Devotional with Charles Spurgeon

February 2

“Without the shedding of blood is no remission.” — Heb 9:22

This is the voice of unalterable truth. In none of the Jewish ceremonies were sins, even typically, removed without blood-shedding. In no case, by no means can sin be pardoned without atonement. It is clear, then, that there is no hope for me out of Christ; for there is no other blood-shedding which is worth a thought as an atonement for sin.

Am I, then, believing in him? Is the blood of his atonement truly applied to my soul? All men are on a level as to their need of him. If we be never so moral, generous, amiable, or patriotic, the rule will not be altered to make an exception for us. Sin will yield to nothing less potent than the blood of him whom God hath set forth as a propitiation. What a blessing that there is the one way of pardon! Why should we seek another?

bloodatonement

Persons of merely formal religion cannot understand how we can rejoice that all our sins are forgiven us for Christ’s sake. Their works, and prayers, and ceremonies, give them very poor comfort; and well may they be uneasy, for they are neglecting the one great salvation, and endeavouring to get remission without blood.

My soul, sit down, and behold the justice of God as bound to punish sin; see that punishment all executed upon thy Lord Jesus, and fall down in humble joy, and kiss the dear feet of him whose blood has made atonement for thee. It is in vain when conscience is aroused to fly to feelings and evidences for comfort: this is a habit which we learned in the Egypt of our legal bondage. The only restorative for a guilty conscience is a sight of Jesus suffering on the cross. “The blood is the life thereof,” says the Levitical law, and let us rest assured that it is the life of faith and joy and every other holy grace.

“Oh! how sweet to view the flowing
Of my Saviour’s precious blood;
With divine assurance knowing
He has made my peace with God.”

An Encouraging Thanksgiving

Dear Reader,

With all the hubbub about the recent US Presidential election still not over, I felt it would be appropriate to go a different direction with this post. May it be an encouragement to you as we enter a very special season.

In the UK, a special day reminds us to be thankful and is often called Harvest Sunday or Harvest Thanksgiving Sunday. Many churches gather together and have a large display of crops from the surrounding farming lands. They give thanks to God that stomachs are not empty, pantries are stocked, and another year of working in the fields has come to a productive end.

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In the USA, schoolchildren are taught that Thanksgiving came about as a way to thank the Lord for bringing the Pilgrims through a bleak winter where many of them died. Proclamations were made for a Thanksgiving remembrance by various officials until,

“As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, ‘as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.’”

Oh, how is it that we have fallen so far from such a proclamation about what we should be doing. This year though there will be no prayer to Almighty God. Our nation has become a nation where the vast majority prefers to live in a way that emulates the Book of Judges. “Every man (and woman) does that which is right in their own eyes.”

The apostle Paul could have easily been seeing the future when he wrote Romans 3:18, “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” This once great nation, established as one nation under God, has crumbled. It has gone from being a moral and upright democracy to a nation that has no morals. We are not an immoral society but have gone far beyond that point.

Even a vast majority of those who claim the name of Christ have determined that, in the words of Doris Day, “Que sera, sera.” Whatever will be, will be. The world and the church glibly sings, “The future is not ours to see. Live for the moment. Eat, drink, and be merry.”

Yet, the future is there to behold to the eye of the saint who is watching, waiting, and working for the return of her Beloved Bridegroom. The future holds so much hope and promise knowing that one day we will no longer have to remain living in a human shell that still craves at times what was paid for on the Cross of Calvary.

One day, we will no longer have to deal with even a single vestige of the old man. We will no longer have to cry bitterly with Paul as we both proclaim, “O wretched man, who will deliver us from the body of this death?”

This last week, I read more than one person who thinks a large percentage of Americans are true Christians. Several have expressed hope in the new US President-Elect, yet within days of having won the election is already waffling on his promises.

Many think that we should just wear safety pins to show everybody they are loved and accepted just as they are with no change required. What a travesty that all of this has so permeated the church to the point that believers look almost identical to the world.

The church-at-large has failed. Let me reiterate that – THE CHURCH-AT-LARGE HAS FAILED. Miserably. Conclusively. Totally.

However….

Elijah was reminded that there were 7,000 who had still not bowed the knee to Baal. In like manner, I want to remind those who are true believers that there are others who have not bowed their knees to the Baals of this world. My hope is not found in politics. It is not found in a bank account. It is not built on failed promises that will never be kept by mortal men.

This Thanksgiving season is one that I choose to remember the glory of the Risen Christ. It is a season that I choose to remember the price that was paid so that I can reign with Him on high. This year, I will again bow the knee and heart and give thanks with a grateful heart. A true heart of Thanksgiving will not be destroyed by the depravity of the world around us. We will and MUST remain grateful and keep our eyes looking up to the prize that is set before us.

Our Lord went to the cross and despised the shame. It is from that Cross that He calls us to TAKE UP our cross and follow Him. As strangers and pilgrims, we are not called to bind ourselves to this world that C.S. Lewis rightly called, “The Shadowlands.”

Lord willing, a few of us will be writing and sharing words of Biblical encouragement during this season. Yes, there will still be a depraved world to live in, but we can encourage one other with these words as Paul was eager to remind the Thessalonian believers.

My desire is not to point out the fallacy of all that is transpiring in the world. I do not want to get to the point where I say, “See, I told you so.” My heart is to share with you and encourage you to such a point of thankfulness that when we close our eyes on this earth and wake up in the arms of our Blessed Redeemer that we will be able to say, “The half has never been told!”

Happy Thanksgiving!

Draw Me Nearer

I am Thine, O Lord
I have heard Thy voice
And it told Thy love to me
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee

You have not experienced love until you’ve known the love of Jesus. Human love pales in comparison to the One who never sleeps nor slumbers. He is not moody but is available to listen any time, day or night. If you can even grasp a little of just how much Yahweh loves you, it should make you want to please Him in everything you do.

hymnsoffaith

I was born in the 1970s, and some of the songs of that era have been running through my head lately. Songs of love for God and for each other. But I also think of songs like:

O the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free

When I think about the deep love of Jesus, I am ready to run into His arms, but then I remember that sin cannot dwell in His presence. What to do! My pride could keep me from Him as I determine to do better so that He will accept me but, alas, no matter what I do, I will never be good enough. The solution then is to humble myself, fall at His feet, confess my sins and my struggles, and turn them over to Him to get rid of for me and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

Oh, the joy that floods my soul!
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole

What a relief! I never knew I could experience such joy! Why didn’t I surrender sooner? I can’t think of one good reason.

You see, sometimes life is hard because we make it that way. We “look for love in all the wrong places” as the old song says, when we should be looking to God to fill the voids in our lives. Every once in a while, life gets hectic, and I neglect to spend much time with Him, and I feel the difference. Not always right away but there comes a point when everything is “off,” and I realize I have not stayed as close to the Shepherd as I should have. Thankfully, He is always there to welcome me back. He just wants me to understand that, without Him, my life would be empty. I remember life before really knowing God, and there is no way I desire to return. That’s why I sing:

Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord to the cross where Thou hast died
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord, to Thy precious bleeding side

Sissified Needy Jesus?

Pastor Voddie Baucham preaches the truth firmly and solidly from the Scriptures. His message is loving but it is a warning to those that think Jesus Christ is just some mamby-pamby God who has to have us in order to justify His own existence. He needs nothing from us.

Blood Work

Blood work – this is a common phrase used in the medical industry. Every critical medical procedure must be based on BLO01BH_200x1000accurate blood work – the chemistry demanded by the body relies on the right delicate balance and the blood work reveals what that chemistry mix is, so the doctors can proceed safely. The body depends on blood work.

In a recently released book, Anthony Carter documents in thirteen short but deep chapters how blood work is crucial to the health of the body of Christ. The book, Blood Work – How the Blood of Christ Accomplishes our Salvation, takes a refreshing and humbling look at the death of Christ and how His blood avails for us. The body of Christ depends on the blood work of the cross.

The Bible has more to say about the blood of Christ than the cross and the death of Christ. Though all three of these are intrinsically linked, it is the blood of Christ that is most often mentioned as being critical to our spiritual health, such as in Rev 12:11 – And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

The blood work of Jesus Christ reconciles sinners to Holy God. Our eternal safety and security depend on His blood work.

Carter tells us that our religion is a bloody one – not because of the renegades who wrongly shed the blood of men in the Crusades, the Great Inquisition, and other sinful actions by professing Christians. Christianity is a bloody religion because the perfect Lamb of God was predestined to be slain to take away the sins of people throughout the world – as many were called and believed on Christ.

In his book, Carter reminds us that we are purchased by the blood of Christ; cleansed by the blood of Christ; ransomed, justified, redeemed, sanctified – and more! – all by the blood of the Lord Jesus, who is the Christ. Rather than shrinking back from talking about the bloody cross of the Lord, we are encouraged to embrace and proclaim it! His blood avails for each of His chosen ones and without it none of us can be reconciled or brought near to God. It is foolishness to the world and all who are perishing – but the cross of Christ is the power of salvation to those who are being saved.

This book reminds us of what is essential for the body of Christ – we need good blood work. And there is none better than that of Jesus Christ. It is a bloody cross to which we cling, it is that blood spilt on Calvary that cleanses us from sin – all other blood stains us. Proclaim the blood of Christ – without His blood work none will be justified or reconciled to Holy God.

O precious is the flow

That makes us white as snow.

No other fount I know,

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This book available here in several formats.

God’s courtroom

As I type this, the sentencing phase of the Letalvis Cobbins trial is taking place. If the system works as it should, he will receive the death penalty. Why? Because that is what he deserves for the crimes he has committed. They were heinous, barbaric, abominable, and not simply inhumane–but inhuman. And because of the inhumanity with which he and his accomplices acted toward Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom, they should all be removed from society and sentenced to death. (And before you say that the death penalty is “unbiblical” I would direct you to Romans 13:1-4).

Right now, his sister is pleading on his behalf, that he not be sentenced to death. She, along with the rest of his family, is pleading that the judge and jury spare his life. And they may succeed. They may play on the sympathies of the judge and the jury, or the judge and jury may be so soft-hearted that they will sentence Cobbins to life without parole. And as this unfolds, several thoughts come to mind.

First, is Letalvis Cobbins any worse than we are? Consider this for one moment. Letalvis Cobbins committed one of the most despicable murders in the history of Knoxville, or Tennessee, or the United States for that matter. But is that so very different from the ways we break God’s laws? Without the Holy Spirit of God dwelling in those of us who know Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior; without the Holy Spirit of God holding back the wicked hearts of evil men, there is not one person on the face of the earth–past, present, future–who has not been capable of doing everything Letalvis Cobbins did–and worse. (And when I say, “not one person” I am, of course, excluding Christ our Lord.)

Second, as much as he deserves the death penalty for his crimes, are we any less deserving of eternal punishment for trampling over the laws of Almighty God? Which of us can say that we are “not as bad” as he is? We may not appear to ourselves or to other humans to be as bad. But who is the final decider on what and who is “good?” Which brings me to………

Third. On the day when we stand before God to give an account, there will only be two possible scenarios for us:

1) We can stand there, alone, with no one to plead our cause. When the books are opened, and the charges read, we will not have an attorney. We will not have friends and family pleading with The Judge that we were a “good person.” And even if our friends and family could stand there and plead for us, God will not see us as a “good person.” Why? “No one is good but One, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). Our friends will do no good pleading our cause. Our family will do no good pleading our cause. Not even the Virgin Mary will do any good pleading our cause. Without the blood of the spotless Lamb of God (1st Peter 1:18-19), the Great Mediator (1st Timothy 2:5) and Advocate (1st John 2:1), then all the pleading on our behalf is useless. Because when God judges, He does not offer compassion. He does not offer mercy. If anything, when we stand there and beg for mercy, He will say, “I offered you mercy. I gave you My Son, and you wanted nothing of Him. Now, I want nothing of you.”

And then what will they cry? “‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’” (Matthew 7:22). And they will cry, and they will weep, and they will gnash their teeth (Luke 13:28). All to no avail. For He will cast His fiery gaze at them and declare, for all to hear, “‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you worker of iniquity!’” (Matthew 7:23).

No mercy.
No compassion.
No retrial.

No appeal to a higher court. For there is no higher court than the one presided over by that Great and Perfect Judge, Almighty YHVH. And they will be cast into a Lake burning with fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:15), and their torment will be eternal, and the smoke of it will rise like incense to the heavens (Revelation 14:11), as a memorial to the perfect justice of a perfect and holy God. And His justice is perfect, because all men are judged by the same Law, by the same Judge, and with no respect of person (Romans 2:11; Romans 3:19-20; Deuteronomy 1:17; 2nd Samuel 14:14; 2nd Chronicles 19:7; Acts 10:34; Revelation 20:12).

So I ask you, my friend, who is pleading for you?
Mother?
Father?
Friend?
Priest?
Joseph Smith?
Your “good works?”

Unless it is the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord which is pleading to the Father on your behalf, be sure that you will receive nothing less than what you are due: eternal punishment for transgressing the eternal Law of an eternal God.

OR………

2) As guilty and as heinous as the crimes committed by Cobbins et al, , there is an even greater One who will plead for us to that eternal and Almighty God if we ask. The name of that advocate is Jesus Christ the Lord. If He is pleading for us, we can stand there, with our sins forgiven, having been paid for on the cross of Golgotha. Those who have acknowledged Christ Jesus as Savior AND LORD will have their debts wiped off the books. And when they stand before the Great and Almighty Judge of all, they can hear their final verdict read–“NOT GUILTY!!” 1st Timothy 2:5For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. And that Mediator is seated at God’s right hand, ever ready to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). And as many as He draws, and as many enter into Him for rest, and as many as He saves, He saves to the uttermost.

We will face consequences for our actions here on earth. But be assured, friend, that there is hope even for one like Letalvis Cobbins. And there is even hope for one like you.