There is no righteousness that makes us right with God except for the righteousness of Christ. But for those who have been made right with God through faith alone, many of our righteous deeds are not only not filthy in God’s eyes, they are exceedingly sweet. Obedience is possible, prescribed, and precious.

- Kevin DeYoung

 

Powerful, even all-powerful, does not do justice to what it means that God is the King, the Ruler, with absolute sovereignty over all things. God’s absolute sovereignty over all things is worked out through what we call “providence” in the way that God orchestrates all things according to his will. Consider a rather easily-overlooked testimony of this in Exodus 34:

Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel. For I will cast out nations before you and enlarge your borders; no one shall covet your land, when you go up to appear before the LORD your God three times in the year. (Exodus 34:23-24, ESV)

In calling his people to obey, God sovereignly eliminates one of the reasons they would have for worrying about their obedience. When all the males were to assemble, God explains that the unprotected land would be safe. Not only would it be protected from their enemies, God speaks in terms that it would not even be coveted by their enemies. God is not simply powerful in great measure to protect the land with his angel armies or a whisper of his voice (powerful enough to create the land in question.) Instead, God is powerfully ruling even over the desires of the surrounding nations.

All of this comes to its apex at the cross of Christ. Acts 2:22-24 explains:

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know– this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” (ESV)

As D. A. Carson puts it:  “The entire Bible pivots on one weekend in Jerusalem about two thousand years ago.”

The happiness of the creature consists in rejoicing in God, by which also God is magnified and exalted.

- Jonathan Edwards

The gospel has been described as a pool in which a toddler can wade and yet an elephant can swim. It is both simple enough to tell to a child and profound enough for the greatest minds to explore. Indeed, even angels never tire of looking into it (1 Peter 1:12).

- Timothy Keller

The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

Faith is the mark of the ransomed, and wherever it is seen, though in the least and meanest of the saints, it ensures salvation. Believer, thou shalt never be deserted, forsaken, given up to ruin. God, even thy God, is thy guardian and friend, and bliss is thine.

- Charles Spurgeon

Would you characterize yourself as a radical? We all welcome a sense of comfort, a place of peace, and a sensible life. It’s celebrated in our culture. But is this Biblical living? What is it, fundamentally, that sets us apart from everyone else? In Luke 14: 25-35, Jesus, the true evangelist describes the life of His disciples. His disciples have been called out from the world and they truly don’t belong in world. This is a clear description of what a true disciple of Christ looks like. Jesus had a multitude of followers with Him who were not truly His disciples. Here Jesus describes the nature and heart attitude of his disciples. He is giving full disclosure about what a life lived for Him would be like. He’s making it very clear to these people that following Christ isn’t easy. In fact it is humanly impossible. One of the most dangerous things and useful tools of Satan is the “nominal Christian.” Christ himself is making it very clear that, in reality, there is no such thing as a “nominal Christian.” There are Christians and then there are those who are not.

Jesus draws attention to three key aspects of true disciples. 1. True Disciples Forsake Their Interests. Jesus says quite clearly in this passage using some common Hebrew language that people, personal interests, and possessions are not to take priority in your life. We know that from other passages that Jesus doesn’t want us to have some emotional disdain or anger towards our friends and family. It’s a matter of position. Who is our primary focus and the recipient of our time, attention, passion, and love? Jesus is the only one who deserves the top spot. 2. True Disciples Fully Consider the Impact of Discipleship. The name and honor of God is at stake when we say were are his disciple. Additionally, our discipleship will have profound effects on every one around us. There is a great cost at stake in this discipleship issue. Christ gives 2 stories to illustrate the issues that are at stake with discipleship. 3. True Disciples Acknowledge Their Kingdom Function. We are salt (Matthew 5). We have a purifying and preserving function in this World. We are propagating and preserving the message of the gospel as we speak the truth and we live as true disciples. Our Lord spoke as He did to prevent people from following Him lightly and inconsiderately. He knew that nothing does so much harm to the cause of the true religion as a “nominal Christian.” So where do you stand? What characterizes you? You may say, “This is impossible! I struggle with my priorities and I don’t always take my walk with Christ seriously.” This is not an issue of perfection. Only Christ is perfect and in Him we are being made perfect. You can’t make this happen apart from Christ. So I ask you, “Do stand out a radical disciple of Christ?”

Jesus’ intercession is his identification and involvement with the will of the Father. If we started with Jesus as the ultimate word of God to humankind, the Word incarnate, we now see him in his exaltation as the ultimate word of humankind to God. His resurrection has shown that he is the perfectly acceptable advocate for sinners. His very presence with the Father pleads our cause, but pleads it from the God who loves to give his true children what they ask. Since this role of Jesus is from start to finish on our account, it gives us confidence to ‘draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith’ (Heb. 10:22).

- Graeme Goldsworthy

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