; Phil. 3:8-11. [2] Rom. 3:9, 10. [3] Rom. 7:23. [4] Deut. 9:6; Ezek. 36:22; Tit. 3:4, 5. [5] Rom. 3:24; Eph. 2:8. [6] Rom. 4:3-5; II Cor. 5:17-19; I John 2:1, 2. [7] Rom. 4:24, 25; II Cor. 5:21. [8] John 3:18; Acts 16:30, 31; Rom. 3:22.

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