Word of God

The Shadow of the Cross

So Jesus replied to him, “Let it happen now, for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John yielded to him.

[Matt 3:15 NET]

One meaning of Christ’s words here is that, as man in the place of sinful men, He must take upon Him all the conditions of humanity. He had no sins of His own to confess, and yet He came to John as other men came. He did this because He was in the place of sinners. A little later John pointed to Him and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” So we see Jesus coming to be baptized, because “all we like sheep have gone astray, and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” This baptism with water, however, was but the merest shadow of what the bearing of our sins cost Him.

In Holman Hunt’s picture, “The Shadow of the Cross,” Jesus is represented at thirteen, standing in the carpenter’s shop at the close of the day. He stretches out His arms and the setting sun casts His shadow in the form of a cross on the opposite wall. The artist’s thought is that across the soul of the gentle youth thus early fell indeed the shadow of the cross. No doubt the thought is true. Especially here, however, as Jesus entered His public ministry, did not this shadow fall upon Him.

This baptism by John was but the emblem of the other baptism. This was only with water, and was but symbolical. He had another baptism to be baptized with the baptism of sorrow, of death, and of curse, when He “redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us.” Here we see Him entering the edge of His sore baptism from which He finally comes on the morning of His resurrection. We ought never to forget, as we enjoy the blessings of redemption, what it cost our Lord to procure them for us. He endured His nameless baptism of sorrow, pain and death, that we might receive the blessings of peace and joy. He tasted death for us that we might have deathless life.

Afternoon Devotional

Get Rid Of The Pebble In Your Shoe

Have you ever walked around with a pebble in your shoe? Even though it’s just a tiny little stone, it affects your ability to keep walking, doesn’t it? Just imagine shopping or sightseeing with a pebble in your shoe. You’re not going to have much fun!

Having sin on your conscience is like having a pebble in your shoe. You can’t really go far in your walk with God. Like the pebble in your shoe, it’ll cause you to stumble and slow you down. Sin constantly pricking your conscience is like the sound of dripping water in the still of the night—it prevents you from getting any rest!

My friend, the only way to find rest for your conscience is to point it to the cross of Jesus. There, every sin that you have and will ever commit was punished in the body of your substitute, Jesus. Because of His sacrifice, all your sins have been forgiven and washed away by His cleansing blood.

Today, you can approach God with boldness and faith because your conscience has been cleansed by Jesus’ blood. The more you believe this truth, the more you’ll walk with a conscience free of the pebbles of sin, and the further you’ll go in your walk with God!

Light on The Daily Path

Having suffered, he will reflect on his work, he will be satisfied.

[Isa 53:11 NET]

Jesus said, “It is completed!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

“The people whom I formed for myself, so they might praise me.” The purpose of this enlightenment is that through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms. This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. To demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation) – when you believed in Christ – you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

[John 19:30, 2 Cor 5:21, Isa 43:21, Eph 3:10-11, Eph 2:7, Eph 1:13-14, 1 Pet 2:9]

Blessings

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is present, there is freedom.

[2 Cor 3:17 NET]

The gospel is “the perfect law of liberty,” therefore the very perfection of liberty, and thus thoroughly and entirely free from the least taint of bondage, the slightest tincture of servitude. It is this perfect freedom which distinguishes it from the law which “works wrath” and “genders to bondage.” It is, therefore, a freedom from sin; from its guilt, as having “the heart sprinkled from an evil conscience;” from its filth, by “the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit;” from its love, through “the love of God, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit;” from its dominion, as “not being under the law but under grace;” and from its practice, by becoming “servants to God, so as to have our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”

How, then, can this pure, holy, and precious gospel be condemned as leading to licentiousness? It is because its power, its preciousness, its happy, holy, heavenly liberty have never been experimentally known by some who, like the Galatians, do all they can to “frustrate the grace of God,” by “turning again to the weak and beggarly elements whereunto they desire to be in bondage;” while others, like those monsters of wickedness whom Jude and Peter denounce with such burning words, pervert and abuse the liberty of the gospel unto licentiousness, “sporting themselves with their own deceivings,” and, “while they promise others liberty, are themselves the servants of corruption.”

Now the liberty of the gospel, as revealed in the Scriptures, and made experimentally known to the soul, steers, so to speak, between these two extremes, and is as perfectly free from the least intermixture of legal bondage as from the least taint of Antinomian licentiousness. It is, indeed, this holy liberty, heavenly power, and gracious influence of the precious gospel, under the teaching and testimony of the Holy Spirit, which makes it so suitable to our case and state when first convinced of sin, and cast into prison under guilt and condemnation.

What release but a perfect release would suit our deplorable case as prisoners in the pit where there is no water, shut up under wrath and guilty fear through a condemning law and an accusing conscience? This pure and precious gospel, therefore, comes down to our pitiable state and condition as a message of pure mercy, revealing pardon and peace through a Savior’s blood; and when, by grace, we can receive, embrace, and entertain it as a word from God to us, proclaiming liberty as with a jubilee trumpet through every court and ward of the soul.

What were we before this precious gospel reached our ears and hearts? Were we not bondslaves to sin, serving diverse lusts and pleasures, taken and led captive by Satan at his will—and while we talked about enjoying life, were, through fear of death, subject to bondage? When we saw the saints of God not daring to do what we did greedily, we thought that they were the slaves, and we the free men, not knowing that “to whom we yield ourselves servants to obey, his servants we are, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness;” not knowing that “whoever commits sin is the servant of sin,” and that our boasted freedom was real servitude, while their apparent bondage was real freedom; for they had a saving interest in that precious declaration—“If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.

Blessings

You open your hand, and fill every living thing with the food they desire.

[Ps 145:16 NET]

That word has been sweet to me sometimes, “Every living thing.” How comprehensive it is! And how low it descends! How it comes down to the weakest and lowest and least of God’s family, if he is only “a thing,” only “a living thing!” if he cannot see himself “a man in Christ;” no, nor see himself a child of God; no, nor see himself a new-born babe! If he cannot see in himself the features of a child even, yet to be “a living thing!”

Now, perhaps, if you cannot trace the features of a grown-up man as stamped upon you, and are exercised with distressing doubts whether your experience even amounts to the new-born babe, you may yet come in here, as being “a living thing,” a nondescript; a sort of person that cannot make yourself out, having an experience which you think nobody can fathom, having exercises which nobody else seems to be harassed with, and walking in a path where no other child of God seems ever to have walked before you.

Did not one say of old, (and have not you and I echoed his words?) he was “as a beast before you;” not a man, for “surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man” (Proverbs 30:2), but possessed of life still, breathing after God still, with that in the soul which cannot rest satisfied short of the manifestation and the presence of God.

But here is the mark of the “living thing”-the desire-“You satisfy the desire of every living thing,” not natural desires; not “the desire of the sluggard, which has nothing,” that is, nothing spiritual in the desire, or in the answer; but the spiritual desires that the Holy Spirit himself has kindled, desires after God, “as the deer pants after the water brooks,” desires to know Christ by some sweet revelation of his glory, desires to be brought to the foot of the cross, and to have his image stamped upon our soul, desires to be led into the length and breadth and depth and height of that love of his which passes knowledge, desires to walk before God accepted in the Beloved, desires to feel that in our souls which shall sweetly satisfy us that we are eternally His.

This “living thing,” though a nondescript in his own feelings, has that which marks the existence of life in him; and that is, living desires towards the living God, breathing affections after Jesus, a restless, dissatisfied heart, discontented with the things of time and sense, feeling no pleasure in what the world presents, and sighing to the Lord for the discoveries of his grace and his love.