The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Archive for the ‘Good news’ Category

Beauty from Booth

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Early in Abraham Booth’s Glad Tidings to Perishing Sinners he has one of those delightful summaries of Scripture phrasing that some authors do so well. In this case, he’s trying to demonstrate the way in which the word “gospel” is used and understood in the Word of God. Here is a beautiful blizzard of phrases emphasising that this is joyful news indeed:

The Gospel, then, is glad tidings, as will more fully appear, by the following induction of particulars. For it is that most interesting part of sacred Scripture which is denominated, by Evangelists and Apostles, the truth—the truth of Christ—the truth as it is in Jesus—the truth which is according to godliness—the faithful word—the word of the kingdom, or of the reign—the word (ο λογος) of the cross—the word of the Lord’s grace—the word of God’s grace—the word of reconciliation—the word of righteousness—the word of life—the word of salvation—The doctrine of Christ—the doctrine of God our Saviour—The gospel of the kingdom, or the glad tidings of the reign—the glad tidings of Christ—the glad tidings of the Son of God—the glad tidings of God—The glorious glad tidings of Christ—the glorious glad tidings of the blessed God—The glad tidings of the grace of God—the glad tidings of peace—the glad tidings of salvation—The grace of God—the grace that bringeth salvation—and, the salvation of God. The gospel is also denominated, The word of faith—the faith—the common faith—the faith in Christ—the faith once delivered to the saints—the mystery of the faith—and, the most holy faith.

The publication of the gospel is called, The ministry of reconciliation—the ministry of righteousness—and, the ministry of the Spirit—Preaching the Son of God—teaching and preaching Jesus Christ—preaching the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ—preaching peace by Jesus Christ—preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ—and preaching the faith—Proclaiming (κηρυσσειν) the kingdom, or the reign, of heaven—proclaiming the glad tidings of the reign—proclaiming deliverance to the captives, recovering of sight to the blind, and the acceptable year of the Lord—proclaiming Christ—proclaiming Christ crucified—Bringing glad tidings of good things—and, sending the salvation of God to the Gentiles.—Such is the gospel, and such the nature of evangelical preaching, as represented by the inspired writers: all which unite in the general notion of joyful news.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 9 December 2016 at 13:02

Posted in Good news

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Heart disease

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These are fearful words to most of us, and rightly so. To be told that you have heart disease is to be told of a fundamental threat to life. Sometimes the only options are radical surgery and a complete revolution in our lifestyle. Most of us – were we or one of our family members in such a position – would be very quick to do whatever was necessary to put the situation right. After all, our life would be on the line.

But there is a yet more terrible heart disease which we are often all too ready to ignore, but which kills us all. Even as you read, you are suffering from this heart disease, and you need to know the symptoms, diagnosis and cure.

Its symptoms are very evident. Are you self-centred? Are you envious of what others have? Do you lie and cheat? Do you curse and blaspheme? Do you get drunk? Have you ever stolen? Do you want or have you had a sexual relationship with someone who is not your husband or wife? Are you often angry? Do you hate someone? Do you never go to worship God? Do you ignore Sunday, God’s day, and do whatever you like? Do you think nothing of Jesus Christ? Are you disobedient to your parents? If any or all of the above symptoms are present, then you suffer from this heart disease

The diagnosis is equally plain. “From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark’s Gospel, chapter 7, verses 21-23). In other words, you have a sinful heart that is contrary to God and his law, and for which you deserve to be condemned and punished. In one sense, you are already dead: dead in trespasses and sins.

Critically, then, is there a cure? Yes! God has provided a means to be healed from this most terrible disease of sin, but it requires radical surgery and a complete revolution in lifestyle. In Psalm 51, verse 10, we find a man with a sinful heart crying out to God, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Only this can save you from your sins. You need a new, clean heart from God, and you need to depart utterly from all your sinful ways.

Consider what is at stake: with your terrible heart disease of sin, you have only misery and condemnation to come. Get a new heart from God: he is rich in mercy to make men who are dead because of sin alive together with Christ. Come, then, to Jesus Christ, and you shall have everlasting life.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 2 January 2012 at 08:00

A summary of the gospel

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The gospel of Christ in general is this; It is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ. More largely it is this: As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again.  Namely, the second Person in the Trinity takes  man’s nature upon Himself, and becomes the head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction for keeping the law perfectly, which satisfaction and righteousness he tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him. And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and that they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

Jeremiah Burroughs, Gospel Conversation, 3-4.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 14 September 2011 at 10:37

Extreme makeover

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Would you like a real change?

Would you like new surroundings?  A new house, a new room, or new clothes?

Would you like new relationships?  New friends, new colleagues, even a new family?

Would you like a new you?  A new appearance, enlargements and reductions, a new nose or chin, a new waistline, or renewed health?

Would you like a new life?  A completely fresh start, being a different person altogether, sweeping away everything that is, leaving it all behind, and starting over entirely?

One way or another, many of us would like – or may even long for – a makeover of some kind.  We would truly love to change something about us and our lives.

Most of these changes are – at best – what you might call ‘cosmetic.’  That is, they are mere changes in appearance, manipulating externals without ever altering reality.  As a result, they rarely make us happy.  If you like, many of the changes we try to make are like re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic: making a doomed vessel more pleasing to the eye.

You probably know by experience that such changes make little lasting difference.  At best, they solve problems temporarily.  At worst, they lock us into a downward spiral of more and more extreme changes, each one more desperate, expensive, or humiliating than the last.  In either case, they present no final solution to problems.

Why is this?

It is because whatever you do and wherever you go and whenever you change outwardly, what you carry within you remains the same.  We carry our issues, our personalities, our problems, our sins, with us wherever we go.

What you need is the most radical change of all: an extreme makeover that lies utterly outside your own power of will or money to accomplish, but a change that will once-and-for-all alter everything about you for the better.  It is a change that begins on the inside and works its way out, radically altering in lasting fashion our thoughts, feelings, desires, words, and deeds.

It is called “new creation.”  It begins with the essential you, the heart and soul of who and what you are, and – over the course of time – works itself through your whole being.  It is a new life that will reach its climax with a new body in a new heavens and a new earth.

Would you like such a change?  Do you long for an extreme makeover of this sort?  This is no gimmick or fable, no lie or scam.  This is God’s own truth, his free and sincere offer: “If anyone is in Christ,” says the Bible, “he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Would you like a fresh start?  There is nothing to pay, no forms to fill out, no waiting list, and guaranteed results.  Faith in Christ brings new life in him.  It is the only true solution to the otherwise empty search for a new you.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 19 March 2010 at 10:28

Bunyan exhorts

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John Bunyan exhorts:

Reader, you have heard of the necessity of coming to Christ; also of the willingness of Christ to receive the coming soul; together with the benefit that they by him shall have that indeed come to him. Put thyself now upon this serious inquiry, Have I indeed come to Jesus Christ?

1. Thou art in sin, in the flesh, in death, in the snare of the devil, and under the curse of the law, if you are not coming to Jesus Christ.

2. There is no way to be delivered from these, but by coming to Jesus Christ.

3. If thou comest, Jesus Christ will receive thee, and will in no wise cast thee out.

4. Thou wilt not repent it in the day of judgment, if now you come not to Jesus Christ.

5. But thou wilt surely mourn at last, if now thou shalt refuse to come.

6. And lastly, Now thou hast been invited to come; now will thy judgment be greater, and thy damnation more fearful, if thou shalt yet refuse, than if thou hadst never heard of coming to Christ.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 11 February 2010 at 09:53

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Are you a good person?

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Most of us like to think that we are good people.  After all, there are so many other people who are much worse than us.  We think we know what is right.  We often want to do what is right, but it is hard to do the right thing.  Why do we do things that we know are wrong?  And why do we feel bad inside when we do things that we know are wrong?  How do we measure goodness?  And how good is good enough?

The Lord God, who made you and takes care of you, has told us what is right and wrong.  One day we will all have to face Him.  He will judge everything that we have done, everything that we have said, and even everything that we have thought.  Jesus said, “Be ready, for the Son of Man [Jesus Christ] is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Matthew’s gospel, chapter 24, verse 44).  How can you be ready?  Will you be good enough?

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Take a moment to read God’s Ten Commandments:

1.  You shall have no other gods before Me.

2.  You shall not make for yourself a carved image – any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;  you shall not bow down to them nor serve them.  For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

3.  You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.

4.  Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God.  In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day.  Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.

5.  Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.

6.  You shall not murder.

7.  You shall not commit adultery.

8.  You shall not steal.

9.  You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.

10.  You shall not covet your neighbour’s house; you shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbour’s.

How do you compare to this standard?  You might think you can make fun of the standard: “I’ve never coveted anybody’s ox or donkey!”  You might think it easy to point to the things that you haven’t done: “I’ve never murdered anyone”.  But Jesus taught that the Ten Commandments go much deeper than we imagine.  They are as much about our thoughts, our hearts, our attitudes, as they are about what we physically do (if you have a Bible, you can find this in Matthew’s gospel, chapter 5, verses 17-30).  Jesus said, “whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Matthew 5.22) and “whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5.28).

No wonder the Bible teaches that “there is none righteous, no, not one” (the letter to the Romans, chapter 3, verse 10).  We have all broken the Ten Commandments: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3.23).  Is any one of us good enough for God?  No!

But that is not the end of the story.  Why did God write these Ten Commandments if none of us can keep them?  The Bible answers this question.  God says that the Ten Commandments – God’s holy law – is our “tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (the letter to the Galatians, chapter 3, verse 24).

How does Jesus Christ fit in, and what does it mean to be justified by faith?

Jesus fits in because “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law” (Galatians, chapter 4, verse 4).  Jesus Christ, being both God and man, obeyed the law of God perfectly.  He lived according to the law, and is the only man who never broke one of God’s Ten Commandments in his thoughts, words, or deeds.  Read the accounts of His life in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and you cannot find one instance when He sinned: He was never less than perfect in all that He thought, said and did.  But what does that have to do with us?

The Bible teaches that we all have a sinful nature.  After all, nobody needs to be taught how to do wrong things – it is the way we are, and we act in accordance with it.  But the Bible promises that “through one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” (Romans 5.19).  That verse is talking about Jesus, and means that somehow sinners like us can benefit from the perfect and sinless life that Jesus lived.

If we are to face God in judgment and not be damned for our sins – condemned for all the things that break God’s law – then we need the holiness and perfection of Jesus.  This is what it means to be justified: for God to declare us to be right in his sight.  For that we need a perfect righteousness.  How do we get this righteousness?  Through faith in Jesus Christ, his righteousness is put to our account.  Then, “justified by faith, we have peace with God” (Romans 5.1).  Peace with God!  If your conscience tells you that you have done things wrong, and must one day face God, what would you not give to know peace with God?

Don’t try and have peace with God by trying to be better, by trying to keep God’s Ten Commandments better.  We cannot keep God’s law: “No one is justified by the law in the sight of God” (Galatians 3.11).  That sends us to Jesus Christ for the answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?”  God’s answer is this: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”  This salvation is “by grace . . . through faith” (Ephesians 2.8).  “By grace”: it is the gift of God, and not something that we can earn or deserve.  “Through faith”: repenting of our sins, and trusting completely and only in Jesus Christ.  He lived the life that we should have lived, but could not.  He died the death that we deserved, being punished by God for the sins of His people.

cross

Examine your life, examine your heart.  Consider the standard of God’s Ten Commandments, and compare yourself to it.  Listen to your conscience.  Then repent of your sin, and ask God to save you through Jesus Christ.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 5 November 2009 at 11:37

Reasons why some will not come to Christ

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Gary Brady, on one of his myriad blogs, outlines a sermon by Benjamin Beddome suggesting at least eight sinful reasons why some will not come to Christ.

  1. Some men will say they have no need to come to Christ.
  2. Others imagine they are already come to Christ; and the act being performed, they have no need to repeat it.
  3. Some previous engagement is another excuse which sinners make for not coming to Christ.
  4. Some say they have tried but cannot come to Christ.
  5. Others who are deeply bowed down in spirit, do not so much plead their inability, as their unfitness and unworthiness.
  6. Some stumble at the austerities of religion, and the dangers to which it will expose them.
  7. It is the fear of some that if they do come to Christ, they shall either be rejected, or dishonour him.
  8. Many who do not come to Christ now, purpose to do so hereafter.

Gary fills out the headings with Beddome’s good, sound, Scriptural sense.  Read it all.

Learn more of Beddome in this excellent book from Banner.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 7 September 2009 at 09:06

Posted in Good news

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Freedom!

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The cry of “Freedom!” has been a rallying point for many centuries.  In many lands and nations, it has drawn the attention of men and women, and stirred them up to great and noble deeds.  Freedom is something greatly to be desired, and greatly to be valued.

broken-chain-3

Suppose that you were a convict, sentenced to death.  How would you feel?  Surely your one desire would be that you might somehow save your life, and have your freedom once again.

How, then, would you respond if a messenger came from the judge and halted the execution, claiming “You have been pardoned!  You are now free!”  Would you turn your back on such a man?  Would you mount the scaffold in defiance of such a message?  Would you block your ears, assault the messenger, and reject the message?  Surely no one would reject the message of peace and the messenger of pardon?

Each one of us is a slave of sin, under the judgement of a holy God.  The sentence for sin is death, and that is the sentence that is pronounced upon every sinner, with the eternal punishment of hell to follow.  Who would not desire the pardon of such a judgement?

There is a message of pardon, a message of hope, of peace, of freedom.  That message is Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  He has died in the place of sinners in order that freedom from sin and the love of God might be freely proclaimed.  He himself said that he came ‘to set at liberty those who are oppressed’.

This is freedom indeed!

Jesus Christ has sent his church and his preachers to proclaim this good news.  That is why we speak to people about the Saviour, and spread this news as far and as wide as we can.  That is why I hope that you will read and consider these words.

How will you respond to this message?  Will you block your ears and turn your back?  Or will you receive the pardon for sins offered in Christ?  Perhaps you want to hear more of this – the pardon of God in Christ is proclaimed Sunday by Sunday in many faithful churches.  Hear the gospel; believe in Jesus Christ as he is freely offered to you, and your soul shall live.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 13 July 2009 at 14:31

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The gospel according to Roger Nicole

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Justin Taylor posts Roger Nicole’s summary of the gospel from a seminar on the atonement at Reformed Theological Seminary:

Moved by His incomprehensible love for mankind, the Triune God was pleased not to abandon our rebellious and corrupt race to the misery and hell that it justly deserved, but to undertake to save a great multitude of human beings who had absolutely no claim on His mercy.

In order to bring this plan into execution, the second Person of the Godhead, the Son, took unto himself a full human nature, becoming in all things like his brethren and sisters, sin excepted. Thus he became the Second Adam, the head of a new covenant, and he lived a life of perfect obedience to the Divine Law.

Identifying with his own, he bore the penalty of human sin on the cross of Calvary, suffering in the place of the sinner, the just for the unjust, the holy Son of God for the guilty and corrupt children of man.

By his death and resurrection he has provided the basis

  • for the reconciliation of God to humans and of humans to God;
  • for the propitiation of a righteous Trinity, justly angry at our sins;
  • for the redemption of a multitude of captives of sin whose liberty was secured at the great price of His own blood.

He offered himself as an expiatory sacrifice sufficient to blot out the sins of the whole world and secured the utmost triumph over the enemies of our soul: sin, death, and Satan.

Those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus Christ are thus to be absolved from the guilt of all their sins and are adorned with the perfect righteousness of Christ himself. In gratitude to him they are to live lives of obedience and service to their Savior and are increasingly renewed into the image of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit.

This good news of salvation by grace through faith is to be proclaimed indiscriminately to mankind, that is to every man, woman, and child whom we can possibly reach.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Monday 23 March 2009 at 14:07

What are you relying on?

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The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”‘  But God said to him, ‘Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

The Gospel of Luke, chapter 12, verses 16 to 21

What will you be relying upon on the night when your soul is required of you?  Will you rest upon your money?  Are you hoping that you are good enough for God?  Are you counting on the fact that you are “spiritual” or religious?  Do you think that God won’t have a problem with someone like you?  Will you wait until just before you die to get ready?  Are you hoping it will all end with death?  Maybe you’re too busy to think about these things – too busy with your career, with your family, or just too busy having a good time?

broken-reedAre you “taking your ease” without any eternal security?  Have you ever paused to consider the uncertainty of this life, and the certainty of your death?  What will you be relying upon when you face the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his coming?

Perhaps you have already realised that you have nothing to rely upon?  You may have come close to death and found everything that you thought you could trust in evaporating, and leaving you without comfort.

Is there anything that will make you secure in this life, and in the life which is to come?  Is there anything or anyone that you can rely upon now and forever?

The Lord Jesus said: “This is the will of the Father who sent me, that of all he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.  And this is the will of him who sent me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in him may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (John’s Gospel, chapter 6, verses 39 to 40).

“What are you relying on?”  You cannot afford to give the wrong answer to this question, and the only right answer is Jesus Christ.  Now is the time to turn to him.  We hear daily of men and women dying: some die slowly, some die suddenly.  Some see the end coming, others are surprised by it.  How many more of whom we never hear are passing hour by hour into eternity?  How few are truly prepared for it!

Put your faith in Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of sinners like us.

To learn more, listen here or here.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 19 March 2009 at 08:31

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Drowning

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Imagine that you are drowning.  It is not a pleasant thought.  The water is closing over you once again . . . the waves still sweep over you as you flounder in a raging sea . . . you can feel the current sucking you under . . .  a record of your life rushes through your head . . . you can hear the surf pounding the rocks not far away, and threatening to pound you too . . . and you begin to sink for what may be the last time.  But wait!  All of a sudden a hand reaches out to you, and a strong voice bids you grasp that hand, and be raised up.  With what tears of relief would you grasp that hand, and what joy would be yours when you realise that, exhausted as you are, there is enough strength in that hand to hold on to you even when your grip fails again.

drowning1

Many men and women are in a similar situation every day of their lives.  The storms of life wash over them, and waves of violence beat them, and rocks of distress pound them, and the  current of grief drags them down, and they feel that they are sinking forever.  In a raging sea like this, there is nothing to keep you afloat: all that the world has to offer is like a lead weight that only draws you under all the more quickly, and you become weary of fighting any longer.  And yet a hand reaches out to you, and a strong voice bids you to grasp that hand, and be raised up . . . and many men and women turn away, and struggle on in their own fading strength, until they are swept away into darkness.

The hand belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ, and he hears the desperate cries for help that go up from poor sinners struggling in the stormy waters. The sea in which you are drowning is the sea of sin, and there will come a day when you will sink for the last time, and the record of your life that passes before you on that day will be no comfort as you sink to death and judgement.  Christ sends his people to warn those who are drowning of the danger they are in, and to point them to the way of salvation, but so many ignore the help at hand, and some even refuse to see the wind and waves that threaten to overwhelm them.  And yet if you would only grasp Christ’s hand, then you would find that he is able to bear you up and to keep you safe.  The storm may not be over immediately, but his hand that holds you will never let you go, and you shall be eternally safe.

That hand is offered to you this day.  Christ reaches down and says to you: “Poor struggling sinner, weary and laden with pain and grief, will you not trust me? Will you not put your faith in me?  Will you not put your hand in mine?”

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is “able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him” (Hebrews chapter 7, verse 25).  Those whom Christ does not save will not be saved – there is no other hope. Will you not therefore come to him now, that you might be saved from sin and have eternal life?  Will you not take the hand that he offers before you sink for the last time?

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 15 January 2009 at 09:54

In with the new?

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It is a new year.

Would you like a real change?

Would you like new surroundings?  A new house, a new room, or new clothes?

Would you like new relationships?  New friends, new colleagues, even a new family?

Would you like a new you?  A new appearance, enlargements and reductions, a new nose or chin, a new waistline, or renewed health?

Would you like a new life?  A completely fresh start, being a different person altogether, sweeping away everything that is, leaving it all behind, and starting over entirely?

One way or another, many of us would like – or may even long for – a makeover of some kind.  We would truly love to change something about us and our lives.

Most of these changes are – at best – what you might call ‘cosmetic.’  That is, they are mere changes in appearance, manipulating externals without ever altering reality.  As a result, they rarely make us happy.  If you like, many of the changes we try to make are like re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic: making a doomed vessel more pleasing to the eye.

You probably know by experience that such changes make little lasting difference.  At best, they solve problems temporarily.  At worst, they lock us into a downward spiral of more and more extreme changes, each one more desperate, expensive, or humiliating than the last.  In either case, they present no final solution to problems.

Why is this?  It is because whatever you do and wherever you go and whenever you change outwardly, what you carry within you remains the same.  We carry our issues, our characters, our personalities, our problems, our sins, with us wherever we go.

What you need is the most radical change of all: an extreme makeover that lies utterly outside your own power of will or money to accomplish, but a change that will once-and-for-all alter everything about you for the better.  It is a change that begins on the inside and works its way out, radically altering in lasting fashion our thoughts, feelings, desires, words, and deeds.

new-leaf2

It is called “new creation.”   It begins with the essential you, the heart and soul of who and what you are, and – over the course of time – works itself through your whole being.  It is a new life that will reach its climax with a new body in a new heavens and a new earth.

Would you like such a change?  Do you long for an extreme makeover of this sort?  This is no gimmick or fable, no lie or scam.  This is God’s own truth, his free and sincere offer: “If anyone is in Christ,” says the Bible, “he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Would you like a fresh start?  There is nothing to pay, no forms to fill out, no waiting list, and guaranteed results.  Faith in Christ brings new life in him.  It is the only true solution to the otherwise empty search for a new you.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 1 January 2009 at 18:39

The pardon of sin

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More from Abraham Booth’s The Reign of Grace, described by none other than Professor John Murray as “one of the most eloquent and moving expositions of divine grace in the English language.”

He speaks of Christ’s saving the thief on the cross at the very moment of his own greatest agonies:

Here we behold with wonder and contemplate with joy the conduct of the Lord Redeemer in making choice of one as his companion to glory, when he made his exit and left the world. Of one who had – not like Enoch, walked with God; not like Abraham, rejoiced to see the day of Christ, and longed for its commencement; nor like old Simeon, waited with ardent expectation for the consolation of Israel; but of one who, for aught appears to the contrary, had devoted all his time and all his talents to the service of Satan; of one, whom the sword of civil justice permitted not to live; and who, in the eye of the public, was less worthy of mercy than Barabbas himself, who was guilty of sedition and murder; was a vile incendiary and a bloody ruffian. Astonishing procedure of Jesus, the Judge of the world! When such a wretch is saved, who can despair? At that ever-memorable and amazing period, when the Son of the Highest was in the pangs of dissolution, Jehovah was determined to show, by an incontestable fact, that the salvation which was then finishing, originated in sovereign mercy, flowed in atoning blood, was equal to the wants of the most abominably wicked, and terminated in his own eternal glory, as its ultimate design. This, this is grace, indeed!

A few pages on, Booth hymns the manner in which grace reigns in the pardon of sin, summarising several paragraphs of his argument:

How glorious, then, is that forgiveness which is with God, that pardon I have been describing! It has every requisite to make it complete in itself, and suitable to the indigent, miserable sinner. It has not one discouraging circumstance to forbid the most guilty, or the most unworthy, applying to the ever-merciful Jehovah for it. It is full, free, and everlasting, every way complete and worthy of God. It was absolutely necessary to the peace of our consciences, and to the salvation of our souls, that it should be of such unlimited extent, of such unmerited freeness, and of such everlasting efficacy. Less than this would not have supplied our wants, or have served our purpose. If it had not been full, taking in every kind and every degree of sin, we must have suffered the punishment due to some part of it ourselves, and then we had been lost forever. If it had not been entirely free, we could never have enjoyed the inestimable blessing, for we have nothing, nor can we do any thing to purchase it, or to qualify for it. And if it had not been everlasting, never to be reversed, we should have been under continual anxiety and painful apprehensions, lest God should, on account of our present unworthiness or future failings, recall the blessing when once bestowed. But, being possessed of these properties, the vilest sinner has no reason despondingly to say, “My sins, alas! are too many and great for me to expect pardon.” None have any cause to complain, “I long for the blessing; it is dearer to me than all worlds; but my strong corruptions, and utter unworthiness, render me incapable of ever enjoying it.” Nor have any occasion to fear lest, after the comfortable enjoyment of the superlative privilege, they should forfeit it, and again come under condemnation and wrath.

Christian reader, have  you rejoiced over the grace of God in Christ this day, that has flowed freely, fully and everlastingly toward you in all your misery and sinful wretchedness?  Have you thanked God for loving freely one so vile as you are?

If you are not saved, is this free, full and everlasting pardon not precisely that which answers your most profound and pressing need?  It is to be found in Jesus alone, in whom God saves sinners like us.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 23 October 2008 at 13:21

Counting up

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David Dickson lay dying on his bed, persecuted by the government of the day and under sentence of banishment.  A friend came to see him, who had known him for about fifty years.  As he sought to comfort the dying man, the friend asked how things were with his soul.  David Dickson replied: “I have taken all my good deeds and all my bad deeds, and thrown them together in a heap before the Lord, and fled from both, and laid hold of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in him I have sweet peace.”

David Dickson was a true Christian, and he knew how to count up.  How would you answer under the same circumstances?

Most of us like to think of ourselves as good people, especially when someone suggests that we are bad.  We are very quick to defend ourselves if someone exposes a flaw in our work or our character.  There is almost always a “Yes, but . . .” in which we pile up our good deeds against whatever counts against us.  We play this counting game in our families, at school, at work, and with friends.  We do it all the time.  We do it with God.

God’s law reveals our pride, unbelief and sin.  Do you use God’s name to curse?  Then you have broken God’s law.  Do you use the Lord’s day to worship God?  If not, you have broken God’s law.  God’s law exposes disobedience and dishonour to parents, anger, hatred, murder, lust, adultery, greed, envy, theft, lies, gossip, slander, and covetousness.  It points out sins in our hearts and in our lives.  And what do we do?

“Yes, but . . .”  We begin to pile up all the things that we think count in our favour.  We’re trying to tell God that he’s got nothing on us, that we’re actually good enough to please him.

How wrong we are!  God’s standard is pure and perfect.  He requires, with perfect fairness and justice, absolute righteousness from us.  Trying to make up for our sin with so-called good deeds is like trying to polish a dirty car with an oily rag: you can redistribute the mess, but nothing gets any cleaner.  In fact, God’s Word tells us that all our efforts at righteousness – the best we have to offer – are like filthy rags that cannot cover our sin.

Our good deeds simply are not good enough.  They may soothe the conscience somewhat, but they cannot satisfy a holy God.  However, God – in his great mercy – has himself provided a perfect righteousness in Christ Jesus.  He is willing to forgive both our sins and our poor attempts to cover them, and to put to our account the perfection of his Son, Jesus Christ, who came to this world to save sinners by dying in their place, suffering the punishment that we deserve, that we might obtain his righteousness.

This is the good news: that God has provided for sinners – through Christ Jesus – a perfect righteousness, offered to all who repent of their sins and trust in Christ for salvation.

David Dickson knew how to count up.  He took all the deeds he knew were bad, and all the deeds he thought were good, and he threw them all aside, and turned to Christ.  He died with peace and joy, trusting in Jesus Christ and his righteousness.  What about you?

Written by Jeremy Walker

Friday 17 October 2008 at 10:49

Because it is the truth

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Why should you believe the Bible?

What possible reason can there be for you to accept what is written in God’s Word, and to live and die by it?

Because God is your Creator, and you are his creature.

Because mankind lost its original purity and innocence, and now we live in sin and misery.

Because God has given us his Word to direct us how we should live.

Because you disobey God’s Word, and your heart is full of sin and wickedness.

Because, no matter how hard you try, you cannot make yourself worthy of heaven.

Because, despite all that you do, you cannot escape the just condemnation of God.

Because God in his mercy has made a way of salvation for His creatures.

Because God sent his Son, the perfect Lamb of God, into the world.

Because God’s sinless Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, suffered and died upon a cross in the place of utterly undeserving sinners.

Because only Jesus Christ can save you from your sins, and make you right with God.

Because if you do repent and believe, you shall have everlasting life.

Because there is a heaven for those who have been redeemed, but a hell for the unrepentant.

Because it is the truth.

Because these things are true, it is not only entirely reasonable but absolutely essential that you act now
upon the truth that God has revealed in his Word.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
(John 3.16-18)

“Hear, and your soul shall live” (Isaiah 55.3).

Written by Jeremy Walker

Saturday 23 August 2008 at 11:43

Posted in Good news

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Accepted by God?

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Am I accepted by God?  Why should I care?

There are many important reasons why you should care about whether you are accepted by God, but by far the most important is this: if you are not accepted by God, you will be rejected by him.

But does that really matter?

The answer is yes.

To be rejected by God means that you cannot fully enjoy anything that God has given to you; it means you have God as your enemy; and, ultimately, it means you will face God’s punishment.

But why should God reject me?

You cannot be accepted by God while you are guilty of sin.  God is a holy God – that means he is completely pure and free from any wickedness – and he cannot look upon any form of sin without loathing it.

But I am not a sinner!

The Bible says that each one of us has sinned, and falls short of the glory of God (Romans 3.23).

How, then, can I be accepted by God?

There is only one way: we can only be accepted in Jesus Christ.  He is God’s dearly beloved Son.  If we repent of our sins, and trust in Christ, then God will accept us for his sake.

We have redemption only through the blood of Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of God’s grace (Ephesians 1.7).

Has Jesus Christ died in your place?  Do you know the blessing of the forgiveness of sins?  Are you accepted in God’s beloved Son?  Or are you still lost in sin and misery?

Written by Jeremy Walker

Wednesday 9 July 2008 at 10:19

New beginnings

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Can you remember your last set of new year’s resolutions? Did you make any new resolutions for the millennium, just a few years ago? Have you managed to stick to all of them? Some of them? Any of them?

We often make big plans for a new beginning. Sometimes we take advantage of a change of location or vocation. You go to a new school, start a new job, move to a new area. You might hope that this time round it will be different, that the problems that might have dogged you before will disappear, that you won’t have to face old frustrations again. But don’t we often take our problems with us, and find that – although things around us have changed – we haven’t changed very much ourselves?

Sometimes we attempt a deliberate change to our way of life: a new diet, a new “lifestyle”, a new exercise regime, or something else that promises ‘a new you’. But how often do we find our resolve weakening quickly, old habits dying hard, and the ‘old you’ pushing to the surface?

If things get really bad, perhaps we would even like the opportunity to “start over” – to leave everything behind and start from scratch. Perhaps you have even tried that – family failures, broken marriages, criminal activity, wrecked lives and crushed hopes – and you haven’t really escaped yet?

Genuinely new beginnings are desperately hard to make, and the most important one – one that lies at the root of all lasting change – is a change of our relationship to God: “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. . . . God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses against them” (the Second Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 5, verses 17-19).

This is a genuinely new beginning, a radical change in our relationship with God. We are sinners, cut off from God and hope, but when we are reconciled to God – brought back into a right relationship with him – then all things become new. This lies at the root of all new beginnings: this is the starting point for a genuinely new life on earth, and eternal life in heaven.

How does this happen? “If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation.” Such a new beginning takes place through believing in Jesus Christ: “God made him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.” The genuine hope of a new beginning is not found in you, but in Jesus Christ. Come to him, and you will have new life and real hope, now and forever.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Tuesday 1 July 2008 at 10:09

Posted in Good news

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A sound investment

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The global credit crunch is on. The crime rate is rising. Online phishing and offline fraud is commonplace. House prices are falling and mortgage rates are rising. In our homes, things wear out and break down. We live in world of decay and corruption.

This world has been described as one “where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.” And yet still we go on, buying things that we hope will last, building up savings that we hope will not be lost, investing in schemes and properties that we hope will hold or increase their value. We hope our inheritance will be worth something. And yet many of us are storing up our treasure in a world that will finally pass away.

The Bible talks about a man whose investments seemed to be paying off. He made big plans for the future, with dreams of expanding business and increasing wealth. He said to himself, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?” (Luke’s Gospel, chapter 12, verses 13 to 21).

Jesus Christ wrote a warning over that man’s life and death: “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

Are you still investing in this world? Are you storing up treasures on earth, where decay and corruption reign, and without any guarantees that you will be around to enjoy the things which you are able to get?

This passing world is a place of moths and rust and thieves. Nothing belonging to it lasts or is secure. It is uncertain and unpredictable. Our own lives are short, our days passing swiftly: “As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more” (Psalm 103, verses 15 and 16).

So where do we turn? What can we invest in? What will last the test of time and of eternity? When Northern Rock shatters, is there solid rock on which we can build?

Jesus Christ warns us to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also (Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 6, verses 19 to 21). He goes on to speak of the man who hears his words and does them as building his house upon the rock. Such a house stands when the storms of time and of judgement batter it, because it is founded on the rock (chapter 7, verses 24 to 27).

Where is your treasure, and where is your heart? What is your foundation and your hope? Are you like the rich fool, investing everything in a passing and uncertain world, in a passing and uncertain life? Or will you be the wise man, who built his house on the rock, and therefore could never be shaken? Have you made a sound investment?

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 12 June 2008 at 14:00

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