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He did not hate us, or reject us, or bear a grudge against us; instead he was patient and forbearing; in his mercy he took upon himself our sins; he himself gave up his own Son as a ransom for us, the holy one for the lawless, the guiltless for the guilty, the just for the unjust, the incorruptible for the corruptible, the immortal for the mortal. For what else but his righteousness could have covered our sins? In whom was it possible for us, the lawless and ungodly, to be justified, except in the Son of God alone? O the sweet exchange, O the incomprehensible work of God, O the unexpected blessings, that the sinfulness of many should be hidden in the one righteous person, while the righteousness of one should justify many sinners!

-The Epistle to Diognetus (written ca. 150-225)

The center of Christianity…is the dishonorable, foolish, gruesome, and utterly glorious reality of the tortured God-Man, Jesus Christ. More and more, He must become the issue. Not a vague, comfortable, pleasant Jesus that everybody likes but the one who is a “stumbling block” to Jews and “foolishness” to Gentiles. The closer you get to what makes Christianity ghastly, the closer you get to what makes it glorious.

-John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, xi.

By His death, Christ purchased all the grace and glory that the God of all grace had designed for us. That is clear in Scripture: “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 9:14). Alas for us poor creatures! For a long time after we are sanctified, we remain imperfect, lacking all and everything in comparison. How, then, are we perfected? Because Jesus Christ, by that one offering, perfectly purchased all that ever shall make up our perfection. It is finished in that sense. He so abundantly procured all by His death that He needed to offer Himself but once. If there were anything necessary to perfect a saint that Christ did not purchase, His offering must have been imperfect. 

-Thomas Goodwin, Ephesians; Works 1:170, 173 quoted in A Habitual Sight of Him by Joel R. Beeke and Mark Jones, 91.

O all ye who pass by, behold and see;
Man stole the fruit, but I must climb the tree;
The tree of life to all, but only me:
Was ever grief like mine?

Shame tears my soul, my body many a wound;
Sharp nails pierce this, but shaper that confound;
Reproaches, which are free, while I am bound.
Was ever grief like mine?

Now heal thy self, Physician; now come down.
Atlas I did so, when I left my crown
And father’s smile for you, to feel his frown:
Was ever grief like mine?

In healing not my self, there doth consist
All salvation, which ye now resist;
Your safety in my sickness doth subsist:
Was ever grief like mine?

Betwixt two thieves I spend my utmost breath,
As he that for some robbery suffereth.
Alas! what have I stolen from you? death:
Was ever grief like mine?

But now I die; now all is finished.
My woe, man’s weal: and now I bow my head.
Only let others say, when I am dead,
Never was grief like mine.

~George Herbert, Sections from “The Sacrifice.”

The intensity and immensity of God’s concern for a fallen humanity is nowhere more visible than at the cross of Christ…The cry of Jesus, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) is undoubtedly one of the most incredible expressions ever uttered. That the Father would (and could!) forsake the Son—all to bring restoration to a forsaken humanity—is surely the epitome of the expression of God’s inexhaustible love.

The God of the Bible seeks relationships with those whom he has freely made, and the cross of Christ serves to implore us never to think lightly of the intensity of this desire within the heart of God as expressed supremely here. God went to the greatest lengths possible to satisfy his wrath against sin and bring fallen humans back to himself.

The depth of his desire to be related anew to his rebellious creatures is, as manifest above all in the cross, truly beyond all human comprehension.

Bruce A. Ware, God’s Greater Glory, p. 54

The most significant and appalling demonstration of God’s holiness that the universe ever beheld , infinitely distancing ever other, is the suffering and death of His only and beloved Son! The cross of Calvary exhibits God’s hatred and punishment of sin in a way and to an extent which the annihilation of millions of worlds, swept from the face of the universe by the broom of His wrath, could never have done!

…Go, my soul, to Calvary, and learn how holy God is, and what a monstrous thing sin is, and how imperiously, solemnly, and holiy bound Jehovah is to punish it either in the person of the sinner, or in the person of the Surety. Never was the Son of God dearer to the Father than at the very moment that the sword of divine justice, flaming and flashing, pierced to its hilt His holy heart!

~Octavius Winslow

From Ray Ortlund’s blog,

“Would you like to be rid of this spiritual depression?  The first thing you have to do is to say farewell now once and forever to your past.  Realize that it has been covered and blotted out in Christ.  Never look back at your sins again.  Say: ‘It is finished, it is covered by the blood of Christ.’  That is your first step.  Take that and finish with yourself and all this talk about goodness, and look to the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is only then that true happiness and joy are possible for you.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression (Grand Rapids, 1965), page 35.

 

The audio is up from the Andrew Fuller Conference which I attended about a month ago. Sadly I was not able to attend all the lectures due to school classes happening at the same time. But what I did hear was really good.

The conference is both historical and denominational in its topics. All Andrew Fuller Conferences discuss how Baptists have understood different doctrinal positions throughout history. This year the topic was on Baptists and the cross, how Baptists have historically understood and preached the substitutionary death of Jesus.

I was able to listen to the three beginning Plenary Sessions and the sixth Plenary Session. The first two are mainly theological in their dealings. Schreiner deals with texts in the Pastoral and Petrine epistles that refer to the extent of the atonement. Wellum talks about a over arching view of the Bible that one must have to rightly view atonement. Both are very beneficial. The last two are historical overviews. They are beneficial as well if you want a better grasp of history.

Here is the list of lectures in full. Hopefully you will find something of interest among them.

MONDAY| August 30, 2010

9:00 a.m. Plenary Session 1: Tom Schreiner (SBTS)
“The Atonement in the Pastoral Epistles, the Petrine Epistles, and Hebrews”

10:25 a.m. Plenary Session 2: Stephen Wellum (SBTS)
“Baptism and Crucicentrism”

11:45 a.m. Plenary Session 3: David W. Bebbington (Professor of History, University of Stirling)
“British Baptist Crucicentrism from the Eighteenth Century Onwards”

2:30-4:00 p.m. PARALLEL SESSIONS

Group A: 17th Century British Baptists (Chair: Steve Weaver)

  1. Roger Duke, “The Blood in the Lesser Known Writings of John Bunyan”
  2. Ryan West, “Christopher Blackwood—Unpopular Dissent and the Cross in Cromwellian Ireland”
  3. Steve Weaver, “‘A Patient Wearing of Christ’s Cross’: Hercules Collins and a Baptist Theology of Persecution”

Group B: 18th Century Baptists (Chair: Paul Brewster)

  1. Allen Mickle, “ ‘Binding his Ass’s Colt to the Choice Vine’: John Gill (1697-1771), Isaiah 53, and the Atonement”
  2. Josh Carmichael, “Anne Steele on the Atonement”
  3. Peter Beck, “An Early Baptist in the Land of the Free: Samuel Stillman, the Depravity of Man and the Freedom of the Cross”

Group C: 19th Century Baptists (Chair: Jeff Robinson)

  1. John Gill, “Alexander Carson on the Cross”
  2. Cody McNutt, “Condescension and Substitution: Christ’s Cross in the Preaching of Robert Hall, Jr.”
  3. Chris Chun, “Andrew Fuller on the Atonement: Was Fuller’s approach nearer to that of Jonathan Edwards or the Younger?”

Group D: Theological Reflections (Chair: Joe Harrod)

  1. David Schrock, “Baptists, the New Covenant, and the Efficacy of the Atonement”
  2. David Pitman, “Baptists and the Iconography of the Cross: An Historical and Theological Survey”
  3. Jason Duesing, “Humphreys/Patterson—1987: A Southern Baptist Debate on the Atonement”

7:00 p.m. “Baptists and the Cross:  A Hymnfest” (Nathan Platt)

8:00 p.m. Plenary Session 4: Glendon Thompson (President, Toronto Baptist Seminary)
“Preaching the Cross”

TUESDAY| August 31, 2010

8:30 a.m. Plenary Session 5: Maurice Dowling (Professor of Church History, Irish Baptist College, Queens University)
“Spurgeon and the Cross”

11:30 a.m. Plenary Session 6: James Fuller (Professor of History, University of Indianapolis)
“19th Century Southern Baptists and the Cross”

2:30-3:40 p.m. Plenary Session 7: Danny Akin (SEBTS)
“The Cross and Pastoral Ministry”

4:00-5:00 p.m. Special LifeWay Booksigning Event:  “Book Discussion with Michael Haykin and David Bebbington”

Let men, with the newly sharpened axes of rationalism, do their utmost to hew down that cross; it will stand in spite of them.

Let them apply their ecclesiastical paint-brush, and duab it all over with the most approved of mediaeval pigments to cover its nakedness, its glory will shine through all. Let them scoff at the legal transference of the sinner’s guilt to a divine substitute, and of that Surety’s righteousness to the sinner, as a Lutheran delusion, or a Puritan fiction, that mutual transference, that wondrous exchange, will be found to be wrapped up with Christianity itself. Let those who, like Cain of old, shrink from the touch of sacrificial blood, and mock the “religion of the shambles (an old term meaning meat market or slaughterhouse),” purge their consciences with the idea of God’s universal Fatherhood, and try to wash their robes and make them white in something else than the blood of the Lamb;

to us, as to the saints of other days, there is but one purging of the conscience, one security for pardon, one way of access, one bond of reconciliation, one healing of our wounds, the death of Him on whom the chastisement of our peace was laid, and one everlasting song, “unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.”

~Horatius Bonar, Christ is All: the Piety of Horatius Bonar, quoting From “The Errors of the Age,” The Christian Treasury (1870). Page 80

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—(Galatians 3:13 ESV)

Our most merciful Father, seeing us to be oppressed and overwhelmed with the curse of the law, and so to be holden under the same, that we could never be delivered from it by our own power, sent his only Son into the world, and laid upon him all the sins of all men, saying Be thou Peter that denier; Paul that persecutor, blasphemer, and cruel oppressor; David that adulterer; that sinner which did eat the apple in Paradise; that thief which hath committed the sins of all men; see therefore that thou pay and satisfy for them.

~Martin Luther, Commentary on St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians, p. 274-275.

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