Should those who have faith in Christ seek their salvation through their own works, or anywhere else?
Yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
Maybe you’ve heard this one before, we don’t use creeds or confessions in our church we just follow Christ. Of course the rejoinder to that is which Christ? The Mormon Christ? The Christ of the Watch Tower Society? The modalist Christ of the Oneness Pentecostals? There is a need to define what we mean especially since we live in a society that defines things subjectively.
That is why for this Thursday I have a video of Mark Dever talking about “No Creed but Christ”
For some of you today will be another day of labor, some of you today will be a flurry of activity consisting of new clothes and going to church. Some of you will be going over your notes making sure your sermon is ready. Some of you will be meeting in secret in fear of your lives. Some of you will still be in bed.
But consider this, because of a Sunday over 1900 years ago something changed the world. Because of this one event nothing is the same any more. Calendars are no longer in reference to cities or other events Anno Domini began. Because the tomb was empty, because the stone was rolled away nothing is ever the same.
And that is the good news. It is good news because Christ being raised was for our justification (Rom. 4:25). Christ being raised has delivered us from God’s coming wrath. (1 Thess. 1:10) Christ being raised from the dead he is now interceding for us. (Rom. 8:34) Because Christ was raised we too will be raised from the dead. (1 Cor. 6:14) Christ being raised we too will be in the presence of God. (2 Cor. 4:14) Because being raised he now rules being given authority over all things. (Eph. 1:20-22)
So today let us echo the proclaimation: Christ has risen! He has risen indeed! Amen.
Resurrection Sunday 2017
1 Peter 2:24
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
Who his own self bare our sins This form of speaking is fitted to set forth the efficacy of Christ’s death. For as under the Law, the sinner, that he might be released from guilt, substituted a victim in his own place; so Christ took on himself the curse due to our sins, that he might atone for them before God. And he expressly adds, on the tree, because he could not offer such an expiation except on the cross. Peter, therefore, well expresses the truth, that Christ’s death was a sacrifice for the expiation of our sins; for being fixed to the cross and offering himself a victim for us, he took on himself our sin and our punishment. Isaiah, from whom Peter has taken the substance of his doctrine, employs various forms of expression, — that he was smitten by God’s hand for our sins, that he was wounded for our iniquities, that he was afflicted and broken for our sake, that the chastisement of our peace was laid on him. But Peter intended to set forth the same thing by the words of this verse, even that we are reconciled to God on this condition, because Christ made himself before his tribunal a surety and as one guilty for us, that he might suffer the punishment due to us.~John Calvin Commentary
Lest, however, we should think that the patience of our Lord was intended to be our example and nothing more, the apostle goes on to speak expressly of the expiatory nature of the sufferings alluded to. He has held up the Savior in all His woes as our example, but knowing the evil tendency of skeptical minds, by any means, to becloud the cross, he now puts aside the example, for a moment, and speaks of the Redeemer as the great sacrifice for sin. The sacred writers are always very clear and distinct upon this truth and so must we be. There is no preaching the gospel if the atonement is left out. No matter how well we speak of Jesus as a pattern, we have done nothing unless we point Him out as the substitute and sin-bearer. We must, in fact, continually imitate the apostle, and speak plainly of Him, “Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree.”~Charles Spurgeon
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock! You who are enthroned upon the cherubim, shine forth. Restore us, O God; let your face shine, that we may be saved! Turn again, O God of hosts! Look down from heaven, and see; But let your hand be on the man of your right hand, the son of man whom you have made strong for yourself! Psalm 80:1,3,14,17
This psalm reflects both the anticipation of Christ’s incarnation and the coming again of Christ on the Last Day when he comes in glory to judge the living and the dead. Both in some ways are fearful and wonderful things. Consider the message of the angel to the shepherds on that night; Fear Not! (Luke 2:10) Here the incarnation is a cause of rejoicing and wonder as the second person of the Trinity takes on flesh.
But there will come another time when the incarnate Word arrives this time with all his glory and ” He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” which is both a fearful and wonderful thing.
In keeping with Advent season here is a hymn written by Charles Wesley and published in 1744. Again it expresses that tension exists for both Israel at the time of the incarnation and the Church as it looks forward to Christ’s return.
Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.
Those of you who hold to the RPW probably won’t be having an Advent service today. But those who have come from a liturgical calendar tradition recognize that this is the season of Advent.
Advent is the season that proceeds Christmas. During this time we look forward to Christ’s return and at the same time we look back to Christ’s first coming, his incarnation. So today take some time to meditate on what it means to prepare for the coming of Christ how we like Israel looked forward to his coming. And how we can rejoice that he did come.