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healing-jesus-240

Since the radical powers of the soul are thus enfeebled and disordered, it is not to be wondered at that the best of men, and under their highest attainments, have found cause to make the acknowledgment of the Apostle, “When I should do good, evil is present with me.”

But, blessed be God, though we must feel hourly cause for shame and humiliation for what we are in ourselves, we have cause to rejoice continually in Christ Jesus, who, as he is revealed unto us under the various names, characters, relations, and offices, which he bears in the Scripture, holds out to our faith a balm for every wound, a cordial for every discouragement, and a sufficient answer to every objection which sin or Satan can suggest against our peace.

  • If we are guilty, he is our Righteousness;
  • if we are sick; he is our infallible Physician;
  • if we are weak, helpless, and defenceless, he is the compassionate and faithful Shepherd who has taken charge of us, and will not suffer any thing to disappoint our hopes, or to separate us from his love.

He knows our frame, he remembers that we are but dust, and has engaged to guide us by his counsel, support us by his power, and at length to receive us to his glory, that we may be with him for ever.

-John Newton, The Utterances of the Heart, in the Course of a Real Correspondence.

HT: Justin Taylor

leper

The hope we offer people is more than a set of strategies. Our hope is Christ! In him alone do lost, confused, angry, hurt, and discouraged people find what they need to be and do what God intends. We are not gurus. We are nothing more than instruments in the hands of a powerful Redeemer. The hope and help we offer is always focused on him. The most important encounter in ministry is not the person’s encouter with us, but his encouter with Christ. Our job is simply to set up that encounter, so that God would help people seek his forgiveness, comfort, restoration, strength, and wisdom.

Paul David Tripp, Instruments In The Redeemer’s Hands: People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change (Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Publishing, 2002), 138.

sinod-niceea

…it was actually not Jewish but Greek philosophical categories which made it difficult to attribute true and full divinity to Jesus. A Jewish understanding of divine identity was open to the inclusion of Jesus in the divine identity. But Greek philosophical – Platonic – definitions of divine substance or nature and Platonic understandings of the relationship of God to the world made it extremely difficult to see Jesus as more than a semi-divine being, neither truly God not truly human. In the context of the Arian controversies, Nicene theology was essentially an attempt to resist the implications of Greek philosophical understandings of divinity and re-appropriate, in a new conceptual context, the New Testament’s inclusion of Jesus in the unique divine identity.

Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel: God Crucified and Other Studies on the New Testament’s Christology of Divine Identity (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2008), 58.

Remember this the next time you hear people talking about Nicene “Platonizing” the faith. The exact oppose actually happened. They used Greek language to capture the doctrine. But they were actually resisting the “Platonizing” of the faith by keeping the doctrine of Christ to what it was revealed to be by the Apostles. If you want to get the full picture I would recommend Bauckham’s work, God Crucified, where he explores how the earliest Christians understood Jesus in very high Christological terms.


What does it mean to love Christ practically? Erik gives J. C. Ryle’s answer to the question,

  • If we love a person, we like to think about him.
  • If we love a person, we like to hear about him.
  • If we love a person, we like to read about him.
  • If we love a person, we like to please him.
  • If we love a person, we like his friends.
  • If we love a person, we are jealous about his name and honor.
  • If we love a person, we like to talk to him.
  • If we love a person, we like to be always with him.

Go over to J. C. Ryle Quotes to read the explanation of these points.

Christ [is] the very essence of all delights and pleasures, the very soul and substance of them. As all the rivers are gathered into the ocean, which is congregation or  meeting-place of all  waters in the world: so Christ is that ocean in which all true delights and pleasures meet. . . .

His excellencies are pure and unmixed; he is a sea of sweetness without one drop of gall.

—John Flavel, The Method of Grace, from Sermon XII.

HT: Justin Taylor

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Surely if he would not spare his own Son one stroke, one tear, one groan, one sigh, one circumstance of misery, it can never be imagined that ever he should, after this, deny or withhold from his people, for whose sakes all this was suffered, any mercies, any comforts, any privilege, spiritual or temporal, which is good for them.

— John Flavel

HT: Spencer Harmon

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.(Romans 8:34)

If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.

~Robert Murray M’Cheyne p. 179

HT: Justin Taylor

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (John 13:3-5)

Jesus was given all things into His hands by the Father. He had all authority and control over every molecule in the universe. “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17).

He had come from God. He existed as the second person of the trinity. Fully God in His being. “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell” (Colossians 1:19), and “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3a).

And He was going back to God. He was going to endure all the pain of the cross for the joy set before Him. He was going to triumph over death to obtain unparalleled glory. He was raised to be seated at God’s  “right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:20-21).

And yet, this one took a towel to wash dirty feet.

Our Lord and Savior, with full knowledge of His his standing as the pre-existent, all sovereign, ruler of the universe, stooped down to serve sinners. And His actions of washing feet were just a foretaste of the service He was going to render to the unworthy! Jesus would not only take away dirt from feet, He would take away the sinners transgressions and chastisements by means of His own death on a cross.

Jesus’ greatness does not distant Him from the low and weak with dirty messed up lives. With full knowledge of His incomparable majesty He comes to us—to serve us.

‘Jesus’ is a very encouraging name to heavy-laden inners. He who is King of Kings and Lord of lords might lawfully have taken some more high-sounding title. But he did not do so. the rulers of this world have often called themselves Great, Conqueror, Bold, Magnificent, and the like. The Son of God was content to call himself  ‘Saviour’. The souls thich desire salvation may draw near to the Father with boldness, and have access with confidence through Christ. It is his office and his delight to show mercy. ‘God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved’ (John 3:17).

~J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Matthew, p.5

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Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

~Charles Wes­ley

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