From Your Pastor: Making the Best Use of Your Time

Dear Beloved of Christ at KCPC,

We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ so that we will walk wisely, making the best use of our time in this present age. In all we do, we are to seek to be imitators of God as His Beloved children (Eph. 5:1-2).

We are taught:

ESV Ephesians 5:15-17: Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

What is the “best use” of our time? Not merely a good use of time, but the best? This calls for wisdom. God promises to generously give His children wisdom when they ask for it:

ESV James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

We are taught clearly in Ephesians 5 that sin is humanity’s biggest waste of time! Why? Because sin is a huge waste of the life that God has graciously given to us, it is offensive against God, dangerous to us, and obnoxious to others, and it is contrary to the purposes for which we were created (cf. Eph. 5:3-14).

What do we do? Let us daily seek to keep Christ in the center, always moving toward Him as our center. (We are no longer the center; we have been redeemed from sinful, wasteful self-centeredness). Let’s ask God for wisdom. One way that might help us is to remember 5 ‘Rs’:

Review.

Each day review your life before Christ’s throne of grace. Knowing He is gracious, forgiving, and full of power to aid you by His Spirit.

Receive.

Each day receive the grace and wisdom through the Spirit that Christ our Mediator is committed to giving to us.

Repent.

Each day seek to hate your sins, particularly the way you waste your time that is a precious gift from God. Mourn, knowing you shall be comforted.

Realign.

Each day seek to put Christ first, seeking His Kingdom. Get the pattern and rhythm of your week focused by keeping the Lord’s Day holy.

Remove.

Each day remove from your life, your already weighed-down cart, things that distract you, and keep you from giving and doing your best for the glory of God!

Our Dutch forefather Willem Teellinck (d. 1629) sets the bar exceedingly high in a poem he wrote on the use of time. But it is worth our consideration to at least consider what was most important to him, and to aspire to greatness in Christ, even though we will not attain this fully until we see Christ face to face (The Apostle Paul also sets a high standard for all Christians who are mature in Philippians 3:9-16).

“Worship our God four hours a day,

Let three for food come into play.

Sleep seven more, less if you can,

Give eight others to the work of man.

And two to help the mind to understand.

If you, this way, your time so use,

You’ll find your soul has none to lose!”

Let’s aim high at KCPC. Let’s soar with the eagles. We are already seated with Christ in the Heavenly Places, so let’s live like it! (Col. 3:1-3; Eph. 2:5-7). Let’s live wisely as God’s dearly loved children, seeking to make the most of our time—each and every day.

ESV Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Write out your funeral eulogy. How do you want to be remembered? How can you best use your time to make this so?!

IN Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: “Come, Ye Sinners, and Learn to Love Much!”

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“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” (ESV Luke 7:47)

What is your estimation of yourself? I’m not speaking in terms of estimating your financial worth or estimating your value to others in this world. What is your estimation of yourself before God? Do you consider yourself “pretty good” or “a decent person” or “righteous compared with others”? Or are you sinful? Are you one who has been greatly forgiven?

We must remember that the Bible teaches us that all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). We are all conceived and born in sin, and therefore we have no righteousness before God from our very conception (Psa. 51). Not only that, but we have no interest or desire for God in our sinful condition, and so we sin against God in our words, thoughts and deeds (Gen. 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Eph. 2:1-3). The Bible tells us that our predicament is so sinful that even our best works of righteousness, our best prayers, our best goodness before God is as filthy rags worthy only of rejection before God’s holy face (Isa. 64:6).

If we are conceived in sin, and we constantly commit actual sins throughout our lives because we resist God and selfishly want to live for ourselves, and our best religious efforts are tainted by sin, and are never acceptable before God, what are we to do? How can we ever love God and others, if we find ourselves in this sinful predicament?!

Look to Jesus Christ who is the very righteousness of God! Jesus Christ is the full revelation of the righteousness God requires of all mankind, and Jesus Christ is the full and gracious revelation of the righteousness God provides for all who believe!

In Christ, by faith alone, we find the love of God and the forgiveness of sins.

“Come, ye sinners, poor and wretched,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity joined with pow’r:
He is able,
He is able,
He is able,
He is willing; doubt no more…”[1]

This is why we must learn to estimate ourselves rightly before God. If we are ever to love Christ and others as we should, we need to estimate ourselves rightly. If we are ever to repent daily, in a manner consistent with our sinfulness, we need to estimate ourselves rightly before God. As we understand the great love and mercy and forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ, so we learn how much we are forgiven of our sins in Him and for His sake, and we learn how to love. In our passage from Luke 7 (vv. 36-50), we see Jesus as the Savior of sinners, seeking and saving the lost. Jesus accepts an invitation to go to a Pharisee’s house to reveal his dire need of a Savior from sinful self-righteousness.

A notoriously sinful woman (probably a prostitute) enters into Simon the Pharisee’s home, rushing toward the only person who can and will forgive her, and makes her humble submission to Jesus, showing her faith and love for Christ in her actions. This sinful woman knows that her only hope is found in the mercy of Jesus Christ.

Contrastly, the Pharisee Simon, with pride and prejudice, criticizes Jesus in his mind for not being a good prophet because he thinks Jesus is unaware of her sinful position and actions in the world (v. 39). Simon the Pharisee is unaware of His own need of the righteousness of God found in Christ alone (cf. Rom. 3:21-26). Simon compares himself with this notoriously sinful woman to puff himself up, and to find through comparison with another sinner a (self!) righteousness of his own making. This is how sinners often can deceive themselves. Rather than compare our hearts and thoughts with the perfect righteousness of God revealed in His holy law, we merely compare ourselves to sinners who are worse sinners than ourselves in our own estimation!

…Come, ye weary, heavy laden,
Bruised and broken by the fall;
If you tarry till you’re better,
You will never come at all:
Not the righteous,
Not the righteous,
Not the righteous,
Sinners Jesus came to call…

Yet because of this woman’s humility and right estimation of herself before a holy Christ, her “many sins” are forgiven by Jesus because she recognizes her sinfulness and comes to Jesus for help. The woman is not seeking to compare herself with other sinners who may be more wicked than her. Her attitude is not critical as Simon’s. Rather, she is concerned first with her own heart before God. This demonstrates true faith and repentance in Jesus Christ!

Jesus uses this story to show that all sinners are debtors to God, and if one truly understands their condemnation under God’s holy law, that is if they have a right estimation of themselves before God, then they will be humbled and realize their great debt to God that they cannot pay back, and cry out for “mercy!”

Simon the Pharisee understands that the woman is showing great love for her debt being forgiven, but he doesn’t understand his own debt to God as a Law-breaker- -that he too, is a debtor with a large debt. Because of his pride, Simon doesn’t feel the weight of his need for Jesus. Simon doesn’t rightly estimate the greatness of his debt before God.

…Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness he requireth
Is to feel your need of him;
This he gives you,
This he gives you,
This he gives you;
‘Tis the Spirit’s rising beam.

It is important to note in Jesus’ story that it is not the love in action that brings the forgiveness from God. It is the cancellation of the sinful woman’s debt, the relief of her sinful burden that brings forth love and gratitude.

Jesus is not teaching that we are saved and forgiven by our love, but that our love shows that we have truly been forgiven!

Our love demonstrated through praise and worship of Christ, and the love of others reveals that we have a right estimation of ourselves before God, and that we realize we have been recipients of God’s grace and mercy- -apart from any works, or anything good that we have done.

The woman does not merit her forgiveness through her loving actions toward Jesus. Rather, she shows that she has been forgiven and because of the forgiveness she has already received by God’s grace through faith in Christ, she shows forth this forgiveness in true love.

Jesus says: “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven- for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” – v. 47.

Beloved, if we daily remembered how much we have been forgiven by God for our many sins, we would be more loving toward others, more worshipful before God, more humble-hearted, more service-oriented, more forgiving, less proud, less critical of others, less judgmental (Matt. 7:1-5). We would more easily consider others more significant than ourselves (Phil. 2:3ff; Rom. 12:3), and we would experience deeper repentance before God.

Do you find yourself growing in your understanding of just how much you have been forgiven? Do you find yourself seeing Christ as more lovely and beautiful as a Savior as you grow in understanding the depths of your sinful heart? Does this make your heart soar and your affections long to worship and please Christ alone?!

The Christian life is not about becoming more like Simon the Pharisee, full of self-righteousness and self-importance. Rather, the Christian life is about growing in our understanding of the sovereign and amazing grace of God that “saved a wretch like me”, and that helps us to realize that before God we have all been worse than sinful prostitutes in our words, thoughts and evil deeds!

It is important to ask yourself today if you are more like Simon than the sinful woman here in this passage. Do you separate yourself from sinners because you believe you are more righteous, not understanding the forgiveness that you have received from God? Do you engage in constant comparison of yourself with others? Are you always needing to prove your righteousness before others? Or do you worship and serve Christ like the sinful woman, and being humble like Jesus, do you extend a hand of forgiveness to even the most wretched sinner whose sins are many?

Jesus does not say: “For he who has loved little, has only received little forgiveness.” He says: “For he who is forgiven little, loves little,” (v. 47) implying that we must have a right estimation of ourselves before God and understand our great debt, realizing the wickedness of our own sins before we truly show forth genuine Christian charity in our lives for God and our neighbor. We must estimate rightly before God that we have been forgiven much if we are to learn to love much!

The Pharisee in his own presumptuous self-righteousness considered before God that he only needed forgiveness for a few sins in his estimation, and for that reason his love for God was so tiny in demonstration and action. What is your estimate of your own sins? Do you truly realize how desperately wicked your sinful heart is before God (cf. Jeremiah 17:9-10)? Do you consider yourself to be a “pretty good person” and not comparatively as bad as others?

OUR ONLY HOPE IS JESUS CHRIST; THE SAVIOR OF SINNERS. ARE YOU DESPERATELY SINFUL AND WICKED?

Lo! th’incarnate God, ascended,
Pleads the merit of his blood;
Venture on him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude:
None but Jesus,
None but Jesus,
None but Jesus
Can do helpless sinners good.

Come to Jesus; he will give you rest and relieve you from your slavery to sin! And you who are forgiven much will love much! “None but Jesus can do helpless sinners good!”

 

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

 

[1] “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy,” Joseph Hart, 1759.

From Your Pastor: “Do You Not Yet Understand?”

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What do you need from Jesus today? Have you forgotten His goodness to give to you out of the riches of His lavish grace? Have you forgotten His power to provide for you above and beyond what you can ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20-21; Phil. 4:19)? Jesus’s compassion never fails (Lam. 3:22-24). His mercies are new every morning, and His steadfast love never ceases! Let us be reminded of Jesus’s willingness and ability to give what we need when we need it. Read Mark 8:1-10, 14-21.

ESV Mark 8:1-10, 14-21: In those days, when again a great crowd had gathered, and they had nothing to eat, he called his disciples to him and said to them, 2 I have compassion on the crowd, because they have been with me now three days and have nothing to eat. 3 And if I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way. And some of them have come from far away.” 4 And his disciples answered him, “How can one feed these people with bread here in this desolate place?” 5 And he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 And he directed the crowd to sit down on the ground. And he took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd. 7 And they had a few small fish. And having blessed them, he said that these also should be set before them. 8 And they ate and were satisfied. And they took up the broken pieces left over, seven baskets full. 9 And there were about four thousand people. And he sent them away. 10 And immediately he got into the boat with his disciples and went to the district of Dalmanutha.

14 Now they had forgotten to bring bread, and they had only one loaf with them in the boat. 15 And he cautioned them, saying, “Watch out; beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.” 16 And they began discussing with one another the fact that they had no bread. 17 And Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened? 18 Having eyes do you not see, and having ears do you not hear? And do you not remember? 19 When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” They said to him, “Twelve.” 20 “And the seven for the four thousand, how many baskets full of broken pieces did you take up?” And they said to him, “Seven.” 21 And he said to them, “Do you not yet understand?”

Jesus is always full of compassion. As we stand in need, let us be reminded that Jesus always stands to provide for His people as our Great Savior and Mediator. He is always full of compassion, and His compassion towards His own moves Him to act on our behalf. We see this in this miracle of the provision of the loaves. Jesus doesn’t want to see people faint physically or spiritually. He desires for us to come to Him so that He can give us the enduring grace we need both for our bodies and souls (vv. 2-3). As Jesus’ disciples, we must remember it is not our goodness that causes Him to act toward us; it is simply that He is good.

Jesus knows that as weak disciples, we need to be reminded often of His faithfulness. We should remember that this is the second time Jesus has performed this particular miracle of providing bread. He had already proved His willingness and ability to do this back in Mark 6:32-44 where He graciously and powerfully fed over 5,000 folks!! Why would there be another incident of this particular miracle (only two chapters later in Mark’s Gospel)? Why? Because like the disciples, we are slow to believe and trust the Lord’s goodness and grace towards us. Jesus knows it is true that repetition is indeed the “mother of all learning”.

Jesus desires to use us though we are very weak. Jesus uses His disciples as His instruments to provide what is needed for the crowds! He asks the disciples (again!) to serve the needs of the people. This should be a great encouragement particularly for teachers, pastors, moms, dads, counselors, friends, and anyone else who is tasked with the difficult and challenging task of providing for others. Jesus said: “…[He] gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and they set them before the crowd…” (v. 6). Jesus knows that His disciples do not have the power or the resources to provide for others, but He wants His people to trust in Him for all we need, not only for ourselves but for others. The burden is on Him to provide. He asks for our faith to trust and believe Him for whatever the need (although our faith is often weak and forgetful as the disciples!). What is the need you have today? Stop, go to the throne of grace, where Jesus sits as King in glory and ask for whatever you need, then expectantly wait with faith until you receive  (Heb. 4:15-16). He is a sympathetic Savior who meets all of our needs for mercy and grace! Go to the throne of grace to receive what you need to provide for others; trust Him to give it to you. Let Jesus use you today! Let Him strengthen your weak heart by His Spirit and grace!

Jesus knows that we must feed upon Him by faith first. As Jesus’ disciples, we are quick to forget all that Jesus does for us. But right now, by God’s grace, reflect and meditate upon the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ! Let this picture of Jesus build your faith, and by the Spirit transform you more in His likeness as you gaze upon His kind and gracious face (cf. 2 Cor. 3:18). Yes, we are sinful and undeserving, but He is our Mediator who gave His life for us so that we would not perish, so that we could feed upon Him, the Life-giving Bread of Life, that is always fresh and never perishes. Feed upon Him now by faith through this scripture. Jesus has given Himself. Can we not trust Him to give us all things we need? The Apostle Paul teaches us this in Romans 8:32:

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?

The Bible teaches us that “…And they ate and were satisfied” (v. 8). Jesus always satisfies what we need. With Jesus, there are always leftovers (v. 9). With Jesus there is an abundance of power and grace for our every need. Let this encourage you.

But don’t forget His goodness. It is easy to forget so quickly who Jesus is, His constant compassionate kindness and goodness towards us, and to focus once again on the need and NOT ON HIM. This is exactly what the disciples do though they had seen Him provide all that was needed–twice! When they got in their boat, they were worried again how they might have their needs met (vv. 14,17). Instead of encouraging one another with the power and grace of Jesus, they are feeding each other’s doubts! Jesus asks them to ponder their hearts: “Why are you discussing the fact that you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive or understand? Are your hearts hardened?” (v. 17). Jesus is teaching us that when we are in need, and we don’t trust Him for our need, there are great dangers. First, we can be contaminated by the “leaven of the Pharisees” (v. 15). Jesus cautions His disciples about this temptation to sin (“Watch out…beware…” v. 15). This leaven is unbelief. Unbelief hardens hearts like nothing else (Heb. 3:12-13). Jesus is serious about confronting unbelief. Secondly, when we have a need, and we are finding it hard to trust Him, this is a good time to repent. This is showing us that our hearts are being hardened by unbelief before Christ. We need the work of the Christ’s Spirit to humble us and tenderize our hearts. These situations are good times to realize of our greater need of more faith—before anything else!!

Jesus will never fail us. Jesus cannot fail us. We as parents can fail our children at times; pastors and elders can sometimes fail their people; friends can fail other friends. But it is not in Jesus’ character to ever fail to grant the lavish grace of God and to provide for our all of needs. Like Jesus who blesses the loaves as He provides for the people (v. 7), so the Father has blessed Jesus as Mediator in His exaltation to provide graciously and compassionately to all of His people! The Father gives Jesus to us for all of our needs.

Jesus gave Himself. He gave His life for us, so that we would know that though our faith is sometimes small, He is great; though doubts can threaten to harden our hearts against God, He is a faithful Savior to make us humble and tender hearted before Him. What we cannot do, He can! Jesus sits enthroned as our Mediator to pray for us, to testify that there is no condemnation for those who believe in Him! His work as Mediator will never fail (Rom. 8:34). Because of this, our faith will never fail us. Though Satan would sift us as wheat, though the world around us would tempt us, and the flesh would war against us, our faith will not fail us (cf. Luke 22:31-32).

Let us ask for more faith from Jesus today—before we ask for anything else! Let us repent of our unbelief and call it what it is: “Hypocritical, sinful, heart-hardening leaven of the Pharisees”! Let us no more think of unbelief and doubts as “respectable sins” and make excuses for them, but let us go to Christ for forgiveness and grace–abundant grace– to grow in Him and know that He is good, and will give us all that we need!

“Do you not yet understand?” (v. 21).

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

What do you need today?

IN Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: “At God’s Right Hand” – Psalm 16

“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”- Psalm 16:11

What hope we have as the people of God! We who were by nature wanderers from the fold of God, wanderers from the presence of God, wanderers from the delights and joy that only God can give. But now, because of God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ, He has made known to us the path of life! “You make known to me the path of life,” the Psalmist prays. We haven’t found the path of life on our own, we were not even looking for it (Eph. 2:1-4), but God who is rich in mercy made it known to us in Jesus Christ.  Jesus, our Beloved Lord says to us: “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”

Jesus descended into this world to show you the path of life; Jesus ascended back to heaven to show you the fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore at God’s right hand.

By God’s grace to us in Jesus Christ, we are now made pilgrims who walk by faith expectantly looking for a heavenly city and a heavenly inheritance. The path we are on does not lead to destruction, but to more life, life as it is completed in God. As you travel this path, although times can be difficult and you may at times grow weary, do not give up, do not give in, do not be distracted, nor seek to be satisfied in this world. You were made for Jesus, only in Him can you find ultimately all that you’re are longing for from the depths of your hearts and souls.  Although the journey along the path of life can be difficult, Jesus walks with you and will never leave you nor forsake you. “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age…” (Matthew 28:20).

Knowing that Jesus walks with us, makes the journey satisfying and joyful. In fact, the Psalmist says that in the presence of God is “fullness of joy”! The Spirit of God has united us to Jesus Christ so that as we journey as pilgrims we can enjoy Jesus’ presence and be filled with joy along the way as He promised His disciples (John 14-16; Romans 15:13). As we seek God along our journey on the path of life, so we find our Beloved Savior-Husband-Lord and King of kings and Lord of lords enthroned and exalted at God’s right hand (Hebrews 7:24; Romans 8:34). What is He doing there? Ruling and reigning over heaven and earth, as well as praying for us that though all of hell would break loose upon us, we could find at God’s right hand where Jesus is enthroned, His strength, His power, His mercy, as well as the forgiveness, the help we need by His grace, and all of God’s “pleasures forevermore”!

At God’s right hand in Jesus Christ we find strength in our weariness; grace in our weakness; hope in our struggles; pleasures forevermore in our emptiness here. At God’s right hand we find in Jesus all things we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3-4). All that we long for here, we find at God’s right hand; truly there are “pleasures forevermore” there in Jesus!

What are God’s “pleasures forevermore” in Jesus? Are you hungry? Jesus will fill you; He is the Bread of Life. Are you thirsty? Jesus will quench your thirsts; He is the Fountain of Life. Are you in need of a deeper intimacy and communion with God? Jesus will be your comfort and joy; He is our Heavenly Bridegroom. Are you tired and weary? Jesus will be your rest; He is our rest from our burden of sins, our pains and anxieties, and everything that would distract and/or hinder us along our pilgrimage in this present world.

Let us take refuge in God our Savior (Psalm 16:1). Let us realize that because Jesus is our Lord there is no good apart from him (Psalm 16:2; John 15:5). Let us rejoice that we have a beautiful inheritance in Christ (Psalm 16:6). Let us bless the Lord and let our hearts be glad because Jesus has taken our flesh, and can sympathize with us in our time of need (Hebrews. 4:14-16), because He has tasted the challenges of this path, the sicknesses, the difficulties, the weariness, the loneliness, the abandonment, the cold-hearted hatred; Jesus has taken our sins upon Himself, and tasted the pangs of death and what it means to lose the comfort and power of the presence of God as one forsaken because of sin. And this was for you.

God raised Jesus from the dead after He took upon Himself our sins, after He was crushed for our iniquities, and propitiated God’s wrath in our place. God did not allow Jesus to see corruption in hell, but raised Him in exaltation glory to God’s right hand to experience the fullness of joy and the Father’s love at God’s right hand as King of kings and Lord of lords (Psalm 16:10). And to live for us at God’s right hand so that we would have joy now.

Jesus is a trustworthy Savior, and friend, and Lord, and King, and Shepherd, and Husband. Let us go to him to find in Him the fullness of joy, and the pleasures forevermore this day! Don’t wait another minute seeking in this world or in yourself what only Jesus can give to you. The blessings of God are not found in this world, nor within yourselves, but at God’s right hand!

Seek Jesus there.

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: What Is Sanctification? (A Study of the Westminster Shorter Catechism)

Westminster Shorter Catechism

Question 32: What is Sanctification?

Answer: Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace,(1) whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God,(2) and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.(3) (1)2 Thess. 2:13 (2)Eph. 4:23,24 (3)Rom. 6:4,6; Rom. 8:1

Scripture Memory: “…Just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4)

An Explanation: Man was created by our good God as upright, holy, and righteous. But man rebelled against our kind king (Ecc. 7:29). Although the fall did not completely destroy the image of God in man, it did great damage of deeply tainting him with sin. In the fall, man lost his original righteousness and communion with God, became spiritually dead in sin, and was defiled in all parts and faculties of soul and body (Gen. 2:17; 3:6-8; Gen. 6:1; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 3:23; Eph. 2:1; see WCF, 6.2). What was holy about man became corrupt, what was righteous became sinful and rebellious what was enlightened and illumined by God’s truth became darkened (Eph. 4:19-24). We are not our former selves; we have been plunged into an estate of sin and misery. Fallen mankind can sing with sadness the popular song: “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they’re here to stay…I’m not half the man I used to be, there’s a shadow hanging over me…”

“…A work of God’s free grace…” But God in His steadfast love and kindness has not left us in an estate of sin and misery (see WSC, Q&A 19-21). He has provided our Lord Jesus as a Savior from the guilt and power of sin. In Christ, we are sanctified and restored (1 Cor. 1:30). Sanctification is a work of the Spirit of God in our union with Christ where the damage done by sin to the image of God is renewed in us.

“…We are renewed in the whole man after the image of God…” When thinking of sanctification, we should be reminded that Christ is the true image of God (Heb. 1:1-2; Col. 1:15). Christ Jesus is what man was created to be and how man was created to live as obedient son to a loving Heavenly Father. Jesus is the ideal son of the perfect Father. Adam as son rebelled ungratefully against his Father, Israel as son rebelled against his Father, we as sons have rebelled against our Father. But Jesus has perfectly lived, died, been raised and exalted as the ideal son and perfect man made in God’s image, who is a willing and able Savior and Sanctifier of sinners (Heb. 2:10-18). Man was created for the worship, service and love of God. Christ Jesus did that with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength for us! (cf. Matt. 22:37-40).

“…Enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousnesss…” In Christ, believers are taught to cooperate with this new nature that has been implanted into us by the precious and powerful Holy Spirit of God, by putting off the old tarnished self, the contaminated self, the poisoned self, the sinful self, and to be renewed by putting on the new self given to us in Christ Jesus!

“…To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (ESV Ephesians 4:22-24).

When we are united to Christ in our union with Him His Spirit not only imputes His perfect righteousness to us, but we begin to be renewed in the likeness of Christ (Phil. 1:6). Conformity to Christ for the glory of God is the ultimate reason for our salvation.

“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (ESV Romans 8:29a; cf. Eph. 1:4).

Conformity to Christ, or holiness is not optional for the Christian. Without holiness, or Christ-likeness, no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:14b). Let me be clear: conformity to Christ is holiness. Holiness, or being conformed to Christ’s likeness has two important aspects: mortification and vivification. Mortification is a dying to our old way of doing things through the flesh. Vivification is living a new life in obedience to God. Believers can only mortify flesh and live by the Spirit knowing that in reality they have died and been raised with Christ (see Rom. 6:4-14). The Christian believer is in a constant warfare to do this by God’s grace (Gal. 5:16-25). God is faithful to work in us to will and to do what He commands; this is all for His good pleasure. In Christ, we desire to please our Heavenly Father!

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”( Philippians 2:12-13)

A Prayer: Father, sanctify me through the blood of Jesus Christ, cleansing my heart this day, and fill me with your Spirit that I may do intense and intentional warfare against my flesh, and live by your Holy Spirit, producing much fruit! May I keep my eyes on Jesus, and be conformed to Him more today!

 

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Biggs

From Your Pastor: One Thing Necessary in a World of Distractions

ESV Luke 10:38-42: …A woman named Martha welcomed [Jesus] into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Beloved, before Jesus tells us to serve, He first calls us to Himself to teach us and to fill us with His grace for service. Before we serve, let us first learn to sit. There are many distractions in each age. How can good and lawful blessings and activities like hospitality, service, jobs, raising our children, and even loving our families potentially become distractions that can be spiritually dangerous to us?! When these things take priority over spending time listening and learning at Jesus’ feet. How are you doing with this?

Martha was serving; she was a Christian woman seeking to honor Jesus. She was taking seriously the Bible’s teaching on hospitality, and the need to feed others. Martha wanted to feed Jesus, but Jesus wanted to feed Mary and her. As Richard Sibbes put it well: “Christ came to feast them, not to feast with them.” There was disorder in Martha’s heart; while her intentions were noble, her affections were confused at this moment. Her “excessive zeal for temporal provisions, made her forget for a time, the things of her soul” (J. C. Ryle), while Mary sought what was good (read: best). We can so easily be tempted to make something good like serving too important, and then we ask the Lord to bless our idolatry. This is not right.

Notice Martha’s self-pity and ungrateful attitude that are common fruits of disordered loves: “Lord, do you not care…tell her…” We are tempted sometimes to tell the Lord what is most important, rather than sitting at His feet and learning what is most important to Him. Our hearts need to be ordered with Christ having the priority; He must be our first love, and our first priority at all times. But notice the Lord Jesus’ tender address to his own: “Martha, Martha…one thing is necessary.” Jesus is not angry, but patient with his own. We are His beloved brothers and sisters; we are His dear ones. He speaks our names tenderly putting a firm and fixed focus on Himself so that we can be reminded what matters most. And what does he promise his beloved? The good portion. Don’t you want that!?

But you ask: “What is this?” It is simply Jesus Christ. Jesus is our good portion (Psa. 16:5; 73:26; Lam. 3:24). Time with Jesus is our good portion. This is the only thing that will ultimately last—the only thing that will ultimately satisfy the longings of our souls—and this good thing will last and satisfy us for all eternity. O, to sit at Jesus’ feet! What a privilege. It is at Jesus’ feet where we get focused on WHO matters most, and this is where our loves are properly ordered and we are made effective, Gospel-driven, and Grace-motivated servants. Are you satisfied with having Jesus as your portion? Can you honestly say with the Psalmist:

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you… But for me it is good to be near God…” (Psalm 73:25, 28b).

Stop what you’re doing today. Ask yourself: What is the one thing that is necessary for me right now? You may have a schedule full of wonderful, God-given and lawful activities, but are you aware that these can potentially be keeping you from what, or WHO you need the most?

How can I keep the focus on the one thing necessary in a world of distractions? Here are some suggestions that often help me:

(1) Order your loves and needs under Christ’s Lordship, following His command to “Seek first the kingdom…” (Matt. 6:33).

(2) Watch becoming too entangled with the “cares of this life” (2 Tim. 2:4). Ask yourself the important question: “What are my main distractions and “time-wasters” (Eph. 5:15-17)? And then rid your life of them . J. C. Ryle wrote: “Except we watch and pray, [cares of this world] will eat up our spirituality, and bring leanness to our souls.”  Excellent advice!

(3) Remind yourself of the most important goals—what is your main intention in each of your activities? Is it to glorify God and enjoy Him forever? Don’t get distracted in your service for Jesus and miss Jesus as your goal.

(4) Every morning consider what is most needful and necessary for the day. Ask such questions as: Have you renewed your covenant with God in Christ with renewed repentance (Lam. 3:22-25)? Have you prayed and reminded yourself of the love of God in Christ for you and your family? Are you being watchful, sober-minded, and preparing yourself for Jesus’ coming (1 Peter 1:13)? Are we prepared for temptations that inevitably will come?

Jesus calls you by name today, having justified you in God’s sight, and has made you an heir with him through His loving sacrifice on the cross, and He speaks truth to us so that we might change and grow. This is the love of Jesus for sinners saved by grace, and grace is good because it makes us good. Now find some time to sit—at His feet. Amen.

 

Love in Christ,

Pastor Biggs

Good Friday / Easter Meditations

Good Friday Meditation: BEHOLD THE LORD JESUS: “With what less than ravishment of spirit can I behold the Lord Jesus, who, from everlasting was clothed with glory and majesty, now wrapped in rags, cradled in a manger, exposed to hunger, thirst, weariness, danger, contempt, poverty, revilings, scourgings, persecution? Into what ecstasies may I be cast to see the Judge of all the world accused, judged and condemned? To see the Lord of life dying upon the tree of shame and curse? To see the eternal Son of God struggling with His Father’s wrath [in the Garden…on the cross]? …How Jesus’ love toward His own has carried Him! He has laid down His life for us! What raptures of spirit can be sufficient for the admiration of this infinite mercy! Be thou swallowed up, O my soul, in the depth of divine love; and hate to spend your thy thoughts any more upon the base objects of this wretched world. Look upon Him! He hangs on the cross naked, torn, and bloody, between heaven and earth, as if He were cast out of heaven, and also rejected by earth….The whole gospel is no other thing than a motive to draw man to God by the force of God’s love to man in Christ….Is not this a great love? Are not all mercies wrapped up in this blood of Christ? …Christ is all in all, and Christ above all, and will you not love Him? O that all our words were words of love, and all our labors, labors of love, and all our thoughts, thoughts of love, that we might speak of love, and muse of love, and love this Christ who first loved us, with all our heart, and soul, and might!” – Isaac Ambrose, ‘Looking Unto Jesus’.

 

Easter Meditation: “How was Christ exalted in his resurrection? A. Christ was exalted in his resurrection, in that, not having seen corruption in death, (of which it was not possible for him to be held,) and having the very same body in which he suffered, with the essential properties thereof, (but without mortality, and other common infirmities belonging to this life,) really united to his soul, he rose again from the dead the third day by his own power; whereby he declared himself to be the Son of God, to have satisfied divine justice, to have vanquished death, and him that had the power of it, and to be Lord of quick and dead: all which he did as a public person, the head of his church, for their justification, quickening in grace, support against enemies, and to assure them of their resurrection from the dead at the last day.” – Westminster Larger Catechism.

 

Easter Weekend Prayer: “Our Lord, teach us to see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ…If we seek salvation, we are taught by the very name of Jesus that it is ‘of him’. If we seek any other gifts of the Spirit, they will be found in his anointing. If we seek strength, it lies in his dominion; if purity, in his conception; if gentleness, it appears in his birth. For by his birth he was made like us in all respects that he might learn to feel our pain. If we seek redemption, it lies in his passion; if acquittal, in his condemnation; if remission of the curse, in his cross; if satisfaction, in his sacrifice; if purification, in his blood; if reconciliation, in his descent into hell; if mortification of the flesh, in his tomb; if newness of life, in his resurrection; if immortality, in the same; if inheritance of the Heavenly Kingdom, in his entrance into heaven; if protection, if security if abundant supply of all blessings, in his Kingdom; if untroubled expectation of judgment; in the power given to him to judge. In short, since rich store of every kind of good abounds in him, let us drink our fill from the fountain, and from no other. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.” – From John Calvin, Institutes 2.16.19.

 

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

 

 

Is Anything Too Hard for the LORD?

ESV Genesis 18:14 “Is anything too hard for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.”

Beloved in Christ, this is your question today: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”

Sometimes you think there is something too hard in your life that even God cannot help you with. You believe, but sometimes you are inconsistent with what you say you believe. You believe in a sovereign God who rules over the world. You believe in the Almighty God who is maker of heaven and earth. You believe that God was made flesh and lived and died for you. You believe that Jesus has risen from the dead. You believe that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.

Yet your worry, anxiety and fears betray what you’re hiding, and they reveal a heart that wants to believe, more than actually does believe. As a Christian, you know the truths of God are infallibly true and wonderfully revealed to you in Scripture, but you often live inconsistently with these truths, and you’re easily troubled. But again, let God ask you: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?”

Abraham and Sarah waited a very long time to hold in their arms the baby that had been long promised to them by God. For twenty-five long years, they waited on the promise of God to be realized in their lives. There were times of strong faith, and also times of failure during their wait. In Genesis 18, God manifested Himself to Abraham and Sarah to assure them that His promises would come to past “next year” (18:10) —and Sarah laughs in unbelief, and then tried to deny that she had indeed laughed:

“So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” …. But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.” (Genesis 18:12, 15).”

Isn’t she a bit like you and me?! Sarah couldn’t see how God could take her state of practical death in that she was too old to have babies, and grant her new life. Sarah could not conceive in her mind how she could ever conceive a child through God’s life-giving power. What God had promised was just a bit beyond her grasp of faith.

God knew also that she had laughed, and He was not angry with her and take away His gracious promises to her as it were. Rather, it was as if God was confronting Sarah with her laughter of unbelief so that she might see her sins, and might behold in Him the One who could do all things!

This is our God, dear congregation of Jesus! God reveals Himself and keeps His promises to us in spite of our lack of faith, and our silly, limited unbelief. God is always going to be faithful to His people even when His people are unfaithful to Him (2 Tim. 2:13). This in itself is a reason to ask yourself: “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” God can do all things; even forgive our sins because of His mercy.

Whatever your worries, anxieties, and fears are revealing is wrong deep within your heart, you can go to God, with a mere seed of faith, and find a great and powerful Christ ready to forgive, ready to pardon, ready to receive and ready to give to you above and beyond what you could ever ask or imagine!

What are your worries today? What is it in your life that is too difficult for you? What threatens to overwhelm you in your fears? What is too great– too hard– too difficult for you?!”

But you say: “You don’t understand my situation.” You don’t understand that I have made this problem for myself, and I must get myself out.” “There is no way that you would ever understand the problems at my workplace…in my marriage…with my children…the change that never seems to come with myself!?”

Think on Christ. Jesus loves you, and he has lived and died for you. God permanently took upon Himself a human nature from the substance of the Virgin Mary, to unite God and man together forever in Him. In Christ, God did the unbelievable. The Incarnation is the “enfleshing” of God Almighty with the goal of securing your redemption! When God sent His Son into the world, it was with you and your hard situations in mind! God who is Spirit united Himself to a body; God who is infinite united Himself to finitude; God who is everywhere present, became local in Jesus; God who is all-knowing, became limited and learning. And all for us!

“Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Think about the Incarnation and how in Christ God reveals what is in our estimation the “impossible”. Remember: “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). When the Angel Gabriel came to the Virgin Mary in the fullness of the times and told her that Jesus, the Son of God, would be born to her, she didn’t laugh- – but believed. This is how we too come to understand and believe.

We may not fully understand our situation (and many times will not!); we may doubt a bit in the power and grace of God toward us (this is a reality of weak faith in this life); but we are to bow before God in humility with the little faith we have in a great Christ, and say with Mary:

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

We are to simply seek to believe God’s Word to us. What is too hard for you today? This thing you are concerned about is never impossible with God. Believe. Think of the change that God has wrought in your heart by the power of the Spirit. Have you always believed? No! How did you come to believe in Christ in the first place? Was this not a mighty “impossible” display of God’s power in taking a hardened sinner far from God, and making your heart loving and teachable, and full of desire to follow Jesus?

Is this not a hard thing, too? Go back to your conversion, think on how the power of the Spirit came upon you to transfer you from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s son; how you were raised, like Lazarus, from the spiritual dead, and seated with Christ in the heavenly places; how you were dead in trespasses and sins, enslaved to sin and the devil, and you were raised to new life in Jesus! (Col. 1:13-14; Eph. 2:1-8; Col. 3:14). Truly, I ask you, when you think of the work that has begun in you, “Is there anything too hard for the LORD?”

Think of the work yet to be done because God is committed to you. He who began a good work will complete it in you! (Phil. 1:6). God is committed to changing us. Ask Him for more faith. Don’t keep your doubts from him, but rather confess them. If you laugh at what you find to be unbelievable at the moment, learn from Sarah, and don’t cover it up and lie to God. God knows our hearts, and He kindly deals with us not according to our sins, but he pities us knowing that we are but dust (Psalm 103:11-15). Like a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on us.

Confess your worries and anxieties and fears to God. Tell him how you are struggling. Go to God in Jesus Christ who wears your nature before the face of God to represent you as your Great and Faithful High Priest, and ask Him for more faith to trust and believe all that He has promised to you.

Then laugh. Laugh with a deep joy, and hearty, belly-like, robust laugh (a real guffaw!), that God is good. Laugh with all your heart knowing that Jesus is for you, and not against you. And if God be for you, who or what could possibly be against you, or harm you?! (Psalm 27:1ff; Romans 8:30ff). Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus, so go and flourish in your faith, knowing that nothing can harm you (Romans 8:35-39). In Christ, you’re more than a conqueror over everything that God allows to come into your life!

The hardest, most difficult, trying, exasperating, soul-crushing, and painfully unbearable work that could have been imagined, or done by you or anyone else, has been done for you in the death of Jesus Christ.

What was impossible for us has been done for us. Our sins against God were a constant and permanent reminder that we owed God for every sin in our words, thoughts and our deeds. We owed God not only an infinite payment for the sinful condition and our actual sins, but also we owed him a perfect lifetime of righteous living according to His commands, for His glory alone.

We could never repay such a debt. But God did the impossible; God did what was hard for us. God sent His Beloved Son Jesus to perfectly keep His commands and earn all righteousness before Him for us. God sent Jesus, His Beloved Son to die and provide an infinitely valuable sacrifice for our infinite sin-debt against a Holy and Just God for us. God was satisfied with Jesus’ hard work on our behalf; Jesus was raised and vindicated as a permanent and eternal memorial that all who believe in Him have been forgiven. And this, very hard thing, by grace, because of God’s love, has been done, for us.

Laugh.

Laugh.

Laugh.

God is good and faithful.

Look to Jesus who loves you!

“Is there anything too hard for the LORD?”

 

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

 

Where Are You?

“But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” – ESV Genesis 3:9

“Where are you?” is the first question in the Bible. Interestingly, it is the first question that God utters to mankind. The first question in the Bible teaches us that God seeks to ask His people questions. But why?

God is omniscient and that means He knows all things. Why then would He ask us questions? Doesn’t He already know the answer?

The questions that God asks are not so much for His sake as they are for us. God wants to draw us near to Himself, and to search and know us. God delights in His children coming to Him and hearing Him as He speaks by His Spirit through His Word. He wants to speak to us, and for us to learn to listen to Him.

When Adam and Eve sinned against God, they had gone their own way. They had lived according to their own plans, and done what is right in their own eyes (Much like we often do! Gen. 3:1-7). They had willingly broken fellowship and communion with God. Rather than truly listening and learning from their wonderful Creator and LORD, they chose to do their own will.

Yet God graciously came to our first parents, and sought them out, even when they were not looking for Him! The Bible tells us that God came “walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8). Rather than join God for fellowship as would have been their normal practice and delight, Adam and Eve actually sought to hide from God because of the fear and shame that sin produces. Sin may cause us to hide from God, but in His mercy God seeks after His own.

Satan, sin and shame may drive us away from God, but God intends to draw His dear children near to Him! (John 6:37, 44; James 4:8).

John Calvin wrote: “No one will dedicate himself to God until he be drawn by His goodness, and embrace Him with all his heart. He must therefore call us to Him before we call upon Him; we can have no access till He first invites us…allured and delighted by the goodness of God.”

What grace we behold in God coming to speak to the hearts of our first parents- -and to our hearts today.

In Genesis 3, God reveals Himself as the God who not only speaks, but the merciful God who asks. Rejoice and let us behold the God who reveals His willingness to hear us, and to listen to our needs, to forgive us our sins when we repent, and this is how God reveals Himself throughout Scripture to His dearly loved children.

God comes to us and asks us the question “Where are you?” so that we can see our need for Him and turn to Him and be restored. God graciously promises His people that if we will turn to Him, He promises that He will have mercy on us and forgive us. God desires to restore His relationship to mankind that was broken by the fall. God desires to restore you to communion with Him right now.

Ultimately, God asks us the question of “Where are you?” so that we will be brought to see our sins and repent of them, finding grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:14-16).

Dearly beloved of God, do you allow God to ask you this question each day? Listen to His voice: “Where are you?” Where are you today? Where are you in your relationship to God? Are you walking with God, acknowledging His presence? Honestly, where are you? Are you hiding from God? Are Satan, sin and shame driving you from God?

Where is your heart? God is everywhere present, but are you acknowledging His presence and living in His strength? When He knocks on the door of your heart do you answer? (Revelation 3:20). Are you near God today?

The question of “Where are you?” put to us by God in the beginning, and then spoken to us every time we seek to read and meditate upon His Word, to hear from Him and to pray, is the same question that was also in the Lord Jesus’ mouth:

Jesus was forsaken on the cross, abandoned as a cursed thing because although He had not committed any sins or transgressions Himself, the LORD had laid our iniquities upon Him.

In our place condemned He stood! This is our Beloved Savior, perfect and sinless as the Lamb of God, and as He who knew no sin because sin for us, so Jesus cries out in dereliction on the cross:

“Where are you?”

Or, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”

Or, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?”

Jesus was made to be sin, having our sins imputed to Him, so that we would receive His righteousness by faith alone and boldly draw near to God.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – ESV 2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus reconciled us to God, and has given us access to all of our dear Heavenly Father’s questions. Let us hear Him, let us listen, and let us respond with faith and obedience because of what Christ has done for us!

Dear Beloved in Jesus Christ, God asks us ‘Where are you?’ because God desires to search us and examine our hearts by His most Holy Word and Spirit. Do not run Him! Do not run away and be driven from your only hope for joy and salvation! God wants to bring us to the end of ourselves, to show us our sins, and the habits that only bring hurt and harm to ourselves and others, so that we might repent, and find a deeper, closer relationship with our loving Lord Jesus.

Consider this question to you today: “Where are you?” Are you near to God? Draw near to God in Jesus Christ because He died for you, and He promises to draw near to you.

When you read your Bibles, and meditate thoughtfully on Scripture, let God ask you over and over: “Where are you?” And then be honest with Him…and yourself. Let his be your prayer:

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” – ESV Psalm 139:23-24

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Biggs

Jonathan Edwards: “The Excellency of Christ”

Jonathan Edwards- ‘The Excellency of Christ’ (edited and updated for 21st century Christians by Rev. Charles R. Biggs) 
 
“And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (ESV Revelation 5:5-6). 
 
Edwards begins by stating: “There is an admirable conjunction or meeting of diverse and paradoxical elements in the Person of Jesus Christ.” 
 
Jesus is called a “Lion”. “Behold the Lion of the Tribe of Judah”. Jesus is also called “Lamb”. “…I saw a Lamb”. John saw a Lamb who had prevailed to open the book. The book was John’s vision, or visual portrait of God’s decrees where the events in time and space were foreordained from the foundation of the world. The Lamb was “as if it had been slain”.  
 
A lion is a devourer, one that is able and desires to make a terrible slaughters of others. No creature falls more easily prey to a lion than a lamb…The lion excels in strength, and in the majesty of his appearance and voice. The lamb excels in meekness and patience, besides the excellent nature of the creature as good for food, and yielding that which is fit for our clothing, and being suitable to be offered in sacrifice to God. But in Jesus Christ, we see both: 
 
Because the diverse excellencies of both the lion and lamb wonderfully meet in him! 
 
Such are the various divine perfections and excellencies that Christ is possessed of. Christ is a divine person and therefore has all the attributes of God. There do meet in Jesus Christ infinite highness and infinite condescension. Christ, as he is God, is infinitely great and high above all. He is higher than the kings of the earth for He is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than all the highest angels of heaven. 
 
So great is Christ, that all men, kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before him…He is so high, that he is infinitely above any need of us. He is above our reach, that we cannot profitable to him, and above our conceptions that we cannot fully comprehend him. Christ is the Creator and great Possessor (owner) of heaven and earth. He is sovereign Lord of all. His knowledge and wisdom is without bounds. His power is infinite, and none can resist him. His riches are immense and inexhaustible. His majesty is infinitely terrible (awesome or awful). 
 
And yet Jesus is one of infinite condescension. 
 
None are so low or inferior, but Christ’s condescension is sufficient to take a careful notice of them. He condescends graciously not only to the angels, humbling himself to behold the things that are done in heaven, but he also condescends to such poor creatures as sinful men- -even to those who are of the lowest rank and degree, such as those commonly despised by their fellow creatures- – yet Christ does not despise them (1 Cor. 1:28). 
 
Christ condescends to take notice of beggars (Luke 16:22) and people of the most despised nations of men (Col. 3:11). He that is thus high, condescends to take a gracious notice of little children (Matt. 14:14). What is even more significant, is that Christ takes a gracious notice of the most unworthy, sinful creatures, those that have no right to ask anything of God, and those that have infinitely offended God’s holiness and character by living sinfully and selfishly, a law unto themselves. 
 
And yet so great is Jesus’ condescension. 
 
What a meeting of infinite highness and low condescension do we see in the Person of Jesus Christ! We see in many of our experiences what a tendency that a high position or station with men will make them quite the contrary in their disposition.  
 
If one worm be a little exalted above another, by having more dust, or a bigger dunghill, how much does he make of himself! What a distance does he keep from those that are below him! And a little condescension is what he expects of other men below him and for his position to be acknowledged as important and powerful! 
 
Yet Christ condescends to wash our feet, even the feet of sinners who think so highly of themselves! 
 
In Christ we also see infinite justice and infinite grace come together paradoxically and meet in his person. 
 
As Christ is a divine person, he is infinitely holy and just, hating sin, and disposed to execute deserved punishment for it upon sinners. He is the Judge of the world, and the infinitely just Judge of it, and will not at all acquit the wicked, or by any means clear the guilty.  
 
And yet Christ is infinitely gracious and merciful. 
 
Though his justice by so strict with respect to sin, and every breach of God’s Law, yet he has grace sufficient for every sinner, and even the chief of sinners. There is no benefit or blessing that sinners can receive that is greater than the sufficient grace of Christ, that can be received by even the greatest of sinners! 
 
Christ not only bestowed grace for those sinners who will receive it by faith, but he suffered in this world of sin and misery in order to mercy to sinners. He suffered the most extreme evil unto death, receiving in himself the curse and punishment of God for sinners, although he was blameless and without sin. Christ had sufferings in his soul, that were the most immediate fruits of the wrath of God against the sins of those whom he loves and stands in for as the merciful Savior. 
 
In the Person of Christ we see infinite glory and lowest humility come together paradoxically and meet in his person. 
 
Infinite glory, and the virtue of humility meet in no other person but Christ. Infinite glory and lowest humility meet in no created person, for no created person has infinite glory, and they meet in no other divine person but Christ….In Jesus Christ, who is both God and man, those two diverse excellencies are sweetly united. Christ is a person infinitely exalted in glory and dignity (Phil. 2:6ff).  
 
But however he is thus above all in glory, yet he is lowest of all in humility. 
 
There never was so great an instance of this virtue among either men or angels. None were ever so sensible and aware of the distance between God and him, or had a heart so lowly before God, as the man Christ Jesus (Matt. 11:29). What a wonderful spirit of humility appeared in him, when he was here upon earth, in all his life! In his contentment in his humble outward condition, contentedly living in the family of Joseph the carpenter, and Mary his mother, for thirty years together, and afterwards choosing outward poverty, contempt, rather than earthly greatness. He was content to wash dirty disciples’ feet, in all of his speeches being a humble yet content man, and his cheerfully sustaining the form of a slave through his whole life, and submitting to such immense humiliation in death. 
 
In the Person of Christ we see infinite majesty and transcendent meekness come together paradoxically and meet in his person. 
 
These again are two qualifications and qualities that meet together in no other person but Christ. Meekness is a virtue proper only to the creature. We scarcely ever find meekness mentioned as a divine attribute in Scripture, at least not in the New Testament. But Christ being both God and man, has both infinite majesty and superlative meekness. 
 
Christ was a person of infinite majesty. It is he that is mighty, that rides on the heavens, and his excellency on the sky. It is he that is terrible out of his holy places, who is mightier than the noise of many waters, even the great waters of the sea. Before him a fire goes, and burns up his enemies around him, at whose presence the earth quakes, and the hills melt. He is the One who sits on the circle of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the earth are as grasshoppers…He is the One who inhabits eternity, whose Kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and of whose dominion shall never end! (Psalm 45). 
 
And yet Christ was the most marvelous instance of meekness, and humble quietness of spirit who ever lived! 
 
He says about himself that he is meek and lowly in heart (Matt. 11:29). There was never such an exemplary life of meekness and humility than Jesus. Under injuries, persecutions, jeers, and sinful slander, Jesus did not revile! Jesus had a wonderful spirit of forgiveness, ready to forgive his worst enemies, and prayed for them with fervent and effectual prayers! With what meekness did he appear in the ring of soldiers that were condemning and mocking him- – yet he was silent, and opened not his mouth, but went as a lamb to the slaughter. 
 
Jesus Christ is a lion in majesty and a lamb in meekness. 
 
In the Person of Christ we see the deepest reverence towards God and yet equality with God. 
 
Christ, when on earth, appeared full of holy reverence towards the Father. He paid the most reverential worship to him, praying to him with postures of reverence such as kneeling before him and others. God the Father has no attribute or perfection that the Son has not, in equal degree, and equal glory, yet Christ was reverent before His Father. 
 
In the Person of Christ we see an exceeding spirit of obedience with supreme dominion over heaven and earth. 
 
Christ is the Lord of all things in two respects: (1) As God-man and Mediator between God and man, and thus his dominion is appointed, or given to him by His Father. He has his dominion in one respect as by delegation of God; He is His Father’s vicegerent. (2) In another respect, he is Lord of all things because he is God, and so he is by natural right the Lord of all, and supreme over all as much as the Father. Thus, he has dominion over the world, not by delegation, but in his own right. 
 
And yet is found in the same Jesus Christ, both God and man, the greatest spirit of obedience to the commands and laws of God that ever was in the universe which was manifest in his obedience here in this world (John 14:31). The greatness of his obedience appears in its perfection, and in his obeying commands of such exceeding difficulty. 
 
Never has any one received commands from God of such difficulty! One of God’s commands to Jesus was that he should yield himself to those dreadful sufferings on the cross which he underwent with full knowledge and willingness for us (John 10:18). As Philippians 2:8 says: “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” As Hebrews 5:8 says: “Though he was a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things he suffered.” 
 
In the Person of Christ we see absolute sovereignty and perfect resignation. 
 
Christ, as he is God, is the absolute sovereign of the world, the sovereign disposer of every single event. The decrees of God are all his sovereign decrees, and the work of creation, and all of God’s works of providence are his sovereign works.  
 
Yet Christ was the greatest example of resignation that has ever appeared in this world. He was absolutely and perfectly resigned when he had a near and immediate prospect of his terrible sufferings, and the dreadful cup that he was to drink. The idea and expectation of this made his soul exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death, and put him into such agony, that his sweat was as it were great drops or clots of blood, falling down to the ground. Yet in these circumstances, he was fully resigned to the sovereign purposes of God and his will (Matt. 26:39): “O my Father, if this cup may not pass from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.” 
 
What an amazing act of grace was it when Christ took upon our human nature. In this act of great condescension, he who was God became man. The Word should be made flesh, and should take on him a nature infinitely below his original nature. We should appreciate the remarkably low circumstances of his incarnation: He was conceived in the womb of a poor young woman, whose poverty appeared in this, when she came to offer sacrifices for her purification, she brought what was allowed of in the Law only in the case of poverty, a pair of turtle-doves or two young pigeons. 
 
Christ’s infinite condescension marvelously appeared in the manner of his birth. He was brought forth in a stable, because there was no room for them in the inn. The inn was taken up by others, that were looked upon as persons of greater account. The blessed Virgin, being poor and despised, was turned or shut out. Though she was in such need, yet those that counted themselves her better would not give place to them. Therefore, in her time of giving birth, she was forced to give birth to her son in a stable, and laid him in a feed trough. 
 
There Christ lay a little infant, and there he eminently appeared as a lamb. But yet this feeble infant, born this way in a stable, and laid in a feed trough, was born to conquer and triumph over Satan, that roaring lion (cf. 1 Peter 5:8). Jesus came to subdue the mighty powers of darkness, and make a show of them openly, and so to restore peace on earth, and to manifest God’s good-will towards men, and to bring glory to God in the highest!  
 
In Jesus Christ’s life, and especially in his suffering and death, he appears as paradoxically both lion and lamb. 
 
He appeared as a lamb in the hands of his cruel enemies, as a lamb in the paws and between the devouring jaws of a roaring lion. He was a lamb actually slain by this lion, and yet at the same time, as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, he conquers and triumphs over Satan, destroying his own devourer! In Christ’s death on the cross, we see the glorious strength of the lion destroying his enemies, as he was brought as a lamb to the slaughter. 
 
In Christ’s greatest weakness he was the strongest!  
 
Even in Christ’s present state of exaltation in heaven, we see the attributes of both the lion and the lamb! In his exalted state, he most eminently appears in manifestation of those excellencies and strength of a great lion, but he still appears as a lamb. Though Christ be now at the right hand of God, exalted as King of Heaven, and Lord of the universe, yet as he is still in the human nature, he still excels in humility! 
 
Though the man Christ Jesus be now at the right hand of God, and is the highest of all creatures in heaven as a glorified man, yet he still excels all in humility because he still knows the infinite distance between the Creator and the creature. Though he now appears in such glorious majesty and dominion in heaven, yet he appears as a lamb in his condescending, mild, and sweet treatment of His saints here on earth. For he is a lamb still, even amidst the throne of his exaltation, and he that is Shepherd of the whole flock is himself a Lamb, and goes before them in heaven as such! 
 
Though in heaven every knee bows to him, and though the angels fall down before him adoring him, yet he treats his saints with infinite condescension, love, mildness, patience, and endearment. And in his acts towards the saints on earth, Jesus still appears as a lamb, manifesting exceeding love and tenderness in his intercession for them, as one that has had experience of affliction and temptation like them. 
 
Behold the Lamb who instructs, supplies grace, and comfort, coming to His own, and manifesting himself to them by His Spirit, supping with them at His table, and enabling them to do that which pleases God. Behold the Lamb admitting His people to sweet communion with Him, enabling them with boldness and confidence to come to him, and quieting their hearts with his peace. 
 
Jesus Christ will come again and will appear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He will appear in infinite greatness and majesty, when he shall come again in glory, with all his holy angels, and the earth shall tremble before him, and the hills shall melt (Rev. 19:11-17; 20:11). The devils tremble at the thought of his appearance, and when the time comes, the kings, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, shall hide themselves in the dens, and in the rocks of mountains, and shall cry to the mountains and rocks to fall on them, to hide them from the face and wrath of the Lamb! 
 
Jesus Christ will at the same time appear as a Lamb to his saints. He will receive them as friends and brethren, treating those who believe and have awaited his return with infinite mildness and love. The church shall be then admitted to him as his bride and that shall be their wedding day. The saints shall all be sweetly invited to come with him to inherit the kingdom, and reign with him in it for all eternity. 
 
Jesus Christ the Lamb of God invites his people to come unto him and trust in him. With what sweet grace and kindness does he invite us to sup and fellowship with him by His Spirit. Jesus Christ the Lion of Judah invites his people to come to him in his glorious power and dominion for defense and shelter amidst the storms and struggles of this life. 
 
Would you choose for a friend a person like Christ with such dignity? It is a thing common to our experience in this world to have those for our friends who are much above us because we look upon ourselves honored by the friendship of such. Thus, how a young inferior maid would be pleased to have a great and excellent prince to give his dear love to her?! This is the stuff of fairy tales! But Christ is infinitely above you, and above all the princes o of the earth for he is King of kings. So honorable a person as this offers himself to you, in the nearest and dearest friendship! 
 
Christ will himself give himself to you by faith, with all those various excellencies that paradoxically meet together in him, to your full and everlasting enjoyment. He will forever after treat you as his dear friend, and you shall always be where he is, and shall behold his glory, and dwell with him, in most free and intimate communion and enjoyment (1 John 3:1-3; Rev. 21:1-7).