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The Burden On The Privileged Reader Trying To Understand The Crucifixion Of Jesus (via Fleming Rutledge)

The fact that Jesus died by crucifixion is an integral aspect of God’s redemptive work. Appreciating the fullness of what Jesus endured for our sake is difficult for those whose social position shields them from personal experience or exposure to the fullness of the injustice of it all.
Difficult, but not impossible. But we do have to accept that we have a blind spot and effort to empathise is required.
From Fleming Rutledge.

The all-important connection between the method used to execute Jesus and the meaning of his death cannot be grasped unless we plumb the depths of what is meant by injustice. There is much irony here, for injustice is a threatening subject for the ruling classes who have the time and inclination for reading books like this one. Those who suffer most from injustice are the poorly educated, the impoverished, the invisible. Justice is involved with law and judges; the people most likely to suffer injustice cannot afford good lawyers, do not even know any lawyers, whereas lawyers and judges are the ones who have the money to buy books. In other words, those most likely to be affected by the issues raised in this chapter are least likely to be reading about them. This puts an extra burden on the privileged reader, but such challenges are not unrelated to Jesus’ teaching that the one who does not take up his cross and follow him is not worthy of him (Matt. 10:38). Trying to understand to understand someone else’s predicament lies at the very heart of what it means to be a Christian.

Fleming Rutledge, The Crucifixion – Understanding The Death Of Jesus Christ Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI, 2015, pp 106-107.


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Still A Great Salvation? (via Sinclair Ferguson)

A salvation that is eternal in scope, personal in application, and expresses the character of God.
It is not wonder the Scriptures describe it as great.
Sinclair Ferguson wonders how a salvation that embraces the past, present, and future could ever be taken for granted:

So it is in the Gospel. God has a plan. It has been called the covenant of redemption, or the covenant of peace (pactum salutis). Theologians as great as Thomas Boston and Jonathan Edwards have disagreed as to whether the plan should properly be described as a covenant at all. But the debates over nomenclature are incidental to the thing itself.
The triune God had a plan, involving the mutual commitment of Father, Son and Spirit to save a people. About this the reformed theologians speak with one voice.
Before all time; prior to all worlds; when there was nothing “outside of” God himself; when the Father, Son and Spirit found eternal, absolute and unimaginable blessing, pleasure and joy in their holy triunity — it was their agreed purpose to create a world which would fall, and in unison — but at infinitely great cost — to bring you (if you are a believer) grace and salvation. This deeper grace from before the dawn of time — pictured in the rituals, the leaders and the experiences of the Old Testament saints (cf. Heb. 11:39–12:3) — is now ours. These are the dimensions of what the author of Hebrews calls “such a great salvation” (Heb. 2:3). Our salvation depends on God’s covenant, rooted in eternity in the plan of the Trinity, foreshadowed in the Mosaic covenant, fulfilled in Christ, enduring forever. No wonder Hebrews calls it “great.”
You considered your salvation to be “great” early in your Christian life didn’t you? Do you still think about it that way today?

From Ligonier blog.


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Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 15

Westminster Confession Of Faith – Lord’s Day 15

Chapter 8 – Of Christ the Mediator Cont. (Paragraphs 6-8)
VI. Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after his incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof were communicated into the elect, in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices wherein he was revealed, and signified to be the seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent’s head, and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world, being yesterday and today the same and for ever.
VII. Christ, in the work of mediation, acts according to both natures; by each nature doing that which is proper to itself; yet by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes, in Scripture, attributed to the person denominated by the other nature.
VIII. To all those for whom Christ has purchased redemption, he does certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same; making intercession for them, and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation; effectually persuading them by his Spirit to believe and obey; and governing their hearts by his Word and Spirit; overcoming all their enemies by his almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to his wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.


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Seeing The Father In Cross (via Noel Due and Daniel Bush)

The unity of the Godhead means that any depiction of the Cross that paints Jesus as the one who protects us from the Father profoundly misrepresents the character of God.
From Noel Due and Daniel Bush:

The cross is the point at which God exposed our delusions – our wanting to be judge – and announces his judgment on such sin. At the same time, he simultaneously took that same judgement upon himself in Christ. In other words, Jesus doesn’t block the Father’s wrath due to us, but bears it for us in order to bring the Father’s love. In this specific sense the cross isn’t only Christ’s, it’s also the Father’s. It’s the event in which his heart for us is most thoroughly seen: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son. … For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3: 16,17). Jesus never sought to appease a distant and angry Father.

Embracing God As Father, Daniel Bush & Noel Due, Lexham Press, 2015, pg. 64


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Why Do I Still Feel Guilty? (via Steve Brown)

From a devotion by Steve Brown about Christians who suffer from false feelings of guilt.

As a pastor, I have performed hundreds of marriage ceremonies. Often newly married people say something like, “I don’t feel married.” And I often reply, “Stay with it. It takes a bit of getting used to. Eventually the truth will sink in.”
Now let’s suppose a newly married couple doesn’t take my advice and their feelings are more real to them than the fact that they’re now married. Let’s suppose, further, that every time they suspect they’re married, they say to themselves, I can’t be married because I don’t feel married. Believe it or not, they are programming their minds in a certain way. I suppose that if they pushed it far enough and often enough, they would never think they were really married. If someone asked them if they were married, they would always reply, “No, we’re not married.” After a while, their feelings would become reality.
That’s what a lot of Christians have done with their feelings of sin. In 1 John 1:9 we read, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That’s a fact. If you have confessed your sins, you are forgiven. If you don’t feel forgiven, you are doing what our imaginary couple has done. You have simply denied the facts for your feelings. Whenever you feel guilty about something you have confessed, reprogram your mind. Say to yourself, “I have confessed that before God. He is not a liar. He has told me that I’m forgiven; therefore, I am forgiven. Anything other than that fact is a lie and I will treat it like any other lie. I won’t believe it.” Then ask God to give you the grace to treat it as a lie.
Is this a magic formula? Of course not. It’s a part of a process whereby gradually you learn to live your life by the facts and not by emotions. One day you will wake up and say, “I’m free! Praise God Almighty, I’m free!”

Read the whole article here.


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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 22

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 22

Q & A 37
Q What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?
A The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness,1 and do immediately pass into glory;2 and their bodies, being still united in Christ,3 do rest in their graves, till the resurrection.4

Q & A 38
Q What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A. At the resurrection, believers, being raised up in glory,5 shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment,6 and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God7 to all eternity.8

*1 Hebrews 12:23.
*2 Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:6, 8; Philippians 1:23.
*3 1 Thessalonians 4:14.
*4 Daniel 12:2; John 5:28-29; Acts 24:15.
*5 1 Corinthians 15:42-43
*6 Matthew 25:33-34, 46
*7 Romans 8:29; 1 John 3:2.
*8 Psalm 16:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:17.


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Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 21

Westminster Shorter Catechism – Lord’s Day 21

Q & A 36
Q What are the benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification?
A The benefits which in this life do accompany or flow from justification, adoption, and sanctification, are, assurance of God’s love,1 peace of conscience,2 joy in the Holy Ghost,3 increase of grace,4 and perseverance therein to the end.*5

*1 Romans 5:5.
*2 Romans 5:1.
*3 Romans 14:17.
*4 2 Peter 3:18.
*5 Philippians 1:6; 1 Peter 1:5.