“Ah! thou wise man, full of worldly wisdom; thy wisdom will stand thee here, but what wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan? Philosophy may do well for thee to lean upon whilst thou walkest through this world; but the river is deep, and thou wilt want something more than that. If thou hast not the arm of the Most High to hold thee up in the flood and cheer thee with promises, thou wilt sink, man; with all thy philosophy, thou wilt sink; with all thy learning, thou shalt sink, and be washed into that awful ocean of eternal torment, where thou shalt be forever.” – Charles Spurgeon, in his sermon Christ Crucified.
“Now I further saw that betwixt them and the Gate [of Heaven] was a River, but there was no bridge to go over; the River was very deep; at the sight therefore of this River, the pilgrims were much astounded…The pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the Gate…The pilgrims then, especially Christian, began to despond in his mind, and looked this way and that, but no way could be found by them by which they might escape the River…They then addressed themselves to the water; and entering, Christian began to sink, and crying out to his good friend Hopeful, he said, ‘I sink in deep waters, the billows go over my head, all his waves go over me’…Then said the other, ‘Be of good cheer, my brother, I feel the bottom, and it is good…Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole.’ And with that, Christian brake out with a loud voice, ‘Oh I see him again! And he tells me, When though passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee.’ Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon; and so it followed that the rest of the River was but shallow. Thus they got over.” – John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress
It is Jesus who gets us across this river – this river we will all face – not worldly wisdom, philosophy, or learning, lest we be washed into that awful ocean.
Below is my response to the Eternal Footmen topic of the week:
“Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it. Prone to leave the God I love.”
Love. Action. Denial. Repentance. Community. Reverence. Ebenezer. Flight. Blood. Passover. Israel. Lamb. Prepared. Haste. Memorial. Deliverance. Sin. Promise. Sacrifice. Worship. Blessing. Death. People. Provision. Native. Family. One House. Remembrance. Bread. Slavery. Sign. Regularity. Strength. Fidelity. Redemption. Broken. First-Born. Fear. Power. Altar. LORD. Gift. Melchizedek. Witness. Consecration. Faithfulness. Restoration. Obedience. Grace. Unity. Submission. Disciples. Wine. Body. Wrath. Command. Covenant. Forgiveness. Church. Cup. Vine. Kingdom. Betrayal. Substitution. Gratitude. Drink. Atonement. Prayer. Suffering. Proclamation. Return. Hallelujah. Rejoice!
I’ve recently been reading The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul with my Wednesday night bible study guys, and we’ve all been challenged to think more deeply and hold with higher reverence the holiness of our God.
Last night we had a very healthy discussion about God’s justice and mercy, which I found very humbling. Below are some of the main points I took from the reading and our discussion.
- The Old Testament law is one of astonishing mercy, not injustice from a malicious God. How could this be? He’s always killing people in the OT – men, women, and children!
- “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezek. 18:4). The penalty for sin, from the beginning, has been death. The right to life is forfeited by sin. Every act of sin is treason against an infinite, holy, and just God. The appropriate response to this treason is death. Yet here we are eating, sleeping, working, breathing, carrying on. How could a just God allow rebels, who have defamed His perfect name, to go on living??
- Mercy. God is full of justice and mercy. We live and breathe and eat only by His mercy, because He allows us to. This merciful patience is designed to lead us to repentance. “The most mysterious aspect of the mystery of sin is not that the sinner deserves to die, but rather that the sinner in the average situation continues to exist.”
- Our tendency, however, is to feel entitled to God’s mercy and grace. Entitled. As if He owed us a good life. As if grace and mercy is something anyone can deserve! The nature of grace and mercy is that we DON’T deserve them! When we talk about “deserving” something, we’re talking about justice – something earned. So, when things don’t go our way, we feel that God is being unjust in not giving us mercy.
- If ever anyone would have had the “right” to complain about “injustice” it was Jesus. He lived a perfect life, yet what did he receive? The most violent display of wrath and justice the world will ever know – the Cross. If we should be outraged, it should be with the Cross.
- But for the joy set before Him, Christ endured the cross. His sacrifice sets before us the same joy. What mercy! Rebels redeemed by the justice and mercy of the Cross! What an intersection, what unfathomable love! When there was no way – when justice demanded death – God made a way, through mercy, by murdering His perfect and innocent Son in our place – cleansing us of our sins AND giving us right standing before God.
Should we be outraged at the Cross? Absolutely.
Outraged that it was not us.